Through the Bible in a Year – June 15

The scheme for May – June can be found here

1 Ch 21-22; Rev 21; Psalm 58-59

Again we come upon a conundrum in the Scriptural account which we cannot simply ignore

In the Samuel account of the David story = we are told the LORD incited David to number the people. The Chronicler puts it at the door of the Satan.

There are several issues at point here. Firstly there is the question of what the author is trying to do. The Chronicler is writing in all likelihood much later than the author of Samuel. As we have seen there is a desire not to besmirch the royal name, by not mentioning David’s theft of Bathsheba. Certainly in a sense the Chronicler could be seen to be doing the same with regard to the name of God. Satan, along with all the angelic beings is in some accounts thought to emerge later in the tradition of Israel. His role as we know is veiled to some regards – certainly the opening chapters of Job suggest so. He is seen in some account as a free agent, in others a servant of the purposes of God. In a sense these two are not wholly irreconcilable.

But, and secondly, such texts do not allow us to have a simplistic approach to Scripture. ‘The Bible says . . .’ is always a line to be taken with fear and trembling – and here is one clear expression of why – for ‘The Bible says two things which to our ears sound irreconcilable’. Of course, we are also reminded that the Heart of the message of Scripture is that which we seek to hear. It is why it is Always good to read Scripture in company – none of us have our own personal hotline to the thoughts of the God whose ways and thoughts are not ours. We need to learn to hear the Word – and we do that in a community of disciples, committed above all to following Jesus, The Word made flesh.


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