2 Samuel 23-24: David’s Last Official Words, a Census and an Important Buy

Though these are the last 2 chapters of 2 Samuel, and King David’s last official words, he still has a lot to say in 1 Kings as he passes the throne to his son, Solomon. Here we also have David committing a sin, and we’ll see 2 different angles of the story. Finally, we have David making an important purchase that has prophetic significance even today. Let’s dig in….

2 Samuel 23

These are the last words of David:

“David, the son of Jesse, speaks—
    David, the man who was raised up so high,
David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
    David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.

“The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me;
    his words are upon my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke.
    The Rock of Israel said to me:
‘The one who rules righteously,
    who rules in the fear of God,
is like the light of morning at sunrise,
    like a morning without clouds,
like the gleaming of the sun
    on new grass after rain.’

“Is it not my family God has chosen?
    Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
    He will ensure my safety and success.
But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away,
    for they tear the hand that touches them.
One must use iron tools to chop them down;
    they will be totally consumed by fire.”

In the first verse, David identifies himself in 4 ways…

  1. Lineage – son of Jesse
  2. Legacy – king, lifted high
  3. Chosen – anointed by God
  4. Passion – the poet and author of 73 psalms

Verse 3: the “Rock of Israel” guess who that is? If you haven’t got a clue, read: John 1, John 8, John 9, and Revelation 22.

Verse 5 expresses the fact that God chose David’s linage and made a covenant with him. Which is where we get Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1.

Going on…

David’s Mightiest Warriors

These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.

Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.

David’s Thirty Mighty Men

18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty. He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.

20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.

24 Other members of the Thirty included… read the list here. (Note the last man mentioned. If you don’t recognize him, read this chapter.)

2 Samuel 23 NLT

David was a singer-songwriter, anointed by God, but he was a warrior king. The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles is like a history book, recapping the saga which is Israel. It does overlap some of the stories we’ve covered so far, but it also fills in gaps and adds some that were missed by the writers of the earlier books. We’ll see an example in this next chapter….

2 Samuel 24 – the Census

Once again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah,” the Lord told him.

So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the tribes of Israel—from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south—so I may know how many people there are.”

2 Samuel 24:1-2 NLT

Now over in 1 Chronicles, we have the same story, but from a different angle…

Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”

1 Chronicles 21:1-2 NLT

So which was it? Did God cause David to take the census or did Satan? First, let’s clear up something. Taking a census in itself isn’t bad. Moses took 2, one at the beginning of Numbers to see how many fighting men there were over age 20, and again when they reached the Promised Land, 40 years later, with the new generation.

It was a Roman census that caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem so that Jesus could be born there, fulfilling several prophecies.

The census David took was based on pride. He wanted to see how many fighting men he had. Rather than trusting in the Lord, David wanted to feel good about the strength of his army. He didn’t trust God. David fell into temptation again. It gave Satan a foothold and God didn’t stop it. Which makes one stop and think — how many times did we get into trouble or did God allow something to happen because of our sin?

David’s sin, in the end, caused great harm, but lead to an important purchase…..

Judgment for David’s Sin

10 But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.”

11 The next morning the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message: 12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’”

13 So Gad came to David and asked him, “Will you choose three years of famine throughout your land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout your land? Think this over and decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”

14 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”

15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. 16 But as the angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17 When David saw the angel, he said to the Lord, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family.”

David chose to get the punishment done quickly. Yet, it was a sin that cost the lives of 70,000 people.

David Builds an Altar

18 That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

19 So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him. 20 When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 “Why have you come, my lord the king?” Araunah asked.

David replied, “I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”

22 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing boards and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. 23 I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the Lord your God accept your sacrifice.”

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.

25 David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord answered his prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

2 Samuel 24 NLT

Why this Threshing Floor is Significant and Prophetic…

David had to purchase the threshing floor. He could not take the gift Araunah wanted to provide.

See, a sacrifice that costs nothing means nothing.

This threshing floor will be where King David’s son, Solomon, will build the first temple of God. The Ark of the Covenant would no longer live in a tent.

This hill is also near where Abraham took his son, Isaac to sacrifice him to God.

It is also near where David’s descendant, Yeshuah HaMashiach – Jesus Christ, the Messiah would sacrifice His LIFE. That shows that true sacrifices really COST dearly.

What are you sacrificing to God? Spare time? Spare change? Your scraps?

Now, that’s something to think about!

We’re ending this post with one of David’s psalms….

Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
    I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
    by all the honor of your name.
As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength.

Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
    for all of them will hear your words.
Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
    for the glory of the Lord is very great.
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
    but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Psalm 138 NLT

God Made YOU!

Do you actually think that HE, who made you in HIS IMAGE, will abandon you ever? No! If you feel far from God, it’s you who are drifting away from Him.


That is YOU surrendering YOUR LIFE completely to Jesus! HE gave the ultimate sacrifice for YOUR salvation and in return for you sacrificing your life old, sinful life to Him, He promises to

What does that take?

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Watch Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel: The Next Temple

Amir Tsarfati: Herodian Street in Jerusalem

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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