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Sep 20, 2011

68 Why not punish King David for the census

One day the Lord commanded King David to take a census, and so David took it

2 Samuel 24:1 The LORD said to [David], "Go and count the people of Israel and Judah." 2 So David gave orders to Joab, the commander of his army: "Go with your officers through all the tribes of Israel from one end of the country to the other, and count the people. I want to know how many there are."

But then he worried that he had sinned for obeying the Lord 

10 But after David had taken the census, his conscience began to hurt, and he said to the LORD, "I have committed a terrible sin in doing this! Please forgive me. I have acted foolishly."

And he was right. He had done the wrong thing even though it was what the Lord had commanded him to do. So the Lord sent a sickness on the people as punishment. Uh ...?

11 The LORD said to Gad, David's prophet, "Go and tell David that I am giving him three choices. I will do whichever he chooses." ... 14 David answered ... "Let the LORD himself be the one to punish us, for he is merciful." 15 So the LORD sent an epidemic on Israel.

The mystery deepens when we find that nothing went wrong when the Lord ordered Moses to take a census

Numbers 1:19 As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

Recap: David was wrong to take the census the Lord had ordered. But Moses was right to take the census the Lord had ordered. Um, right ...

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