Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, 1"Go, number Israel and Judah."
So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army,a who was with him, "Go through all the tribes of Israel, 2from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people."
But Joab said to the king, 3"May the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see it, but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?"
But the king's word prevailed against Joab and 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.
They crossed the Jordan and began from 4Aroer,b and from the city that is in the middle of the 5valley, toward Gad and on to 6Jazer.
Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites;c and they came to Dan, and from Dand they went around to 7Sidon,
and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the 8Hivites and 9Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beersheba.
So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: in Israel there were 800,000 valiant men 10who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000.
But 11David's heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, 12"I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done 13very foolishly."
And when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to 14the prophet Gad, David's 15seer, saying,
"Go and say to David, 'Thus says the LORD, Three things I offere you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.'"
So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, "Shall 16threef years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me."
Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, 17for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man."
1518So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from 19Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men.
And when 20the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem 21to destroy it, 22the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel 23who was working destruction among the people, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And 24the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of 25Araunah the Jebusite.
Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking 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."
And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of 26Araunah the Jebusite."
So David went up at Gad's word, as the LORD commanded.
And when Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground.
And Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague 27may be averted from the people."
Then Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the 28threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood.
All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God 29accept you."
But the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekelsg of silver.
And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 30So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.