1 Chr 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
Satan was involved in this decision. The verse that comes to mind is when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.
Luke 4:3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Jesus resisted the devil. What was asked Jesus, He could have done; He could have turned a stone into bread to fulfill his hunger, but by doing so he would be following the command of satan. David was leader and as Moses did before him, he could have ordered a census, but at this time he was willingly being led by satan. This should cause us to think about the things that we decide to do; are they the leading of the Holy Spirit? our flesh? or the enticement of satan? David had the Holy Spirit, so he knew that he had God with him. You are aware when you sin, for the Holy Spirit brings conviction. When David was convicted about his affair with Bathsheba, with the help of Nathan the prophet, he prayed this Psalm.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psa 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Psa 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psa 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Psa 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
Psa 51:15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
Psa 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
David issues a command
1 Chr 21:2 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.
1 Chr 21:3 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?
Joab, the captain of David's armies gives David a warning. Why are you taking a Census to know how many fighting men there are? My thoughts are that Israel was to trust in the LORD their God and not in the numbers of their army. The LORD is the commander and protector of Israel. This Census must have some plan to it; will you impose a tax on the people or collect tribute? Will you force people into the service of the king? Will you register swords and put a tax on them to discourage the possession of a weapon? These are current problems I see in our country, when a ruler or dictator wishes to control the people. Whatever the reason, Joab sensed that it was a trespass. We should listen to our close friends, they may see when we are trespassing against the LORD.
1 Chr 21:4 Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.
The king's word prevailed, he was strong in his command against the warning of Joab and Joab went to take the census.
1 Chr 21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.
There is a difference in the number of men in the same account in 2 Samuel.
2 Sam 24:9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
In 1 Chronicles 21:5 the sum was 1 million 100 thousand men and in 2 Samuel it was 800 thousand valiant men. The cause of the difference in the count may be in the word "valiant"; these valiant men were experienced fighters. Possibly the other number was referring to all men of fighting age; all who could hold a sword.
How about todays army in Israel? a year 2000 census revealed the following numbers:
Available for military service
1,499,186 males, age 17–49 (2000 est.),
1,462,063 females, age 17–49 (2000 est.)
Fit for military service
1,226,903 males, age 17–49 (2000 est.),
1,192,319 females, age 17–49 (2000 est.)
1 Chr 21:6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king's word was abominable to Joab.
The Levites were for God's service only. The tribe of Benjamin was a small tribe bordered on Jerusalem.
1 Chr 21:7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
He was displeased that David followed satan to do this prideful thing and he smote Israel. How were they smitten? How does God strike against our own nation to show his displeasure?
Isa 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
Isa 31:2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
1 Chr 21:8 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.
David appealed to God only, when he had sinned. When we sin, we sin against God. He has defined what is sin and what is obedience; we answer to him.
Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
1 Chr 21:9 And the LORD spake unto Gad, David's seer, saying,
Gad was a prophet, who first was heard urging David to return to the land of Judah in 1 Sam 22:5. Gad had a message from the LORD to tell to David.
1 Chr 21:10 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.
1 Chr 21:11 So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee
1 Chr 21:12 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.
1 Chr 21:13 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.
David trusted the mercy and justice of the LORD more than any mans judgment. This is a good example for all of us. Too many seek the arm of man instead of God.
1 Chr 21:14 So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.
The census is no longer accurate, for the LORD had 70,000 killed. Some may say that this is not fair, but who are we to question the wisdom of God?
Lam 3:18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:
Lam 3:19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
Lam 3:20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
Lam 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
Lam 3:22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
Lam 3:23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Lam 3:24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Lam 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Lam 3:26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
1 Chr 21:15 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.
The LORD ordered the death angel to stop killing and it was in a certain place that the angel stood between the earth and heaven.
1 Chr 21:16 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.
They humbed themselves before the LORD in sackcloth.
1 Chr 21:17 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.
David is showing his love for his sheep, a type of Christ, the intercessor for his people. From sin and judgment comes humbling, repentance and a new heart seeking after the LORD.
1 Chr 21:18 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.
Gad was to tell David to set up an altar on Ornan's threshingfloor. Ornan was called Araunah the Jebusite in 2 Samuel.
2 Sam 24:18 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.
1 Chr 21:19 And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD.
1 Chr 21:20 And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat.
1 Chr 21:21 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.
1 Chr 21:22 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.
1 Chr 21:23 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.
Ornan the Jebusite, having seen the angel was more than willing to give all he had to David.
1 Chr 21:24 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.
He wanted to buy it all at a fair price from Ornan called Araunah.
2 Sam 24:24 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.
Silver or Gold?
1 Chr 21:25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.
Perhaps the difference in the sums was that the gold bought the whole mountain where the threshingfloor was located. This was mount Moriah where the temple was to be built.
1 Chr 21:26 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.
Fire fell from heaven to consume the sacrifice as it did when Elijah prepared the sacrifice before the prophets of Baal.
1 Ki 18:37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 1 Ki 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1 Ki 18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
1 Chr 21:27 And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.
1 Chr 21:28 At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there.
1 Chr 21:29 For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon.
1 Chr 21:30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
1 Chr 22:1 Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.
This was to be the worship place for all Israel; the place where Solomon's temple would be built. David had found the LORD's will again. What began with satan ended with God's blessings. David's people paid for David's sin with many lives. The mercy and grace brought David to a new place of worship. If we seek the LORD, even as we fail him, he will bring blessings and new direction to us. Remember this and stay close to Him.