1 And the fury of the Lord was again kindled against Israel, and he stirred up David among them, saying: “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
2 And the king said to Joab, the leader of his army, “Travel through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, so that I may know their number.”
3 And Joab said to the king: “May the Lord your God increase your people, who are already great in number, and may he again increase them, one hundredfold, in the sight of my lord the king. But what does my lord the king intend for himself by this kind of thing?”
4 But the words of the king prevailed over the words of Joab and the leaders of the army. And so Joab and the leaders of the military departed from the face of the king, so that they might number the people of Israel.
5 And when they had passed across the Jordan, they arrived at Aroer, to the right of the city, which is in the Valley of Gad.
6 And they continued on through Jazer, into Gilead, and to the lower land of Hodsi. And they arrived in the woodlands of Dan. And going around beside Sidon,
7 they passed near the walls of Tyre, and near all the land of the Hivite and the Canaanite. And they went into the south of Judah, to Beersheba.
8 And having inspected the entire land, after nine months and twenty days, they were present in Jerusalem.
9 Then Joab gave the number of the description of the people to the king. And there were found of Israel eight hundred thousand able-bodied men, who might draw the sword; and of Judah, five hundred thousand fighting men.
10 Then the heart of David struck him, after the people were numbered. And David said to the Lord: “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But I pray that you, O Lord, may take away the iniquity of your servant. For I have acted very foolishly.”
11 And David rose up in the morning, and the word of the Lord went to Gad, the prophet and seer of David, saying:
12 “Go, and say to David: ‘Thus says the Lord: I present to you a choice of three things. Choose one of these, whichever you will, so that I may do it to you.’ ”
13 And when Gad had gone to David, he announced it to him, saying: “Either seven years of famine will come to you in your land; or you will flee for three months from your adversaries, and they will pursue you; or there will be a pestilence in your land for three days. Now then, deliberate, and see what word I may respond to him who sent me.”
David Chooses His Punishment
14 Then David said to Gad: “I am in great anguish. But it is better that I should fall into the hands of the Lord (for his mercies are many) than into the hands of men.”
15 And the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people, from Dan to Beersheba, seventy thousand men.
16 And when the Angel of the Lord had extended his hand over Jerusalem, so that he might destroy it, the Lord took pity on the affliction. And he said to the Angel who was striking the people: “It is enough. Hold back your hand now.” And the Angel of the Lord was beside the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 And when he had seen the Angel cutting down the people, David said to the Lord: “I am the one who sinned. I have acted iniquitously. These ones who are the sheep, what have they done? I beg you that your hand may be turned against me and against my father’s house.”
18 Then Gad went to David on that day, and he said, “Ascend and construct an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
19 And David ascended in accord with the word of Gad, which the Lord had commanded to him.
20 And looking out, Araunah turned his attention to the king and his servants, passing toward him.
21 And going out, he adored the king, lying prone with his face to the ground, and he said, “What is the reason that my lord the king has come to his servant?” And David said to him, “So as to purchase the threshing floor from you, and to build an altar to the Lord, and to quiet the plague that rages among the people.”
22 And Araunah said to David: “May my lord the king offer and accept whatever is pleasing to him. You have oxen for a holocaust, and the cart and the yokes of the oxen to use for wood.”
23 All these things Araunah gave, as a king to a king. And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept your vow.”
24 And in response, the king said to him: “It shall not be as you wish. Instead, I will purchase it from you at a price. For I will not offer to the Lord, my God, holocausts that cost nothing.” Therefore, David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25 And in that place, David built an altar to the Lord. And he offered holocausts and peace offerings. And the Lord was gracious to the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.