1 And SATAN stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
3 And Joab answered, Yahweh make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? 4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab… ~1 Chronicles 21
David instructing Joab to number the people.
David instructing Joab to number the people.

So who stood up against Israel?                                       blueletterbible-satan-stood-against-israel-1-chron-21


The Hebrew word “satan” (H7854) means “adversary“.


To the right is a snapshot of the interlinear online concordance from Blueletterbible.org  (available for Free to anyone) of 1 Chron.21:1

So who stood up against Israel?


The answer is found in  2 Samuel 24.    This is the exact same account (please read whole context of both chapters).

1 And again the anger of YAHWEH was kindled against Israel, and HE moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.

And Joab said unto the king, Now Yahweh thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?

Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab…       




So we are told from this passage that Yahweh incited David to number Israel.

In context from the previous chapters, Yahweh was strengthening David with Israel to subdue the nations.  It was the greatness Yahweh was performing and accomplishing with Israel that actually made Israel think they were accomplishing these things by their own might. This angered Yahweh and He became an adversary (a “satan”) unto Israel, inciting David to number Israel.


So we see anyone can be a “satan” it simply means “adversary“.  A satan can be good or bad depending on who’s side they are on.


Compare the first time the word “satan” is used in the scriptures…


Numbers 22

21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.


22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and THE ANGEL OF YAHWEH stood in the way for an ADVERSARY (“SATAN” H7854) against him…

Numbers 22-21-22
Numbers 22-21-22



So let us savour the things that be on the side of God and not the things of men. (from MT.16:23).


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