Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sins Of The Fathers (4)

Till gives a good summation of the facts in this debate in his second response in this post, which Ariel has repeatedly side stepped:

sub 1: As an aside, my reference to an already existing three 
year famine is not NEEDED to advance my point. It is based 
as follows. II Samuel starts with an introduction that God was 
already angry. Therefore God was quoted as offering 7 years 
of famine. That means a full 7 years. 3 already and 3 to come 
(the 7th is because after 6 years of famine, the ground may 
be ready to produce in the 7th but the field must be planted
and the crop grown and harvested. Since the people are still 

waiting for food in year 7 it is the 7th year of famine). 
Chronicles does not prelude by saying "And God was angry".

No, the Chronicler didn't say this. In fact, he said that Satan 

had moved David to take the census. This is consistent with 
the Chronicler's whitewashing efforts in which he cut out all 
of the dirt about David and tried to make him look like Mr. 
Goody Two Shoes.

The Chronicler is therefore just focusing on the ultimatum 
presented as three sets of choices about new evils in three 
while ignoring the fact of the previous famine already underway.

You are showing that you can offer explanations just as speculative 

as anything Christian inerrantists have to offer, but you are 
conspicuously lacking in textual support for your assertions. Here 
are the facts as stated in 2 Samuel 24.

1. David ordered a census.

2. After the census had been taken, David said to Yahweh, "I have 

sinned greatly in what I have done, but now, Yahweh, put away 
the iniquity of YOUR SERVANT, for I have done very foolishly" 
(2 Sam. 24:10).

3. So far nothing has been said about "sins" that the people had done.

4. Yahweh sent the prophet Gad to offer David three choices of 

punishment (v:12)

5. Gad offered to David the famine as one of the punishments (v:13).

6. Nothing was said anywhere in Gad's message to David that 

the famine  was being offered as a "hint" to the Israelites that 
they had better shape up.

I challenge you to cite any language in either account of this 

incident that indicates that the people even knew about Gad's 
message to David.

I'll remind you again that we want real evidence here and not 



Further proof textually can be found since II Samuel 21 starts
by saying there was in fact a famine of 3 years in that time.

Yes, it does, and this chapter was going to be my next source of 

an example of punishing others for the sins of someone else. Let's 
look at the text.
2 Samuel 21:1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for 
three years, year after year; and David inquired of Yahweh. 
Yahweh said, "There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, 
because he put the Gibeonites to death."
2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now 

the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the 
remnant  of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had 
sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to wipe them out in his 
zeal for the people of  Israel and Judah.)
3 David said to the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How 
shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of 
4 The Gibeonites said to him, "It is not a matter of silver or 

gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to 
put anyone to death in Israel." He said, "What do you say 
that I should do for you?"
5 They said to the king, "The man who consumed us and planned 

to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory 
of Israel--
6 let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale 

them before Yahweh at Gibeon on the mountain of Yahweh." The 
king said, "I will hand them over."
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son 

Jonathan, because of the oath of Yahweh that was between them, 
between David and Jonathan son of Saul.
8 The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, 

whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the 
five sons of Merab daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel 
son of Barzillai the Meholathite;
9 he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they 

impaled them on the mountain before Yahweh. The seven of 
them perished together. They were put to death in the first 
days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest.

Just look at what we have here. The text clearly indicates 

that Yahweh sent the famine, because when David inquired 
of Yahweh (as biblical characters often did in those days), 
Yahweh told him that the famine had been sent because 
Saul had put the Gibeonites to death. Saul did something 
wrong, and after Saul was dead, Yahweh punished the 
Israelites by sending a famine upon them. Then David 
delivered seven of Saul's descendants to the Gibeonites 
to be impaled, after which "God heeded supplications 
for the land" (v:14).

I fail to see how Ariel thought that this passage would help 

him.  All that it proves is that I am right in saying that the Tanakh 
contains  numerous examples of people being punished, with 
Yahweh's approval, for sins that were committed by others. Why 
doesn't this violate the Yahwistic decree in Deuteronomy 24:16? 
Please address the issue, Ariel.


This seems to be the same famine. Notice that the Chronicler did 
not even mention the previous famine even in a previous chapter 
as Samuel did.

Well, the Chronicler didn't mention a lot of things that were in the 

books of Samuel and Kings, so his silence on this point doesn't 
prove very much. Your claim that this three-year famine was the 
beginning of the same famine that Gad offered to David as 
punishment  in chapter 24 is flawed, because as I noted above, 
after David had given seven of Saul's grandchildren to the 
Gibeonites to appease Yahweh's anger, verse 14 claims that 
Yahweh then heard supplications for the land. In other words, 
the famine was over at that time. The rest of chapter 21 describes 
wars that David had with the Philistines, so time had obviously 
passed from the famine in chapter 21 to the census in chapter 24.

Ariel cited this chapter apparently without considering what it 

would do to his position. Let's just assume that the famine offered 
in chapter 24 was connected to the one in chapter 21. If so, this 
would explain why Yahweh's was angry with Israel. He was angry 
because Saul had killed some Gibeonites, and so he had sent a 
famine upon the land. This would be another case of Yahweh 
punishing people for something they had not personally done, 
so if sending the pestilence in chapter 24 was something Yahweh 
did (as Ariel is claiming) because of his anger at Israel, this
would mean that Yahweh gave the people a double whammy 

for things that they had not done, first the famine because of 
Saul's sin and then the pestilence because of David's sin.

How does Ariel think that any of this helps his case?


Sub2: TILL mentions that David did not choose his punishment. 
He did in fact choose. He said:" Let us fall into the hands of God..".

Look at the account as recorded in 1 Chronicles 21.

1 Chronicles 21:13 Then David said to Gad, "I am in great 
distress; let ME fall into the hand of Yahweh, for his mercy is 
very great; but let ME not fall into human hands."

So this raises an interesting issue. What did David say to Gad? 

Did he say "me" or "us"?   This is just another case of discrepancy 
in the Tanakh, because it isn't possible that he said both "us" and 
"me." However, let's assume for the sake of argument, that he 
said "us."   What would this prove? If you are claiming that the 
"us" meant both him and the population at large, I'd like for you 
to support that with textual evidence. There is no reason why 
we could not assume that, if this conversation happened at
all, David meant (1) "us" in the royal sense, or (2) "us" in the 

sense of him and the ones who had actually taken the census.


By saying "us" he avoided famine as a choice because they 
would have little food but would always feed the king.


9 And the LORD spake unto Gad, David's seer, saying,
10 Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer 

THEE three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do 
it unto THEE.
11 So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith 

the LORD, Choose THEE
12 Either three years' famine; or three months to be 

destroyed before THY foes, while that the sword of THINE 
enemies overtaketh THEE; or else three days the sword of 
the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel 
of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. 
Now therefore advise THYSELF what word I shall bring 
again to him that sent me.
13 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let 

ME fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are 
his mercies: but let ME not fall into the hand of man.

I have quoted the KJV here so that the individual, personal 

nature of the punishments will be made clearer. Notice the 
archaic second-person singular pronouns thee, thy, thine, 
and thyself. These indicate that the punishments were 
directed to David personally. In telling Gad to let HIM
fall into the hands of Yahweh, David's obvious meaning 

was that he was leaving it up to Yahweh to choose the 

To argue otherwise is crass quibbling. You quibbled that 

a famine would not have punished David because, as 
king, he would have gotten whatever food was available, 
but the pestilence skipped David too. He wasn't punished 
by it, so in what sense was the pestilence punishment 
to David that the famine would not have been?

Please remember that we want textual evidence and not 

speculative assertions.


By saying "not into human hands" he was rejecting war 
where he would be protected by his men.

Would you like for me to cite some examples of biblical 

kings who were killed in war? Anyway, as I showed above, 
the pestilence skipped David, so in what sense did this 
punishment afflict David directly? You're resorting to 
quibbles as flagrant as any I have seen from Christian 


By saying "into God's hands" he was including himself at 
equal risk with his people by plague which is directly an 
act of God's hands. Plague does not discriminate between 
kings and peasants so he chose that.

And your textual proof that David selected the plague is 

what? If this was a direct selection that David had made, 
then why didn't the text say so? How hard would it have 
been for the writer to have said that David said, "I choose 
the plague so that I won't fall into the hands of men"? At
any rate, the plague didn't affect David personally, but 

since it was a plague that had been sent by Yahweh and 
since David ALONE had sinned, why didn't Yahweh make 
sure that David died from the plague?

Could you explain some problems to us without resorting 

to flagrant speculation and quibbles?


Ariel is arguing that 2 Samuel 24 provides an example of 
the punishment prescribed in Exodus 30:11-13. However, 
notice that Exodus 30 specifically states that if the Israelite 
men did not give "an atonement for [their]soul[s]," there 
would be "a plague among them WHEN COUNTING THEM." 
In other words, if the proper tribute were not paid, Yahweh 
was to send a "plague" during the very census itself, not 
after the census was concluded as is the case in 2 Samuel 
24 and 1 Chronicles 21. In fact, 2 Samuel 24:8 says that 
the census took "nine months and twenty days," so if the 
failure to pay tribute was the cause of the plague, Yahweh 
certainly took his time in exacting punishment. Also, since 
when does Yahweh give people a choice about a punishment 
he decrees for a "sin"? If a "plague" was the predetermined 
punishment for census-taking without a monetary tribute, 
why did Yahweh even give David choices about the 


1) I believe the plague occured mid-census. My textual 

proof is I Chronicles 27:24 "Yoav the son of Zeruiah 
commenced to count but DID NOT FINISH and there 
was wrath...".

Excuse me, Ariel, but the census in 1 Chronicles 27:24 

was not the census in chapter 21. The census in chapter 27 
was being taken to choose those who would serve in "courses" 
in the temple that was being planned. In chapter 23, "David 
was old and full of days" (v:1), so he made Solomon king. 
He then gathered all the princes and began the process of 
choosing those who would serve in Solomon's government. 
If you would read from chapter 23 on forward in 1 Chronicles, 
you should see this.


2) a. I am pretty sure that the fact King David got a 
choice has no bearing on TILL's assertion against my 

As I have said, we like to see textual evidence and not 

assertions that you are "pretty sure" of.


b. As far as I know, God can and does and says he will 
commute or change punishments. Exodus 33:19 "...I 
shall show favor when I choose to show favor and I shall 
show mercy when I choose to show mercy."

This is not the issue. The issue is whether Yahweh can 

punish someone for an offense committed by another and 
not violate his own decree in Deuteronomy 24:16. I keep 
hoping that you'll be different from the Christian inerrantists 
who have tried to address this issue, and give us a reply, 
but I'm losing hope that you will do any better than the others.


c. As to why each choice would make a difference in 
II Samuel 24? I don't know. Maybe your guess is as good 
as mine. I venture that it was an opportunity for King David 
to show solidarity with his people by choosing the only 
punishment where he could also suffer. This set a scriptural 
example to follow for other future leaders on how to feel
regarding one's people. Since the Bible was given so we 

could learn from it, maybe that is what we learn; that a 
leader must throw his lot in with the people.

You have yet to show that David chose the pestilence. When 

do you plan to do that? If you ever do, please try to explain 
why if David ALONE had sinned, Yahweh would have sent a 
pestilence that killed 70,000 people but skipped over the one 
who was responsible for having ticked off the omni one.


An IDEALIST is willing to suffer for what he believes in. 
A FANATIC is willing to make OTHERS suffer for what he 
believes in.

I like that, but it doesn't explain anything in the problem 

now before us.

Farrell Till

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