Punishment from God
(Samuel II 21, 24)
Punishment resulted from other people's sins
- Giboenites revenged Saul's attack by executing seven of
Saul's offsprings (Samuel II 21): Gibeonites were also called
Hivites (Jos. 9:7; 11:19) . The Israelites had sworn to spare
them in the name of God (Jos. 9:15, 18-26). Saul's action against
Gibeonites is not mentioned elsewhere in he Bible but appears
to happen in his early reign, motivated by excessive nationalism.
- David King counted the fighting men and led to a plague
(Samuel II 24): King David conducted a census for either preparing
a war disapproved by God or self-centered motives such as pride
or sense of insecurity (24:9). Seventy thousands died of famine
because of David's sin.
Arguments for inherited punishment
- The punished commits crime: When the Bible described
God punished people for their ancestors' sins, actually the descendants
were repeating the same sins (Jeremiah 32: 18, 20-24). In the
case of David's census, the anger of God is said to be directed
against Israel rather than David (Samuel II 24:1), some have concluded
that it was occasioned by the widespread support among the people
for the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba against David.
- Grace is also inherited: Although punishments and sins
are carried over to people who seem not to be deserved, grace
is also awarded to those who are not deserved (Chronicles II 21:7).
- Original sin (St. Augustine): Because of original sin,
all humans are condemned to death. There are two interpretations
of original sins:
- By essence (nature): "Sin may then be defined ultimately
as anything in the creature which does not express, or which is
contrary to, the holy character of the Creator. Sin then is not
merely what we do, but what we are. There is sin in our race and
in our nature." (Merill Tenny)
- By existence: Original sin illuminates the fact that all humans
live in a sinful world. As far as we and sins coexist in this
world, it is impossible for any human not to be contaminated by
Lessons to us
- Sins sometimes are resulted from over-enthusiastic actions
(e.g. Saul's attack Giboenites, David's prepared a war).
- Consequences of punishment can be minimized (e.g. David's
confession, Killing of Sheba by the city).