You just never know what's going to piss off the God of the Bible.
Take King David's censis, for example. The whole thing was God's idea, if you believe Second Samuel, anyway.
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Samuel 24:1
But if you believe First Chronicles, it wasn't God's idea; it was Satan's.
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:1
So what's a Bible-believer to believe here? Did God tell David to "Go, number Israel and Judah"? Or did Satan provoke "David to number Israel"? Or did the Dynamic Duo conspire together to make David do it? They worked together before to torment Job. Maybe they teamed up again to make David have a census. You just never know what those two might do.
But whoever was responsible for the dastardly census (Satan and/or God), it was David that God blamed. And God was really pissed off about it, too. So you might expect God to punish David for the census and he and/or Satan inspired, right?
Well, not exactly. Here's what God did according to 2 Samuel.
For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? 2 Samuel 24:11-13
God decided not to punish David for the Divine/Satanic census. No, God liked David too much for that. So he decided to punish the people instead. But the Divine Decider just couldn't decide what punishment would be the most just. So he let David choose from three choices:
- Seven years of famine,
- Three months of war, or
- Three days of pestilence
But David couldn't decide, so God chose option 3 for him, and 70,000 men (no one bothered to count women and children) died.
You can read all about it in 2 Samuel 21.
And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man. So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. 2 Samuel 24:14-15
But if you believe that story, don't read the 1 Chronicles account. Here's what it says.
And the LORD spake unto Gad, David's seer, saying, Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee Either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man. So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. 1 Chronicles 21:8-12
So was option 1 seven or three years of famine? No wonder poor David couldn't decide! God's options as communicated by Gad were not clearly stated.
But at least both storytellers agree on the number of innocent people killed by God for a census that God and/or Satan inspired: 70,000 men (God only knows how many women and children he killed).
Stories like this can only be found in the Bible.