Why did 70,000 die while the sinner lived?
It doesn’t seem fair. Even David was distressed by the consequences his sin had on innocent people (see
Because of our Western individualism we struggle to understand the Eastern tradition in which the head of a family, tribe or nation represented the people under them. The members were treated as a whole, sharing in the blessings or punishments resulting from the actions of their leaders. Adam’s sin had consequences for all humanity (see
In this case, it may have been Israel’s sin as a nation that led to David’s sin. The Lord was angry with Israel before David was incited to take a census (see
David’s sin deserved personal punishment, but David’s death might have been worse for the nation than the plague. Political turmoil in Israel could have brought invading armies that would have killed even more people. David suffered remorse and grief. Along with the leaders who may have supported his call for a census, David mourned and repented. God graciously forgave him and intervened to spare Jerusalem. Later, the temple was built on the site where David offered his sacrifice and saw the plague halted.
This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.