2 Samuel 24:11
For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,
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(1l) For when David.—Read, and when. There is no suggestion in the original, as seems to be implied in the English, that David’s repentance was in consequence of the visit of Gad; on the contrary, it was in consequence of his repentance and confession that the prophet was sent to him.

The prophet Gad.—This prophet has not been mentioned since his warning to David to return from the land of Moab (1Samuel 22:5); but he had probably been all along one of David’s counsellors. From 1Chronicles 29:29 it is not unlikely that this account was written by Gad.

2 Samuel 24:11-13. For when David was up in the morning — The words thus translated give the reader to apprehend that David’s penitence was caused by Gad’s threat, which certainly was not the case. He was made sensible of his sin and made sorry for it before Gad came to him. They should here be rendered, And when David was up, &c., David’s seer — Gad is so called because he was David’s domestic prophet, by whom he consulted God in difficult cases, and received his directions and commands. I offer thee three things — To show him and the world that the vengeance he now came to denounce was no casual calamity, nor the effects of any natural cause, he gave him his choice of the three evils, one of which must be immediately inflicted upon him. Shall seven years of famine come unto thee — In 1 Chronicles 21:12, it is only three years of famine which is the reading of the LXX.; a reading, says Houbigant, which I prefer in this place, because the three years of famine answer to the three months’ flight before his enemies, and the three days’ pestilence. It is easy to suppose here, as in 2 Samuel 24:9, that a slight mistake has been made by the writer in transcribing the text. If this be not satisfactory to the reader, he may suppose, with Poole and others, that in Chronicles the sacred writer speaks exactly of those years of famine only which came for David’s sin: but that here he speaks comprehensively, including those three years of famine sent for Saul’s sin, chap. 21. And this sin of David’s being committed in the year next after them, was in a manner a year of famine; either because it was a sabbatical year, wherein they might not sow nor reap; or rather because, not being able to sow in the third year, on account of the excessive drought, they were not capable of reaping this fourth year. And three years more being added to these four, make up the seven here mentioned. So the meaning of the words is this: As thou hast already had four years of famine, shall three years more come? Now advise — That is, consider. The divine wisdom appears in the nature of the offer here made to David; he had sinned by placing his heart on human means of safety and security, instead of placing it on the divine protection. A trial was therefore made of him by this offer, how his heart now stood, and whether it would not fly to human means for safety. He had numbered his people, that he might rest in confidence by knowing the strength of his kingdom. Had not, therefore, his heart smote him, as mentioned 2 Samuel 24:10, and had he not seen the sin and folly of seeking safety in human strength, independent of the Almighty, he would, in all likelihood, have chosen to have tried his fortune with his enemies in war, as depending on the known strength, courage, and number of his people. Or he would have chosen famine, as depending on his great riches for obtaining a sufficient supply of food from other countries, though the famine should come into his land. But by humbly and confidently leaving it to God, to inflict either of those punishments which come more immediately from his own hand, and one of which, namely, the pestilence, he knew no human power or means could any ways guard against, and from which all his mighty men of war, or his own valour and wisdom, could not defend him, but he would lie equally exposed as the meanest subject; by such a submission or choice as this, David gave a public testimony, that he was again convinced that all human means or strength avails nothing, unless we have the help and protection of the Almighty; that all our confidence is vain, unless that which is placed in the Lord. 24:10-15 It is well, when a man has sinned, if he has a heart within to smite him for it. If we confess our sins, we may pray in faith that God would forgive them, and take away, by pardoning mercy, that sin which we cast away by sincere repentance. What we make the matter of our pride, it is just in God to take from us, or make bitter to us, and make it our punishment. This must be such a punishment as the people have a large share in, for though it was David's sin that opened the sluice, the sins of the people all contributed to the flood. In this difficulty, David chose a judgment which came immediately from God, whose mercies he knew to be very great, rather than from men, who would have triumphed in the miseries of Israel, and have been thereby hardened in their idolatry. He chose the pestilence; he and his family would be as much exposed to it as the poorest Israelite; and he would continue for a shorter time under the Divine rebuke, however severe it was. The rapid destruction by the pestilence shows how easily God can bring down the proudest sinners, and how much we owe daily to the Divine patience.David's seer - Margin, references. From the latter passage it is probable that we have here Gad's narrative. 2Sa 24:10-14. He, Having Three Plagues Propounded by GAD, Repents, and Chooses Three Days' Pestilence.

10-13. David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned—The act of numbering the people was not in itself sinful; for Moses did it by the express authority of God. But David acted not only independently of such order or sanction, but from motives unworthy of the delegated king of Israel; from pride and vainglory; from self-confidence and distrust of God; and, above all, from ambitious designs of conquest, in furtherance of which he was determined to force the people into military service, and to ascertain whether he could muster an army sufficient for the magnitude of the enterprises he contemplated. It was a breach of the constitution, an infringement of the liberties of the people, and opposed to that divine policy which required that Israel should continue a separate people. His eyes were not opened to the heinousness of his sin till God had spoken unto him by His commissioned prophet.

David’s seer; so called, because he was a prophet, (for such were called seers, 1 Samuel 9:9) now and at other times employed by God to reveal his mind and will to David. See 1 Samuel 22:5 1 Chronicles 29:29. For when David was up in the morning,.... Which it is probable was very early, he not being able to sleep through the distress of mind he was in; for the words should be rendered, "and David arose in the morning" (c), for, as we render them, they seem to imply as if he had no sense of his sin before the prophet came to him next mentioned; whereas it was in the night he had been under the conviction of it, and had acknowledged it, and prayed for the pardon of it; upon which the prophet was sent to acquaint him what was the will of God concerning him:

the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer; with whom he had used to advise about the will of God on various occasions, though in this he had neglected to consult him; the Targum calls it the word of prophecy from the Lord:

saying; as follows.

(c) "et surrexit", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's {f} seer, saying,

(f) Whom God had appointed for David and his time.

11. For when David was up in the morning] And David arose in the morning, and, &c.: after the recognition and confession of his sin. The E. V. gives the false impression that the conviction of his sin was the result of Gad’s visit, which is not the meaning of the passage. Gad was not sent until after his confession and prayer for pardon.

the prophet Gad, David’s seer] Gad has not been mentioned since he was with David in his wanderings (1 Samuel 22:5), but no doubt had been acting as his confidential counsellor throughout. The word for “seer” is chôzeh, literally “gazer,” a term first used here in place of the older word “seer,” rôeh. See note on 1 Samuel 9:9. The narrative before us was not improbably written by Gad himself (1 Chronicles 29:29).Verse 11. - For when, etc.; Hebrew, and David arose in the morning, and a word of Jehovah came unto Gad, a seer of David, saying. The visit of the seer was the result of David's repentance, and not its cause. And he was sent in mercy, that, after such punishment as would cure both king and people of their folly, there might be for both forgiveness. The name for seer is not roeh, the old word used in 1 Samuel 9:9, and which simply means "one who sees;" but chozeh, a gazer, one who looks with fixed eyes, that penetrate into the hidden world. But as the king's word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army, they (Joab and the other captains) went out to number Israel. יחנוּ, they encamped, i.e., they fixed their headquarters in the open field, because great crowds assembled together. This is only mentioned here in connection with the place where the numbering commenced; but it is to be understood as applying to the other places as well (Thenius). In order to distinguish Aroer from the place of the same name in the Arnon, in the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 12:2; Numbers 32:34, etc.), it is defined more precisely as "the town in the brook-valley of Gad," i.e., Aroer of Gad before Rabbah (Joshua 13:25; Judges 11:33), in the Wady Nahr Ammn, to the north-east of Ammn (see at Joshua 13:25). ועל־יעזר (and to Jazer): this is a second place of encampment, and the preposition אל is to be explained on the supposition that יבאוּ (they came), which follows, was already in the writer's thoughts. Jazer is probably to be found in the ruins of es Szir, at the source of the Nahr Szir (see at Numbers 21:32).
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