So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel
Upon the land of Israel, the people of the land, directly employing an angel to go through the coasts of it, and empowering him to inflict a pestilential disease:
from the morning even to the time appointed:
from the morning the prophet Gad came to David with a message from the Lord; that very morning the plague began, and lasted to the time set for it, the three days, or at least unto the beginning of the third, when reaching Jerusalem, the Lord repented of it, and stayed his hand; though many think a much shorter time is intended; some think it lasted no more than half a day, if so much; some say but three hours F6; the Septuagint version, until dinnertime; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, until the sixth hour of the day, which was noon; and so Kimchi says, some of their Rabbins interpret it of the half or middle of the day; the Targum is,
``from the time the daily sacrifice was slain until it was burnt;''and it is the sense of several learned men that it was only from the morning until the time of the evening sacrifice, or evening prayer, about three o'clock in the afternoon, and so lasted about nine hours:
and there died of the people, from Dan even to Beersheba, seventy
so that there was a great diminution of the people in all places where they were numbered; and David's sin may be read in the punishment of it; his heart was lifted up by the numbers of his people, and now it must be humbled by the lessening of them.
F6 Pirke Eliezer, c. 43.