Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sins Of The Fathers (2)

Farrell Till answers David Ariel's reply to Till's first post:

MY answer to Mr. Till's question:
A) Exodus 30:11-13 states: "God spoke to Moses saying: 

When you  take a census of the Children of Israel, according 
to their numbers,  every man shall give God an atonement 
for his soul when counting  them so that there will not be a 
plague among them when counting  them. This shall they 
give, everyone who passes through the census, a half-shekel

It is Jewish tradition that counting the people will cause a 
plague because it expresses a symptom of haughtiness and 
general lack of realizing that one must always work on spiritual 

This may be a Jewish tradition, but you won't find any basis 

for it in  the text you quoted above. The text is stating that the 
"plague" would  come if the census tax of a half shekel of silver 
was not paid by those  who were counted. In other words, the 
census wouldn't have caused  the plague but failing to pay the 
tax would have, so are you suggesting  that if everyone who 
was counted in David's census had paid a half  shekel of silver, 
there would have been no plague? If so, quote the  language 
in the text of 2 Samuel 24 or 1 Chronicles 21 that justifies 
this conclusion?

Furthermore, the statement in Exodus 31 was said in reference 
to a census that was going to be conducted at that time. A 
second census was taken at the end of the wilderness wanderings 
(Num. 26), but nothing at all was mentioned about the collection 
of the half shekel census tax. Exodus 38:25-26, however, states 
the amount of silver that was collected after the census referred 
to in chapter 31. The rest of Exodus 38 indicates that the
talents of silver collected in the census at that time were used 

in  making the tabernacle, so this would have been a tax for a 
special occasion. What textual evidence do you have to justify 
your apparent assumption that the plague in 2 Samuel 24 came 
from a failure to collect a tax from those who were counted.

Joab protested David's command to take the census (1 Chron. 

2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, "Go, 
number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, 
so that I may know their number."
3 But Joab said, "May the LORD increase the number of his 

people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of 
them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require 
this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?"
4 But the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab 

departed and went throughout all Israel, and came back to 

The text indicates that there was some "sin" involved in taking 

the census, but if the problem was that a tax was required, 
why didn't Joab mention this in his complaint?


Presenting oneself to "be counted" by "himself" puts a spotlight 
on the person.

Well, no one "presented" himself to be counted. Joab was ordered 

to conduct the census, so the counting was being forced upon 
those who were counted. David gave the order to take the census, 
and Joab departed and went throughout Israel to count the people.


The person is standing up and saying they are worthy of 
inspection. Therefore their bad deeds that were being overlooked 
until now have been brought into the spotlight of scrutiny.

We would like to see something besides your opinion and what 

you call "Jewish tradition." What does the Tanakh say to support 
your claims? You will learn that the members of this group don't 
think too much of argumentation by assertion.


Example: A waiter was told by his boss that he could either 
stay in the backroom unloading frozen fish, or serve the visiting 
Congressman at table #4 for more pay. The waiter had a stain 
on his uniform and forgot his tie. He then went out and started 
to serve the Congressman's table. The boss called him over 
and fired him for the sloppy uniform. The writer protested that 
he had the sloppy uniform on in the backroom! Why wasn't
he fired then? The boss answered that he was willing to let it 

slide back there but not in front of the important client. The 
boss thought he would have the decency of fixing his attire 
before serving a Congressman and bringing insult on his 

As I said, we would like textual evidence to support your 

assertion. We aren't interested in strained analogies, especially 
those that aren't at all parallel.


Therefore Jews do not count a census unless using an indirect 
object like a coin. The person approaching says "count the coin, 
not me personally. I don't want direct scrutiny." The half-coin 
was also a sign of humility. It signified that one was only half 
a man without his fellow man and was a sign to God that he 
was approaching to be counted as part of a group not as a so 
called "superior individual with a great track record".

Once again, you're talking about customs and traditions. We 

want to see textual evidence that supports your claim. I have 
shown that Exodus 31:11ff doesn't support it.


B) The Jewish government was not an absolute monarchy. 
Even King David had to answer to the Sanhedrin of 70 elders 
who legislated the nation. He also consulted the High Priest 
and Prophets who informed him of God's will. He could not 
just act in all circumstance.

And this proves what? We have a text in Deuteronomy 24:16 

and another one in Ezekiel 18:20, with which the killing of 70,000 
people by a divinely sent plague in 2 Samuel 24 is in obvious 
conflict. We want to see a resolution of the problem, and we 
aren't really interested in Jewish traditions.


David's general, Yoav, knew this was a bad move. (I Chronicles 
21:6 "But {Yoav} did not tally Levi and Benjamin among them 
for the king's command was abhorrent to Yoav."

But you're tap dancing around the problem. It was the KING'S 

command, so if it was a "sin" for some reason, it was a sin that 
David committed. David, however, got off with no punishment, 
while 70,000 others died for something they didn't do. We want 
to see you reconcile this with the texts in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel.


Since the officers and judges and people may have prevailed 
on King David to completely stop the census, it would appear 
they were all responsible for exposing their sins to full scrutiny 
before God.

Is that so? First Chronicles 21:4 says that despite Joab's 

complaint, "the king's word prevailed against Joab." What is 
your evidence that if some judges had stepped in to protest 
too, that would have put a complete stop to the census?

You see, we want textual evidence here and not conjecture. I'm 

sorry to see that there really isn't any difference in a Jewish 
inerrantist and a Christian inerrantist. Both depend on speculation 
to "explain" biblical discrepancies.


C) Please notice that the people were already sinful in God's 
eyes at that time even before the census: II Samuel 24:1 "The 
anger of God again flared...". The land was also already in 
famine the past three years according to our tradition. This 
was because of the lower state of spiritual affairs than desired.

Well, if the temperamental Yahweh had something against the 

people at that time, he should have punished them for what had 
pissed him off and not punished them for something that David did.

Let's take another look at David's question.

2 Samuel 24:17 When David saw the angel who was destroying 
the people, he said to Yahweh, "I ALONE have sinned, and I 
ALONE have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they 

We're looking for an answer to that question, but apparently 

you don't have one.


D) All 3 punishment choices were things that would affect the 
people at large not just the king personaly. 1. Famine 2. War 
3. Plague.

Which merely confirms that there is a problem here. David 

ALONE sinned, but in the punishments that Yahweh offered 
David, only the second one would have brought punishment 
upon him.


Conclusion: The punishment of plague was for sins already 
committed by the people.

As I said, we take a dim view of argumentation by assertion. 

Show us your textual evidence to support this.


Until now, those sins were being sugar-coated in God's 
eyes to allow time for repentance.

I'll say again that we take a dim view of argumentation by 

assertion. Show us your textual evidence to support this.


The first three years of famine were a hint to tell the people 
they needed to change.

Excuse me, but there was no famine. This was just one of 

three proposed punishments that David could have chosen.
1 Samuel 24:10 But afterward, David was stricken to the heart 
because he had numbered the people. David said to Yahweh, 
"I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, Yahweh, 
I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done 
very foolishly."
11 When David rose in the morning, the word of Yahweh came 

to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,
12 "Go and say to David: Thus says Yahweh: Three things I 

offer you; CHOOSE ONE OF THEM, and I will do IT to you."
13 So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, "Shall 

three years of famine come to you on your land? Or will you 
flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? 
Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? Now 
consider, and decide what answer I shall return to the one
who sent me."
14 Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress; let us 

fall into the hand of Yahweh, for his mercy is great; but let 
me not fall into human hands."
15 So Yahweh sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning 

until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people 
died, from Dan to Beer-sheba.

Now that's clear enough that anyone should be able to 

understand it. Yahweh gave David his choice of three punishments 
and told him to CHOOSE ONE OF THEM. David decided to leave 
the matter into Yahweh's hand, who then sent the pestilence that 
killed 70,000 people. Where then does the text say anything 
about a famine that was sent as a "hint" that the people
needed to change?


King David's census simply exposed those sins that were being 
hidden by mercy to be fully exposed to God's scrutiny of justice.

Would you quote for us the text that says this? Please keep in 

mind that we aren't interested in argumentation by speculative 


Therefore the people were suffering for their own sins.

Well, since you reached this "therefore" from premises that 

you have yet to prove, you haven't proven anything except 
that you can argue by speculative assertions as well as any 
Christian inerrantist we have had on this list.


When King David said "I sinned. why should they suffer...etc" 
he was simply pleading for mercy.

What does the text say? "I ALONE am guilty, I ALONE have 

done wrong" (JPS version). David, of course, was pleading 
for mercy on the people, but his plea was based on the premise 
that "these sheep" had done nothing, that he
was the guilty one.


"Please God, you would have continued to overlook those 
sins they did if I hadn't goofed and pushed them to scrutiny. 
Please consider that my position as king influenced them 
strongly to act haughtily. Let the situation return to status 

And your textual proof? I will close with a reminder that 

we aren't interested in speculative assertions. We have seen 
that from Christian inerrantists for seven years on this list. 
We were hoping for better from you.

The example in 2 Samuel 24 is by no means the only case 

of conflict with the texts of Deuteronomy and Ezekiel that I 
could cite. Second Samuel 11 relates the case of David's 
adultery with Bathsheba, which resulted in the birth of a son. 
In chapter 12, Yahweh sent the prophet Nathan to reprimand
David for his sin. Despite the fact that death was decreed in 

Deuteronomy 22:22 for the sin of adultery, David got off by 
just saying to Nathan, "I have sinned against Yahweh" 
(2 Sam. 12:13). The child, however, wasn't so lucky.
2 Samuel 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you 
have utterly scorned Yahweh, the child that is born to you 
shall die."
15 Then Nathan went to his house. Yahweh struck the 

child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became very ill.
16 David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David 

fasted, and went in and lay all night on the ground.
17 The elders of his house stood beside him, urging him 

to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat 
food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died.

Notice that Nathan told David that the child would die 

BECAUSE the deed David had committed had scorned Yahweh. 
David committed the sin, but Yahweh "struck" the child born 
as a result of David's sin and killed him.

Whatever happened to Yahweh's decree in Deuteronomy 

16 Parents shall not be put to death for their children, 
nor shall children be put to death for their parents; only 
for their own crimes may persons be put to death.

We'll be interested in seeing Ariel "explain" his way out of 

this. Let's hope he remembers that we aren't interested in 
traditions. We want to see textual evidence for whatever 
"solution" he presents.

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