Gilbert House Fellowship #393: 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21–22

A PLAGUE that spread through the kingdom of David led to the consecration of a 35-acre piece of ground that is fought over to this day.

This week, we discuss the sin of David in ordering a census of his kingdom. If God “incited” David, why was the census a sin? And why is there is a difference between 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, which names Satan (or “an adversary”) as the one who incited David to order a census?

It’s possible that this was a test of David’s faith to see whether he trusted in God or in his army for security. The account in 1 Chronicles may refer to a human adversary such as a political opponent or an enemy nation rather than Satan, since this is the only place in the Old Testament where the word saitan is not preceded by the definite article (“the satan”).

What is clear is that God allowed this test and David failed, resulting in a plague that claimed at least 70,000 lives (probably more, since the text reads “70,000 men”). God stopped the Angel of YHWH, which is the preincarnate Christ, before Jerusalem was destroyed. That prompted David to buy the threshing floor of Araunah and build an altar to the Lord. That became the spot on which Solomon built the Temple, a place now occupied by the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.

Interestingly, below the Dome of the Rock—and thus below Solomon’s Temple—is a partly natural, partly man-made cave called the Well of Souls by Muslims. During the Crusader period, it was called the Holy of Holies. It may have been used before David’s capture of the Jebusite city in necromantic rituals. See Derek’s articles on this site and its possible use in these excerpts from his book The Second Coming of Saturn:

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