These small group studies through the lives of David and Solomon contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

The Census – 2 Chronicles 21 Inductive Bible Study


I. David is incited to number the warriors (1-7)
II. David chooses three days of plague (8-15)
III. David repents before the Lord (16-19)
IV. David builds an altar (20-30)

I. David is incited to number the warriors (1-7)

Discussion Questions

  • What do we learn from this passage about Satan? How does he work? What is his goals?
  • What is the matter with taking a census of the people? Why might David have been motivated to do this?
  • What can we learn about Joab based on his reply to David? What does Joab’s response show us about the problem of numbering the people?
  • How does the population of Israel compare to after the Exodus? What does this show about God’s blessing on His people?
  • Why was this command evil in God’s sight?


  • Exodus 30:12 – When you take a census, each must pay a ransom to the Lord for his life.
  • 2 Samuel 24:1 – Parallel story.
  • Luke 22:31-32 – Satan wants to sift Peter
  • 2 Chronicles 12:7-10 – God refines us.
  • Psalms 20:7 – Trust in God rather than horses and chariots.

II. David chooses three days of plague (8-15)

Discussion Questions

  • When did David first realize what he had done was wrong? Did he realize this himself or did someone tell him first?
  • Why did God give him a choice?
  • Which one did David choose? What does this show us about David?
  • Which one of these choices may you prefer?


  • James 2:13 – Mercy triumphs over judgment.
  • Deuteronomy 4:31 – The Lord will not leave you or destroy you or forget you.
  • Isaiah 30:21 – You will hear a word behind you, “This is the way. Walk in it.”
  • Romans 2:15 – Their consciences also bear witness.
  • Romans 13:5 – One must be in subjection to avoid God’s wrath and for the sake of conscience.

III. David repents before the Lord (16-19)

Discussion Questions

  • What had David learned through this event? How had David’s attitude changed?
  • Why would the people of the land be punished for David’s sin? Is there any principle we can learn from this?
  • What can we do (as parents/teachers/leaders) to try to make sure those under us don’t suffer because of our decisions?


  • Jeremiah 23:1 – Woe to shepherds who destroy.
  • John 10:11 – The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
  • James 1:5-6 – If any of you lacks wisdom ask God.

IV. David builds an altar (20-30)

Discussion Questions

  • Why did Araunah’s sons hide themselves from the angel? What does this show us about angels?
  • What can we learn from these verses about Araunah?
  • Why would David not take the threshing floor like he offered? What can we learn from this about sacrifice?
  • What can we learn from this passage about prayer? About repentance? About God?


  • Hebrews 13:16 – Do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
  • Romans 12:1-2 – Present your bodies as a living sacrifice.
  • Hosea 6:6 – I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice.
  • Proverbs 21:3 – To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
  • Psalm 51:16-17 – The sacrifices of the Lord are a broken and contrite spirit.
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