Monday, May 22, 2017

King David in Prayer


King David in Prayer
Pieter de Grebber ca. 1600 – 1653
oil on canvas (94 × 85 cm) — c. 1637
Samuel 24:13 - 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? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

The story of king David and the three plagues is told in 2 Samuel 24 and in 1 Chronicles 21. In the Chronicles it is Satan who pushes David to take a census. Joab, the captain of David's army, attempts to change his king's mind: why count people when the Lord adds a hundredfold? But David persists.

When the census is done, David is overcome by remorse for his act of vanity. He asks God to forgive him. God sends a messenger, the prophet Gad, to have David choose from three plagues.

In this painting by De Grebber, a painter from the Dutch town of Haarlem, Gad is not present. An angel holds the symbols of the plagues: a skull for three days of pestilence, a sword for three months of persecution by David's enemies, and empty ears of corn for three (or seven) years of famine.

David picks the shortest punishment, one not by man: pestilence. 70,000 men died.

Next to David are his attributes: a crown and a harp.
>>>>> David

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