1 Chronicles 18-21 The Message Bible

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David Extends His Kingdom

18 1  In the days that followed, David struck hard at the Philistines, bringing them to their knees, captured Gath, and took control of the surrounding countryside. 2  He also fought and defeated Moab. The Moabites came under David's rule and paid regular tribute. 3  On his way to restore his sovereignty at the Euphrates River, David defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah (over toward Hamath). 4  David captured a thousand chariots, 7,000 cavalry, and 20,000 infantry from him. He hamstrung all the chariot horses, but saved back a hundred. 5  When the Arameans from Damascus came to the aid of Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 of them. 6  David set up a puppet government in Aram-Damascus. The Arameans became subjects of David and were forced to bring tribute. God gave victory to David wherever he marched. 7  David plundered the gold shields that belonged to the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8  He also looted Tebah and Cun, cities of Hadadezer, of a huge quantity of bronze that Solomon later used to make the Great Bronze Sea, the Pillars, and bronze equipment in The Temple.

9  Tou king of Hamath heard that David had struck down the entire army of Hadadezer king of Zobah. 10  He sent his son Hadoram to King David to greet and congratulate him for fighting and defeating Hadadezer. Tou and Hadadezer were old enemies. Hadoram brought David various things made of silver, gold, and bronze. 11  King David consecrated these things along with the silver and gold that he had plundered from other nations: Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek. 12  Abishai son of Zeruiah fought and defeated the Edomites in the Valley of Salt - 18,000 of them. 13  He set up a puppet government in Edom and the Edomites became subjects under David. God gave David victory wherever he marched.

David's Officers

14  Thus David ruled over all of Israel. He ruled well, fair and evenhanded in all his duties and relationships. 15  Joab son of Zeruiah was head of the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was in charge of public records; 16  Zadok son of Ahitub and Abimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Shavsha was secretary; 17  Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the special forces, the Kerethites and Pelethites; And David's sons held high positions, close to the king.

The Defeat of the Ammonites and Syrians

19 1  Some time after this Nahash king of the Ammonites died and his son succeeded him as king. 2  David said, "I'd like to show some kindness to Hanun son of Nahash - treat him as well and as kindly as his father treated me." So David sent condolences about his father's death. 3  the Ammonite leaders warned Hanun, "Do you for a minute suppose that David is honoring your father by sending you comforters? Don't you know that he's sent these men to snoop around the city and size it up so that he can capture it?" 4  So Hanun seized David's men, shaved them clean, cut off their robes half way up their buttocks, and sent them packing. 5  When this was all reported to David, he sent someone to meet them, for they were seriously humiliated. The king told them, "Stay in Jericho until your beards grow out; only then come back."

6  When it dawned on the Ammonites that as far as David was concerned, they stank to high heaven, 7  they hired, at a cost of a thousand talents of silver (thirty-seven and a half tons!), chariots and horsemen from the Arameans of Naharaim, Maacah, and Zobah - 32,000 chariots and drivers; plus the king of Maacah with his troops who came and set up camp at Medeba; the Ammonites, too, were mobilized from their cities and got ready for battle. 8  When David heard this, he dispatched Joab with his strongest fighters in full force. 9  The Ammonites marched out and spread out in battle formation at the city gate; the kings who had come as allies took up a position in the open fields. 10  When Joab saw that he had two fronts to fight, before and behind, he took his pick of the best of Israel and deployed them to confront the Arameans. 11  The rest of the army he put under the command of Abishai, his brother, and deployed them to deal with the Ammonites. 12  Then he said, "If the Arameans are too much for me, you help me; and if the Ammonites prove too much for you, I'll come and help you. 13  Courage! We'll fight might and main for our people and for the cities of our God. And God will do whatever he sees needs doing!" 14  But when Joab and his soldiers moved in to fight the Arameans, they ran off in full retreat. 15  Then the Ammonites, seeing the Arameans run for dear life, took to their heels and ran from Abishai into the city. So Joab withdrew from the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem. 16  When the Arameans saw how badly they'd been beaten by Israel, they picked up the pieces and regrouped; they sent for the Arameans who were across the river; Shophach, commander of Hadadezer's army, led them. 17  When all this was reported to David, he mustered all Israel, crossed the Jordan, advanced, and prepared to fight. The Arameans went into battle formation, ready for David, and the fight was on. 18  But the Arameans again scattered before Israel. David killed 7,000 chariot drivers and 40,000 infantry. He also killed Shophach, the army commander. 19  When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with David and served him. The Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites ever again.

David Captures Rabbah

20 1  That spring, the time when kings usually go off to war, Joab led the army out and ravaged the Ammonites. He then set siege to Rabbah. David meanwhile was back in Jerusalem. Joab hit Rabbah hard and left it in ruins. 2  David took the crown off the head of their king. Its weight was found to be a talent of gold and set with a precious stone. It was placed on David's head. He hauled great quantities of loot from the city 3  and put the people to hard labor with saws and picks and axes. This is what he did to all the Ammonites. Then David and his army returned to Jerusalem.

The Giants Slain by David's Men

4  Later war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. That was the time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai of the clan of giants. The Philistines had to eat crow. 5  In another war with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite whose spear was like a ship's boom. 6  And then there was the war at Gath that featured a hulking giant who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and foot - yet another from the clan of giants. 7  When he mocked Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him. 8  These came from the clan of giants and were killed by David and his men.

David Numbers Israel and Judah

21 1  Now Satan entered the scene and seduced David into taking a census of Israel. 2  David gave orders to Joab and the army officers under him, "Canvass all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and get a count of the population. I want to know the number." 3  Joab resisted: "May God multiply his people by hundreds! Don't they all belong to my master the king? But why on earth would you do a thing like this - why risk getting Israel into trouble with God?" 4  But David wouldn't take no for an answer, so Joab went off and did it - canvassed the country and then came back to Jerusalem 5  and reported the results of the census: There were 1,100,000 fighting men; of that total, Judah accounted for 470,000. 6  Joab, disgusted by the command - it, in fact, turned his stomach! - protested by leaving Levi and Benjamin out of the census-taking.

7  And God, offended by the whole thing, punished Israel. 8  Then David prayed, "I have sinned badly in what I have just done, substituting statistics for trust; forgive my sin - I've been really stupid." 9  God answered by speaking to Gad, David's pastor: 10  "Go and give David this message: 'God's word: You have your choice of three punishments; choose one and I'll do the rest.'" 11  Gad delivered the message to David: 12  "Do you want three years of famine, three months of running from your enemies while they chase you down, or three days of the sword of God - an epidemic unleashed on the country by an angel of God? Think it over and make up your mind. What shall I tell the One who sent me?" 13  David told Gad, "They're all terrible! But I'd rather be punished by God whose mercy is great, than fall into human hands." 14  So God unleashed an epidemic in Israel - 70,000 Israelites died. 15  God then sent the angel to Jerusalem but when he saw the destruction about to begin, he compassionately changed his mind and ordered the death angel, "Enough's enough! Pull back!" 16  David looked up and saw the angel hovering between earth and sky, sword drawn and about to strike Jerusalem. David and the elders bowed in prayer and covered themselves with rough burlap. 17  David prayed, "Please! I'm the one who sinned; I'm the one at fault. But these sheep, what did they do wrong? Punish me, not them, me and my family; don't take it out on them."

18  The angel of God ordered Gad to tell David to go and build an altar to God on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19  David did what Gad told him in obedience to God's command. 20  Meanwhile Araunah had quit threshing the wheat and was watching the angel; his four sons took cover and hid. 21  David came up to Araunah. When Araunah saw David, he left the threshing floor and bowed deeply before David, honoring the king. 22  David said to Araunah, "Give me the site of the threshing floor so I can build an altar to God. Charge me the market price; we're going to put an end to this disaster." 23  "O master, my king," said Araunah, "just take it; do whatever you want with it! Look, here's an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles for the fuel and wheat for the meal offering - it's all yours!" 24  David replied to Araunah, "No. I'm buying it from you, and at the full market price. I'm not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice." 25  So David bought the place from Araunah for 600 shekels of gold. 26  He built an altar to God there and sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings. He called out to God and God answered by striking the altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering with lightning. 27  Then God told the angel to put his sword back into its scabbard.

The Site for the Temple

28  And that's the story of what happened when David saw that God answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite at the time he offered the sacrifice. 29  At this time the Tabernacle that Moses had constructed in the desert, and with it the Altar of Burnt Offering, were set up at the worship center at Gibeon. 30  But David, terrified by the angel's sword, wouldn't go there to pray to God anymore.

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