The Census Taken
1 Then again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2 So the king, David, said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him and to the princes of the people, “Go about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and register the people, that I may know the number of the people. Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, and bring me word that I may know their number.” 3 But Joab said to the king, “Now may the LORD your God add to His people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord the king seek and delight in this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?” 4 Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the commanders of the army. Therefore, Joab and the commanders of the army departed and went out from the presence of the king and went throughout all Israel to register the people of Israel. 5 They crossed the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the city that is in the middle of the valley of Gad and toward Jazer. 6 Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi, and they came to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon, 7 and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites, and they went out to the south of Judah, to Beersheba. 8 So when they had gone about through the whole land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 And Joab gave the number of the registration of the people to the king (David); and there were in all Israel eight hundred thousand (1,100,000) valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand (470,000) men who drew the sword. 6 But he did not number Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab. 7 God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel. 10 Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD God, “I have sinned greatly in this thing I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 11 When David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came and spoke to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and speak to David, saying,’Thus the LORD says, “I am offering you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.””‘ 13 So Gad came to David and told him, “Thus says the Lord,’Take for yourself 12 either 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, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now therefore, consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us (me) now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand (70,000) men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 16 And when the angel God sent stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD saw and was sorry and relented from the calamity and said to the destroying angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite. 16 Then David lifted up 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, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 Then David spoke to the LORD God when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong, who have done very wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? O LORD my God, please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.”
18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 18 So Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David went up according to the word of Gad, which he spoke in the name of the LORD just as the LORD had commanded. 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 the king and his servants crossing over toward him, and Araunah went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself and bowed before David the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be held back from the people.” 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of this threshing floor, that I may build on it an altar to the LORD; for the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people.” 23 Ornan (Araunah) said to David, “Take it for yourself; and let my lord the king offer up and do what is good in his sight. Look, see, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I will give it all. Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” 24 However, King David said to Ornan (Araunah), “No, but I will surely buy it from you for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering to the LORD my God which costs me nothing.” 25 So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver and gave Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 Then David built an altar to the LORD there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the LORD and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 The LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel. 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 For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were in 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.
Scripture taken or blended from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (R), Copyright (C) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.