Morning Bible Study
May 12, 2002
We believe this story about David takes place at the end of David’s reign,
after the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba, and before David turns things over
to Solomon. We get this idea from the parallel passage (1Chr. 21), which places
it just prior to David turning things over to Solomon.
:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved
David against them
The parallel passage tells us:
(1 Chr 21:1 KJV) And Satan
stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
We aren’t told the reason why God was angry with Israel. But because of His
anger, God allowed Satan to have an influence on David. Perhaps God is angry
with Israel for rebelling against David under Absalom and Sheba.
:2 from Dan even to Beersheba
From the farthest northern town to the farthest southern town.
:2 that I may know the number of the people.
What’s wrong with this
First, you need to know
purpose for taking a “census”. It was not to know your nation’s “demographics”.
The purpose was to raise an army. The people that were counted were the men who
were able to fight.
We see this in the book
of Numbers. Twice there was a census taken, one at the beginning of the forty
years in the wilderness, and one at the end (Num.1:1-3; Num. 26:1-2). Who was
Nu 26:2 Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of
Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all
that are able to go to war in Israel.
God had a law regarding
the taking of a census.
(Exo 30:12 KJV) When thou takest the sum of the children of
Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul
unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them,
when thou numberest them.
Money was to be collected
for each person counted. The same type of people are counted, every one twenty
years old and up. All those who would go to war.
This was to keep Israel
from a “plague”. The amount of the ransom was to be ˝ a shekel per person. The
money was to go towards the upkeep of the Tabernacle. This eventually grew into
the custom of the “temple-tax” that was used to pay for temple expenses. (Ex.
It’s important to realize
that this “ransom” wasn’t to help pay for an army, it was to support the
worship of God. It was to help the Tabernacle and work towards putting the
people’s focus on God, not on their army.
The Jewish historian
Josephus records (Antiquities, 7:12:1),
Now king David was desirous to know how many ten thousands there were of
the people, but forgot the commands of Moses, who told them beforehand, that if
the multitude were numbered, they should pay half a shekel to God for every
David didn’t pay the
:3 Now the LORD thy God add unto the people …
Again, what’s wrong with
Putting your interests before God’s
Joab is giving us a hint
that David is interested in raising a huge army.
He’s just been through a
couple of rebellions and it would be nice to know that he’s got a serious army
We’ve already seen that
he is being nudged by Satan (1Chr. 21:1).
Because there will be a
plague, I think it’s safe to say that Josephus must have been right in that
David did not collect the “ransom” money from the people.
Who’s kingdom are you
It seems that for the
moment, David has been sidetracked into building his own kingdom and not God’s.
(Mat 6:33 KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
:4 Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab
David wins the argument and Joab and his captains start the process of
numbering the people.
:5-7 Aroer … Tyre …even to Beersheba
Basically, Joab and his men make a huge circle around the entire nation of
:8 at the end of nine months and twenty days.
It takes them nearly ten months to complete the conscription.
:10 And David's heart smote him
As David is listening to the numbers being given, he begins to realize the
sin of his motives.
Sensitive to God
It’s taken David ten months, but he finally gets the message.
He’s even getting the message before the plague breaks out.
There is a measure of God’s patience in this. God waits ten months for
David to get it.
Are there things nagging you that just don’t seem right, but you’ve been
ignoring it? Are you getting God’s message?
:12 I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them
This is still the Old Testament, and Jesus has not yet died to take away
our sins. David’s sin has to be taken care of. Somebody has to pay the price.
:14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait:
(NLT) "This is a
:14 for his mercies are great
David would rather trust God’s mercy instead of man’s.
:15 So the LORD sent a pestilence …from Dan even to Beersheba
For three days, a plague hits the entire nation of Israel, the entire group
that David has numbered. We aren’t told kind of plague hit the nation.
Sin has consequences
We may not be given a
choice of what happens to us, but still, there is consequence to sin.
We may confess our sin,
and God may forgive us, but sometimes the consequences still remain.
If you pound nails into a
board, you can remove the nails, but the holes will still be there.
If a man goes and commits
the sin of homosexuality, he may confess his sin, repent, and God will forgive
him. But he may still contract AIDS.
:16 the LORD repented him of the evil
(NIV) the LORD was grieved
because of the calamity
:16 It is enough: stay now thine hand.
God asks the angel to take a break. God is going to give David a chance to
:16 And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace
threshingplace – this would be a place on top of
a hill, where the wind would blow frequently. This particular threshing floor
was above the city of Jerusalem. After grain was harvested from the fields, it
would be taken to a threshing floor. Oxen would then pull wooden sleds through
the grain, crushing and breaking the chaff off the kernel. Then as the grain
was tossed in the air, the wind would blow the chaff away, leaving just the
the angel of the LORD – This is a phrase used in the
Bible to identify a unique, specific person. He has made many appearances to
many different people. Hagar met Him (Gen.16:7,13); Abraham met Him
(Gen.22:11-12); Gideon met Him (Judg.6:12-14, 22-23); and Samson’s dad, Manoah
met Him (Judg.13:21-22).
When you piece things
together, you find that this person is also called “God”. When you look closer,
you find that this person is none other than Jesus Christ, appearing on earth
before His birth in Bethlehem.
:17 Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly
David has the marks of a great leader. He is willing to accept
responsibility for his actions. He doesn’t blame someone else.
:20 And Araunah looked
The parallel passage says
(1 Chr 21:20 KJV) And Ornan
turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now
Ornan was threshing wheat.
We have a short description of what David saw:
(1 Chr 21:16 KJV) And David
lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and
the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then
David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their
:24 neither will I offer …that which doth cost me nothing.
David knows he needs to offer a sacrifice to make things right.
Important things are costly
The Evolution of Mom
Preparing for the Birth
1st baby: You practice
your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You
don’t bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn’t
do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an
epidural in your 8th month.
1st baby: You prewash your newborn's clothes,
color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to
make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest
3rd baby: Boys can wear
pink, can't they?
The Baby's Name
1st baby: You pore over baby-name books and practice
pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.
2nd baby: Someone has to
name their kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.
3rd baby: You open a name
book, close your eyes, and see where your finger falls. Bimaldo? Perfect!
Don’t cheapen the things that are
After being away on business, a man thought it would be nice to bring his
wife a little gift for Mother’s Day. “How about some perfume?” he asked the
cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $50.00. “That’s a bit much,”
he said, so she returned with a smaller bottle for $30.00. “That’s still quite
a bit,” he complained. Growing annoyed, the clerk brought out a tiny $15.00
bottle. “What I mean,” he said, “is I’d like to see something really cheap.” So
the clerk handed him a mirror.
It’s really not about money as much as it is sacrifice. Sometimes we’re too quick to spend money
when we need to spend time. How
important is your marriage? Your
family? Your relationship with Jesus?
:24 So David bought the threshingfloor…for fifty shekels of silver.
This is the price David paid for just the threshingfloor and oxen. The parallel passage tells us that David
actually bought Araunah’s entire property for 600 shekels of gold.
:25 the LORD was entreated …the plague was stayed
The parallel passage tells us just how God was “entreated” –
(1 Chr 21:26 KJV) And David
built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace
offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire
upon the altar of burnt offering.
There are only three
other occurrences where God sends fire to consume an offering:
Moses and the Tabernacle
(Lev. 9:24); Solomon and the Temple (2Chr. 7:1); Elijah challenging the
prophets of Baal (1Ki. 18:36-39)
Something special has
happened. Something bigger has happened than just this obscure story. Something
HUGE has happened.
God can turn bad things into good
Araunah’s threshing floor
was a special place.
In the parallel account in Chronicles, immediately after this story, we
(1 Chr 22:1 KJV) Then David
said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt
offering for Israel.
David somehow considered this location to be “the house of the LORD God”.
2Chronicles tells us more about this location.
(2 Chr 3:1 KJV) Then
Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah,
where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had
prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
The threshing floor was in the same place where Abraham
had offered Isaac (Gen. 22:2), on Mount Moriah.
This would also be the same place where Solomon would
build the temple.
God was able to take David’s sin of pride and turn the entire situation
around so that this place became not just “a place” of worship, but “THE place”
If the idea of David’s sin being that he didn’t collect the “ransom” for
the upkeep of God’s house, it’s interesting that in the end, David ends up
paying a price to purchase the very spot of God’s house.
Jesus has paid the price
If you do some calculations, you find that David only paid roughly a
hundredth of what he should have to ransom his entire army of 1,300,000.
I find it very interesting that Jesus was there with David in Jerusalem,
watching David pay the price for his sin.
Jesus would pay the price for our sin at that same place.
He paid it all.