1 Chronicles 21 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
The Census of David
21 Then Satan[a] stood against Israel and urged David to count Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and to the commanders of the nation, “Go, count Israel from Beersheba to Dan and bring a report to me that I might know their number.” 3 But Joab said, “May Yahweh add to the people a hundred times what they are! Are they not, O my lord the king, all of them the king’s servants? Why does my lord seek this? Why would he bring guilt to Israel?” 4 But the word of the king prevailed over Joab. Then he went about through all Israel and came to Jerusalem. 5 And Joab gave the number of the enrollment of the people to David. And it happened that all Israel was one million one hundred thousand men drawing a sword, and in Judah were four hundred and seventy thousand men drawing a sword. 6 But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the word of the king was repulsive to Joab.
7 But this word was displeasing in the eyes of God, and he struck Israel. 8 Then David said to God, “I have sinned severely in that I have done this thing. But now, please forgive the sin of your servant, for I have been very foolish.” 9 Then Yahweh spoke to Gad the seer of David, saying, 10 “Go, you must speak to David, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh: “Three choices I offer to you. Choose one of them for yourself that I will do to you.”’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says Yahweh: ‘Choose for yourself: 12 whether three years of famine or three months of devastation by your enemies while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or three days of the sword of Yahweh, with disease in the land and the angel of Yahweh destroying throughout all the territory in Israel.’ So now, see what word I should return to my sender.” 13 Then David said to Gad, “I am very troubled.[b] Let me into the hand of Yahweh, for his compassion is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of a man.”
14 So Yahweh sent a pestilence through Israel, and seventy thousand men from Israel fell. 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, and as he was about to destroy it, Yahweh saw and was grieved on account of the calamity. Then he said to the angel, the destroyer, “It is enough; slacken your hand.” And the angel of Yahweh was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of Yahweh standing between earth and heaven, with his sword drawn in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17 Then David said to God, “Was it not I who gave a command to count the people? Now I am he who has sinned, and I have certainly done wickedness, but these sheep, what have they done? O Yahweh, my God, please let your hand be against me and against the house of my father, but against your people, let there be no plague.”
David Builds an Altar
18 Now the angel of Yahweh had spoken to Gad to say to David that David should go up and erect an altar for Yahweh. 19 So David went up at the word of Gad that he had spoken in the name of Yahweh. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat, and Ornan turned and saw the angel, and his four sons with him hid themselves. 21 Then David came to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David. And he went out from the threshing floor, and they bowed down to David, faces to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Please give me the place, the threshing floor, that I might build an altar on it to Yahweh; at full price please give it to me, that the plague against the people might be stopped.” 23 And Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself; let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. See, I give the cattle for the burnt offerings and threshing sledges for the wood and wheat for the grain offering—I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, for I will certainly buy it at full value; indeed, I will not take what is yours for Yahweh and offer burnt offerings for nothing.” 25 So David gave to Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. 26 Then David built an altar there to Yahweh, and he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and he called to Yahweh. And he answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then Yahweh commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.
28 At that time, when David saw that Yahweh answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 Now the tabernacle of Yahweh that Moses had made in the desert and the altar of burnt offering were at that time at the high place of Gibeon. 30 But David was not able to go before it to seek God, for he was afraid on account of the sword of the angel of Yahweh.
1 Chronicles 21 New International Version (NIV)
David Counts the Fighting Men
21 Satan 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 and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”
3 But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. 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?”
4 The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. 5 Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.
6 But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. 7 This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.
8 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.”
9 The Lord said to Gad, David’s seer, 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, three months of being swept away[a] before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—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 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. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying 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.
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. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, 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 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, 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 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. 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.