1 Chronicles 21-23 New Revised Standard Version

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David Numbers Israel and Judah

21 1  Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel. 2  So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, "Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, so that I may know their number." 3  But Joab said, "May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?" 4  But the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came back to Jerusalem. 5  Joab gave the total count of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred seventy thousand who drew the sword. 6  But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king's command was abhorrent to Joab.

7  But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. 8  David said to God, "I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly." 9  The Lord spoke to Gad, David's seer, saying, 10  "Go and say to David, "Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, so that I may do it to you.' " 11  So Gad came to David and said to him, "Thus says the Lord, "Take your choice: 12  either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.' Now decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me." 13  Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress; let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but let me not fall into human hands." 14  So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel; and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel. 15  And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord took note and relented concerning the calamity; he said to the destroying angel, "Enough! Stay your hand." The angel of the Lord was then standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16  David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17  And David said to God, "Was it not I who gave the command to count the people? It is I who have sinned and done very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father's house; but do not let your people be plagued!"

18  Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to tell David that he should go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19  So David went up following Gad's instructions, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20  Ornan turned and saw the angel; and while his four sons who were with him hid themselves, Ornan continued to thresh wheat. 21  As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David; he went out from the threshing floor, and did obeisance to David with his face to the ground. 22  David said to Ornan, "Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord-give it to me at its full price-so that the plague may be averted from the people." 23  Then Ornan said to David, "Take it; and let my lord the king do what seems good to him; see, I present the oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for a grain offering. I give it all." 24  But King David said to Ornan, "No; I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing." 25  So David paid Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26  David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. He called upon the Lord, and he answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27  Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

The Site for the Temple

28  At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he made his sacrifices there. 29  For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon; 30  but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

22 1  Then David said, "Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel."

David's Preparation for the Temple

2  David gave orders to gather together the aliens who were residing in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. 3  David also provided great stores of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing, 4  and cedar logs without number-for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David. 5  For David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorified throughout all lands; I will therefore make preparation for it." So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.

6  Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. 7  David said to Solomon, "My son, I had planned to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. 8  But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth. 9  See, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10  He shall build a house for my name. He shall be a son to me, and I will be a father to him, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.' 11  Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. 12  Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, so that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13  Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed. 14  With great pains I have provided for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold, one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone too I have provided. To these you must add more. 15  You have an abundance of workers: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of artisans without number, skilled in working 16  gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you."

17  David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon, saying, 18  "Is not the Lord your God with you? Has he not given you peace on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand; and the land is subdued before the Lord and his people. 19  Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Go and build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord."

23 1  When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.

The Divisions and Duties of the Levites

2  David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. 3  The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were counted, and the total was thirty-eight thousand. 4  "Twenty-four thousand of these," David said, "shall have charge of the work in the house of the Lord, six thousand shall be officers and judges 5  four thousand gatekeepers, and four thousand shall offer praises to the Lord with the instruments that I have made for praise." 6  And David organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 7  The sons of Gershon were Ladan and Shimei. 8  The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, Zetham, and Joel, three. 9  The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the heads of families of Ladan. 10  And the sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei. 11  Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second; but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, so they were enrolled as a single family. 12  The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. 13  The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to consecrate the most holy things, so that he and his sons forever should make offerings before the Lord, and minister to him and pronounce blessings in his name forever; 14  but as for Moses the man of God, his sons were to be reckoned among the tribe of Levi 15  The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16  The sons of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. 17  The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief; Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous. 18  The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. 19  The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth 20  The sons of Uzziel: Micah the chief and Isshiah the second. 21  The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish 22  Eleazar died having no sons, but only daughters; their kindred, the sons of Kish, married them. 23  The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth, three.

24  These were the sons of Levi by their ancestral houses, the heads of families as they were enrolled according to the number of the names of the individuals from twenty years old and upward who were to do the work for the service of the house of the Lord. 25  For David said, "The Lord, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people; and he resides in Jerusalem forever. 26  And so the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service"- 27  for according to the last words of David these were the number of the Levites from twenty years old and upward- 28  "but their duty shall be to assist the descendants of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God; 29  to assist also with the rows of bread, the choice flour for the grain offering, the wafers of unleavened bread, the baked offering, the offering mixed with oil, and all measures of quantity or size. 30  And they shall stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening, 31  and whenever burnt offerings are offered to the Lord on sabbaths, new moons, and appointed festivals, according to the number required of them, regularly before the Lord. 32  Thus they shall keep charge of the tent of meeting and the sanctuary, and shall attend the descendants of Aaron, their kindred, for the service of the house of the Lord."

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