I think that few parts of the Bible can make you atheist or at least agnostic or at least kill your belief in the Bible as infallible or the work of a loving God as comparing 2 Samuel 24 with 1 Chronicles 21. Most people focus on the 1st verse, but there are at least 4 major and 1 minor contradiction in the chapter (they are parallel accounts).
In the New World Translation, 2 Samuel 24 starts like this:
24 And again the anger of Jehovah came to be hot against Israel, when one incited David against them, saying: “Go, take a count of Israel and Judah.”Notice that it is an impersonal "one" who incited David to do the census. Other Bibles make it clear that it was Jehovah (YHWH) who incited David to make the census.
The American Standard version says:
24 And again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.
When we look at the parallel account, which is 1 Chronicles 21, we see that it says:
21 And Satan proceeded to stand up against Israel and to incite David to number Israel.
WHAT? Was it Satan, or was it Jehovah that incited David to number Israel?
That should be a major red flag, and countless Bible commentators have tried to explain away this contradiction.
But that is not the only contradiction in the 1-chapter account.
In the account, Joab tries to stop the census, but David insists. He goes all around Israel and presents the census results to David:
(2 Samuel 24:9) 9 Jo′ab now gave the number of the registration of the people to the king; and Israel amounted to eight hundred thousand valiant men drawing sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.(1 Chronicles 21:5) 5 Jo′ab now gave the number of the registration of the people to David; and all Israel amounted to a million one hundred thousand men drawing sword, and Judah four hundred and seventy thousand men drawing sword.
So there are three hundred thousand people missing in one, and 30 thousand in another!
2 contradictions in the same 1-chapter account.
David feels bad for having done the census, and Jehovah sends his prophet Gad to punish David (by punishing Israel), and gives him three options:
(2 Samuel 24:13) 13 Accordingly Gad came in to David and told him and said to him: “Should there come to you seven years of famine in your land, or three months of your fleeing before your adversaries, with them pursuing you, or the occurring of three days of pestilence in your land? Now know and see what I shall reply to the One sending me.”
Three years or seven years? Apparently Gad had a lot of wax in his ears and couldn't understand if Jehovah said 7 or 3. But that's ok, because David chose three days of pestilence. Jehovah kills 70 thousand people, none of which includes David, who was the one that made the mistake. David feels really bad for having others killed because of his mistake, which Jehovah/Satan incited him to do, and he asks Jehovah to stop the plague and punish him and his household. Jehovah listens, and tells David to kill some animals... in sacrifice... so he can stop killing humans. Now, David must go and buy a piece of land and build an altar.
(2 Samuel 24:18) 18 Later Gad came in to David on that day and said to him: “Go up, set up for Jehovah an altar on the threshing floor of A·rau′nah the Jeb′u·site.”
(1 Chronicles 21:18) 18 And Jehovah’s angel, for his part, said to Gad to say to David that David should go up to erect an altar to Jehovah on the threshing floor of Or′nan the Jeb′u·site.
Araunah... Ornan... same thing. Just make sure it's a Jebusite.
So David proceeds to try and purchase the land from Ornan...er... Araunah... one of them... and the owner says to David it's free. David insists, he wants to purchase it. So he pulls out his checkbook and writes a check to... one of them... for the sum of...
(2 Samuel 24:24) 24 However, the king said to A·rau′nah: “No, but without fail I shall buy it from you for a price; and I shall not offer up to Jehovah my God burnt sacrifices without cost.” Accordingly David bought the threshing floor and the cattle for fifty silver shekels.(1 Chronicles 21:24, 25) 24 However, King David said to Or′nan: “No, but without fail I shall make the purchase for the money in full, because I shall not carry what is yours to Jehovah to offer up burnt sacrifices without cost.” 25 So David gave Or′nan for the place gold shekels to the weight of six hundred.
50..600... gold... silver... it don't matter. Just tiny details, right?
Even if there weren't all these contradictions, let's see how it portrays God:
He makes someone do something he doesn't like, and then kills 70 thousand people because the guy did what he incited him to do. Then he asks this guy to kill animals so he can stop killing people.
Satan makes a guy do something that Jehovah doesn't like. Jehovah punishes, not the guy, but 70 thousand people. Then he asks this guy to kill animals so he can stop killing people.
Whether you look at the contradictions or the lesson of the story, the Bible is a disgusting book which CANNOT be the work of a loving God, and it is most certainly not infallible.
What do you think?