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?”
24:4 But the king’s edict stood, despite the objections of 2 Joab and the leaders of the army. So Joab and the leaders of the army left the king’s presence in order to muster the Israelite army.
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
24:9 Joab reported the number of warriors 7 to the king. In Israel there were 800,000 sword-wielding warriors, and in Judah there were 500,000 soldiers.
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.”
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.”
4 map For location see Map1-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3.
5 map For location see Map1-A2; Map2-G2; Map4-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3.
6 map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
7 tn Heb “and Joab gave the number of the numbering of the people.”
8 tn Heb “and the heart of David struck him.”