21:1 An adversary 1 opposed 2 Israel, inciting David to count how many warriors Israel had. 3 21:2 David told Joab and the leaders of the army, 4 “Go, count the number of warriors 5 from Beer Sheba to Dan. Then bring back a report to me so I may know how many we have.” 6 21:3 Joab replied, “May the Lord make his army 7 a hundred times larger! My master, O king, do not all of them serve my master? Why does my master want to do this? Why bring judgment on Israel?” 8
21:4 But the king’s edict stood, despite Joab’s objections. 9 So Joab left and traveled throughout Israel before returning to Jerusalem. 10 21:5 Joab reported to David the number of warriors. 11 In all Israel there were 1,100,000 12 sword-wielding soldiers; Judah alone had 470,000 sword-wielding soldiers. 13 21:6 Now Joab 14 did not number Levi and Benjamin, for the king’s edict disgusted him. 21:7 God was also offended by it, 15 so he attacked Israel.
21:8 David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 21:9 The Lord told Gad, David’s prophet, 16 21:10 “Go, tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: “I am offering you three forms of judgment from which to choose. Pick one of them.”’” 17 21:11 Gad went to David and told him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Pick one of these: 21:12 three 18 years of famine, or three months being chased by your enemies and struck down by their swords, 19 or three days being struck down by the Lord, during which a plague will invade the land and the Lord’s messenger will destroy throughout Israel’s territory.’ 20 Now, decide what I should tell the one who sent me.” 21:13 David said to Gad, “I am very upset! I prefer to be attacked by the Lord, for his mercy is very great; I do not want to be attacked by men!” 21 21:14 So the Lord sent a plague through Israel, and 70,000 Israelite men died.
21:15 God sent an angel 22 to ravage 23 Jerusalem. As he was doing so, 24 the Lord watched 25 and relented from 26 his judgment. 27 He told the angel who was destroying, “That’s enough! 28 Stop now!” 29
Now the Lord’s angel was standing near the threshing floor of Ornan 30 the Jebusite. 21:16 David looked up and saw the Lord’s messenger standing between the earth and sky with his sword drawn and in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. David and the leaders, covered with sackcloth, threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 31 21:17 David said to God, “Was I not the one who decided to number the army? I am the one who sinned and committed this awful deed! 32 As for these sheep – what have they done? O Lord my God, attack me and my family, 33 but remove the plague from your people!” 34
21:18 So the Lord’s messenger told Gad to instruct David to go up and build 35 an altar for the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 21:19 So David went up as Gad instructed him to do in the name of the Lord. 36 21:20 While Ornan was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the messenger, and he and his four sons hid themselves. 21:21 When David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David; he came out from the threshing floor and bowed to David with his face 37 to the ground. 21:22 David said to Ornan, “Sell me the threshing floor 38 so I can build 39 on it an altar for the Lord – I’ll pay top price 40 – so that the plague may be removed 41 from the people.” 21:23 Ornan told David, “You can have it! 42 My master, the king, may do what he wants. 43 Look, I am giving you the oxen for burnt sacrifices, the threshing sledges for wood, and the wheat for an offering. I give it all to you.” 21:24 King David replied to Ornan, “No, I insist on buying it for top price. 44 I will not offer to the Lord what belongs to you or offer a burnt sacrifice 45 that cost me nothing. 46 21:25 So David bought the place from Ornan for 600 pieces of gold. 47 21:26 David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. 48 He called out to the Lord, and the Lord 49 responded by sending fire from the sky and consuming the burnt sacrifice on the altar. 21:27 The Lord ordered the messenger 50 to put his sword back into its sheath.
21:28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord responded to him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 21:29 Now the Lord’s tabernacle (which Moses had made in the wilderness) and the altar for burnt sacrifices were at that time at the worship center 51 in Gibeon. 21:30 But David could not go before it to seek God’s will, for he was afraid of the sword of the Lord’s messenger.
1 tn Or “Satan.” The Hebrew word שָׂטָן (satan) can refer to an adversary in general or Satan in particular. There is no article accompanying the term here, which suggests it should be understood generally (cf. NAB “a satan”).
2 tn Heb “stood against.”
sn The parallel text in 2 Sam 24:1 says, “The
4 tn Or “people.”
6 tn Heb “their number.”
7 tn Or “people.”
9 tn Heb “and the word of the king was stronger than Joab.”
11 tn Heb “and Joab gave to David the number of the numbering of the army [or “people”].”
12 tn Heb “a thousand thousands and one hundred thousand.”
14 tn Heb “he”; the proper name (“Joab”) has been substituted for the pronoun here for stylistic reasons; the proper name occurs at the end of the verse in the Hebrew text, where it has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation.
15 tn Heb “There was displeasure in the eyes of God concerning this thing.”
16 tn Heb “seer.”
17 tn Heb “Three I am extending to you; choose for yourself one of them and I will do it to you.”
19 tc Heb “or three months being swept away from before your enemies and the sword of your enemies overtaking.” The Hebrew term נִסְפֶּה (nisppeh, Niphal participle from סָפָה, safah) should probably be emended to נֻסְכָה (nusÿkhah, Qal infinitive from נוּס [nus] with second masculine singular suffix). See 2 Sam 24:13.
20 tn Heb “or three days of the sword of the
21 tn Heb “There is great distress to me; let me fall into the hand of the
23 tn Or “destroy.”
24 tn Heb “while he was destroying.”
25 tn Or “saw.”
26 tn Or “was grieved because of.”
27 tn Heb “concerning the calamity.”
29 tn Heb “Now, drop your hand.”
31 tn Heb “and David and the elders, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces.”
32 tn “and doing evil I did evil.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite form of the verb for emphasis.
33 tn Heb “let your hand be on me and on the house of my father.”
34 tn Heb “but on your people not for a plague.”
35 tn Heb “that he should go up to raise up.”
36 tn Heb “and David went up by the word of Gad which he spoke in the name of the
37 tn Heb “nostrils.”
38 tn Heb “the place of the threshing floor.”
39 tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive here indicates the immediate purpose/result: “so I can build.”
40 tn Heb “For full silver sell to me.”
41 tn Following the imperative and first person prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive, this third person prefixed verbal form with vav conjunctive introduces the ultimate purpose/result: “so the plague may be removed.” Another option is subordinate this form to the preceding imperative, but the latter may be taken as a parenthetical expansion of the initial request.
42 tn Heb “take for yourself.”
43 tn Heb “what is good in his eyes.”
44 tn Heb “No, for buying I will buy for full silver.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.
46 tn Or “without [paying] compensation.”
tn Heb “six hundred shekels of gold.” This would have been about 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) of gold by weight.
48 tn Or “tokens of peace.”
49 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the
50 tn Heb “spoke to the messenger.”
51 tn Or “high place.”