2 Sam 24; 1 Chr 21; Romans 4
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
2 Sam 24
Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ”Go, number Israel and Judah.”
So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army, who was with him, ”Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.”
But Joab said to the king, ”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 Aroer, and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and on to Jazer.
Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went around to Sidon,
and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; 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 who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000.
But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, ”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 very foolishly.”
And when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
‘Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the LORD, Three things I offer 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 three 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, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”
So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men.
And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, ”It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah 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 Araunah 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 may 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 threshing 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, ”The LORD your God accept 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 shekels of silver.
And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.
1 Chr 21
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.
So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, ”Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.”
But Joab said, ”May the LORD add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?”
But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem.
And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword.
But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.
But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel.
And David said to God, ”I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
And the LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying,
‘Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the LORD, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.”’
So Gad came to David and said to him, ”Thus says the LORD, ‘Choose what you will:
either three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the LORD, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.”
Then David said to Gad, ”I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell.
And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, ”It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
And David said to God, ”Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O LORD my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people.”
Now the angel of the LORD had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the LORD.
Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves.
As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out from the threshing floor and paid homage to David with his face to the ground.
And David said to Ornan, ”Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the LORD–give it to me at its full price–that the plague may be averted from the people.”
Then Ornan said to David, ”Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.”
But King David said to Ornan, ”No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site.
And David built there an altar to the LORD and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the LORD, and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering.
Then the LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.
At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there.
For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon,
but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
For what does the Scripture say? ”Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
as it is written, ”I have made you the father of many nations”–in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ”So shall your offspring be.”
He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
That is why his faith was ”counted to him as righteousness.”
But the words ”it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,
but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.