20:1 It happened, at the time of the return of the year, at the time when kings go out, that Joab led forth the army, and wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. Joab struck Rabbah, and overthrew it.
20:2 David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set on David’s head: and he brought forth the spoil of the city, exceeding much.
20:3 He brought forth the people who were therein, and cut them with saws, and with iron picks, and with axes. David did so to all the cities of the children of Ammon. David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
20:4 It happened after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines: then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, of the sons of the giant; and they were subdued.
20:5 There was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.
20:6 There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were twenty-four, six on each hand, and six on each foot; and he also was born to the giant.
20:7 When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother killed him.
20:8 These were born to the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
21:1 Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
21:2 David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring me word, that I may know the sum of them.”
21:3 Joab said, “May Yahweh make his people a hundred times as many as they are. But, my lord the king, aren’t they all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord require this thing? Why will he be a cause of guilt to Israel?”
21:4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.
21:5 Joab gave up the sum of the numbering of the people to David. All those of Israel were one million one hundred thousand men who drew sword: and in Judah were four hundred seventy thousand men who drew sword.
21:6 But he didn’t count Levi and Benjamin among them; for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.
21:7 God was displeased with this thing; therefore he struck Israel.
21:8 David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing. But now, put away, I beg you, the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”
21:9 Yahweh spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying,
21:10 “Go and speak to David, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh, “I offer you three things. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.”‘”
21:11 So Gad came to David, and said to him, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Take your choice:
21:12 either three years of famine; or three months to be consumed before your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or else three days the sword of Yahweh, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of Yahweh destroying throughout all the borders of Israel. Now therefore consider what answer I shall return to him who sent me.'”
21:13 David said to Gad, “I am in distress. Let me fall, I pray, into the hand of Yahweh; for his mercies are very great. Let me not fall into the hand of man.”
21:14 So Yahweh sent a pestilence on Israel; and seventy thousand men of Israel fell.
21:15 God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was about to destroy, Yahweh saw, and he relented of the disaster, and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of Yahweh was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
21:16 David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of Yahweh standing between earth and the sky, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.
21:17 David said to God, “Isn’t it I who commanded the people to be numbered? It is even I who have sinned and done very wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Yahweh my God, be against me, and against my father’s house; but not against your people, that they should be plagued.”
21:18 Then the angel of Yahweh commanded Gad to tell David that David should go up, and raise an altar to Yahweh in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
21:19 David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spoke in the name of Yahweh.
21:20 Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat.
21:21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshing floor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground.
21:22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build thereon an altar to Yahweh. You shall sell it to me for the full price, that the plague may be stopped from afflicting the people.”
21:23 Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes. Behold, I give the oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meal offering. I give it all.”
21:24 King David said to Ornan, “No; but I will most certainly buy it for the full price. For I will not take that which is yours for Yahweh, nor offer a burnt offering without cost.”
21:25 So David gave to Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.
21:26 David built an altar to Yahweh there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on Yahweh; and he answered him from the sky by fire on the altar of burnt offering.
21:27 Yahweh commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into its sheath.
21:28 At that time, when David saw that Yahweh had answered him in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there.
21:29 For the tabernacle of Yahweh, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering, were at that time in the high place at Gibeon.
21:30 But David couldn’t go before it to inquire of God; for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of Yahweh.

from Daily #Bible Readings (WEB)