So Gad came to David, and told him
Said nothing to him about his sin, but correction for it; which confirms it that David was made sensible of his sin before he came to him:
and said unto him, shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy
in ( 1 Chronicles 21:12 ) , only "three years" are mentioned, and so the Septuagint version here; but Josephus F4, the Targum, the Syriac and Arabic versions, have the number "seven"; three seems to be more agreeable to the numbers after mentioned, and no more as to come were designed, though seven are here expressed; for the reconciling of which let it be observed, that there had been three years of famine already on account of the sin of Saul, ( 2 Samuel 21:1 ) ; and in the current year, through the rains not falling in the proper time, the land was barren and unfruitful; or through the penury of the preceding years the famine would be continued at least until the harvest; and then three years more now proposed made seven years; or, if these three years would have immediately followed the other three, the following in course would be a sabbatical year, in which were no ploughing, sowing, nor reaping, or the current year was such an one: and the sense is, shall there be a continuance of seven years of famine, that is, three more added to what had been? which must be most dreadful to think of; but a learned writer
or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue
be in such a condition as not to be able to face or fight his enemies, or, if he did, would not be able to stand his ground, but be forced to flee before them, and be pursued by them three months running; during which time a prodigious number might well be thought to be slain, sad devastations made in the land, and great shame and disgrace endured, and what a man of David's spirit could not bear the thoughts of:
or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land?
which in ( 1 Chronicles 21:12 ) is called "the sword of the Lord", in distinction from the sword of man, it coming immediately from him, and the destroying angel, in all the coasts of the land; being inflicted by means of one:
now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me;
that is, consult with himself, or with his friends, or both, what answer the prophet must return to the Lord that sent him; for him he means.
F4 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 13. sect. 2.
F5 Dr. Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 474.