The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 24

David, tempted by Satan, forces Joab to number the people, 1-4. The captains, in nine months and twenty days, bring the muster of one million three hundred thousand fighting men, 5-9. David repents, and having three plagues propounded by God, chooses the three days' pestilence, 10-14. After the death of seventy thousand men, David, by prayer, prevents the destruction of Jerusalem, 15-17. David, by God's direction, purchases Araunah's threshing floor, 18-24. There David builds an altar and sacrifices, and the plague is stopped, 25.

1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel and he moved David against them to say, "Go number Israel and Judah." 2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host who was with him, "Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number the people so that I may know the number of the people." 3 And Joab said to the king, "Now may the LORD your God add to the people, however many they may be, one hundred-fold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it. But why does my lord the king delight in this thing?" 4 But the king's word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king to number the people of Israel. 5 And they passed over the Jordan and pitched in Aroer on the right side of the city that lies in the midst of the river of Gad and toward Jazer. 6 Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi. And they came to Dan-jaan and around to Zidon, 7 And came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites. And they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba. 8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 And Joab presented the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

10 And David's heart smote him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. And now, I implore you, O LORD, take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly." 11 For when David had risen in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, 12 "Go and say to David, 'Thus says the LORD: "I offer you three things. Choose one of them so that I may do it to you."'" 13 So Gad came to David and told him. And he said to him, "Shall seven years of famine come upon you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your enemies while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? Now consider, and see what answer I shall return to him who sent me." 14 And David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us fall now into the hand of the LORD, for his mercies are great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man."

15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba died. 16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented of the evil and said to the angel who destroyed the people, "It is enough. Now stay your hand." And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing-place of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 And David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who smote the people and said, "Behold, I have sinned and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray you, be against me and against my father's house."

18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, rear an altar to the LORD in the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite." 19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. 20 And Araunah looked and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. And Araunah went out and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. 21 And Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing-floor from you to build an altar to the LORD so that the plague may be stayed from the people." 22 And Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Behold, here are oxen for burnt-sacrifice and threshing-instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood." 23 All these things Araunah gave to the king, as a king. And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God accept you." 24 And the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you at a price. I will not offer burnt-offerings to the LORD my God of that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built an altar to the LORD there and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. So the LORD was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 24[➚]