1 Chronicles Chapter 21  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Commentary on 1 Chr 21
David’s Military Census

1And Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count Israel.
  2And David said to Joab and to the commanders of the people, “Go, count Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring to me a report, so that I may know their number.”

3But Joab said, “May Yahweh make his people 100 times as many as they are, but my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord require this thing? Why will he be a cause of guilt to Israel?”

4Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came back to Jerusalem.
  5Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All those of Israel were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah were 470,000 men who drew the sword.
  6But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them because the king’s word was detestable to Joab.
  7But this thing was evil in God’s eyes and he struck Israel.

8Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now I beg you, take away the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”

David’s Punishment

9Yahweh spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying,
  10“Go and speak to David, saying, ‘This is what Yahweh says: I offer you three things. Choose one of them, and I will do it to you.’”

11So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘Take your choice:
  12either three years of famine; or three months of being swept away before your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or else three days of the sword of Yahweh, plague in the land, and the angel of Yahweh destroying throughout all the territory of Israel. So now decide what answer I am to bring back to him who sent me.’”

13David said to Gad, “I am in distress. Let me fall now into the hand of Yahweh, for his mercies are very great. Let me not fall into the hand of man.”

14So Yahweh sent a plague on Israel and 70,000 men of Israel fell.
  15And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. But as he was about to destroy it, Yahweh saw it and changed his mind concerning the evil and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough! Now withdraw your hand.” Now the angel of Yahweh was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

16And David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of Yahweh standing between earth and heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.
  17David said to God, “Is it not I who commanded the people to be counted? It is I who have sinned and done very wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Yahweh my God, be against me and against my father’s house, but do not let the plague be against your people.”

David’s Altar

18Then the angel of Yahweh commanded Gad to tell David that David was to go up to build an altar to Yahweh on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
  19So David went up at the word of Gad, which he spoke in the name of Yahweh.

20And Ornan turned around and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat.
  21As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out of the threshing floor and bowed down to David with his face to the ground.

22Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the place of this threshing floor so that I can build an altar to Yahweh on it. You are to sell it to me for the full price, that the plague may be stopped from being on the people.”

23Ornan said to David, “Take it as your own, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Behold, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sleds for wood and the wheat for the grain offering. I give it all.”

24But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy, yes, buy it for the full price. For I will not take what is yours for Yahweh, nor offer a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

25So David gave to Ornan 600 shekelsa of gold by weight for the place.
  26David built an altar to Yahweh there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on Yahweh; and he answered him by fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering.

27And Yahweh commanded the angel, and he put back his sword into its sheath.
  28At that time, when David saw that Yahweh had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite he sacrificed there,
  29even though the tabernacle of Yahweh, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering, were at that time in the high place at Gibeon.
  30But David could not go before it to inquire of God because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of Yahweh.

Roughly 15 pounds (6.8 kg)

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