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1 Chronicles chapter 21

New International Version

1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, 'Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.'
3 But Joab replied, 'May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord's subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?'
4 The king's word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. 5 Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.
6 But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king's command was repulsive to him. 7 This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.
8 Then David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.'
9 The LORD said to Gad, David's seer, 10 Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.''
11 So Gad went to David and said to him, 'This is what the LORD says: 'Take your choice: 12 three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the LORD--days of plague in the land, with the angel of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.' Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me."
13 David said to Gad, 'I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.'
14 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the LORD saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, 'Enough! Withdraw your hand.' The angel of the LORD was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
16 David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.
17 David said to God, 'Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? LORD my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.'
18 Then the angel of the LORD ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the LORD.
20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to him, 'Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.'
23 Araunah said to David, 'Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.'
24 But King David replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.'
25 So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. 26 David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the LORD, and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.
27 Then the LORD spoke to the 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 Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there. 29 The tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
English Standard Version

1 Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 2 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.” 3 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?” 4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. 5 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. 6 But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.
7 But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. 8 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.” 9 And the LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “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.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Choose what you will: 12 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.” 13 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.”
14 So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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.”
18 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. 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the LORD. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 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. 22 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.” 23 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.” 24 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.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 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. 27 Then the LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.
28 At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 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, 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
King James Version

1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. 3 And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? 4 Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. 5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. 6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king's word was abominable to Joab.
7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. 8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. 9 And the LORD spake unto Gad, David's seer, saying, 10 Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. 11 So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee 12 Either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me. 13 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man. 14 So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. 15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17 And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.
18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD. 20 And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. 23 And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. 24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. 25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. 26 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. 28 At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
New American Standard Bible

1 Then Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, 'Go, count Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me word so that I may know their number.' 3 But Joab said, 'May the LORD add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?' 4 Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout Israel, and came to Jerusalem. 5 Then Joab gave the number of the census of the people to David. Israel was 1,100,000 men in all who drew the sword; and Judah was 470,000 men who drew the sword. 6 But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, because the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.
7 Now God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel. 8 David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly, by doing this thing. But now, please overlook Your servant’s guilt, for I have behaved very foolishly.'
9 The LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 'Go and speak to David, saying, ‘This is what the LORD says: 'I extend to you three choices; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.'?’?' 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, 'This is what the LORD says: ‘Take for yourself 12 three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the LORD: a plague in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout the territory of Israel.’ Now, therefore, consider what answer I shall bring back to Him who sent me.' 13 David said to Gad, 'I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into human hands.'
14 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel; seventy thousand men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw and was sorry about the catastrophe, and said to the destroying angel, 'It is enough; now relax your hand.' 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, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 And David said to God, 'Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and acted very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? LORD, my God, just let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, and not against Your people as a plague.'
18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David was to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at the word of Gad, which he spoke in the name of the LORD. 20 Now Ornan turned back and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. And Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself to 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 on it an altar to the LORD; you shall give it to me for the full price, so that the plague may be brought to a halt from the people.' 23 But Ornan said to David, 'Take it for yourself, and may my lord the king do what is good in his sight. See, I am giving the oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I am giving it all.' 24 Nevertheless, King David said to Ornan, 'No, but I will certainly buy it for 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 six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 Then David built an altar there to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the LORD, and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 The LORD commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.
28 At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he offered sacrifice there. 29 For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were on the high place at Gibeon at that time. 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.
New Living Translation

1 Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, 'Take a census of all the people of Israel--from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north--and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.'
3 But Joab replied, 'May the LORD increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?'
4 But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem 5 and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. 6 But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.
7 God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. 8 Then David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.'
9 Then the LORD spoke to Gad, David's seer. This was the message: 10 'Go and say to David, 'This is what the LORD says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.''
11 So Gad came to David and said, 'These are the choices the LORD has given you. 12 You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the LORD brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the LORD who sent me.'
13 'I'm in a desperate situation!' David replied to Gad. 'But let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.'
14 So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 people died as a result. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the LORD relented and said to the death angel, 'Stop! That is enough!' At that moment the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
16 David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground. 17 And David said to God, 'I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep--what have they done? O LORD my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.'
18 Then the angel of the LORD told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up to do what the LORD had commanded him through Gad. 20 Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. 21 When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to Araunah, 'Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the LORD there, so that he will stop the plague.'
23 'Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,' Araunah said to David. 'I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.'
24 But King David replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!' 25 So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment for the threshing floor.
26 David built an altar there to the LORD and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the LORD answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. 27 Then the LORD spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.
28 When David saw that the LORD had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah's threshing floor. 29 At that time the Tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. 30 But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the LORD.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan and bring a report to me so I can know their number."
3 Joab replied, "May the Lord multiply the number of his people a hundred times over! My lord the king, aren't they all my lord's servants? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel? "
4 Yet the king's order prevailed over Joab. So Joab left and traveled throughout Israel and then returned to Jerusalem. 5 Joab gave the total troop registration to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand armed men and in Judah itself four hundred seventy thousand armed men. 6 But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the count because the king's command was detestable to him. 7 This command was also evil in God's sight, so he afflicted Israel.
8 David said to God, "I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. Now, please take away your servant's guilt, for I've been very foolish."
9 Then the Lord instructed Gad, David's seer, 10 "Go and say to David, 'This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three choices. Choose one of them for yourself, and I will do it to you.' "
11 So Gad went to David and said to him, "This is what the Lord says: 'Take your choice: 12 three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes with the sword of your enemy overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord--a plague on the land, the angel of the Lord bringing destruction to the whole territory of Israel.' Now decide what answer I should take back to the one who sent me."
13 David answered Gad, "I'm in anguish. Please, let me fall into the Lord's hands because his mercies are very great, but don't let me fall into human hands."
14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand Israelite men died. 15 Then God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but when the angel was about to destroy the city, the Lord looked, relented concerning the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, "Enough, withdraw your hand now! " The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
16 When David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, David and the elders, covered in sackcloth, fell facedown. 17 David said to God, "Wasn't I the one who gave the order to count the people? I am the one who has sinned and acted very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Lord my God, please let your hand be against me and against my father's family, but don't let the plague be against your people."
18 So the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go and set up an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 David went up at Gad's command spoken in the name of the Lord.
20 Ornan was threshing wheat when he turned and saw the angel. His four sons, who were with him, hid. 21 David came to Ornan, and when Ornan looked and saw David, he left the threshing floor and bowed to David with his face to the ground.
22 Then David said to Ornan, "Give me this threshing-floor plot so that I may build an altar to the Lord on it. Give it to me for the full price, so the plague on the people may be stopped."
23 Ornan said to David, "Take it! My lord the king may do whatever he wants. See, I give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering--I give it all."
24 King David answered Ornan, "No, I insist on paying the full price, for I will not take for the Lord what belongs to you or offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing."
25 So David gave Ornan fifteen pounds of gold for the plot. 26 He built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and he answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.
27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, David offered sacrifices there when he saw that the Lord answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 29 The tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at the high place in Gibeon, 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was terrified of the sword of the Lord's angel.

What does 1 Chronicles chapter 21 mean?

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