2 Samuel 22-24 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
David’s Song of Praise to the Lord
22 [a] David sang this song to the Lord when the Lord saved him from Saul and all his other enemies.
2 The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety.
5 Waves of death were crashing around me.
16 The Lord shouted his command,
17 The Lord reached down from above and grabbed me.
26 Lord, you are faithful to those who are faithful.
31 God’s way is perfect.
36 Lord, you have given me your shield to protect me.
40 Lord, you made me strong in battle.
44 You saved me from those who fought against me.
47 The Lord lives!
You help me defeat those who attack me.
51 You help your king win battle after battle.
David’s Last Words
23 These are the last words of David:
“This message is from David son of Jesse.
5 “God made my family strong and secure.[f]
6 “But evil people are like thorns.
The Three Heroes
8 These are the names of David’s special soldiers:
9 Next, there was Eleazar son of Dodai[j] who was there with David when he challenged the Philistines who had gathered for battle. The Israelites ran away, 10 but Eleazar stood and fought the Philistines until his hand became so tired that it cramped around his sword handle. The Lord won a great victory that day. The people of Israel came back, but only to take things from the dead.
11 Next there was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines came together to fight. They fought in a field of lentils.[k] The people ran away from the Philistines. 12 But Shammah stood in the middle of the field and defended it. He defeated the Philistines. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day.
13 Once during harvest time David was at the cave of Adullam, and three of the Thirty Heroes[l] went down to meet him there. At the same time the Philistine army was camped in the Valley of Rephaim.[m]
14 Another time David was in the fortress, and a group of Philistines soldiers was stationed in Bethlehem. 15 David was thirsty for some water from his hometown, so he said, “Oh, if only I could have some water from that well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three Heroes[n] fought their way through the Philistine army and got some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem. They took it to David, but he refused to drink it. He poured it on the ground as an offering to the Lord. 17 David said, “Lord, I cannot drink this water. It would be like drinking the blood of the men who risked their lives for me.” This is why David refused to drink the water. The Three Heroes did many brave things like that.
Other Brave Soldiers
18 Abishai was the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah. Abishai was the leader of the Three Heroes. He used his spear against 300 enemies and killed them. He became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was as famous as the Three Heroes. He became their leader, even though he was not one of them.
20 Then there was Benaiah son of Jehoiada, from Kabzeel. He was the son of a powerful man.[o] Benaiah did many brave things. He killed two of the best soldiers in Moab. One day when it was snowing, Benaiah went down into a hole in the ground and killed a lion. 21 Benaiah also killed a big Egyptian soldier. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, and Benaiah only had a club. He grabbed the spear in the Egyptian’s hands and took it away from him. Then Benaiah killed the Egyptian with his own spear. 22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada did many more brave things like that. He was as famous as the Three Heroes. 23 Benaiah was even more famous than the Thirty Heroes, but he did not become a member of the Three Heroes. David made Benaiah the leader of his bodyguards.
The Thirty Heroes
24 The following men were among the Thirty Heroes:
Asahel, the brother of Joab;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
25 Shammah the Harodite;
Elika the Harodite;
26 Helez the Paltite;
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
27 Abiezer from Anathoth;
Mebunnai the Hushathite;
28 Zalmon the Ahohite;
Maharai from Netophah;
29 Heled son of Baanah from Netophah;
Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of Benjamin;
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite;
Hiddai from the Brooks of Gaash;
31 Abi Albon the Arbathite;
Azmaveth the Barhumite;
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite;
the sons of Jashen;
Jonathan 33 the son of Shammah from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite;
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;
35 Hezro the Carmelite;
Paarai the Arbite;
36 Igal son of Nathan of Zobah;
Bani the Gadite;
37 Zelek the Ammonite;
Naharai from Beeroth (Naharai carried the armor for Joab son of Zeruiah);
38 Ira the Ithrite;
Gareb the Ithrite;
39 and Uriah the Hittite.
There were 37 in all.
David Decides to Count His Army
24 The Lord was angry with Israel again. He caused David to turn against the Israelites. He told David, “Go count the people of Israel and Judah.”
2 King David said to Joab, the captain of the army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba,[p] and count the people. Then I will know how many people there are.”
3 But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God give you 100 times as many people, no matter how many there are! And may your eyes see this thing happen. But why do you want to do this?”
4 King David strongly commanded Joab and the other captains of the army to count the people. So they went out from the king to count the people of Israel. 5 After they crossed over the Jordan River, they made their camp in Aroer on the right side of the city. (The city is in the middle of the valley of Gad, on the way to Jazer.)
6 Then they went east to Gilead, all the way to Tahtim Hodshi. Then they went north to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon. 7 They went to the fort of Tyre. They went to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites. Then they went south to Beersheba in the southern part of Judah. 8 It took them nine months and 20 days for them to go through the country. After nine months and 20 days they came back to Jerusalem.
9 Joab gave the list of the people to the king. There were 800,000 men in Israel who could use the sword. And there were 500,000 men in Judah.
The Lord Punishes David
10 David felt ashamed after he had counted the people and said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I did! Lord, I beg you, forgive me for my sin. I have been very foolish.”
11 When David got up in the morning, the Lord gave this message to Gad, David’s seer: 12 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: There are three ways you can be punished. Choose the one you want.’”
13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Choose one of these three: seven[q] years of famine for you and your country, being chased by your enemies for three months, or three days of disease in your country. Think about it, and decide which one you want. I must give your answer to the one who sent me.”
14 David said to Gad, “This is a terrible situation to be in. But it would be better to be punished by the Lord than by anyone else, because he is very merciful.”
15 So the Lord sent a disease against Israel. It began in the morning and continued until the chosen time to stop. From Dan to Beersheba 70,000 people died. 16 The angel raised his arm over Jerusalem and was ready to destroy it, but the Lord felt very sorry about the bad things that had happened. He said to the angel who destroyed the people, “That’s enough! Put down your arm.” The Lord’s angel was by the threshing floor of Araunah[r] the Jebusite.[s]
David Buys Araunah’s Threshing Floor
17 When he saw the angel who killed the people, David spoke to the Lord. David said, “I sinned! I did wrong! And these people only did what I told them—they only followed me like sheep. They did nothing wrong. Please let your punishment be against me and my father’s family.”
18 That day Gad came to David and said, “Go and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David did what Gad told him to. David did what the Lord wanted and went to see Araunah. 20 Araunah looked and saw King David and his officers coming to him. Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground. 21 He said, “Why has my lord and king come to me?”
David answered, “I came to buy the threshing floor from you. Then I can build an altar to the Lord. Then the disease will stop.”
22 Araunah said to David, “My lord and king, you can take anything you want for a sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the burnt offering, and the threshing boards and the yokes for the wood. 23 O King, I give everything to you!” Araunah also said to the king, “May the Lord your God be pleased with you.”
24 But the king said to Araunah, “No! I must pay you for everything. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver. 25 Then David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
The Lord answered his prayer for the country. He stopped the disease in Israel.