The LORD burned with anger against Israel again, and he incited David against them: Go and count the people of Israel and Judah.
So the king said to Joab and the military commanders who were with him, "Go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people so I know how many people there are."
Joab said to the king, "May the LORD your God increase the number of people a hundred times while the eyes of my master the king can still see it! But why does my master the king want to do this?"
But the king's word overruled Joab and the military commanders. So Joab and the commanders left the king's presence to take a census of the Israelites.
They crossed the Jordan River and began from Aroer and from the town that is in the middle of the valley of Gad, then on to Jazer.
They continued to Gilead and on to Kadesh in Hittite territory. They came to Dan and went around to Sidon.
They went to the fortress of Tyre and to all the towns of the Hivites and the Canaanites. They went out to Beer-sheba in the arid southern plain of Judah.
At the end of nine months and twenty days, after going through the entire country, they came back to Jerusalem.
Joab reported to the king the number of the people who had been counted: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand strong men who could handle a sword; in Judah the total was five hundred thousand men.