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 <<  2 Samuel 24 >> 

1Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. "Go and count the people of Israel and Judah," the LORD told him.

2So the king said to Joab, the commander of his army, "Take a census of all the people in the land––from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south––so that I may know how many people there are."

3But Joab replied to the king, "May the LORD your God let you live until there are a hundred times as many people in your kingdom as there are now! But why do you want to do this?"

4But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab and his officers went out to count the people of Israel.

5First they crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, south of the town in the valley, in the direction of Gad. Then they went on to Jazer,

6then to Gilead in the land of Tahtim–hodshi and to Dan–jaan and around to Sidon.

7Then they came to the stronghold of Tyre, and all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went south to Judah as far as Beersheba.

8Having gone through the entire land, they completed their task in nine months and twenty days and then returned to Jerusalem.

9Joab reported the number of people to the king. There were 800,000 men of military age in Israel and 500,000 in Judah.

10But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly and shouldn’t have taken the census. Please forgive me, LORD, for doing this foolish thing."

11The next morning the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message:

12"Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will do it.’"

13So Gad came to David and asked him, "Will you choose three years of famine throughout the land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout your land? Think this over and let me know what answer to give the LORD."

14"This is a desperate situation!" David replied to Gad. "But let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands."

15So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. Seventy thousand people died throughout the nation.

16But as the death angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD relented and said to the angel, "Stop! That is enough!" At that moment the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17When David saw the angel, he said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are innocent––what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family."

18That day Gad came to David and said to him, "Go and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."

19So David went to do what the LORD had commanded him.

20When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came forward and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

21"Why have you come, my lord?" Araunah asked. And David replied, "I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the LORD there, so that the LORD will stop the plague."

22"Take it, my lord, and use it as you wish," Araunah said to David. "Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing tools and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar.

23I will give it all to you, and may the LORD your God accept your sacrifice."

24But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I cannot present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing." So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.

25David built an altar there to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the LORD answered his prayer, and the plague was stopped.


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 <<  2 Samuel 24 >> 


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