David’s Last Words

23 These are the last words of David:

The declaration of David son of Jesse,(A)
the declaration of the man raised on high,[a]
the one anointed by the God of Jacob.(B)
This is the most delightful of Israel’s songs.
The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me,
his word was on my tongue.(C)
The God of Israel spoke;
the Rock of Israel said to me,
“The one who rules the people with justice,
who rules in the fear of God,(D)
is like the morning light when the sun rises
on a cloudless morning,
the glisten of rain on sprouting grass.”

Is it not true my house is with God?
For he has established a permanent covenant(E) with me,
ordered and secured in every detail.(F)
Will he not bring about
my whole salvation and my every desire?
But all the wicked are like thorns raked aside;
they can never be picked up by hand.
The man who touches them
must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear.
They will be completely burned up on the spot.

Exploits of David’s Warriors

These are the names of David’s warriors:(G)

Josheb-basshebeth the Tahchemonite was chief of the officers.[b] He wielded his spear[c] against eight hundred men that he killed at one time.

After him, Eleazar son of Dodo son of an Ahohite was among the three warriors with David when they defied the Philistines. The men of Israel retreated in the place they had gathered for battle, 10 but Eleazar stood his ground and attacked the Philistines until his hand was tired and stuck to his sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. Then the troops came back to him, but only to plunder the dead.

11 After him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had assembled in formation where there was a field full of lentils. The troops fled from the Philistines, 12 but Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field, defended it, and struck down the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Three of the thirty leading warriors went down at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam,(H) while a company of Philistines was camping in Rephaim Valley. 14 At that time David was in the stronghold,(I) and a Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 15 David was extremely thirsty[d] and said, “If only someone would bring me water to drink from the well at the city gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So three of the warriors broke through the Philistine camp and drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem. They brought it back to David, but he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out to the Lord. 17 David said, “Lord, I would never do such a thing! Is this not the blood of men who risked their lives?” So he refused to drink it. Such were the exploits of the three warriors.

18 Abishai, Joab’s brother and son of Zeruiah,(J) was leader of the Three.[e] He wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them, gaining a reputation among the Three. 19 Was he not more honored than the Three? He became their commander even though he did not become one of the Three.(K)

20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada(L) was the son of a brave man from Kabzeel, a man of many exploits. Benaiah killed two sons[f] of Ariel[g] of Moab, and he went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21 He also killed an Egyptian, an impressive man. Even though the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went down to him with a staff, snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and then killed him with his own spear. 22 These were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada, who had a reputation among the three warriors. 23 He was the most honored of the Thirty, but he did not become one of the Three. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 Among the Thirty were

Joab’s brother Asahel,(M)

Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

25 Shammah the Harodite,

Elika the Harodite,

26 Helez the Paltite,

Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,

27 Abiezer the Anathothite,

Mebunnai the Hushathite,

28 Zalmon the Ahohite,

Maharai the Netophathite,

29 Heleb son of Baanah the Netophathite,

Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah of the Benjaminites,

30 Benaiah the Pirathonite,

Hiddai from the wadis of Gaash,[h]

31 Abi-albon the Arbathite,

Azmaveth the Barhumite,

32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite,

the sons of Jashen,

Jonathan son of[i] 33 Shammah the Hararite,

Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite,

34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai son of the Maacathite,

Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,(N)

35 Hezro the Carmelite,

Paarai the Arbite,

36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,

Bani the Gadite,

37 Zelek the Ammonite,

Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer for Joab son of Zeruiah,

38 Ira the Ithrite,

Gareb the Ithrite,

39 and Uriah(O) the Hethite.(P)

There were thirty-seven in all.

David’s Military Census

24 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again, and he stirred up David against them to say, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”(Q)

So the king said to Joab, the commander of his army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the troops so I can know their number.”(R)

Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times more than they are(S)—while my lord the king looks on! But why does my lord the king want to do this?”

Yet the king’s order prevailed over Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army left the king’s presence to register the troops of Israel.

They crossed the Jordan and camped in Aroer,(T) south of the town in the middle of the valley, and then proceeded toward Gad and Jazer. They went to Gilead and to the land of the Hittites[j] and continued on to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon. They went to the fortress of Tyre and all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites. Afterward, they went to the Negev of Judah at Beer-sheba.

When they had gone through the whole land, they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab gave the king the total of the registration of the troops. There were eight hundred thousand valiant armed men[k] from Israel and five hundred thousand men from Judah.(U)

10 David’s conscience troubled him(V) after he had taken a census of the troops. He said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I’ve done. Now, Lord, because I’ve been very foolish,(W) please take away your servant’s guilt.”

David’s Punishment

11 When David got up in the morning, the word of the Lord had come to the prophet Gad,(X) David’s seer:(Y) 12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three choices. Choose one of them, and I will do it to you.’”

13 So Gad went to David, told him the choices, and asked him, “Do you want three[l] years of famine to come on your land, to flee from your foes three months while they pursue you, or to have a plague in your land three days? Now, consider carefully[m] what answer I should take back to the one who sent me.”

14 David answered Gad, “I have great anxiety. Please, let us fall into the Lord’s hands because his mercies are great,(Z) but don’t let me fall into human hands.”

15 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the appointed time, and from Dan to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men died. 16 Then the angel extended his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it,(AA) but the Lord relented concerning the destruction(AB) and said to the angel who was destroying(AC) the people, “Enough, withdraw your hand now!” The angel of the Lord was then at the threshing floor of Araunah[n] the Jebusite.(AD)

17 When David saw the angel striking the people, he said to the Lord, “Look, I am the one who has sinned; I am the one[o] who has done wrong. But these sheep, what have they done? Please, let your hand be against me and my father’s family.”

David’s Altar

18 Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up and set up an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 David went up in obedience to Gad’s command, just as the Lord had commanded. 20 Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants coming toward him, so he went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground.

21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

David replied, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so the plague on the people may be halted.”(AE)

22 Araunah said to David, “My lord the king may take whatever he wants[p] and offer it. Here are the oxen for a burnt offering and the threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood.(AF) 23 Your Majesty, Araunah gives everything here to the king.” Then he said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 The king answered Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it from you for a price, for I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for twenty ounces[q] of silver. 25 He built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord was receptive to prayer for the land,(AG) and the plague on Israel ended.


  1. 23:1 Or raised up by the high God
  2. 23:8 Some Hb mss, LXX read Three
  3. 23:8 Some Hb mss; other Hb mss, LXX read He was Adino the Eznite
  4. 23:15 Lit And David craved
  5. 23:18 Some Hb mss, Syr read the Thirty
  6. 23:20 LXX; MT omits sons
  7. 23:20 Or two warriors
  8. 23:30 Or from Nahale-gaash
  9. 23:32 Some LXX mss; MT omits son of; 1Ch 11:34
  10. 24:6 LXX; MT reads of Tahtim-hodshi; Hb obscure
  11. 24:9 Lit men of valor drawing the sword
  12. 24:13 LXX; MT reads seven; 1Ch 21:12
  13. 24:13 Lit Now, know and see
  14. 24:16 = Ornan in 1Ch 21:15–28; 2Ch 3:1
  15. 24:17 LXX reads shepherd
  16. 24:22 Lit take what is good in his eyes
  17. 24:24 Lit 50 shekels

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