The Book closes with one other picture, reminding us of the direct government of the people by God in that He visited the king and the nation with punishment for numbering the people.
It has been objected that there was nothing sinful in taking a census, seeing that it had been done before in the history of the people by the direct command of God. But in that very fact lay the contrast between previous numberings and this. They were carried out by the command of God. This was done from a very different motive. That the act was wrong is evident from David's consciousness that it was so; and in the presence of his confession it is not for us to criticize. Quite evidently the motive explains the sin. While that motive is not explicitly declared, we may certainly gain an understanding of it from the protest of Joab, "Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it; but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?" The spirit of vainglory in numbers had taken possession of the people and the king, and there was a tendency to trust in numbers and forget God.
David's choice of his punishment once more revealed his recognition both of the righteousness and tenderness of Jehovah. He willed that the stroke which was to fall, should come directly from the divine hand rather than through any intermediary.
The Book ends with the story of the erection of the altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite in which we finally see the man after God's own heart turning the occasion of his sin and its punishment into an occasion of worship.
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34