The Numbering Of Israel -- By God Or By Satan?

A querist asks, “I have an atheist friend and I was trying to show him that the Bible was God’s Word. I told him because it is free of errors and written by so many different people over a thousand years it HAS to be from God. He asked me who tempted David to take a census in the Old Testament. I looked it up in the Bible and told him Satan tempted him according to 1 Chronicles 21:1.

He then pointed out 2 Samuel 24:1 where it says God tempted David to take a census. I told him that it could mean God allowed David to do it. My atheist friend then asked if that meant that Satan allowed David to do it too? Then he wondered why God or Satan would tempt David at all? Please help me resolve the differences in these two passages of Scripture.”

You are correct in stating to your atheist friend that God “allowed” David to take a census, while Satan directly “tempted” David to number Israel.

The following article contains a logical explanation of the alleged variance found in 2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1 by brother Eric Lyons, an Apologetics Press staff member:


In addition to this alleged “discrepancy,” there is whole section of Apologetics Press devoted to “Alleged Discrepancies” that you will find extremely helpful in resolving so-called Bible discrepancies.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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