In my Bible readings over the last few days, I’ve come across some curious passages in 1 & 2 Samuel. Hopefully someone can clear these up for me.
First of all, in 1 Samuel 15, Samuel (on God;s behalf) rejects Saul as king of Israel, due to his disobedience in wiping out the Amalekites. Then we see this:
24 And Saul said to Samuel: I have sinned because I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words, fearing the people, and obeying their voice. 25 But now bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me, that I may adore the Lord. 26 And Samuel said to Saul: I will not return with thee, because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
Contrast that with David’s crimes re: Uriah and Bathsheba. David didn’t even ask for forgiveness; he just said:
2 Samuel 12:13 And David said to Nathan: I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David: The Lord also hath taken away thy sin: thou shalt not die.
So Saul explicitly asks for forgiveness and is rejected; David doesn’t even ask, and Nathan lifts the curse (though there is still a consequence). Why one and not the other?
Second question: In 2 Samuel 24, David calls for a census because God is angry with him, and this census offends God to the point where David has to choose between death, famine, or pestilence. Why was the census such a bad thing?