Add parallel Print Page Options

21 The Adversary [a] now rose up against Isra’el and incited David to take a census of Isra’el. David said to Yo’av and the leaders of the people, “Go, take a census of Isra’el from Be’er-Sheva to Dan; then report to me, so that I can know how many of them there are.” Yo’av said, “May Adonai make his people a hundred times as many as they are now! But, my lord the king, aren’t they all my lord’s servants in any case? Why does my lord the king require this? Why should he bring guilt upon Isra’el?” Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Yo’av. So Yo’av left and went through all Isra’el, after which he came to Yerushalayim.

Yo’av reported the results of the census to David: in Isra’el were 1,100,000 men who could handle a sword, while Y’hudah had 470,000 men who could handle a sword. But he didn’t count Levi and Binyamin among them, because the king’s order was hateful to Yo’av.

God was displeased with this and therefore punished Isra’el. David said to God, “I have greatly sinned by doing this. But now, please! Put aside your servant’s sin, for I have done a very foolish thing.” Adonai spoke to Gad, David’s seer: 10 “Go and tell David that Adonai says, ‘I am offering you a choice of three punishments: choose one of them, and I will execute it against you.’” 11 Gad came to David and said to him, “Take your choice: 12 three years of famine; or three months of being swept away by your enemies, while your enemies’ sword overwhelms you; or three days of Adonai’s sword — plague in the land, with the angel of Adonai destroying everywhere in Isra’el’s territory. Now think about what answer I should give to the one who sent me.”

13 David said to Gad, “This is very hard for me. Let me fall into the hand of Adonai, because his mercies are very great, rather than have me fall into the hand of man.” 14 So Adonai sent a plague on Isra’el; 70,000 of the people of Isra’el died.

15 God also sent an angel to destroy Yerushalayim, but when he was about to carry out the destruction, Adonai saw it and changed his mind about causing such distress; so he said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Now withdraw your hand.” The angel of Adonai was standing at the threshing-floor of Ornan the Y’vusi. 16 David raised his eyes and saw the angel of Adonai standing between the earth and the sky, and in his hand was a drawn sword stretched out over Yerushalayim. Then David and the leaders, wearing sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 David said to God, “Wasn’t it I who ordered the census of the people? Yes, I am the one who has sinned and done something very wicked. But these sheep, what have they done? Please! Let your hand be against me and my father’s family, but not against your people, striking them with this plague!”

18 Then the angel of Adonai ordered Gad to tell David to go and set up an altar to Adonai on the threshing-floor of Ornan the Y’vusi. 19 David went up at Gad’s word, spoken in Adonai’s name. 20 Ornan turned back and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. As Ornan was threshing wheat, 21 David approached Ornan. When Ornan looked and saw David, he went out from the threshing-floor and prostrated himself before David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Let me have the parcel with this threshing-floor, so that I can build on it an altar to Adonai — I will pay you its full value — so that the plague will be lifted from the people.” 23 Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. I’m giving you the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing-sledges for firewood and the wheat for the grain offering — I’m giving it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No; I insist on buying it from you at the full price. I refuse to take what is yours for Adonai or offer a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” 25 So David bought the place from Ornan for 600 shekels of gold by weight [fifteen pounds]. 26 Then David built an altar to Adonai there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. He called on Adonai, who answered him from heaven by fire on the altar for burnt offerings. 27 Adonai gave an order to the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath. 28 When David saw that Adonai had answered him at the threshing-floor of Ornan the Y’vusi, he sacrificed there. 29 For at that time the tabernacle of Adonai, which Moshe had made in the desert, together with the altar for burnt offerings, were in the high place at Giv‘on. 30 But David could not go into its presence to consult God, because the sword of the angel of Adonai had struck him with terror.


  1. 1 Chronicles 21:1 Hebrew: Satan

Bible Gateway Recommends

The Complete Jewish Study Bible
The Complete Jewish Study Bible
Retail: $49.95
Our Price: $31.99
Save: $17.96 (36%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars