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2 Samuel Chapter 24 | Parsha:

1The anger of the Lord again flared up against Israel; and He incited David against them, saying, “Go and number Israel and Judah.” 2The king said to Joab, his army commander, “Make the rounds of all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know the size of the population.” 3Joab answered the king, “May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while your own eyes see it! But why should my lord king want this?” 4However, the king’s command to Joab and to the officers of the army remained firm; and Joab and the officers of the army set out, at the instance of the king, to take a census of the people of Israel.

5They crossed the Jordan and encamped at Aroer, on the right side of the town, which is in the middle of the wadi of Gad, and [went on] to Jazer. 6They continued to Gilead and to the region of Tahtim-hodshi, and they came to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon. 7They went onto the fortress of Tyre and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites, and finished at Beer-sheba in southern Judah. 8They traversed the whole country, and then they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9Joab reported to the king the number of the people that had been recorded: in Israel there were 800,000 soldiers ready to draw the sword, and the men of Judah numbered 500,000.

10But afterward David reproached himself for having numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, “I have sinned grievously in what I have done. Please, O Lord, remit the guilt of Your servant, for I have acted foolishly.” 11When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord had come to the prophet Gad, David’s seer: 12“Go and tell David, ‘Thus said the Lord: I hold three things over you; choose one of them, and I will bring it upon you.’” 13Gad came to David and told him; he asked, “Shall a seven-year famine come upon you in the land, or shall you be in flight from your adversaries for three months while they pursue you, or shall there be three days of pestilence in your land? Now consider carefully what reply I shall take back to Him who sent me.” 14David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His compassion is great; and let me not fall into the hands of men.”

15The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from morning until the set time; and 70,000 of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. 16But when the angel extended his hand against Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord renounced further punishment and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Stay your hand!” The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, “I alone am guilty, I alone have done wrong; but these poor sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house!”

18Gad came to David the same day and said to him, “Go and set up an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19David went up, following Gad’s instructions, as the Lord had commanded. 20Araunah looked out and saw the king and his courtiers approaching him. So Araunah went out and bowed low to the king, with his face to the ground. 21And Araunah asked, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy the threshing floor from you, that I may build an altar to the Lord and that the plague against the people may be checked.” 22And Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take it and offer up whatever he sees fit. Here are oxen for a burnt offering, and the threshing boards and the gear of the oxen for wood. 23All this, O king, Araunah gives to Your Majesty. And may the Lord your God,” Araunah added, “respond to you with favor!”

24But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I will buy them from you at a price. I cannot sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that have cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25And David built there an altar to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. The Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague against Israel was checked.

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