1 Chronicles (1)

Intertextuality in 1 Chronicles 21:1-17 and Genesis 13:16 – Does It Explain the Problem of David’s Census?

by Matthew Y. Emerson, Ph.D.

The problem of David’s census has long been a question in Hebrew Bible scholarship. 1 Sam 24:1-28 and 1 Chron 21:1-17[1] seem to portray the census ordered by King David as sin,[2] but the question that is seemingly not answered in the text is exactly why this census was considered a sin. The Chronicler does not seem to be troubled by counting in other parts of the book (e.g. 1 Chron 11:11; 23:3),[3] so why is it a problem here? Some scholars suggest that the census was intended to enlist corveé labor and therefore that “the essence of David’s sin was premature planning and preparation for the construction of the temple, a task that had been divinely reserved for his son and successor, Solomon… [more]