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David Numbering the People.

David Numbering the People.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. C. SIMEON, M. A.


2 Sam. xxiv. 11 — 15. When David was vp in the mornim^,
the luord of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David's
seer, saying. Go and say milo David, Thus saith the Lord, I
offer thee three things ; choose thee one of them, that I may
do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and
said unto him. Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in
thy landP or luilf thou flee three months before thine enemies, •
while they pursue thee P or that there be three days' pestilence
in thy land P Now advise, and see what answer I shall re-
turn to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am
in a great strait : let us fall vow into the hand of the Lord,
(for his mercies are great,) and let me not full into the hand
of man. So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, Jrom^ the
morning even to the time appointed : and there died of the
people, from Dan even to Beersheha, seventy thousand men.
BY REV. C. SIMEON, M. A.


2 Sam. xxiv. 11 — 15. When David was vp in the mornim^,
the luord of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David's
seer, saying. Go and say milo David, Thus saith the Lord, I
offer thee three things ; choose thee one of them, that I may
do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and
said unto him. Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in
thy landP or luilf thou flee three months before thine enemies, •
while they pursue thee P or that there be three days' pestilence
in thy land P Now advise, and see what answer I shall re-
turn to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am
in a great strait : let us fall vow into the hand of the Lord,
(for his mercies are great,) and let me not full into the hand
of man. So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, Jrom^ the
morning even to the time appointed : and there died of the
people, from Dan even to Beersheha, seventy thousand men.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 17, 2014
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DAVID UMBERIG THE PEOPLE. BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.2 Sam. xxiv. 11 — 15. When David was vp in the mornim^, the luord of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying. Go and say milo David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things ; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him. Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy landP or luilf thou flee three months before thine enemies, • while they pursue thee P or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land P ow advise, and see what answer I shall re- turn to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait : let us fall vow into the hand of the Lord, (for his mercies are great,) and let me not full into the hand of man. So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, Jrom^ the morning even to the time appointed : and there died of the people, from Dan even to Beersheha, seventy thousand men. SIS, 640 2 SAMUEL, XXIV. 11 15. [220. SIS, punishments, humiliations, forgivenesses, succeed each other in a melancholy train throughout the Bible, even as clouds after rain in the material world. Even the most pious characters have their faults and blemishes, which call forth the Divine chastisements on themselves and others. We have here an account of David numbering the people, and bringing a heavy judgment on the whole land. The history will lead us to notice, I. The severity of God in punishing sin — The sin which David committed was exceeding
 
great — [It had been enjoined by God, that the people never should be numbered without a half shekel being collected from every one of them as a tribute to the Lord, or, as it is called, " a ransom for his soul," " that there might be no plague amongst them when they luere numhered^." "ow as David never once men- tioned this in the order that was given, and as this collection was not made in all the time that the census was taking, it seems that David greatly transgressed in this particular, and that the plague was sent among them on this account. But it is manifest that David was actuated by pride, in wishing to kno\v the extent of the population he governed ; and that he was indulging coti- Jidence in an arm ofjlesh, instead of trusting in God only. That he was faulty in these particulars was visible even to so wicked a man as Joab, who expostulated with him on the subject, and warned him that he was bringing guilt and punishment upon the whole nation''. ow of all sins, these are the most hateful in the sight of God*^: and to persist in them so long, in opposition to such plain warnings as were delivered to him, was a very grievous offence.] The punishment inflicted for it was proportionably sev^ere — [God sent a Prophet to him, to offer him a choice of three  judgments, of seven •* years of famine, or three months of unsuc- cessful warfare, or three days of pestilence : a painful choice indeed ! but David wisely preferred the falling into the hands of God, and not into the hands of man. The election being made, the judgment was immediately executed : and no less than seventy thousand meft were slain by a destroying angel, before the expira- tion ^ Exod. XXX. 12—14. " I Chron. xxi. 3. Mer. xvii. 5,6. " Seven years of famine" should probably be read " three," that being the number annexed to the other judgments, and it being ex- pressly so represented in the parallel account. See 1 Chron. xxi. 12
 
220.] DAVID UMBERIG THE PEOPLE. G41 tion of the appointed time'. What now shall we think of sin P Is it so light a matter as the e^cnerality of men imagine ? and are not thev justly called " fools" who " make a mock at it ?" The sins of the heart are considered as altogether venial : pride and self-confidence are scarcely numl)ered in the catalogue of sins: but behold in what light they are viewed by an holy God ! O that we might learn, if not from (iod's declaration^, at least from his judgments, what an awlul thing sin is, and with what tremendous punishment it will be visited !] ext let us view, II. The goodness of God in pardoning sin — David and the elders of Israel humbled themselves before God — [David had expressed, and that too in very energetic lan- guage, his shame and sorrow on account of his transgression: but God determined to punish his iniquity. On the execution of vengeance upon the land, the elders of Israel united with him in the deepest humiliation ^ and David, when he saw the angel standing over Jerusalem with a drawn swovd in his hand, pleaded mo^t earnestly with God, that the punishment might fall on him who had been 'the author of the sin, and not on the people who were innocent^. This was a mark of true contrition. When the soul is not really abased before God, it will rather extermate its guilt, or cast the blame upon others'"; but when it has a just sense of its guilt, it will be willing to take shame to itself to the utmost extent of its deserts: and such a spirit will never be exercised in vain.] ow therefore God removed the punishment, and pardoned the iniquity — [Instantly did God command the angel to " stay his hand:" but at the same time a command was given to build an altar there, and to offer sacrifices to the offended Majesty of heaven. God from the beginning had honoured his own institutions, and

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