1 Chronicles 21:30
But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) But (and) David could not go before iti.e., the Tabernacle at Gibeon and the altar of burnt offering (1Chronicles 16:4; 1Chronicles 16:37; 1Chronicles 16:39).

To enquire of God.—To seek Him, that is, to seek His favour by sacrifice and prayer. (But comp. 1Chronicles 13:3; 1Chronicles 15:13.)

For he was afraid because of the sword.—“David could not go to Gibeon,” says Keil, “because of the sword of the angel of Jehovah: i.e., on account of the pestilence which raged at Gibeon.” Others have thought that the awful vision of the angel had stricken him with some bodily weakness. A more natural explanation is that the menacing aspect of the apparition overawed the king, so that he durst not follow the usual course in the present instance. It made, as we should say, an indelible impression upon his mind as to the sanctity of the place where it appeared. (Comp. Genesis 28:17; Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15; Judges 6:21; Judges 6:26.)

1 Chronicles 21:30. David could not go before it — Did not dare to go before the tabernacle, where the altar stood. To inquire of God — Hebrew, לדרשׁ, lidrosh, to seek God, or humbly to entreat his favour by prayer and sacrifice. For he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the Lord — That is, when he saw the angel stand with his drawn sword over Jerusalem, he durst not go away to Gibeon, lest the angel in the mean time should destroy Jerusalem: for the prevention whereof he thought it proper to worship God in that place, which he had consecrated by his special presence and acceptance. 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.David, knowing that by sacrifice on this altar he had caused the angel to stay his hand, was afraid to transfer his offerings elsewhere, lest the Angel should resume his task and pestilence again break out. 28. when David saw that the Lord had answered him …, he sacrificed there—or, "he continued to sacrifice there." Perceiving his sacrifice was acceptable, he proceeded to make additional offerings there, and seek favor by prayer and expiatory rites; for the dread of the menacing angel destroying Jerusalem while he was absent in the center of worship at Gibeon, especially reverence for the Divine Being, led him to continue his adorations in that place which God (2Ch 3:1) had hallowed by the tokens of His presence and gracious acceptance. David could not, i.e. durst not. Before it, i.e. before the tabernacle, where the altar stood.

To inquire of God, Heb. to seek God, i.e. humbly to beg his favour by prayer and sacrifice.

Because of the sword of the angel of the Lord, i.e. when he saw the angel stand with his drawn sword over Jerusalem, as is related above, 1 Chronicles 21:15,16, he durst not go away thence to Gibeon, lest the angel in the mean time should destroy Jerusalem; for the prevention whereof he thought it most proper to continue to worship God in that place, which he had consecrated by his special presence and gracious acceptance. But David could not go before it to inquire of God,.... Which yet was the proper place to seek the Lord in: the reason follows:

for he was afraid, because of the sword of the angel of the Lord; which had so terrified him, that he was so weak that he could not go; and he feared that, should he attempt to go, while he was going thither, at such a distance, the angel would make a terrible slaughter in Jerusalem, and therefore he durst not go and leave it; and besides, as the Lord had commanded him to build an altar there, he might fear it would displease him, should he depart from it; and the rather, as hereby he pointed out to him the place where the temple should be built, and sacrifices offered, as appears from what he says in the beginning of the next chapter.

But David could not go before it to enquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. he was afraid] Or, he was terrified. The Heb. word is unusual.The infinitive העלות is very frequently used in Hebrew as the continuation of the verb. fin., and is found in all the books of the Old Testament (cf. the collection of passages illustrative of this peculiar form of brief expression, which We. gives, 351, c), and that not only with regard to the infin. absol., but the infin. constr. also. David's answer to Ornan's offer to give him the place for the altar, and the cattle, plough, and wheat for the burnt-offering, was therefore: "no, I will buy it for full price; I will not take what belongs to thee for Jahve, and bring burnt-offerings without cost," i.e., without having paid the price for them.
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