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Siege and Capture of Rabbah

20 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led out the army, ravaged the country of the Ammonites, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah and overthrew it.(A) David took the crown of Milcom[a] from his head; he found that it weighed a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David’s head. He also brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount.(B) He brought out the people who were in it and set them to work[b] with saws and iron picks and axes.[c] Thus David did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.(C)

Exploits against the Philistines

After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued.(D) Again there was war with the Philistines, and Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.(E) Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great size who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; he also was descended from the giants.[d](F) When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants[e] in Gath; they fell by the hand of David and his servants.

The Census and Plague

21 Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel.(G) So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, so that I may know their number.”(H) But Joab said, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”(I) But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. Joab gave the total count of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred seventy thousand who drew the sword.(J) But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.(K)

But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”(L) The Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, so that I may do it to you.”(M) 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Take your choice: 12 either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel. Now decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.”(N) 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 let me not fall into human hands.”(O)

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel.(P) 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord took note and relented concerning the calamity; he said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.(Q) 16 David looked up 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, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.(R) 17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave the command to count the people? It is I who have sinned and done very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house, but do not let your people be plagued!”(S)

David’s Altar and Sacrifice

18 Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to tell David that he should go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.(T) 19 So David went up following Gad’s instructions, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Ornan turned and saw the king,[f] and while his four sons who were with him hid themselves, Ornan continued to thresh wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David; he went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself before David with his face to the ground.(U) 22 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—so 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 present 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 six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site.(V) 26 David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. He called upon the Lord, and he answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.(W) 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

The Place Chosen for the Temple

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he made his sacrifices there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord that Moses had made in the wilderness and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon,(X) 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord. 22 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”(Y)

David Prepares to Build the Temple

David gave orders to gather together the aliens who were residing in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God.(Z) David also provided great stores of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing,(AA) and cedar logs without number—for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David.(AB) For David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorified throughout all lands; I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.(AC)

David’s Charge to Solomon and the Leaders

Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, “My son, I had planned to build a house to the name of the Lord my God.(AD) But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth.(AE) See, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; indeed, his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace[g] and quiet to Israel in his days.(AF) 10 He shall build a house for my name. He shall be a son to me, and I will be a father to him, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’(AG) 11 Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you.(AH) 12 Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, so that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God.(AI) 13 Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed.(AJ) 14 With great pains I have provided for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold, one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone also I have provided. To these you must add more.(AK) 15 You have an abundance of workers: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of artisans without number, skilled in working 16 gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.”(AL)

17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon, saying,(AM) 18 “Is not the Lord your God with you? Has he not given you rest on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and his people.(AN) 19 Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Go and build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into the house built for the name of the Lord.”(AO)


  1. 20.2 Gk Vg: Heb of their king
  2. 20.3 Heb and he sawed
  3. 20.3 Heb saws
  4. 20.6 Gk: Heb from the Raphah
  5. 20.8 Gk: Heb from the Raphah
  6. 21.20 Heb ms Gk: MT angel
  7. 22.9 The Heb word for peace is related to Solomon