2 Samuel 23 Ė 24 part 13

 

Tonight we will be finishing up 2 Samuel as we examine the last 2 chapters. As we go through chapter we will discovery several instances of what appears on the surface to be contradictions. So let us begin by looking verse 1.

 

2 Samuel 23:1 Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; Thus says the man raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel:2 "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.3 The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: 'He who rules over men must be just, Ruling in the fear of God.

 

David is telling us that He is God anointed and that God spoke through David many times and we can certainly see that David made many prophetic statements about Jesus in his Psalms. Verse tells that those who rule over men should to do justly just as God is just in his judgments. It also points out that the ruler should fear God because the only reason they are ruler or have any power at is because God has allowed it.

 

4 And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, A morning without clouds, Like the tender grass springing out of the earth, By clear shining after rain.'5 "Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase?6 But the sons of rebellion shall all be as thorns thrust away, Because they cannot be taken with hands.7 But the man who touches them Must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, And they shall be utterly burned with fire in their place."

 

This God fearing ruler is suppose to be a shinning example to his people like a morning without clouds. But David admits the he and household have failed to be that type of example but because of the promise that was made to David as being the seed of promise to the coming Messiah God has shown mercy on him and his house hold. Then he speaks about the destruction of those who rebel against God.

 

The rest of the chapter has to do Davidís mighty men. Now before we start examining the scriptures I want to lay the foundation of some difference that we are going to see between what 2 Samuel and the account in 1 Chronicles. First when it comes using numbers in the Hebrew you find variation from time to time and there are least 2 reasons for this. 1. They were not concerned with a specific number and many time they rounded off. For instance one place may 800 and another may say 1000. 2. A second reason come from the text being miscopied by the scribe especially when it comes to numbers and so it was very easy for numbers to get copied down wrong. The same thing happens with names that are given. All it takes is slightest variation to make the name slightly different. Now this does not take away from the accuracy of the Bible and when you find differences like these it is never in area that would affect your salvation or take away from the truth of the event. Finally we need to consider that 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles were written by different authors and so just in the gospels one writer give more detail than the other of any given event and this is not contradiction but simply additional information.

 

Our first example comes from verse 8.

 

2 Samuel 23:8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth (JOE-sheb-bash-ee-beth) the Tachmonite, (tak-muh-night) chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time.

 

This is one of 3 of Davidís mighty men. Now according to this text he was called Adino Ezinite which literally means ďthe strong spearĒ because he killed 800 men. Now it possible that this means that he killed them himself or killed this many under his command. Now notice the parallel account in,

 

1 Chronicles 11:11 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam (juh-SHOE-bih-uhm) the son of a Hachmonite, chief of the captains; he had lifted up his spear against three hundred, killed by him at one time.

 

Here is a great example of what I was talking about earlier. From what I found the Hebrew Scholars believe that 1 Chron. 11:11 is more accurate because there are more textual variances in 2 Sam 23. Now just to remind you when I say textual variance whatI mean is certain words or certain numbers will differ in the various manuscripts from which we get the OT. Now we know we are talking about the same person as this man was the chief of the captains, this same exact Hebrew phrase is used in both these verses.

However the Hebrew is different in these verses when it starts describing how he had slain these men.


This gives us 2 possibilities of why one says 800 and the other 300. 1. This could simple be the case where the number was copied down wrong by a scribe in one place or the other. 2. A second possibility is that in Samuel account 800 men describe both those killed by Jashobeam (juh-SHOE-bih-uhm) himself and by those under his command and 1Chron 11:11 could be referring specifically to those who killed by Jashobeam (juh-SHOE-bih-uhm) himself. Whatever the case we can see that these differences in number had a possible explanation and this difference does not take away from the overall truth of the text nor is it salvation issue. We will be looking at more of these type of things later on in our lesson.

 

2 Samuel 23:9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, (a-hoe-hite) one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated.10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder.

 

Here is our second mighty man of David and we see that he fought so long and hard that his hand had stuck to the sword. I think I can relate to this and so can some of you. Have you ever had to hold the handle of something and apply a great deal strength to it for a long time? Do you know what happens? When you finally try to let go of it your hand is stuck to it. Even when you manage to get thing out our your hand you hand is to conformed to the shape of holding the handle. I have had to literally straighten out my fingers with my other hand and my finger would creak asI did so and that is what I think was going on with this man.

 

2 Samuel 23:11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. (hair-uh-right) The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. Then the people fled from the Philistines.12 But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. And the LORD brought about a great victory.

 

Here is our third man of Davidís might men who found himself in the middle of field of Lintels which are at type of a bean or a pea.

 

2 Samuel 23:13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam. And the troop of Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. (ref-ih-yuhm) 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.15 And David said with longing, "Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!"16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD.17 And he said, "Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.

 

Here is very honorable story of where David was just expressing how he would like a drink form the well of Bethlehem and his 3 mighty men on their own decided to fight their way through the Philistines to get David that drink. Thatís what you call going above and beyond the call of duty. When they bring the water to David I am sure he was in awe but he couldnít bring himself to drink it because of what his men did to bring it to him so instead of indulging in the water he our poured out to the Lord which was his way of honoring God and thank him for the loyalty of his men.

 

2 Samuel 23:18 Now Abishai the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of another three. He lifted his spear against three hundred men, killed them, and won a name among these three.19 Was he not the most honored of three? Therefore he became their captain. However, he did not attain to the first three.20 Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, (kab-zi-uhl) who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day.21 And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with his own spear.22 These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and won a name among three mighty men.23 He was more honored than the thirty, but he did not attain to the first three. And David appointed him over his guard.

In these verse we are just given more details of those who stood out in Davidís army and you continue on through the end of the chapter you see more of these might men of David named. With God being on his side and having these elite men made David very successful in any battle he fought.Now lets look at out last chapter.

 

2 Samuel 24:1Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah."2 So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, "Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people."3 And Joab said to the king, "Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?"4 Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.

 

Here we another interesting text which says that God moved David to count the people but as we will find out God punishes David for doing this. So the question that would come to mind is why is God punishing David for what he has moved him to do? In order to answers questions like these we cannot limit ourselves to one verse we take the whole council of God and look at other examples to shed light up on what happening in this verse.

 

The first thing I want to point out is that Joab knew that this was wrong and questioned David of why he desires it. Now I believe that we will see that David had a prideful motive to see how big his kingdom was and we will see that God didnít command David to simply number the people just so he could punish him but instead God is allowing David to carry out that which was in his heart and then he punishes him because of his sinful choice.

 

We have several examples of God doing this before David and after David. For instance, the Bible states that God hardened the Pharaohís heart and it also states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. God didnít make Pharaoh do the things he did but he did allow him. Another example is found in the story of Balaam Numbers 22 when Balaam is told by God not to go with the men to Balak to curse the children of Israel in verse 12 but verse 35 after he ask God again God allow him to go with them. But find out real quick by the end of the chapter the God did not approve of his action he simply allowed him to go because an angel was going to kill him but fortunately for Balaam his donkey spoke to him and saved his life.

 

Then as we move into the NT notice we find out about Judas.

 

John 13:27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."

 

Here we see Jesus basically telling Judas go and betray me. But notice the next verse.

 

John 13:2And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him,

 

Again we see that the devil had already tempted Judas heart and Jesus is just telling him to do what he has already decided to do.

 

These 3 examples show clearly what was going on with David numbering the children of Israel and the last example we looked at is almost identical because the parallel account in Chronicles reveals to us that that devil was involved with David decision.

 

1 Chronicles 21:1 Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.

So, based on the whole council of God, God allowed David do that which he desired to do.Now our next couple of verses are going have to be looked at closely as well.

 

2 Samuel 24:5 And they crossed over the Jordan and camped in Aroer, (ah-row-er) on the right side of the town which is in the midst of the ravine of Gad, and toward Jazer.6 Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi;(tah-tim-Hahd-shy) they came to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon;7 and they came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to South Judah as far as Beersheba.8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.9 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

 

Once again we are going to see a difference in the numbers that are used. Please notice what,

 

1 Chronicles 21:5 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword.6 But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king's word was abominable to Joab.

 

Now we are not given a lot information about this account but I did find one more verse that talks about this incident.

 

1 Chronicles 27:24 Joab the son of Zeruiah began a census, but he did not finish, for wrath came upon Israel because of this census; nor was the number recorded in the account of the chronicles of King David.

 

We learn that Joab didnít count all the people because he abhorred Davidís commandand because Godís wrath came on them before it was possible to do so. Now how do we account for differences in the numbers given. Again, we need to remember that we have two different authors writing from different perspectives and the language is slightly different and I can see how both accounts are correct.

 

First look at Samuel account it says,

 

Sam. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword,

 

Chron. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword,

 

Notice the differences used to describe the people. Samuels account there were in Israel and Chronicles says All Israel. Samuel says 800,000 valiant men which mean strong men. While Chron simply says 1, 100,000 men and so while one writer stresses the number of valiant men the other give the number both the valiant men and non-valiant men. Now lets letís look at the second part.

 

Sam. the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men

 

Chron. Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword.

 

Again we have a difference Samuel simply states that there were 500,000 men while Chron. Specifically states that there 470, that drew the sword. Another possibility is that Samuel account rounded the number why Chronicles gave a more specific number.

So, as you examine these closely you can see that no contradiction exist but these numbers are given from different perspectives.

 

2 Samuel 24:10 And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly."11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,12 "Go and tell David, 'Thus says the LORD: "I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you." ' "13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, "Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me."14 And David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man."15 So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, "It is enough; now restrain your hand." And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah (a-row-nah) the Jebusite.17 Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, "Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father's house."

 

Here David was given 3 choices of what punishment he would receive and decides to let God make the decision but he didnít want to fall at the hand of his enemy so God sends a plague that wipes 70,000 men this probably a greater lose than David had ever imagined and we can see that David cries out to God to spare the others and to take out his wrath on him and household. We can see that God is even merciful during this time as keeps the death angel from destroying more. Now we see this mercy begins at the threshing floor of Araunah (a-row-nah) which brings is to out finally difficult text of the evening.

 

2 Samuel 24:18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah (a-row-nah) the Jebusite."19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.21 Then Araunah (a-row-nah) said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people."22 Now Araunah (a-row-nah) said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood.23 "All these, O king, Araunah (a-row-nah) has given to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God accept you."24 Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.25 And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

 

This site was considered special so as the story goes David buys and it later becomes the site the Solomon builds the temple on. As we come to close of the book of Samuel we see that the plague is over. Now when you look at the parallel account 1 Chron. you will find that this man Araunah is called by Ornan. (awr-nan) These are two different Hebrew words however Strongís Lexicon suggest that Ornan (awr-nan) originally came from Arunah. (a-row-nah)This goes back to the idea that I told that all it takes is slight variation in the Hebrew name to change it up slightly and some instances these people are simply referred to by different names. One last thing I want point is that Samuelís account says this,

 

Sam. David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

 

1 Chronicles 21:25 So David gave Ornan (awr-nan) six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.

 

Again we are being given this story from 2 different perspectives. Sam specifically states that he bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. None of the other things are mentioned like the wood or the wheat or the land surrounding the threshing floor. However Chron account gives us the amount spent on the site or the place. We need to keep in mind that this is the site that the temple would be built and the threshing floor was certainly not big enough to house the temple and so David would have bought the land around the threshing floor as well. So the Oxen and the threshing floor would have been worth about 50 shekels of silver but and the land around this with everything that went with it would be worth a lot more like the 600 shekels of Gold given by Chronicles account. So, once again we can see there is a plausible way harmonize these scriptures without them contradicting each other.

 

I hope you have enjoyed the lessons on 2 Samuel I know I have and I hope this lesson has taught you that you dig a little deeper and to examine difficult text like these from all different angles to gain a better understanding of it. While some scriptures may be challenging I have yet to find a real contradiction. Please remember a real contradiction is something that cannot be explained away or harmonized.