Few of us ever become kings and are under this kind of responsibility, but, there are times when our actions unfairly effect many of those around us. Close confidants may try to talk us out of proceeding, even those not particularly spiritual seem to have better sense; we advance forward into it anyway. Times like these God may choose to speak through another; we may be too hardened or too ashamed to hear Him direct. Actions have their unavoidable consequences however, for some greater consequences then others. David knows not only that he must fall upon the mercies of God, but, in this case is shown that he'll have to make sacrificial atonement. Nowadays, we'd have to rely upon the Lord's sacrifice at the cross. Much of the consequence unfortunately still takes place.
The word for Satan here can also be translated adversary. It is hard to imagine what type of human or political adversary would have pricked or enticed David enough to make him do this, especially knowing such a census was forbidden. Given the way God responded and the measure to which God responded, it is my belief that the KJV translation Satan is highly possible.
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