21:1 And a Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David
to number Israel.
(a) He tempted David, in setting before his eyes his
excellency and glory, his power and victories,
see (2Sa 24:1).
21:2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go,
number Israel from b Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the
number of them to me, that I may know [it].
(b) That is, from south to north.
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 c
trespass to Israel?
(c) It was a thing indifferent and usual to number the
people, but because he did it for ambitious reasons, as
though his strength stood in his people, God punished
21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto
David. And all [they of] Israel were d a thousand
thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and
Judah [was] e four hundred threescore and ten thousand
men that drew sword.
(d) Joab partly for grief and partly through negligence
gathered not the whole sum as it is here declared.
(e) In Samuel 30,000 more are mentioned, which was either
by joining to them some of the Benjamites who were
mixed with Judah, or as the Hebrews write, here the
chief and princes are left out.
21:15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and
f as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he g
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
(f) Read (2Sa 24:16).
(g) When God draws back his plagues, he seems to repent,
read (Ge 6:6).
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 h thy
people, that they should be plagued.
(h) Thus he both shows a true repentance and a fatherly
care toward his people, who desire God to spare them,
and to punish him and his.
21:20 And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four
sons with him i hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing
(i) If man hides himself at the sight of an angel who is a
creature, how much more as a sinner able to appear
before the face of God?
21:22 Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of [this]
threshingfloor, that I may build an k altar therein unto
the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that
the plague may be stayed from the people.
(k) This he did by the command of God, (1Ch 21:18), or
else it would have been abominable, unless he had
either God's word, or revelation.
21:24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy
it for the full l price: for I will not take [that]
which [is] thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings
(l) That is, as much as it is worth: for having enough of
his own, and yet to have taken of another man's goods
to offer to the Lord would had been theft and not
acceptable to God.
21:25 So David gave to Ornan for the place m six hundred
shekels of gold by weight.
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 n answered him from heaven by fire upon the
altar of burnt offering.
(n) God declared that he heard his request, in that he
sent down fire from heaven for they could use no fire
in sacrifice but that which was reserved still upon
the altar, (Le 6:13) and came down from heaven,
(Le 9:24) as appeared by the punishment of Nadab
and Abihu, (Le 10:1).