he incited David. The antecedent of “he” is the Lord (cf. 1 Sam. 26:19). According to 1 Chr. 21:1, however, it was Satan who moved David. At issue here is the mystery of the presence and practice of evil. The Scripture is clear that God is not the author of evil (James 1:13–15), but it also teaches that the wicked acts of men and of Satan do not fall outside God’s sovereign determination (Ex. 4:21; 1 Sam. 2:25 and note; 1 Kin. 22:20–23; Job 1:12; Ezek. 14:9; Acts 4:27, 28). Satan is a creature, absolutely subordinate to the sovereignty of God. Satan’s activities and desires cannot create a space that is free from God’s control or that escapes God’s purposes.
number Israel and Judah. Taking a census does not appear to have been wrong in itself (Num. 1:1, 2; 4:1, 2; 26:1–4), but see Ex. 30:11, 12. This act of census may have pointed to a lack of trust in David’s heart, or even to a desire to gain control of God’s providence by making an inventory of His apparent resources. That the report (v. 9) emphasizes military strength may suggest that David wanted to take more territory than what the Lord had granted him.