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1 Chronicles 21:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then the accuser stood up, against Israel,—and moved David, to number Israel.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And there standeth up an adversary against Israel, and persuadeth David to number Israel,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And Satan rose up against Israel: and moved David to number Israel.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And Satan stoode vp against Israel, and prouoked Dauid to number Israel.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And the devil stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Satan stood up against Yisrael, and provoked Dawid to number Yisrael.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And +n שָׂטָן 7854
{7854} Prime
From H7853; an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch enemy of good.
stood up 5975
{5975} Prime
A primitive root; to stand, in various relations (literally and figuratively, intransitively and transitively).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
against x5921
(5921) Complement
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
Yi$rl יִשׂרָאֵל, 3478
{3478} Prime
From H8280 and H0410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity.
and provoked 5496
{5496} Prime
Perhaps denominative from H7898; properly to prick, that is, (figuratively) stimulate; by implication to seduce.
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
(0853) Complement
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
Dwi דָּוִד 1732
{1732} Prime
From the same as H1730; loving; David, the youngest son of Jesse.
to number 4487
{4487} Prime
A primitive root; properly to weigh out; by implication to allot or constitute officially; also to enumerate or enroll.
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
(0853) Complement
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
Yi$rl יִשׂרָאֵל. 3478
{3478} Prime
From H8280 and H0410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Chronicles 21:1

_ _ 1 Chronicles 21:1-13. David sins in numbering the people.

_ _ Satan stood up against Israel — God, by withdrawing His grace at this time from David (see on 2 Samuel 24:1), permitted the tempter to prevail over him. As the result of this successful temptation was the entail of a heavy calamity as a punishment from God upon the people, it might be said that “Satan stood up against Israel.”

_ _ number Israel — In the act of taking the census of a people, there is not only no evil, but much utility. But numbering Israel — that people who were to become as the stars for multitude, implying a distrust of the divine promise, was a sin; and though it had been done with impunity in the time of Moses, at that enumeration each of the people had contributed “half a shekel towards the building of the tabernacle,” that there might be no plague among them when he numbered them (Exodus 30:12). Hence the numbering of that people was in itself regarded as an undertaking by which the anger of God could be easily aroused; but when the arrangements were made by Moses for the taking of the census, God was not angry because the people were numbered for the express purpose of the tax for the sanctuary, and the money which was thus collected (“the atonement money,” Exodus 30:16) appeased Him. Everything depended, therefore, upon the design of the census [Bertheau]. The sin of David numbering the people consisted in its being either to gratify his pride to ascertain the number of warriors he could muster for some meditated plan of conquest; or, perhaps, more likely still, to institute a regular and permanent system of taxation, which he deemed necessary to provide an adequate establishment for the monarchy, but which was regarded as a tyrannical and oppressive exaction — an innovation on the liberty of the people — a departure from ancient usage unbecoming a king of Israel.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Chronicles 21:1-6

_ _ Numbering the people, one would think, was no bad thing. Why should not the shepherd know the number of his flock? But God sees not as man sees. It is plain it was wrong in David to do it, and a great provocation to God, because he did it in the pride of his heart; and there is no sin that has in it more of contradiction and therefore more of offence to God than pride. The sin was David's; he alone must bear the blame of it. But here we are told,

_ _ I. How active the tempter was in it (1 Chronicles 21:1): Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to do it. Is is said (2 Samuel 24:1) that the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David to do it. The righteous judgments of God are to be observed and acknowledged even in the sins and unrighteousness of men. We are sure that God is not the author of sin — he tempts no man; and therefore, when it is said that he moved David to do it, it must be explained by what is intimated here, that, for wise and holy ends, he permitted the devil to do it. Here we trace this foul stream to its foundation. That Satan, the enemy of God and all good, should stand up against Israel, is not strange; it is what he aims at, to weaken the strength, diminish the numbers, and eclipse the glory of God's Israel, to whom he is Satan, a sworn adversary. But that he should influence David, the man of God's own heart to do a wrong thing, may well be wondered at. One would think him one of those whom the wicked one touches not. No, even the best saints, till they come to heaven, must never think themselves out of the reach of Satan's temptations. Now, when Satan meant to do Israel a mischief, what course did he take? He did not move God against them to destroy them (as Job, Job 2:3), but he provoked David, the best friend they had, to number them, and so to offend God, and set him against them. Note, 1. The devil does us more mischief by tempting us to sin against our God than he does by accusing us before our God. He destroys none but by their own hands, 2. The greatest spite he can do to the church of God is to tempt the rulers of the church to pride; for none can conceive the fatal consequences of that sin in all, especially in church-rulers. You shall not be so, Luke 22:26.

_ _ II. How passive the instrument was. Joab, the person whom David employed, was an active man in public business; but to this he was perfectly forced, and did it with the greatest reluctance imaginable.

_ _ 1. He put in a remonstrance against it before he began it. No man more forward that he in any thing that really tended to the honour of the king or the welfare of the kingdom; but in this matter he would gladly be excused. For, (1.) It was a needless thing. there was not occasion at all for it. God had promised to multiply them, and he needed not question the accomplishment of that promise. They were all his servants, and he needed not doubt of their loyalty and affection to him. Their number was as much his strength as he could desire. (2.) It was a dangerous thing. In doing it he might be a cause of trespass to Israel, and might provoke God against them. This Joab apprehended, and yet David himself did not. The most learned in the laws of God are not always the most quick-sighted in the application of those laws.

_ _ 2. He was quite weary of it before he had done it; for the king's word was abominable to Joab, 1 Chronicles 21:6. Time was when whatever king David did pleased all the people, 2 Samuel 3:36. But now there was a general disgust at these orders, which confirmed Joab in his dislike of them. so that, though the produce of this muster was really very great, yet he had no heart to perfect it, but left two tribes unnumbered (1 Chronicles 21:5, 1 Chronicles 21:6), two considerable ones, Levi and Benjamin, and perhaps was not very exact in numbering the rest, because he did not do it with any pleasure, which might be one occasion of the difference between the sums here and 2 Samuel 24:9.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Chronicles 21:1

Satan stood — Before the Lord and his tribunal to accuse David and Israel, and to beg God's permission to tempt David. Standing is the accusers posture before men's tribunals; and consequently the holy scripture (which useth to speak of the things of God, after the manner of men, to bring them down to our capacities) elsewhere represent Satan in this posture.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Chronicles 21:1

And (a) Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

(a) He tempted David, in setting before his eyes his excellency and glory, his power and victories, see (2 Samuel 24:1).

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
am 2987, bc 1017, An, Ex, Is, 474


2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
1 Kings 22:20-22 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. ... And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade [him], and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. ... And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
Job 2:4-6 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. ... And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life.
Zechariah 3:1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat:
John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's [son], to betray him;
Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

provoked David:

Luke 11:53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge [him] vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
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2S 24:1. 1K 22:20. Jb 1:6; 2:1, 4. Zc 3:1. Mt 4:3. Lk 11:53; 22:31. Jn 13:2. Ac 5:3. He 10:24. Jm 1:13. Rv 12:10.

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