1 Chronicles 19-21Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Israel Fights Ammon and Syria
19 Some time later, King Nahash of Ammon died, and his son Hanun became king. 2 David said, “Nahash was kind to me, so I will be kind to his son.” He sent some officials to Ammon to tell Hanun how sorry he was that his father had died.
But when David’s officials arrived at Ammon, 3 the Ammonite leaders said to Hanun, “Do you really believe King David is honoring your father by sending these men to comfort you? He probably sent them to spy on our country, so he can come and destroy it.”
4 Hanun arrested David’s officials and had their beards shaved off and their robes cut off just below the waist, and then he sent them away. 5 They were terribly ashamed.
When David found out what had happened to his officials, he sent a message that told them, “Stay in Jericho until your beards grow back. Then you can come home.”
6 The Ammonites realized they had made David furious. So they paid over thirty tons of silver to hire chariot troops from Mesopotamia and from the Syrian kingdoms of Maacah and Zobah. 7 Thirty-two thousand troops, as well as the king of Maacah and his army, came and camped near Medeba. The Ammonite troops also left their towns and came to prepare for battle.
8 David heard what was happening, and he sent out Joab with his army. 9 The Ammonite troops marched to the entrance of the city[a] and prepared for battle, while the Syrian troops took their positions in the open fields.
10 Joab saw that the enemy troops were lined up on both sides of him. So he picked some of the best Israelite soldiers to fight the Syrians. 11 Then he put his brother Abishai in command of the rest of the army and told them to fight against the Ammonites. 12 Joab told his brother, “If the Syrians are too much for me to handle, come and help me. And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I’ll come and help you. 13 Be brave and fight hard to protect our people and the towns of our Lord God. I pray he will do whatever pleases him.”
14 Joab and his soldiers attacked the Syrians, and the Syrians ran from them. 15 When the Ammonite troops saw that the Syrians had run away, they ran from Abishai’s soldiers and went back into their own city. Joab then returned to Jerusalem.
16 As soon as the Syrians realized they had been defeated, they sent for their troops that were stationed on the other side of the Euphrates River. Shophach, the commander of Hadadezer’s army, led these troops to Ammon.
17 David found out what the Syrians were doing, and he brought Israel’s entire army together. They crossed the Jordan River, and he commanded them to take their positions facing the Syrian troops.
Soon after the fighting began, 18 the Syrians ran from Israel. David killed seven thousand chariot troops and forty thousand regular soldiers. He also killed Shophach, their commander.
19 When the kings who had been under Hadadezer’s rule saw that Israel had defeated them, they made peace with David and accepted him as their new ruler. The Syrians never helped the Ammonites again.
The End of the War with Ammon
20 The next spring, the time when kings go to war, Joab marched out in command of the Israelite army and destroyed towns all over the country of Ammon. He attacked the capital city of Rabbah and left it in ruins. But David stayed in Jerusalem.
2 Later, David himself went to Rabbah, where he took the crown from the statue of their god Milcom.[b] The crown was made of seventy-five pounds of gold, and there was a valuable jewel on it. David put the jewel on his crown,[c] then carried off everything else of value. 3 He forced the people of Rabbah to work with saws, iron picks, and axes. He also did the same thing with the people in all the other Ammonite towns.
David then led Israel’s army back to Jerusalem.
The Descendants of the Rephaim
4 Some time later, Israel fought a battle against the Philistines at Gezer. During this battle, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Sippai, a descendant of the Rephaim,[d] and the Philistines were defeated.
5 In another battle against the Philistines, Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath from Gath, whose spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam.[e]
6 Another one of the Philistine soldiers who was a descendant of the Rephaim was as big as a giant and had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. During a battle at Gath, 7 he made fun of Israel, so David’s nephew Jonathan[f] killed him.
8 David and his soldiers killed these three men from Gath who were descendants of the Rephaim.
David Counts the People
21 Satan decided to cause trouble for Israel by making David think it was a good idea to find out how many people there were in Israel and Judah. 2 David told Joab and the army commanders, “Count everyone in Israel, from the town of Beersheba in the south all the way north to Dan. Then I will know how many people can serve in my army.”
3 Joab answered, “Your Majesty, even if the Lord made your kingdom a hundred times larger, you would still rule everyone in it. Why do you need to know how many soldiers there are? Don’t you think that would make the whole nation angry?”
4 But David would not change his mind. And so Joab went everywhere in Israel and Judah and counted the people. He returned to Jerusalem 5 and told David that the total number of men who could serve in the army was one million one hundred thousand in Israel and four hundred seventy thousand in Judah. 6 Joab refused to include anyone from the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, because he still disagreed with David’s orders.
God Punishes Israel
7 David’s order to count the people made God angry, and he punished Israel. 8 David prayed, “I am your servant. But what I did was stupid and terribly wrong. Please forgive me.”
9 The Lord said to Gad, one of David’s prophets, 10 “Tell David that I will punish him in one of three ways. But he will have to choose which one it will be.”
11 Gad went to David and told him:
You must choose how the Lord will punish you: 12 Will there be three years when the land won’t grow enough food for its people? Or will your enemies constantly defeat you for three months? Or will the Lord send a horrible disease to strike your land for three days? Think about it and decide, because I have to give your answer to God who sent me.
13 David was miserable and said, “It’s a terrible choice to make! But the Lord is kind, and I’d rather have him punish me than for anyone else to do it.”
14 So the Lord sent a horrible disease on Israel, and seventy thousand Israelites died. 15 Then he sent an angel to destroy the city of Jerusalem. But just as the angel was about to do that, the Lord felt sorry for all the suffering he had caused the people, and he told the angel, “Stop! They have suffered enough.” This happened at the threshing place that belonged to Araunah[g] the Jebusite.
16 David saw the Lord’s angel in the air, holding a sword over Jerusalem. He and the leaders of Israel, who were all wearing sackcloth,[h] bowed with their faces to the ground, 17 and David prayed, “It’s my fault! I sinned by ordering the people to be counted. They have done nothing wrong—they are innocent sheep. Lord God, please punish me and my family. Don’t let the disease wipe out your people.”
David Buys Araunah’s Threshing Place
18 The Lord’s angel told the prophet Gad to tell David that he must go to Araunah’s threshing place and build an altar in honor of the Lord. 19 David followed the Lord’s instructions.
20 Araunah and his four sons were threshing wheat at the time, and when they saw the angel, the four sons ran to hide. 21 Just then, David arrived, and when Araunah saw him, he stopped his work and bowed down.
22 David said, “Would you sell me your threshing place, so I can build an altar on it to the Lord? Then this disease will stop killing the people. I’m willing to pay whatever you say it’s worth.”
23 Araunah answered, “Take it, Your Majesty, and do whatever you want with it. I’ll even give you the oxen for the sacrifice and the wheat for the grain sacrifice. And you can use the threshing-boards[i] for the fire. It’s all yours!”
24 But David replied, “No! I want to pay you what they’re worth. I can’t just take something from you and then offer the Lord a sacrifice that cost me nothing.”
25 So David paid Araunah six hundred gold coins for his threshing place. 26 David built an altar and offered sacrifices to please the Lord[j] and sacrifices to ask his blessing.[k] David prayed, and the Lord answered him by sending fire down on the altar. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel to put the sword away.[l]
28 When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered more sacrifices there at the threshing place, 29-30 because he was afraid of the angel’s sword and did not want to go all the way to Gibeon. That’s where the sacred tent that Moses had made in the desert was kept, as well as the altar where sacrifices were offered to the Lord.
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