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Answering The Atheist
June 4, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 23

Did David sin? 2 Samuel 24:10 says that he sinned in numbering the people, but 1 Kings 15:5 says he always did God's will, except in the matter of Uriah? Is there a contradiction?

To answer the questioner's primary concern, "Did David sin?", yes. Both 2 Samuel 24:10 and 1 Kings 15:5 say that David sinned.

The real issue between these verses is that 1 Kings 15:5 seems to indicate that the only sin committed by David was in the matter of Uriah the Hittite, whereas 2 Samuel 24:10 records David himself confessing his sin in numbering the people.

Do not mistake the phrase "turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him" to mean was entirely sinless. To turn aside from God's commands would be flagrant disregard for the will of God. This he did, once, in regard to Uriah.

Numbering the people was an act of arrogance on David's part, as he sought to stroke his own ego with regard to the nation Israel. However, in commissioning the numbering of the people, David did not "turn aside from any thing that he (God, wjs) commanded him..." (1 Kings 15:5). David realized his actions were not becoming, and confessed his lack of humility. So far as the matter regarding Uriah, David gave himself over to a spiral of sin. He lusted after a woman (violating Exodus 20:17), which led him to commit adultery (violating Exodus 20:14). He sought to cover up his actions (violating Exodus 20:16), and when he was unable to, he murdered Uriah (violating Exodus 20:13).

When it came to David's conduct in the incident surrounding Uriah the Hittite, David "turned aside" from God's commandments. At no other point in his life do we see him doing such.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible