Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar to the LORD in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David.—Rather, Now the angel had told Gad to tell David. In Samuel, the mediation of the angel is not mentioned. There we read, “And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up,” &c. No doubt it is only in the later prophetical books of the Canon that angels are introduced as the medium of communication between God and His prophets. (See Daniel 8:16, ix, 21; Zechariah 1:9; Zechariah 1:12, &c.; but comp. Judges 6:11; Judges 6:14; Judges 6:16, &c., and Genesis 18:1-2; Genesis 18:13; Genesis 32:24; Genesis 32:30.)1 Chronicles 21:18. The angel commanded that David should go and set up an altar — This command was a blessed token of reconciliation. For if God had been pleased to kill him, he would not have commanded, because he would not have accepted, a sacrifice at his hands.Zechariah 1:9, Zechariah 1:14, Zechariah 1:19; Zechariah 2:3; Zechariah 4:1; Zechariah 5:5; etc.); language, however, which we are not to regard as rhetorical, but as strictly in accordance with truth, since Angels were doubtless employed as media between God and the prophet as much in the time of David as in that of Zechariah.
18. the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say—The order about the erection of an altar, as well as the indication of its site, is described (2Sa 24:18) as brought directly by Gad. Here we are informed of the quarter whence the prophet got his commission. It is only in the later stages of Israel's history that we find angels employed in communicating the divine will to the prophets.Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. go up, and set up] R.V. go up, and rear; cp. 2 Samuel 24:18.Verse 18. - The angel. The Hebrew shows no article (see Numbers 22:34, 35; 1 Kings 13:18; 1 Kings 19:5; Zechariah 1:9). The place where the altar was now about to be erected was that made famous by the sacrifice of Abraham (Genesis 22:2, 9), and, though less certainly, that known to the priesthood of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-20). 2 Samuel 24:4 that Joab did not carry out the numbering of the people alone, but was assisted by the captains of the host. The object of אלי והביאוּ, which is not expressed, the result of the numbering, may be supplied from the context. No objection need be taken to the simple כּהם of 1 Chronicles 21:3, instead of the double וכהם כּהם in Samuel. The repetition of the same word, "there are so and so many of them," is a peculiarity of the author of the book of Samuel (cf. 2 Samuel 12:8), while the expression in the Chronicle corresponds to that in Deuteronomy 1:11. With the words וגו אדני הלא, "Are they not, my lord king, all my lord's servants," i.e., subject to him? Joab allays the suspicion that he grudged the king the joy of reigning over a very numerous people. In 2 Samuel 24:3 the thought takes another turn; and the last clause, "Why should it (the thing or the numbering) become a trespass for Israel?" is wanting. אשׁמה denotes here a trespass which must be atoned for, not one which one commits. The meaning is therefore, Why should Israel expiate thy sin, in seeking thy glory in the power and greatness of thy kingdom? On the numbers, 1 Chronicles 21:5, see on 2 Samuel 24:9. In commenting on 1 Chronicles 21:6, which is not to be found in Samuel, Berth. defends the statement that Joab did not make any muster of the tribes Levi and Benjamin, against the objections of de Wette and Gramberg, as it is done in my apologet. Versuche, Sa. 349ff., by showing that the tribe of Levi was by law (cf. Numbers 1:47-54) exempted from the censuses of the people taken for political purposes; and the tribe of Benjamin was not numbered, because David, having become conscious of his sin, stopped the numbering before it was completed (cf. also the remarks on 2 Samuel 24:9). The reason given, "for the king's word was an abomination unto Joab," is certainly the subjective opinion of the historian, but is shown to be well founded by the circumstances, for Joab disapproved of the king's design from the beginning; (cf. 2 Samuel 24:3 and 1 Chronicles 21:3). - In 1 Chronicles 21:7, the author of the Chronicle, instead of ascribing the confession of sin on David's part which follows to the purely subjective motive stated in the words, "and David's heart smote him," i.e., his conscience (2 Samuel 24:10), has ascribed the turn matters took to objective causes: the thing displeased God; and anticipating the course of events, he remarks straightway, "and He (God) smote Israel." This, however, is no reason for thinking, with Berth., that the words have arisen out of a misinterpretation or alteration of 2 Samuel 24:10; for such anticipatory remarks, embracing the contents of the succeeding verses, not unfrequently occur in the historical books (cf. e.g., 1 Kings 6:14; 1 Kings 7:2). - In reference to 1 Chronicles 21:8-10, see on 2 Samuel 24:10-16. - In 1 Chronicles 21:12, נספּה has not come into the text by mistake or by misreading נסך (2 Samuel 24:13), but is original, the author of the Chronicle describing the two latter evils more at length than Samuel does. The word is not a participle, but a noun formed from the participle, with the signification "perishing" (the being snatched away). The second parallel clause, "the sword of thine enemies to attaining" (so that it reach thee), serves to intensify. So also in reference to the third evil, the יהוה חרב which precedes בּארץ דּבר, and the parallel clause added to both: "and the angel of the Lord destroying in the whole domain of Israel."
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