Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 24

The evil angel and the angel of the Lord

2 Samuel 24:15-16

That morning, a terrible illness began to affect the people. It made all kinds of people ill, and they died very quickly. Soon, many thousands of people were dying across the country, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.

It was David’s evil deed that caused this illness. He had proudly decided to count the men who could fight in his army. He was trusting in the military strength of his army, when he should have trusted only in God (Psalm 62:5-8). A second cause of this trouble was the evil deeds of the people in Israel. They had not obeyed the law of God (for example Deuteronomy 5:6-21) and so they had brought God’s anger against them (Deuteronomy 28:15-22: 2 Samuel 24:1).

God’s judgment against them was that he permitted an evil angel to bring this illness and death into their nation. Evil angels are the devil’s servants, who cause pain, trouble and death (Revelation 12:9). This evil angel killed 70,000 people across the country – and then he turned his attention to Jerusalem, to destroy it.

However, as David knew, God’s mercy (kindness) is very great. God stopped the illness before it could spread into Jerusalem. He sent his own special servant, the angel of the Lord, to protect Jerusalem from the evil angel.

David saw the evil angel (24:17), and he also saw the angel of the Lord (1 Chronicles 21:16). The angel of the Lord stood between heaven and earth, with a sword in his hand to defend Jerusalem.

When David saw these things, he turned to God in humble prayer. The elders (the most honourable members of David’s government) did the same (1 Chronicles 21:16). Then the angel of the Lord spoke to the prophet (holy man) called Gad (1 Chronicles 21:18). He gave to him instructions about what David should do (24:18).

Next part: David's extraordinary prayer for Israel's people (2 Samuel 24:17)


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