Q. 1 Chronicles 21:14 says, “So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.” Why did God kill 70,000 men (not counting women and children?) as David’s punishment? Did these 70,000 deserve punishment, too? That doesn’t sound like a very merciful God to me. It sounds like tyranny. I would sincerely like to understand. I’m a Christian and I hope to get past it, to chalk it up to one of those things I don’t understand now, but maybe I will in the next existence.
A. Let’s think this through a little. Does God promise us a certain amount of time on Earth? Couldn’t any of us die at any moment? And does not God, who created us, have the right to determine the length of our days? All the adults among the 70,000 were sinners and deserved to die. But those who believed in a coming redeemer went immediately to a place of comfort, later known as paradise, to await His death on their behalf. The same is true of their children. I guarantee you none of them were upset with God over that. The adults who didn’t believe had already rejected God and only got what we all deserve.
Here’s what you’ll understand in the next existence. It’s so much better than the current one, you’ll envy those believers whose earthly lives were cut short and wish God had decreed a similar fate for you.