Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 24

Joab warns David not to count Israel’s men

2 Samuel 24:2-3

God does not want people to do evil things. So, he often gives them opportunities to turn back to him first. Sometimes he warns a person many times before that person suffers because of his evil deeds.

On this occasion, we do not read that God sent a prophet (a holy man) to warn David. Instead, we see that God used Joab, an unholy and evil man, to warn him. Joab was David’s chief army commander. From the moment when Joab first heard about David’s plan to count Israel’s people, Joab hated that plan (1 Chronicles 21:6).

Joab tried to persuade David not to do it. Joab’s real reason, perhaps, was that he preferred to lead smaller armies of skilled soldiers. He could control them much better than a vast crowd of men without much military experience.

Like many evil men, Joab could use religion to support his arguments. He considered that his reference to religion would impress David much more than any argument about military techniques. So Joab told David, correctly, that Israel’s army should depend on God, and not on the size of that army. God can make the smallest army much more powerful than the largest army (1 Samuel 14:6). God did not depend on the number of soldiers that David could find to fight in his army (1 Chronicles 21:1-6). Rather, God would provide as many soldiers as David needed to defeat the enemy.

So, Joab insisted that David had no proper reason to order him to count Israel’s men.

Next part: The task to count Israel's men (2 Samuel 24:4-8)


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