1The anger of Adonai blazed up against Isra’el, so he moved David to act against them by saying, “Go, take a census of Isra’el and Y’hudah.” 2The king said to Yo’av the commander of the army, who was with him, “Go systematically through all the tribes of Isra’el, from Dan to Be’er-Sheva; and take a census of the population; so that I can know how many people there are.” 3Yo’av said to the king, “May Adonai your God add to the people a hundredfold, no matter how many there are; and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king take pleasure in doing this?” 4However, the king’s word prevailed against Yo’av and the army officers. So Yo’av and the army officers went out from the king’s presence to take a census of the people of Isra’el.
5They crossed the Yarden and pitched camp in ‘Aro‘er, to the south of the city in the Vadi of Gad; went on to Ya‘zer; 6came to Gil‘ad and continued to the land of Tachtim-Hodshi. Then they arrived at Dan-Ya‘an, went around to Tzidon 7and came to the stronghold of Tzor. They went on to the cities of the Hivi and of the Kena‘ani, and finished in the south of Y’hudah, at Be’er-Sheva. 8When they were done going through all the land, they came back to Yerushalayim; it had taken nine months and twenty days. 9Yo’av reported the results of the census to the king: there were in Isra’el 800,000 valiant men who could handle a sword, while the men of Y’hudah numbered 500,000.
10But after he had taken the census, David was conscience-stricken. David said to Adonai, “I have greatly sinned in what I have done. But now, Adonai, please! Put aside your servant’s sin, for I have done a very foolish thing.” 11When David got up in the morning, this word of Adonai came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer: 12“Go and say to David that this is what Adonai says: ‘I am giving you a choice of three punishments. Choose one of them, and I will execute it against you.” 13Gad came to David and told him; he said: “Do you want seven years of famine in your land? or do you want to flee before your enemies for three months while they pursue you? or do you want three days of plague in your land? Think about it, and tell me what to answer the one who sent me.”
14David said to Gad, “This is very hard for me. Let us fall into the hand of Adonai, because his mercies are great, rather than have me fall into the hand of man.” 15So Adonai sent a plague on Isra’el from that morning until the end of the specified time; 70,000 of the people died between Dan and Be’er-Sheva. 16But when the angel stretched out his hand toward Yerushalayim to destroy it, Adonai changed his mind about causing such distress and said to the angel destroying the people, “Enough! Now withdraw your hand.” The angel of Adonai was at the threshing-floor of Aravnah the Y’vusi.
17David spoke to Adonai when he saw the angel striking the people; he said, “Here, I have sinned, I have done wrong. But these sheep, what have they done? Please! Let your hand be against me and against my father’s family!”
18Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go, set up an altar to Adonai on the threshing-floor of Aravnah the Y’vusi.” 19David went up and did what Gad had said, as Adonai had ordered. 20Aravnah looked out and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. Aravnah went out and prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. 21Then Aravnah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy your threshing-floor, in order to build an altar to Adonai, so that the plague will be lifted from the people.” 22Aravnah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up anything that seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering; you can use the threshing-sledges and the yokes for the oxen as firewood. 23All this, O king, Aravnah gives to the king.” Then Aravnah said to the king, “May Adonai your God accept you.”
24But the king said to Aravnah, “No; I insist on buying it from you at a price. I refuse to offer to Adonai my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for one-and-a-quarter pounds of silver shekels. 25Then David built an altar to Adonai there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, Adonai took pity on the land and lifted the plague from Isra’el.