1The Lord was angry against Israel again. The Lord caused David to turn against the Israelites. ˻David˼ said, “Go count the people of Israel and Judah.” 2King David said to Joab, the captain of the army, “Go through all the family groups of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people. Then I will know how many people there are.” 3But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God give you 100 times as many people, no matter how many there are! And may your eyes see this thing happen. But why do you want to do this?” 4King David very strongly commanded Joab and the captains of the army to count the people. So Joab and the captains of the army went out from the king to count the people of Israel. 5They crossed over the Jordan River. They made their camp in Aroer. Their camp was on the right side of the city. (The city is in the middle of the valley of Gad, on the way to Jazer.) 6Then they went ˻east˼ to Gilead, all the way to Tahtim Hodshi. Then they went ˻north˼ to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon. 7They went to the fort of Tyre. They went to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites. Then they went south to Beersheba in the southern part of Judah. 8It took them nine months and 20 days for them to go through the country. After nine months and 20 days they came back to Jerusalem. 9Joab gave the list of the people to the king. There were 800,000 men in Israel that could use the sword. And there were 500,000 men in Judah. 10Then David felt ashamed after he had counted the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I did! Lord, I beg you, forgive me for my sin. I have been very foolish.” 11When David got up in the morning, the Lord’s word came to Gad, David’s seer. 12The Lord told Gad, “Go and tell David, 'This is what the Lord says: I offer you three things. Choose the one that I will do to you.’” 13Gad went to David and told him. Gad said to David, “˻Choose one of these three things:˼ 1. Seven years of famine for you and your country. 2. Your enemies will chase you for three months. 3. Three days of disease in your country. Think about it, and choose one of these things. And I will tell the Lord about your choice. The Lord sent me to you.” 14David said to Gad, “I am really in trouble! But the Lord is very merciful. So let the Lord punish us. Don’t let my punishment come from people.” 15So the Lord sent a disease against Israel. It began in the morning and continued until the chosen time ˻to stop˼. From Dan to Beersheba 70,000 people died. 16The angel raised his arm over Jerusalem to destroy it. But the Lord felt very sorry about the bad things that had happened. The Lord said to the angel that destroyed the people, “That’s enough! Put down your arm.”The Lord’s angel was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17David saw the angel that killed the people. David spoke to the Lord. David said, “I sinned! I did wrong! And these people only did what I told them—they only followed me like sheep. They did nothing wrong. Please let your punishment be against me and my father’s family.” 18That day Gad came to David. Gad told David, “Go and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19So David did what Gad told him to. David did what the Lord wanted. David went ˻to see Araunah˼. 20Araunah looked and saw King David and his officers coming to him. Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground. 21Araunah said, “Why has my lord and king come to me?” David answered, “I came to buy the threshing floor from you. Then I can build an altar to the Lord. Then the disease will stop.” 22Araunah said to David, “My lord and king, you can take anything you want for a sacrifice. Here are some cows for the burnt offering, and the threshing boards and the yokes for the wood. 23O King, I give everything to you!” Araunah also said to the king, “May the Lord your God be pleased with you.” 24But the king said to Araunah, “No! I tell you the truth, I will pay you for the land. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the cows for 50 shekels of silver. 25Then David built an altar to the Lord there. David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Lord answered his prayer for the country. The Lord stopped the disease in Israel.
2 Samuel 24