What the Bible should have said #19

1 Chronicles 21:

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, ‘Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.’

But Joab replied, ‘May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?’

… This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.

Then David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.’

The Lord said to Gad, David’s seer, ‘Go and tell David, “This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.”’

So Gad went to David and said to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord – days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.” Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.’

David said to Gad, ‘I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; I’ll take the plague, because we have some pretty good public health guys, epidemiological modellers, and behavioural psychologists in the palace team. We should even be able to get a vaccine sorted out if we raid the treasury.’

So the Lord replied through Gad the seer, and said, ‘You’d better make that three decades of the sword of the Lord, then.’

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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One Response to What the Bible should have said #19

  1. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    I mentioned to a Christian friend the possible relevance of 2 Thessalonians 2 to our current world situation.

    “Probably not,” he replied, “this isn’t the Black Death.”

    And that’s kind of the point – when you turn what is only the 7th worst year in the last 20 years for excess deaths into an unprecedented global crisis, the plague is one of deception, not of sickness. The real contagion is social.

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