2 Samuel 24:9-13, 18, 19
And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people to the king…
And when David was up in the morning, etc. Gad had formerly given valuable direction to David (1 Samuel 22:5); and he must have been now far advanced in life. He was "David's seer," or spiritual counsellor; a true prophet of God (1 Samuel 2:27; 1 Samuel 3:19; 2 Samuel 7:3); assisted in the arrangements for the temple service (1 Chronicles 9:22), and (like Samuel and Nathan) wrote a (theocratic) history of his time (1 Chronicles 29:29). "The most celebrated representatives of special prophecy in David's period were Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer. As Nathan connected Messianic prophecy forever with the house of David, so Gad was instrumental in moulding the history of salvation even till the period of the New Testament, since, by directing David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he laid the foundation of the temple upon Mount Moriah, in which Israel, by prayer and sacrifice, honoured his God for more than a thousand years" (Delitzsch). He was fully acquainted with the king's purpose, the remonstrance of Joab, the completion of the census; and may possibly already, from his intimacy with David, have observed misgivings in him concerning the measure, and surmised his present state of mind. "He said nothing to him about his sin, but spoke only of correction for it; which confirms it that David was made sensible of his sin before he came to him" (Gill). Notice:
1. His Divine mission. "The word of Jehovah came unto the prophet," etc.
(1) It came to him directly, by inward intuition, when "in a state most nearly related to communion with God in prayer" (Oehler).
(2) With the irresistible assurance of its Divine origin. "The prophets themselves had the clearest and most profound consciousness that they did not utter their own thoughts, but those revealed to them by God" (Riehm).
(3) With a powerful impulse to give it utterance, in "fulfilment of a definite duty laid upon him by God."
(4) And it proved whence it came, by its manifest adaptation and actual accomplishment; the Divine wisdom and might with which it was imbued (vers. 15, 25). "The three elements which enter into the true conception of a prophet are revelation, inspiration, and utterance; for the prophet is the inspired medium of truth to other minds. Revelation, the inner disclosure of the Divine thought and will to the human soul, is an essential element of genuine prophecy. But this revelation cannot become realized, cannot become a real disclosure of thought and purpose to the individual as a preparation for prophecy, without inspiration. The soul of the prophet must be ethically quickened and elevated in order that the word of Jehovah may reach the people through him. Nor can the message remain concealed in the prophet's own soul; for it is a message, a Divine commission, to communicate a revealed truth to those for whom it is divinely intended" (Ladd, 'The Doctrine of Sacred Scripture,' 1:124).
2. His prophetic message. More than what is recorded may have been spoken in his two interviews with the king; but his words contain:
(1) An assertion of the sole sovereignty of Jehovah, which had been for a season practically ignored. "Thus saith Jehovah," etc. (ver. 12). The office of a prophet was that of "watchman to the theocracy" (Jeremiah 6:27); he had to observe and denounce every departure from its principles on the part of the king or people, and give warning of coming danger.
(2) An announcement of the approach of judgment. "I lay before thee three things," etc. Already, perchance, the king had a presentiment thereof; but now it was rendered plain and certain. Yet "mercy is mixed with judgment; the Lord is angry, yet shows great condescension and goodness." "His mercies are great" (ver. 14).
(3) An appointment of the means of deliverance. "Go up, rear an altar unto Jehovah," etc. (ver. 18).
(4) An injunction of those duties or conditions, in the fulfilment of which the favour of God would be enjoyed - submission, trust, and unreserved self-devotion.
3. His faithful obedience. "And Gad came to David," etc., with:
(1) Simplicity; uttering the word of God, just as it was revealed to him, adding nothing, and withholding nothing.
(3) Earnestness. "Now advise," etc.
(4) Diligence and perseverance.
4. His salutary influence (in accordance with the purpose of his mission), not only in the removal of the pestilence, but also in
(1) checking the spirit of presumption and of rebellion against Jehovah,
(2) pacifying a troubled conscience,
(3) restoring both king and people to their allegiance,
(4) promoting the interests of the kingdom of God. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
WEB: Joab gave up the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.