1 Chronicles 21:18
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.
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(18-27) The purchase of Ornan’s threshingfloor as a place of sacrifice.

(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.

21:1-30 David's numbering the people. - No mention is made in this book of David's sin in the matter of Uriah, neither of the troubles that followed it: they had no needful connexion with the subjects here noted. But David's sin, in numbering the people, is related: in the atonement made for that sin, there was notice of the place on which the temple should be built. The command to David to build an altar, was a blessed token of reconciliation. God testified his acceptance of David's offerings on this altar. Thus Christ was made sin, and a curse for us; it pleased the Lord to bruise him, that through him, God might be to us, not a consuming Fire, but a reconciled God. It is good to continue attendance on those ordinances in which we have experienced the tokens of God's presence, and have found that he is with us of a truth. Here God graciously met me, therefore I will still expect to meet him.It has been observed that it is only in books of a late period that Angels are brought forward as intermediaries between God and the prophets. This, no doubt, is true; and it is certainly unlikely that the records, from which the author of Chronicles drew, spoke of Gad as receiving his knowledge of God's will from an angel. The touch may be regarded as coming from the writer of Chronicles himself, who expresses the fact related by his authorities in the language of his own day (see 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. 1Ch 21:18-30. He Builds an Altar.

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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

See Chapter Introduction 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.
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). 1 Chronicles 21:18The account of David's repentant beseeching of the Lord to turn away the primitive judgment, and the word of the Lord proclaimed to him by the prophet, commanding him to build an altar to the Lord in the place where the destroying angel visibly appeared, together with the carrying out of this divine command by the purchase of Araunah's threshing-floor, the erection of an altar, and the offering of burnt-offering, is given more at length in the Chronicle than in 2 Samuel 24:17-25, where only David's negotiation with Araunah is more circumstantially narrated than in the Chronicle. In substance both accounts perfectly correspond, except that in the Chronicle several subordinate circumstances are preserved, which, as being minor points, are passed over in Samuel. In 1 Chronicles 21:16, the description of the angel's appearance, that he had a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, and the statement that David and the elders, clad in sackcloth (garments indicating repentance), fell down before the Lord; in 1 Chronicles 21:20, the mention of Ornan's (Araunah's) sons, who hid themselves on beholding the angel, and of the fact that Ornan was engaged in threshing wheat when David came to him; and the statement in 1 Chronicles 21:26, that fire came down from heaven upon the altar-are examples of such minor points. We have already commented on this section in our remarks on 2 Samuel 24:17-25, and the account in the Chronicle is throughout correct and easily understood. Notwithstanding this, however, Bertheau, following Thenius and Bttcher, conjectures that the text is in several verses corrupt, and wishes to correct them by 2nd Samuel. But these critics are misled by the erroneous presumption with which they entered upon the interpretation of the Chronicle, that the author of it used as his authority, and revised, our Masoretic text of the second book of Samuel. Under the influence of this prejudice, emendations are proposed which are stamped with their own unlikelihood, and rest in part even on misunderstandings of the narrative in the book of Samuel. Of this one or two illustrations will be sufficient. Any one who compares 2 Samuel 24:17 (Sam.) with 1 Chronicles 21:16 and 1 Chronicles 21:17 of the Chronicle, without any pre-formed opinions, will see that what is there (Sam.) concisely expressed is more clearly narrated in the Chronicle. The beginning of 1 Chronicles 21:17, "And David spake unto Jahve," is entirely without connection, as the thought which forms the transition from 1 Chronicles 21:16 to 1 Chronicles 21:17, viz., that David was moved by the sight of the destroying angel to pray to God that the destruction might be turned away, is only brought in afterwards in the subordinate clause, "on seeing the angel." This abrupt form of expression is got rid of in the Chronicle by the clause: "And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel ... and fell ... upon his face; and David spake to God." That which in Samuel is crushed away into an infinitive clause subordinate to the principle sentence, precedes in the Chronicle, and is circumstantially narrated. Under these circumstances, of course, the author of the Chronicle could not afterwards in 1 Chronicles 21:17 make use of the clause, "on seeing the angel who smote the people," without tautology. Berth., on the contrary, maintains that 1 Chronicles 21:16 is an interpolation of the chronicler, and proposes then to cull out from the words and letters בעם המכה המלאך את בראתו (Sam.), the words בעם למנותי אמרתי בראתו (1 Chronicles 21:17), great use being made in the process of the ever ready auxiliaries, mistakes, and a text which has become obscure. This is one example out of many. 1 Chronicles 21:16 of the Chronicle is not an addition which the Chronicle has interpolated between 2 Samuel 24:16-17 of Samuel, but a more detailed representation of the historical course of things. No mention is made in 2nd Samuel of the drawn sword in the angel's hand, because there the whole story is very concisely narrated. This detail need not have been borrowed from Numbers 22:23, for the drawn sword is a sensible sign that the angle's mission is punitive; and the angel, who is said to have visibly appeared in 2nd Samuel also, could be recognised as the bearer of the judicial pestilence only by this emblem, such recognition being plainly the object of his appearance. The mention of the elders along with David as falling on their faces in prayer, clad in sackcloth, will not surprise any reader or critic who considers that in the case of so fearful a pestilence the king would not be alone in praying God to turn away the judgment. Besides, from the mention of the עבדים of the king who went with David to Ornan (2 Samuel 24:20), we learn that the king did not by himself take steps to turn away the plague, but did so along with his servants. In the narrative in 2nd Samuel, which confines itself to the main point, the elders are not mentioned, because only of David was it recorded that his confession of sin brought about the removal of the plague. Just as little can we be surprised that David calls his command to number the people the delictum by which he had brought the judgment of the plague upon himself. - To alter בּדבר, 1 Chronicles 21:19, into כּדבר, as Berth. wishes, would show little intelligence. בּדבר, at Gad's word David went up, is proved by Numbers 31:16 to be good Hebrew, and is perfectly suitable.
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