2 Samuel 24:11-15…11 When David got up in the morning, the word of the Lord had come to the prophet Gad, David’s seer [Prophet]: 12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three choices. Choose one of them, and I will do it to you.’”
God gave David the choice of how he would be punished: three years of famine, three months of military defeat, or three days of plague. A The punishments strike the nation at large, possibly because they had not paid the 1/2 shekel tax required during a census B or because “The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again,” C
In verse 14, David gave the choice back to God: “please, let us fall into the Lord’s hands because His mercies are great, but don’t let me fall into human hands”. His answer reflects faith in the promise that was given to Moses: “The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin”D . The punishment was severe; seventy thousand men died.
In the census, the total number of men was one million three hundred thousand (v. 9), and of these seventy thousand died or over 5 percent of the men died in three days. This was a deadly plague. The plague extended from the north to the south of Israel, just as the census.
It may seem that the punishment was out of proportion to the sin of David and Israel. But one sin—one decision or action—can carry with it disastrous results? Can you think of examples of this in your life?
Notes: A- The 3 choices God gave David were similar to the “Curses for Disobedience” promised in Deuteronomy 28:15-61… 15 “But if you do not obey the Lord your God by carefully following all his commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you: Famine–vv. 23-24,38-40, Military defeat vv. 25-26, 41-48, Pestilence vv.21-22,27-28,35,60-61; B- Exodus 30:12-15; C- 2 Samuel 24:1a; D- Exodus 34:6-7a;