Who incited David to take the census? 2 Samuel says God incited David, and 1 Chronicles says Satan incited David.

This question is related to 0022, as I read the text. God (2 Samuel 24) and Satan (1 Chronicles 21) are working in the same event. Does your view of God's will and providence conflict with this understanding? Another example: the Crucifixion. According to Acts 2, although Satan seemed to score first, Jesus was crucified by the will of God. In other words, God and Satan somehow collaborated. Not that they are in league with each other, of course. A similar dynamic may explain Job 1.

This explanation will not satisfy until we understand one further fact. In the Old Testament, very often events are attributed directly to the Lord even though he has only indirectly caused them. (Academics would call this the attribution of primary causation where only secondary causation is in effect.) In other words, what God allows such as sickness, death, even sin is sometimes described as though God caused it. Everything, after all, is either done by God or permitted by God, right? So the answer to the question, Who caused David to order the census, God or Satan? is "Yes."

By the way, David's stubborn reliance on statistics, instead of relying on God to build and preserve the kingdom, was deeply unspiritual! Even David's head of the military, Joab (hardly a paragon of spirituality) finds the orders repugnant. A heavy price is paid, and plague ultimately reduces the numbers of Israel, presumably in part because the census tax was not paid (see Exodus 30:12).

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