1 Chronicles 21:7
And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
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(7-13) The Divine wrath, declared by Gad the seer.

(7) And God was displeased.—This verse also is not read in Samuel, which has instead, “And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people.” The peculiarities of expression in Samuel suggest textual corruption. The chronicler’s verse is a sort of general heading, or anticipative summary, to the following narrative. The margin rightly renders the first clause (see Genesis 21 for the same unusual construction).

1 Chronicles 21:7. God was displeased with this thing — Because it was done without any colour of necessity, and out of mere curiosity and ostentation, as David’s own conscience afterward told him, which therefore smote him, as is related 2 Samuel 24:10. Therefore he smote Israel — As is particularly related in the following verses. Undoubtedly God did this because Israel concurred with David in the act of numbering the people, and approved of it, as well as because of all their other sins.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.To omit the Levites would be to follow the precedent recorded in Numbers 1:47-49. The omission of Benjamin must he ascribed to a determination on the part of Joab to frustrate the king's intention, whereby he might hope to avert God's wrath from the people. 6. Levi and Benjamin counted he not—If this census was ordered with a view to the imposition of taxes, this alone would account for Levi, who were not warriors (1Ch 21:5), not being numbered (see on [393]Nu 1:47-54). The population of Benjamin had been taken (see on [394]1Ch 7:6-11), and the register preserved in the archives of that tribe. This, however, was taken on another occasion, and by other agency than that of Joab. The non-numbering of these two tribes might have originated in the special and gracious providence of God, partly because Levi was devoted to His service, and Benjamin had become the least of all the tribes (Jud 21:1-25); and partly because God foresaw that they would remain faithful to the house of David in the division of the tribes, and therefore He would not have them diminished [Poole]. From the course followed in this survey (see on [395]2Sa 24:4-8), it would appear that Judah and Benjamin were the last tribes that were to be visited; and that, after the census in Judah had been finished, Joab, before entering on that of Benjamin, had to return to Jerusalem, where the king, now sensible of his great error, gave orders to stop all further proceedings in the business. Not only the remonstrance of Joab at the first, but his slow progress in the survey (2Sa 24:8) showed the strong repugnance and even horror of the old general at this unconstitutional measure. God was displeased with this thing; because this was done without any colour of necessity, and out of mere curiosity, and ostentation, and carnal confidence, as David’s own conscience told him, which therefore smote him, as it is related, 2 Samuel 24:10.

Therefore he smote Israel; which is particularly related in the following verses. See Chapter Introduction And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
7. he smote Israel] with the plague. David’s confession (1 Chronicles 21:8) was probably wrung from him by the appearance of the pestilence.Verse 7. - Smote Israel. These two words serve simply to summarize in the first instance what the compiler is about to rehearse at greater length. The parallel place shows, "And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people." Some better power occasioned that smiting. Reflection brought to David's heart and conscience (1 Samuel 24:5), as often to those of others, restored vitality. The exact circumstances or providences, however, which roused into action the conscience of David are not stated. The second clause of our verse cannot refer to any preliminary smiting, but to the oncoming visitation of pestilence. It is noticeable, if only as a coincidence, that the eleventh verse of the parallel passage (2 Samuel 24:11) opens with a similarly ambiguously placed clause, "For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the Prophet Gad," although this is explainable simply as our insufficient Authorized Version rendering. However, failing any external cause, the beginning of ver. 10 in this same parallel place may intimate the adequate account of all in the spontaneous stirring of David's conscience" the bitter thoughts of conscience born." In these two verses we suddenly come upon the name "God" instead of "the Lord," i.e. Jehovah. "And Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel." The mention of Satan as the seducer of David is not to be explained merely by the fact that the Israelites in later times traced up everything contrary to God's will to this evil spirit, but in the present case arises from the author's design to characterize David's purpose from the very beginning as an ungodly thing.
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