2 Samuel 24 (end 2 Sam); 1 Chronicles 21-22; Psalm 30

Our story opens with God inexplicably angry at the people of God.

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

Okay.  Also, I know that it is super evil to do a census, but I’m still not entirely sure why, and taking  a census seems like a weird reaction.  Whatever.  The results by the way are 800,000 Israelites and 500,000 Judeans, capable fighting me that is.  2 Sam 24:9.

So, I’m minding my own business and think I’m reading another pair a parallel stories between 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. But, this passage starts a little differently. 

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.

Wait, what?  The stories are clearly intended to recount the same event.  Although, the numbers are not the same.  Here it is 1,100,000 Israelites and 470,000 Judeans, again fighting me. 1 Chron. 21:5.  Also, they specifically exclude the Benjamites and Levites.

David feels remorse for the census in both stories.  In both stories the Prophet Gad relays to David this weird three options for penance. (As in, the final scene in Ghostbusters) In both David picks the 3-day plague option, in which the Angel of Destruction almost destroys Jerusalem and 70,000 people die. 

It seems like an amazing detail about whether it was Satan or inexplicably angry YHWH who prompted the “evil” census.

Also, both passages end with David picking the spot for the Temple.  Weirdly, NVI gives the previous owner two different names in Chronicles and Samuel, but NIV uses the same name in both.  Psalm 30 is for the dedication of the Temple.  It includes “You turned my wailing into dancing.”  Which reminds me of this Hymn here.

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