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2 Samuel 24

15 So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from that morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

16But when the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand now!” At that time the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. ...

18And that day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19So David went up at the word of Gad, just as the LORD had commanded. ...

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25And there he built an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

Then the LORD answered the prayers on behalf of the land, and the plague upon Israel was halted.

Did God stop the plague before or after David's offerings?

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In the story of 2 Sam 24, note the crucial V18 -

When David saw the angel striking down the people, he said to the LORD, “Surely I, the shepherd, have sinned and acted wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please, let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house.”

The sequence of the story suggests that the angel was instructed to stop when David openly confessed his sin. The sacrifice only confirmed David's already accepted repentance.

We see the same thing in David's earlier sin with Bathsheba and Uriah - David confessed and acknowledged his sin - the reaction as immediate:

2 Sam 12:13 - Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” “The LORD has taken away your sin,” Nathan replied. “You will not die.

Thus, the destroying angel in 2 Sam 24 appears to have stopped before the sacrifice was offered - the destruction ceased when David acknowledged his sin by confession. Note the slightly fuller account in 1 Chron 21:15-17 -

Then God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem, but as the angel was doing so, the LORD saw it and relented from the calamity, and He said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand now!”

At that time the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

When David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown. And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave the order to count the people? I am the one who has sinned and acted wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? O LORD my God, please let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house, but do not let this plague remain upon Your people.”

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