Census Brings Plague

21 (A)Then Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “(B)Go, count Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me word so that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “(C)May the Lord add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?” Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout Israel, and came to Jerusalem. Then Joab gave the number of the census of the people to David. (D)Israel was 1,100,000 men in all who drew the sword; and Judah was 470,000 men who drew the sword. (E)But he did not [a]count Levi and Benjamin among them, because the king’s [b]command was abhorrent to Joab.

Now [c]God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel. David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, [d]by doing this thing. (F)But now, please overlook Your servant’s guilt, for I have behaved very foolishly.”

The Lord spoke to (G)Gad, David’s (H)seer, saying, 10 “Go and speak to David, saying, ‘This is what the Lord says: “I extend to you three choices; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take for yourself 12 (I)three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord: a plague in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout the territory of Israel.’ Now, therefore, consider what answer I shall bring back to Him who sent me.” 13 David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, (J)for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into human hands.”

14 (K)So the Lord [e]sent a plague on Israel; seventy thousand men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw and (L)was sorry about the catastrophe, and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough; now relax your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of [f]Ornan the Jebusite. 16 Then David raised his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, (M)covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 And David said to God, “Is it not I who [g]commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and acted very wickedly, (N)but these sheep, what have they done? Lord, my God, just let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, and not against Your people as a plague.”

David’s Altar

18 (O)Then the angel of the Lord [h]commanded Gad to say to David, that David was 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 of Gad, which he spoke in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan turned back and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. And Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself to David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the [i]site of this threshing floor, so that I may build on it an altar to the Lord; you shall give it to me for the full price, so that the plague may be brought to a halt from the people.” 23 But Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself, and may my lord the king do what is good in his sight. See, I am giving the oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I am giving it all.” 24 Nevertheless, King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will certainly buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer a burnt offering [j]which costs me nothing.” 25 So (P)David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the [k]site. 26 Then David built an altar there to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the Lord, and (Q)He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 The Lord commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.

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

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 21:6 Lit muster
  2. 1 Chronicles 21:6 Lit word
  3. 1 Chronicles 21:7 Lit it was evil in the sight of God
  4. 1 Chronicles 21:8 that I did
  5. 1 Chronicles 21:14 Lit gave
  6. 1 Chronicles 21:15 In 2 Sam 24:16, Araunah
  7. 1 Chronicles 21:17 Lit said
  8. 1 Chronicles 21:18 Lit said to
  9. 1 Chronicles 21:22 Lit place
  10. 1 Chronicles 21:24 Lit gratuitously
  11. 1 Chronicles 21:25 Lit place