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1 Chronicles Chapter 21 | Parsha:

1Satan arose against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 2David said to Joab and to the commanders of the army, “Go and count Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan and bring me information as to their number.” 3Joab answered, “May the Lord increase His people a hundredfold; my lord king, are they not all subjects of my lord? Why should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?”

4However, the king’s command to Joab remained firm, so Joab set out and traversed all Israel; he then came to Jerusalem. 5Joab reported to David the number of the people that had been recorded. All Israel comprised 1,100,000 ready to draw the sword, while in Judah there were 470,000 men ready to draw the sword. 6He did not record among them Levi and Benjamin, because the king’s command had become repugnant to Joab. 7God was displeased about this matter and He struck Israel.

8David said to God, “I have sinned grievously in having done this thing; please remit the guilt of Your servant, for I have acted foolishly.” 9The Lord ordered Gad, David’s seer: 10“Go and tell David: Thus said the Lord: I offer you three things; choose one of them and I will bring it upon you.” 11Gad came to David and told him, “Thus said the Lord: Select for yourself 12a three-year famine; or that you be swept away three months before your adversaries with the sword of your enemies overtaking you; or three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence in the land, the angel of the Lord wreaking destruction throughout the territory of Israel. Now consider what reply I shall take back to Him who sent me.” 13David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for His compassion is very great; and let me not fall into the hands of men.”

14The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, and 70,000 men fell in Israel. 15God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to wreak destruction, the Lord saw and renounced further punishment and said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Stay your hand!” The angel of the Lord was then standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand directed against Jerusalem. David and the elders, covered in sackcloth, threw themselves on their faces. 17David said to God, “Was it not I alone who ordered the numbering of the people? I alone am guilty, and have caused severe harm; but these sheep, what have they done? O Lord my God, let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house, and let not Your people be plagued!” 18The angel of the Lord told Gad to inform David that David should go and set up an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19David went up, following Gad’s instructions, which he had delivered in the name of the Lord. 20Ornan too saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves while Ornan kept on threshing wheat. 21David came to Ornan; when Ornan looked up, he saw David and came off the threshing floor and bowed low to David, with his face to the ground. 22David said to Ornan, “Sell me the site of the threshing floor, that I may build on it an altar to the Lord. Sell it to me at the full price, that the plague against the people will be checked.” 23Ornan said to David, “Take it and let my lord the king do whatever he sees fit. See, I donate oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood, as well as wheat for a meal offering—I donate all of it.” 24But King David replied to Ornan, “No, I will buy them at the full price. I cannot make a present to the Lord of what belongs to you, or sacrifice a burnt offering that has cost me nothing.” 25So David paid Ornan for the site 600 shekels’ worth of gold. 26And David built there an altar to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. He invoked the Lord, who answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offerings. 27The Lord ordered the angel to return his sword to its sheath. 28At that time, when David saw that the Lord answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there— 29for the Tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offerings, were at that time in the shrine at Gibeon, 30and David was unable to go to it to worship the Lord because he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the Lord.

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