1 Satan wanted to bring trouble on the people of Israel. He made David decide to take a census.
2 David gave orders to Joab and the other officers. He said: »Go through Israel, from one end of the country to the other, and count the people. I want to know how many there are.«
3 Joab answered: »May Jehovah make the people of Israel a hundred times more numerous than they are now! They are all your servants, Your Majesty. Why do you want to do this and make the whole nation guilty?«
4 But the king made Joab obey the order. Joab traveled through the whole country of Israel, and then returned to Jerusalem.
5 He reported to King David the total number of men capable of military service. There were one million one hundred thousand in Israel and four hundred seventy thousand in Judah.
6 Because Joab disapproved of the kings command, he did not take any census of the tribes of Levi and Benjamin.
7 God was displeased with what had been done, so he punished Israel.
8 David said to God: »I have committed a terrible sin in doing this! Please forgive me. I have acted foolishly.«
9 Jehovah said to Gad, Davids prophet:
10 »Tell David that I am giving him three choices. I will do whichever he chooses.«
11 Gad went to David and told him what Jehovah said. He asked: »Which is it to be?
12 »Three years of famine? Three months of running away from the armies of your enemies? Or: three days in which Jehovah attacks you with his sword and sends an epidemic on your land. He will use his angel to bring death throughout Israel? What answer shall I give Jehovah?«
13 David replied to Gad: »I am in a desperate situation! But I do not want to be punished by the people. Let Jehovah be the one to punish me, because he is merciful.«
14 Therefore Jehovah sent an epidemic on the people of Israel, and seventy thousand of them died.
15 Then God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. Then he changed his mind. He said to the angel: »Stop! That is enough!« The angel was standing at the threshing place of Araunah, a Jebusite.
16 David saw the angel standing in midair, holding his sword in his hand, ready to destroy Jerusalem. Then David and the leaders of the people, all of whom were wearing sackcloth bowed low, with their faces touching the ground.
17 David prayed: »O God, I am the one who did wrong. I am the one who ordered the census. What have these poor people done? Jehovah, my God, punish my family, and me and spare your people.«
18 Jehovahs angel told Gad to command David to go and build an altar to Jehovah at Araunahs threshing place.
19 David obeyed Jehovahs command and did what Gad told him to do.
20 There at the threshing place Araunah and his four sons were threshing wheat, and when they saw the angel, the sons ran and hid.
21 Araunah saw King David approaching. He left the threshing place and bowed low with his face touching the ground.
22 David said to him: »Sell me your threshing place so that I can build an altar to Jehovah, to stop the epidemic. I will give you the full price.«
23 »Take it, Your Majesty,« Araunah said, »and do whatever you wish. Here are these bulls to burn as an offering on the altar. Here are the threshing boards to use as fuel and wheat to give as an offering. I give it all to you.«
24 The king answered: »No, I will pay you the full price. I will not give as an offering to Jehovah something that belongs to you, something that costs me nothing.«
25 He paid Araunah six hundred gold coins for the threshing place.
26 David built an altar to Jehovah there and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He prayed, and Jehovah answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn the sacrifices on the altar.
27 Jehovah told the angel to put his sword away, and the angel obeyed.
28 David saw by this that Jehovah answered his prayer. So he offered sacrifices on the altar at Araunahs threshing place.
29 Jehovahs tent that Moses made in the desert and the altar for burnt offerings were at the worship site at Gibeon.
30 David could not go there to consult God because the sword of Jehovahs angel frightened him.