24:1 The Lord’s anger again raged against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go count Israel and Judah.” 1 24:2 The king told Joab, the general in command of his army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba and muster the army, so I may know the size of the army.”
24:3 Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God make the army a hundred times larger right before the eyes of my lord the king! But why does my master the king want to do this?”
24:5 They crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, on the south side of the city, at 3 the wadi of Gad, near Jazer. 24:6 Then they went on to Gilead and to the region of Tahtim Hodshi, coming to Dan Jaan and on around to Sidon. 4 24:7 Then they went to the fortress of Tyre 5 and all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went on to the Negev of Judah, to Beer Sheba. 24:8 They went through all the land and after nine months and twenty days came back to Jerusalem. 6
24:10 David felt guilty 8 after he had numbered the army. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, O Lord, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
24:11 When David got up the next morning, the Lord had already spoken 9 to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 24:12 “Go, tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three forms of judgment. Pick one of them and I will carry it out against you.’”
24:13 Gad went to David and told him, “Shall seven 10 years of famine come upon your land? Or shall you flee for three months from your enemy with him in hot pursuit? Or shall there be three days of plague in your land? Now decide 11 what I should tell the one who sent me.” 24:14 David said to Gad, “I am very upset! I prefer that we be attacked by the Lord, for his mercy is great; I do not want to be attacked by men!” 12
24:15 So the Lord sent a plague through Israel from the morning until the completion of the appointed time. Seventy thousand men died from Dan to Beer Sheba.
1 sn The parallel text in 1 Chr 21:1 says, “An adversary opposed Israel, inciting David to count how many warriors Israel had.” The Samuel version gives an underlying theological perspective, while the Chronicler simply describes what happened from a human perspective. The adversary in 1 Chr 21:1 is likely a human enemy, probably a nearby nation whose hostility against Israel pressured David into numbering the people so he could assess his military strength. See the note at 1 Chr 21:1.
2 tn Heb “and the word of the king was stronger than.”
3 tn Heb “in the middle of.”
7 tn Heb “and Joab gave the number of the numbering of the people.”
8 tn Heb “and the heart of David struck him.”
9 tn Heb “and the word of the
11 tn Heb “now know and see.”
12 tn Heb “There is great distress to me. Let us fall into the hand of the