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After David had sinned judgement is passed and he is given three options to choose from

2 Samuel 24:11-13 NIV

11 Before David got up the next morning, the word of the Lord had come to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 12 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”

13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come on you three[b] years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

David had clearly acknowledged that it was him who had done wrong

2 Samuel 24:10 NIV

10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

Yet when he chooses he takes option three which subsequently leds to the death of seventy thousand people. Option one and three would not directly have affect David and his fanily as much as option two which would have somehow directly affected him.

Did David choose a soft landing in option three?

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  • David gives his reasons to the prophet (for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man). Why are you supposing that David was disingenuous to the prophet ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 14 '20 at 18:10
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As mentioned in Nigel's comment, David explained it in 2 Samuel 24:14

David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands."

Note the contrast between "us" and "me". It wasn't a matter of soft or hard landing. It was a matter of God's mercy. David trusted God's mercy on us more than human's mercy on him.

When David sinned with Bathsheba, his reaction was similar, Psalm 51:1 NIV

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Yet when he chooses he takes option three which subsequently leds to the death of seventy thousand people.

All three options would affect the people one way or another. By choosing plague, he could rely on God's mercy more directly.

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

War would place the nation at the mercy of its enemies: famine would make it dependent on corn-merchants, who might greatly aggravate the miseries of scarcity: only in the pestilence—some form of plague sudden and mysterious in its attack, and baffling the medical knowledge of the time—would the punishment come directly from God, and depend immediately upon His Will.

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I think David made choice #3 for the following reasons.

  1. If he chose #1
    a. There would be a famine for 7 years and there would be huge casualties of Children and elders.
    b. Of course, able men and women also will suffer and die due to hunger.
  2. If he chose #2
    a. Mostly he and his immediate guards and army will die in the hands of the Canaanites.
    b. It would be a disgrace that the God of Israel could not protect his people.
    c. The Canaanites would be merciless with him and his army.
    d. Also once the King is killed, the whole nation goes into bondage or many many will be killed
  3. If he chose #3
    a. David always trusted God and knew God is more merciful than #1 & #2
    b. David knew that God is just and children and the elderly will not suffer much.
    c. No man could claim that they defeated Israel.

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