1 Chronicles 21

David's Military Census

That is, the Accuser or the Adversary
Then Satan
That is, the Accuser or the Adversary
rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.
2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go, count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan and bring me a report, so that I may know their number.” 3 But Joab replied, “May the LORD multiply His troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all servants of my lord? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?” 4 Nevertheless, the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab left and traveled throughout Israel, and then he returned to Jerusalem. 5 And Joab reported to David the total number of the troops. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, including 470,000 in Judah. 6 But [Joab] did not include Levi and Benjamin in the count, because the king’s command was detestable to him.

Judgment for David's Sin

7 This command was also evil in the sight of God; so He struck Israel. 8 Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. Now I beg You to take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 9 And the LORD instructed Gad, David’s seer, 10 “Go and tell David that this is what the LORD says: ‘I am offering you three [options] . Choose one of them, and I will carry it out against you.’” 11 So Gad went and said to David, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Take your choice 12 of either three years of famine, three months of being swept away
Hebrew; LXX and Vulgate (see also 2 Samuel 24:13) of fleeing
before your enemies and overtaken by their swords, or three days of the sword of the LORD— days of plague upon the land, with the angel of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should reply to Him who sent me.”
13 David answered Gad, “I am deeply distressed . Please, let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercies [are] very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”

A Plague on Israel

14 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 Then God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem, but as the angel was doing so the LORD saw it and relented from the calamity, and He said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough, withdraw your hand now!” At that time the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan
Ornan is a variant of Araunah; also in verses 18 - 28
the Jebusite.
16 When David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown, 17 and David said to God, “Was it not I who gave the order to count the people? I, [the shepherd] ,
Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see 2 Samuel 24:17); MT does not include the shepherd
am the one who has sinned and acted wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? O LORD my God, please let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house, but do not let this plague remain upon 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 of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the LORD. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat when he turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 David came to Ornan, and when Ornan looked out and saw David, he left the threshing floor and bowed facedown before David. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the site of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar to the LORD. Sell it to me for the full price, so that the plague on the people may be halted.” 23 Ornan said to David, “My lord the king may take whatever [seems] good. 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 it all.” 24 “No,” replied King David, “I insist on paying the full price, for I will not take for the LORD what belongs to you or offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan six hundred shekels
That is, about 15 pounds or 6.8 kilograms
of gold for the site.
26 And there he built an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. He called upon the LORD, who answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the LORD spoke to the angel, who 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 offered sacrifices there. 29 For the tabernacle of the LORD that Moses had made in the wilderness and the altar of burnt offering were presently at the high place in Gibeon, 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.
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