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David's Census Brings Pestilence

21 (A)Then (B)Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were (C)1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah (D)470,000 who drew the sword. (E)But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king's command was abhorrent to Joab.

But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please (F)take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” And the Lord spoke to Gad, David's (G)seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Choose what you will: 12 either (H)three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he (I)relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, (J)clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father's house. But do not let the plague be on your people.”

David Builds an Altar

18 Now (K)the angel of the Lord had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at Gad's word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out from the threshing floor and paid homage to David with his face to the ground. 22 And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan (L)600 shekels[a] of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord[b] (M)answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering (N)were at that time in the high place at Gibeon, 30 but David could not go before it to enquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 21:25 A shekel was about 2/5 of an ounce or 11 grams
  2. 1 Chronicles 21:26 Hebrew he

David Counts the Fighting Men(A)

21 Satan(B) rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census(C) of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count(D) the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over.(E) My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel(F) there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.

But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.

Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

The Lord said to Gad,(G) David’s seer,(H) 10 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”

11 So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 12 three years of famine,(I) three months of being swept away[a] before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword(J) of the Lord(K)—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy(L) is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead.(M) 15 And God sent an angel(N) to destroy Jerusalem.(O) But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented(P) concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying(Q) the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah[b] the Jebusite.

16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.(R)

17 David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd,[c] have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep.(S) What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family,(T) but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

David Builds an Altar

18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor(U) of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

20 While Araunah was threshing wheat,(V) he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.

22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

25 So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels[d] of gold for the site. 26 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire(W) from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there. 29 The tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon.(X) 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 21:12 Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate (see also 2 Samuel 24:13) of fleeing
  2. 1 Chronicles 21:15 Hebrew Ornan, a variant of Araunah; also in verses 18-28
  3. 1 Chronicles 21:17 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see 2 Samuel 24:17 and note); Masoretic Text does not have the shepherd.
  4. 1 Chronicles 21:25 That is, about 15 pounds or about 6.9 kilograms

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