1 Once again God's anger blazed out against Israel. He tested David by telling him, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah." 2 So David gave orders to Joab and the army officers under him, "Canvass all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and get a count of the population. I want to know the number." 3 But Joab resisted the king: "May your God multiply people by the hundreds right before the eyes of my master the king, but why on earth would you do a thing like this?" 4 Nevertheless, the king insisted, and so Joab and the army officers left the king to take a census of Israel. 5 They crossed the Jordan and began with Aroer and the town in the canyon of the Gadites near Jazer, 6 proceeded through Gilead, passed Hermon, then on to Dan, but detoured Sidon. 7 They covered Fort Tyre and all the Hivite and Canaanite cities, and finally reached the Negev of Judah at Beersheba. 8 They canvassed the whole country and after nine months and twenty days arrived back in Jerusalem. 9 Joab gave the results of the census to the king: 800,000 able-bodied fighting men in Israel; in Judah 500,000. 10 But when it was all done, David was overwhelmed with guilt because he had counted the people, replacing trust with statistics. And David prayed to God, "I have sinned badly in what I have just done. But now God forgive my guilt - I've been really stupid." 11 When David got up the next morning, the word of God had already come to Gad the prophet, David's spiritual advisor, 12 "Go and give David this message: 'God has spoken thus: There are three things I can do to you; choose one out of the three and I'll see that it's done.'" 13 Gad came to deliver the message: "Do you want three years of famine in the land, or three months of running from your enemies while they chase you down, or three days of an epidemic on the country? Think it over and make up your mind. What shall I tell the one who sent me?" 14 David told Gad, "They're all terrible! But I'd rather be punished by God, whose mercy is great, than fall into human hands." 15 So God let loose an epidemic from morning until suppertime. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand people died. 16 But when the angel reached out over Jerusalem to destroy it, God felt the pain of the terror and told the angel who was spreading death among the people, "Enough's enough! Pull back!" The angel of God had just reached the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel hovering between earth and sky, sword drawn and about to strike Jerusalem. David and the elders bowed in prayer and covered themselves with rough burlap. 17 When David saw the angel about to destroy the people, he prayed, "Please! I'm the one who sinned; I, the shepherd, did the wrong. But these sheep, what did they do wrong? Punish me and my family, not them." 18 That same day Gad came to David and said, "Go and build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." 19 David did what Gad told him, what God commanded. 20 Araunah looked up and saw David and his men coming his way; he met them, bowing deeply, honoring the king 21 and saying, "Why has my master the king come to see me?" "To buy your threshing floor," said David, "so I can build an altar to God here and put an end to this disaster." 22 "Oh," said Araunah, "let my master the king take and sacrifice whatever he wants. Look, here's an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles and ox-yokes for fuel 23 - Araunah gives it all to the king! And may God, your God, act in your favor." 24 But the king said to Araunah, "No. I've got to buy it from you for a good price; I'm not going to offer God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice." 25 He built an altar to God there and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. God was moved by the prayers and that was the end of the disaster.
1 Now Satan entered the scene and seduced David into taking a census of Israel. 2 David gave orders to Joab and the army officers under him, "Canvass all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and get a count of the population. I want to know the number." 3 Joab resisted: "May God multiply his people by hundreds! Don't they all belong to my master the king? But why on earth would you do a thing like this - why risk getting Israel into trouble with God?" 4 But David wouldn't take no for an answer, so Joab went off and did it - canvassed the country and then came back to Jerusalem 5 and reported the results of the census: There were 1,100,000 fighting men; of that total, Judah accounted for 470,000. 6 Joab, disgusted by the command - it, in fact, turned his stomach! - protested by leaving Levi and Benjamin out of the census-taking. 7 And God, offended by the whole thing, punished Israel. 8 Then David prayed, "I have sinned badly in what I have just done, substituting statistics for trust; forgive my sin - I've been really stupid." 9 God answered by speaking to Gad, David's pastor: 10 "Go and give David this message: 'God's word: You have your choice of three punishments; choose one and I'll do the rest.'" 11 Gad delivered the message to David: 12 "Do you want three years of famine, three months of running from your enemies while they chase you down, or three days of the sword of God - an epidemic unleashed on the country by an angel of God? Think it over and make up your mind. What shall I tell the One who sent me?" 13 David told Gad, "They're all terrible! But I'd rather be punished by God whose mercy is great, than fall into human hands." 14 So God unleashed an epidemic in Israel - 70,000 Israelites died. 15 God then sent the angel to Jerusalem but when he saw the destruction about to begin, he compassionately changed his mind and ordered the death angel, "Enough's enough! Pull back!" 16 David looked up and saw the angel hovering between earth and sky, sword drawn and about to strike Jerusalem. David and the elders bowed in prayer and covered themselves with rough burlap. 17 David prayed, "Please! I'm the one who sinned; I'm the one at fault. But these sheep, what did they do wrong? Punish me, not them, me and my family; don't take it out on them." 18 The angel of God ordered Gad to tell David to go and build an altar to God on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 David did what Gad told him in obedience to God's command. 20 Meanwhile Araunah had quit threshing the wheat and was watching the angel; his four sons took cover and hid. 21 David came up to Araunah. When Araunah saw David, he left the threshing floor and bowed deeply before David, honoring the king. 22 David said to Araunah, "Give me the site of the threshing floor so I can build an altar to God. Charge me the market price; we're going to put an end to this disaster." 23 "O master, my king," said Araunah, "just take it; do whatever you want with it! Look, here's an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles for the fuel and wheat for the meal offering - it's all yours!" 24 David replied to Araunah, "No. I'm buying it from you, and at the full market price. I'm not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice." 25 So David bought the place from Araunah for 600 shekels of gold. 26 He built an altar to God there and sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings. He called out to God and God answered by striking the altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering with lightning. 27 Then God told the angel to put his sword back into its scabbard. 28 And that's the story of what happened when David saw that God answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite at the time he offered the sacrifice. 29 At this time the Tabernacle that Moses had constructed in the desert, and with it the Altar of Burnt Offering, were set up at the worship center at Gibeon. 30 But David, terrified by the angel's sword, wouldn't go there to pray to God anymore.
1 So David declared, "From now on, this is the site for the worship of God; this is the place for Israel's Altar of Burnt Offering." 2 David ordered all the resident aliens in the land to come together; he sent them to the stone quarries to cut dressed stone to build The Temple of God. 3 He also stockpiled a huge quantity of iron for nails and bracings for the doors of the gates, more bronze than could be weighed, 4 and cedar logs past counting (the Sidonians and Tyrians shipped in huge loads of cedar logs for David). 5 David was thinking, "My son Solomon is too young to plan ahead for this. But the sanctuary that is to be built for God has to be the greatest, the talk of all the nations; so I'll get the construction materials together." That's why David prepared this huge stockpile of building materials before he died. 6 Then he called in Solomon his son and commanded him to build a sanctuary for the God of Israel. 7 David said to Solomon, "I wanted in the worst way to build a sanctuary to honor my God. 8 But God prevented me, saying, 'You've killed too many people, fought too many wars. You are not the one to honor me by building a sanctuary - you've been responsible for too much killing, too much bloodshed. 9 But you are going to have a son and he will be a quiet and peaceful man, and I will calm his enemies down on all sides. His very name will speak peace - that is, Solomon, which means Peace - and I'll give peace and rest under his rule. 10 He will be the one to build a sanctuary in my honor. He'll be my royal adopted son and I'll be his father; and I'll make sure that the authority of his kingdom over Israel lasts forever.' 11 "So now, son, God be with you. God-speed as you build the sanctuary for your God, the job God has given you. 12 And may God also give you discernment and understanding when he puts you in charge of Israel so that you will rule in reverent obedience under God's Revelation. 13 That's what will make you successful, following the directions and doing the things that God commanded Moses for Israel. Courage! Take charge! Don't be timid; don't hold back. 14 Look at this - I've gone to a lot of trouble to stockpile materials for the sanctuary of God: 100,000 talents (3,775 tons) of gold, a million talents (37,750 tons) of silver, tons of bronze and iron - too much to weigh - and all this timber and stone. And you're free to add more. 15 And workers both plentiful and prepared: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, artisans in 16 gold and silver, bronze and iron. You're all set - get to work! And God-speed!" 17 David gave orders to all of Israel's leaders to help his son Solomon, 18 saying, "Isn't it obvious that your God is present with you; that he has given you peaceful relations with everyone around? My part in this was to put down the enemies, subdue the land to God and his people; 19 your part is to give yourselves, heart and soul, to praying to your God. So get moving - build the sacred house of worship to God! Then bring the Chest of the Covenant of God and all the holy furnishings for the worship of God into the sanctuary built in honor of God."
1 I give you all the credit, God - you got me out of that mess, you didn't let my foes gloat. 2 God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. 3 God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out. 4 All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face! 5 He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. 6 When things were going great I crowed, "I've got it made. 7 I'm God's favorite. He made me king of the mountain." Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces. 8 I called out to you, God; I laid my case before you: 9 "Can you sell me for a profit when I'm dead? auction me off at a cemetery yard sale? When I'm 'dust to dust' my songs and stories of you won't sell. 10 So listen! and be kind! Help me out of this!" 11 You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. 12 I'm about to burst with song; I can't keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can't thank you enough.