1Again the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count Israel and Judah.”
2The king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and number the people so that I can know the number of the people.”
3Joab said to the king, “Now may Yahweh your God add to the people 100 times, however many they are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?”
4But the king’s word prevailed over Joab and over the commanders of the army, so Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to number the people of Israel.
5They crossed over the Jordan and encamped in Aroer on the right side of the city that is in the middle of the valley of Gad, and to Jazer;
6then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi, and they came to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon,
7and came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites; and they went out to the south of Judah at Beer-sheba.
8So when they had gone throughout all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and 20 days.
9Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king, and there were in Israel 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000 men.
10But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to Yahweh, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Yahweh, please remove the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”
11When David rose up in the morning, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
12“Go and speak to David, ‘This is what Yahweh says: I impose upon you three things. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’”
13So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Do you want seven years of famine to come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or will there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and decide what answer I am to bring back to him who sent me.”
14David said to Gad, “I am in distress. Let us fall now into the hand of Yahweh, for his mercies are great. Let me not fall into the hand of man.”
15So Yahweh sent a plague on Israel from the morning to the appointed time, and there died of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba 70,000 men.
16When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, Yahweh changed his mind concerning the evil and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough! Now withdraw your hand.” Now the angel of Yahweh was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17David spoke to Yahweh when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, I have sinned and I have done wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father’s house.”
18Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up, build an altar to Yahweh on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
19David went up according to the word of Gad, as Yahweh commanded.
20And Araunah looked out and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. Then Araunah went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.
21Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy your threshing floor in order to build an altar to Yahweh, so that the plague may be removed from the people.”
22Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good in his eyes. Behold, the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sled and the gear of the oxen for the wood;
23all this, O king, does Araunah give to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May Yahweh your God accept you.”
24But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy, yes, buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to Yahweh my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver.a
25So David built an altar to Yahweh there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So Yahweh allowed himself to be entreated for the land, and the plague was removed from Israel.