2 Samuel 24:13
So Gad came to David, and told him, and said to him, Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? or will you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? or that there be three days' pestilence in your land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
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(13) Seven years.—In Chronicles “three years,” and so the LXX. reads here also. This would be more in accordance with the “three” months and “three” days.

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.Compare Ezekiel 14:13-21. The "seven" years of famine correspond with the "seven" years of famine in Genesis 41:27, Genesis 41:30, and with the same number of years in 2 Kings 8:1. But in Chronicles, it is "three years," which agrees better with the "three" months and "three" days. The whole passage is amplified in Chronicles, which has less the aspect of an original text than this. 13. Shall seven years of famine come unto thee—that is, in addition to the three that had been already, with the current year included (see on [280]1Ch 21:11). Seven years of famine.

Object. In 1 Chronicles 21:12, it is only three years of famine.

Answ. 1. Some conceive that here was an error in the transcriber, and that the true reading is three years, as the LXX. read it in this place, being supposed to have found it so in their copies, and that otherwise they durst never have presumed to make so great a change in the text.

2. In Chron. he speaks exactly of those years of famine only which came for David’s sin; but here he speaks more confusedly and comprehensively, including those three years of famine sent for Saul’s sin, 2Sa 21. And this sin of David’s was committed in the year next after them, which was in a manner a year of famine; either because it was the sabbatical year, wherein they might not sow nor reap; or rather, because not being able to sow in the third year, because 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? And that it is said of these seven years, that they shall come, it is a synecdochical expression frequent in Scripture, because part of the years were yet to come; even as it is said of the Israelites, that they should wander in the wilderness forty years, Numbers 14:33, when part of that time was already spent. So Gad came to David, and told him,.... Said nothing to him about his sin, but correction for it; which confirms it that David was made sensible of his sin before he came to him:

and said unto him, shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? in 1 Chronicles 21:12, only "three years" are mentioned, and so the Septuagint version here; but Josephus (d), the Targum, the Syriac and Arabic versions, have the number "seven"; three seems to be more agreeable to the numbers after mentioned, and no more as to come were designed, though seven are here expressed; for the reconciling of which let it be observed, that there had been three years of famine already on account of the sin of Saul, 2 Samuel 21:1; and in the current year, through the rains not falling in the proper time, the land was barren and unfruitful; or through the penury of the preceding years the famine would be continued at least until the harvest; and then three years more now proposed made seven years; or, if these three years would have immediately followed the other three, the following in course would be a sabbatical year, in which were no ploughing, sowing, nor reaping, or the current year was such an one: and the sense is, shall there be a continuance of seven years of famine, that is, three more added to what had been? which must be most dreadful to think of; but a learned writer (e) thinks it a mistake of the copier, writing "seven", for "three":

or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? be in such a condition as not to be able to face or fight his enemies, or, if he did, would not be able to stand his ground, but be forced to flee before them, and be pursued by them three months running; during which time a prodigious number might well be thought to be slain, sad devastations made in the land, and great shame and disgrace endured, and what a man of David's spirit could not bear the thoughts of:

or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? which in 1 Chronicles 21:12 is called "the sword of the Lord", in distinction from the sword of man, it coming immediately from him, and the destroying angel, in all the coasts of the land; being inflicted by means of one:

now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me; that is, consult with himself, or with his friends, or both, what answer the prophet must return to the Lord that sent him; for him he means.

(d) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 13. sect. 2.((e) Dr. Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 474.

So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall {g} seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

(g) Three years of famine were past for the Gibeonites and this was the fourth year to which should have been added another three more years, 1Ch 21:12.

13. seven years of famine] The reading of the Sept. and Chron. is three years, and this is unquestionably to be preferred, as required by the symmetry of the statement. Famine, war, and pestilence are three of Jehovah’s four sore judgments (Ezekiel 14:21). Two of them David had already experienced. Note the expanded form in which Gad’s speech is given in 1 Chronicles 21:12, especially the representation of the pestilence as “the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel.”

advise] Lit. know or consider. Advise, like advise thyself in 1 Chronicles 21:12 means reflect or consider So Milton, Par. Lost, II. 376:

Advise, if this be worth

Attempting.Verse 13. - Seven years of famine. In 1 Chronicles 21:12 and here in the Septuagint we find "three years." This is probably right as being in harmony with the rest. Three years of famine, three months of defeat, or three days of pestilence. In Ezekiel 14:21 famine, pestilence, and the sword are mentioned as three of God's four sore judgments. But a fourth judgment is there enumerated, namely, that of the increase of wild beasts, and Joshua the Stylite says that in Mesopotamia, as a result of the desolating war between the Romans and Persians, about A.D. , beasts of prey had become so numerous that they entered the villages and carried off the children from the streets, and were so bold and ferocious that even the men scarcely dared go about their labours in the fields (Jos. Styl., edit. Ur., chap. 85). Now advise, and see; Hebrew, now know, and see. The phrase is common in the historical books (see 1 Samuel 12:17; 1 Samuel 14:38; 1 Samuel 23:22; 1 Samuel 24:11; 1 Samuel 25:17, etc.). Our translators render the phrase in a multitude of ways without greatly improving it. Thence southwards to the fortress of Zor, i.e., Tyre (see at Joshua 19:29), and "into all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites," i.e., the towns in the tribes of Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar, or the (subsequent) province of Galilee, in which the Canaanites had not been exterminated by the Israelites, but had only been made tributary.
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