Satan Provoked David to Number Israel
Phillip Medhurst, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A. PearseInternet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons
1 Chronicles 21
21:1 Now Satan rose up against Israel, and he incited David so that he would number Israel.
21:2 And David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people: “Go, and number Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan. And bring me the number, so that I may know it.”
21:3 And Joab responded: “May the Lord increase his people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all your servants? Why would my lord seek this thing, which may be imputed as a sin to Israel?”
21:4 But the word of the king prevailed instead. And Joab went away, and he traveled around, through all of Israel. And he returned to Jerusalem.
21:5 And he gave to David the number of those whom he had surveyed. And the entire number of Israel was found to be one million and one hundred thousand men who could draw the sword; but from Judah, there were four hundred and seventy thousand men of war.
21:6 But Levi and Benjamin he did not number. For Joab executed the orders of the king unwillingly.
21:7 Then God was displeased with what had been ordered, and so he struck Israel.
21:8 And David said to God: “I have sinned exceedingly in doing this. I beg you take away the iniquity of your servant. For I have acted unwisely.”
21:9 And the Lord spoke to Gad, the seer of David, saying:
21:10 “Go, and speak to David, and tell him: Thus says the Lord: I give to you the option of three things. Choose the one that you will want, and I will do it to you.”
21:11 And when Gad had gone to David, he said to him: “Thus says the Lord: Choose what you will want:
21:12 Either three years of famine, or three months for you to flee from your enemies, unable to escape from their sword, or three days for the sword of the Lord and a pestilence to turn within the land, with the Angel of the Lord killing in every part of Israel. Now therefore, see what I should respond to him who sent me.”
21:13 And David said to Gad: “There are difficulties pressing upon me from every side. But it is better for me to fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercies are many, than into the hands of men.”
21:14 Therefore, the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel. And there fell from Israel seventy thousand men.
21:15 Also, he sent an Angel to Jerusalem, so that he might strike it. And while he was striking, the Lord saw and took pity over the magnitude of the harm. And he commanded the Angel who was striking: “It is enough. Now let your hand cease.” And the Angel of the Lord was standing beside the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
21:16 And David, lifting up his eyes, saw the Angel of the Lord, standing between heaven and earth with a drawn sword in his hand, turned toward Jerusalem. And both he and those greater by birth, being clothed in haircloth, fell prone upon the ground.
21:17 And David said to God: “Am I not the one who ordered that the people be numbered? It is I who sinned; it is I who did evil. This flock, what does it deserve? O Lord my God, I beg you to let your hand be turned against me and against the house of my father. But let not your people be struck down.”
21:18 Then the Angel of the Lord instructed Gad to tell David that he should ascend and build an altar to the Lord God on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
21:19 Therefore, David ascended, in accord with the word of Gad, which he had spoken to him in the name of the Lord.
21:20 Now when Ornan had looked up and seen the Angel, he and his four sons hid themselves. For at that time, he was threshing wheat upon the floor.
21:21 Then, as David was approaching Ornan, Ornan saw him, and he went out from the threshing floor to meet him. And he reverenced him prone on the ground.
21:22 And David said to him: “Give this place of your threshing floor to me, so that I may build an altar to the Lord upon it. And you shall accept from me as much money as it is worth, so that the plague may cease from the people.”
21:23 But Ornan said to David: “Take it, and may my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Moreover, I give the oxen also as a holocaust, and the plow for wood, and the wheat for a sacrifice. I will offer all freely.”
21:24 And king David said to him: “By no means shall it be so. Instead, I will give money to you, as much as it is worth. For I must not take it from you, and thereby offer to the Lord holocausts that cost nothing.”
21:25 Therefore, David gave Ornan, for the place, the very just weight of six hundred shekels of gold.
21:26 And he built an altar to the Lord there. And he offered holocausts and peace offerings, and he called upon the Lord. And he heeded him by sending fire from heaven upon the altar of the holocaust.
21:27 And the Lord instructed the Angel, and he turned his sword back into its sheath.
21:28 Then, seeing that the Lord had heeded him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, David immediately immolated victims there.
21:29 But the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the desert, and the altar of holocausts, were at that time on the high place of Gibeon.
21:30 And David was unable to go to the altar, so that he might pray to God there. For he had been struck with an exceedingly great fear, seeing the sword of the Angel of the Lord.
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