When the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan they were given specific instructions regarding those who were inhabiting the land. God’s judgment was to be executed upon the Canaanites and the nation of Israel was the LORD’s instrument of choice. God could have used any means He wanted; He could have brought massive earthquakes upon the land; He could have brought famine; He could have simply decided not to extend another gracious breath to all those who had come under the righteous wrath; but instead, in this Old Testament context, He used the nation of Israel to be His instrument of choice.
“So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (1 Sam. 18:7)
This song has always struck me a little funny. It’s the ‘exclamation of praise’ that some women began to sing as David and Saul returned from the slaying of Goliath. When you read what they sang it’s almost incumbent upon you to ask, “Really? Did they seriously think that was a good song choice?” Did they really give any thought to the lyrics and think, “I know what we should sing, let’s keep it simple, how about…‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’”
Have you ever had someone tell someone else that you said something you never actually said? If so, you’ve probably found that your level of appropriate frustration was greater or smaller depending on how serious the misrepresentation was. But regardless, most of us (if not all of us) do not like the idea of somebody putting words in our mouth that were never actually there. And if you find that irritating you are catching a tiny glimpse of how God feels when fallen man does that very thing to Him. It’s one of the reasons why not many ought to be teachers (Jas. 3:1). It is a high and hefty responsibility to divide God’s word accurately (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15) and refrain from giving a message that God never gave (cf. Jer. 23:21b). But the latter was just the kind of thing that Hananiah was doing.