Amplified Bible

1 Chronicles 21

Census Brings Pestilence

1Satan [the adversary] stood up against Israel and incited David to [a]count [the population of] Israel. So David said to Joab and the leaders of the people, “Go, count Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me their total, so that I may know it.” Joab said, “May the Lord add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this? Why will he bring guilt on Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed over Joab. So Joab left and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem. Then Joab gave the total of the census of the people to David. And all Israel were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword; and in Judah 470,000 men who drew the sword. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, because the king’s order was detestable to Joab.

Now God was displeased with this act [of arrogance and pride], and He struck Israel. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. But now, I beseech You, take away the wickedness and guilt of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”

And the Lord said to Gad, David’s seer, 10 “Go and tell David, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “I offer you three choices; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you [as punishment for your sin].”’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Choose for yourself 12 either three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your enemies, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord and plague in the land, and the angel of the Lord bringing destruction throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now therefore, consider what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 13 David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; and as he was destroying it, the Lord looked, and relented concerning the catastrophe and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough; now remove your hand [of judgment].” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 Then David raised his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 David said to God, “Is it not I who commanded the people to be counted? I am the one who has sinned and done evil; but as for these sheep [the people of Israel], what have they done? O Lord my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.”

David’s Altar

18 Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up and build an altar to the Lord on the [b]threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, which he spoke in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat, and he turned back and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw him, and went out from the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of this threshing floor, so that I may build an altar on it to the Lord. You shall charge me the full price for it, so that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself; and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. See, I will give you the oxen also for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges (heavy wooden platforms) for wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, I will certainly pay the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.” 25 So David gave Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 Then David built an altar to the Lord there and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called on the Lord, and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the [avenging] angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the Lord.

Notas al pie

  1. 1 Chronicles 21:1 David may have begun to think of himself as a powerful man in command of an invincible nation, rather than a man who relied on God for direction and success in warfare. Joab realized what David was thinking and pleaded with him to change his mind (v 3).
  2. 1 Chronicles 21:18 This threshing floor was on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem, thought also to be the area where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. Solomon later built the temple on the site of David’s altar (2 Chr 3:1).

The Message

1 Chronicles 21

David, Satan, and Araunah

11-2 Now Satan entered the scene and seduced David into taking a census of Israel. 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.”

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?”

4-7 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 and reported the results of the census: There were 1,100,000 fighting men; of that total, Judah accounted for 470,000. Joab, disgusted by the command—it, in fact, turned his stomach!—protested by leaving Levi and Benjamin out of the census-taking. And God, offended by the whole thing, punished Israel.

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.”

9-10 God answered by speaking to Gad, David’s pastor: “Go and give David this message: ‘God’s word: You have your choice of three punishments; choose one and I’ll do the rest.’”

11-12 Gad delivered the message to David: “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.”

14-15 So God unleashed an epidemic in Israel—seventy thousand Israelites died. 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!”

15-16 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 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.”

18-19 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. David did what Gad told him in obedience to God’s command.

20-21 Meanwhile Araunah had quit threshing the wheat and was watching the angel; his four sons took cover and hid. 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!”

24-27 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.” So David bought the place from Araunah for six hundred shekels of gold. 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. 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.

29-30 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. But David, terrified by the angel’s sword, wouldn’t go there to