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in II Samule 2:2 David said “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the

"in II Samule 2:2 David said “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.” Why was this a sin? Then in verse 15: 'So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.' Why were the people killed for what David did?"

A visitor writes,

"in II Samule 2:2 David said “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.” Why was this a sin? Then in verse 15: 'So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.' Why were the people killed for what David did?"

Thanks for asking a question on www.thisisyourbible.com
(All quotations from the King James Version unless stated otherwise).
I doubt that I can give you a definitive answer to this question, but I will give you my thoughts on it.Comparing 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 to get the full account:

2 Samuel 24

1 Chronicles 21

1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people.

And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,

12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him,Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land?or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee?or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land?

now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.

16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people,

It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.

17 And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said,

Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.

18 And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him,

Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.

19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.

20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. 21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant?

And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people.

22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.

23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.

24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.

So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. 3 And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?

7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.

8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

9 And the LORD spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying,

10 Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

11 So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee

12 Either three years’ famine;or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel.

Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me.

13 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.

14 So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.

15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed,

It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

16 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 faces.

17 And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered?

even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.

18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should

go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

19 And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD.

20 And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground.

22 Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.

23 And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all.

24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.

25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.

26 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.

27 And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.

2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel,
This ‘again’ follows the previous occasion of God’s anger with Israel which involved 3 years of famine before its resolution in the fourth year. This may explain the apparent discrepancy between 7 years famine (ie 3 years famine past + the 4th year when it was resolved + 3 more years for the current offence) in 2 Samuel 24:13 and 3 years famine in 1 Chronicles 21:12.
2 Samuel 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
The prime cause is that God was angry with Israel.
2 Samuel 24:1... he moved David against them... = 1 Chronicles 21:1... Satan... against Israel... provoked David...
‘Satan’ is not the fallen angel of Christian mythology. ‘Satan’ is anglicized Hebrew meaning ‘adversary’. The adversary would seem to be David’s own desire to have a grand total of the size of his army – the number of fighting men in all Israel that he had at his command. David was ruling for God but he seems to have overstepped the mark in numbering God’s people without God’s instruction or assent.We might reasonably suppose that the desire was due to David’s pride and this constituted sin on his part.
God tempts no man to sin, but what God permits he is said to do.
Examples:
1 Samuel 26:19... If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering...
Psalms 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people...
Isaiah 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?...
The lust that produces sin comes not from without but from within men.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
God’s anger was not against David but Israel.
What Israel’s specific offence was we are not told, but it follows on the support given by the people to the two rebellions against God’s chosen king headed by Absalom and Sheba.One suggestion is that God punished Israel because the half shekel ransom was not collected as required in Exodus 30:12.
Exodus 30:12 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.
Whether this was the case or not, people do suffer the consequences of the sins of their rulers. This is evident from the three years famine that God brought upon Israel because of what Saul had done to the Gibeonites.
2 Samuel 21:1... the LORD answered, It (the famine) is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
Saul, of course, could not have done it alone. The people he commanded were complicit in the action.
God was angry with Israel at this time for a different reason.Joab recognised that David’s action would be a cause of trespass for Israel as a whole (if the half shekel was the problem he could have collected it).
1 Chronicles 21:3... why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?
We are told that it was this ‘thing’ (the numbering of Israel to determine its fighting strength) that caused God’s anger to be turned into punishment.
1 Chronicles 21:7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
That David’s subjects died because of his sin may seem to us unreasonable on God’s part, but we have to look at it from God’s point of view.God’s object is to save men and women not to destroy them.
Ezekiel 33:11... As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Israel’s unfaithfulness was a continual problem from the time that they came out of Egypt.
Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, 2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
The punishments that they endured were designed to serve as a warning to all in order to bring men and women to repent of sin and serve God.
Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
All men and women live under sentence of death because as individuals they sin. This life is temporary and carries no guarantee of either quality or longevity. Our manner of death does not affect the outcome of our resurrection. Not a single individual who faithfully obeys God in this life will lose eternal life at the resurrection and the kingdom of God.
Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
For the faithful who died in the plague as a result of David’s sin, their next waking moment will be in the kingdom of God.I think that the lesson to be learned from the incident is that God punishes nations for the sinful acts of their rulers.
The Jewish rulers had Christ put to death and the nation has suffered collectively for it. In this respect they are God’s witnesses in that prophecy is being fulfilled in them to this day.
Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
Faithful men and women who perish in the collective punishment of the nation will still inherit eternal life.
The good that came out of the evil was the designation of a place where the Temple of God would be built.
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I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,
Glenn,
www.thisisyourbible.com
 
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