1 Chronicles 21:20
And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat.
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(20) And Ornan turned back (returned), and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves (were hiding). There can be little doubt that this is corrupt, and that the text of Samuel is right, “And Araunah looked up, and saw the king and his servants passing by him.” The LXX. here has “Ornan turned, and saw the king;” the Vulg., “when Ornan had looked up” The Hebrew words for “returned” and “looked up,” “angel” and “king,” are similar enough to be easily confused in an ill-written or failed MS.

Now Ornan was threshing wheat.—This clause does not harmonise with the preceding statement, but its genuineness is made probable by the fact that Ornan was in his threshingfloor at the time. Moreover, the LXX. adds to 2Samuel 24:15, “And David chose for himself the death; and it was the days of wheat harvest.”

1 Chronicles 21:20. His four sons with him hid themselves — Because of the glory and majesty in which the angel appeared, which men’s weak natures are not able to bear; and from the fear of God’s vengeance, which now seemed to be coming to their family.

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. 20, 21. Ornan was threshing wheat—If the census was entered upon in autumn, the beginning of the civil year, the nine and a half months it occupied would end at wheat harvest. The common way of threshing corn is by spreading it out on a high level area, and driving backwards and forwards upon it two oxen harnessed to a clumsy sledge with three rollers and some sharp spikes. The driver sits on his knees on the box, while another person is employed in drawing back the straw and separating it from the grain underneath. By this operation the chaff is very much chopped, and the grain threshed out. Or,

And Ornan turned back, ( i.e. turned his face from the angel,) for, or when, (for the Hebrew vau is frequently used both those ways,)

he saw the angel and (so did) his four sons with him hiding themselves; partly because of the glory and majesty in which the angel appeared, which men’s weak and sinful natures are not able to bear; and partly from the fear of God’s vengeance, which was at this time riding circuit in the land, and now seemed to be coming to their family.

See Chapter Introduction And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him {i} hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat.

(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?

Verse 20. - This verse is not found in the parallel place. The Septuagint reading of "king" in this verse, in place of "angel," is no doubt an error. The drift of this and the following verse is plain and continuous. Ornan and his sons had hidden themselves on the apparition of the angel, but came out on the advent of David, to welcome him. 1 Chronicles 21:20ארנן ויּשׁב, "and Ornan turned him about," is translated by Berth. incorrectly, "then Ornan turned back," who then builds on this erroneous interpretation, which is contrary to the context, a whole nest of conjectures. ויּשׁב is said to have arisen out of ויּשׁקף, the succeeding המּלאך out of המּלך, עמּו בּניו ערבּעת out of עליו עברים עבדיו (2 Samuel 24:20), "by mistake and further alteration." In saying this, however, he himself has not perceived that 2 Samuel 24:20 (Sam.) does not correspond to the 1 Chronicles 21:20 of the Chronicle at all, but to the 1 Chronicles 21:21, where the words, "and Araunah looked out (ישׁקף) and saw the king," as parallel to the words, "and Ornan looked (יבּט) and saw David." The 1 Chronicles 21:20 of the Chronicle contains a statement which is not found in Samuel, that Ornan (Araunah), while threshing with his four sons, turned and saw the angel, and being terrified at the sight, hid himself with his sons. After that, David with his train came from Zion to the threshing-floor in Mouth Moriah, and Araunah looking out saw the king, and came out of the threshing-floor to meet him, with deep obeisance. This narrative contains nothing improbable, nothing to justify us in having recourse to critical conjecture.
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