231David son of Jesse was the man whom God made great, whom the God of Jacob chose to be king, and who was the composer of beautiful songs for Israel. These are David's last words:
2The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me;
his message is on my lips.
3The God of Israel has spoken;
the protector of Israel said to me:
“The king who rules with justice,
who rules in obedience to God,
4is like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn,
the sun that makes the grass sparkle after rain.”
5And that is how God will bless my descendants,
because he has made an eternal covenant with me,
an agreement that will not be broken,
a promise that will not be changed.
That is all I desire;
that will be my victory,
and God will surely bring it about.
6But godless people are like thorns that are thrown away;
no one can touch them with bare hands.
7You must use an iron tool or a spear;
they will be burnt completely.23.7 Verses 6–7 in Hebrew are unclear.
8These are the names of David's famous soldiers: the first was Josheb Basshebeth from Tachemon, who was the leader of “The Three”;23.8 One ancient translation “The Three”; Hebrew the third. he fought with his spear23.8 Probable text (see 1 Chr 11.11) he fought with his spear; Hebrew unclear. against 800 men and killed them all in one battle.
9The second of the famous three was Eleazar son of Dodo, of the clan of Ahoh. One day he and David challenged the Philistines who had gathered for battle. The Israelites fell back, 10but he stood his ground and fought the Philistines until his hand was so stiff that he could not let go of his sword. The LORD won a great victory that day. After it was over, the Israelites returned to where Eleazar was and stripped the armour from the dead.
11The third of the famous three was Shammah son of Agee, from Harar. The Philistines had gathered at Lehi, where there was a field of peas. The Israelites fled from the Philistines, 12but Shammah stood his ground in the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. The LORD won a great victory that day.
13Near the beginning of harvest time23.13 Probable text Near the beginning of harvest time; Hebrew unclear. three of “The Thirty” went down to the cave of Adullam, where David was, while a band of Philistines was camping in the Valley of Rephaim. 14At that time David was on a fortified hill, and a group of Philistines had occupied Bethlehem. 15David felt homesick and said, “How I wish someone would bring me a drink of water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem!” 16The three famous soldiers forced their way through the Philistine camp, drew some water from the well, and brought it back to David. But he would not drink it; instead he poured it out as an offering to the LORD 17and said, “LORD, I could never drink this! It would be like drinking the blood of these men who risked their lives!” So he refused to drink it.
Those were the brave deeds of the three famous soldiers.
18Joab's brother Abishai (their mother was Zeruiah) was the leader of “The Famous Thirty”. He fought with his spear against 300 men and killed them, and became famous among “The Thirty”.23.18 One ancient translation “The Thirty”; Hebrew “The Three”. 19He was the most famous of “The Thirty”23.19; 23.22 Probable text “The Thirty”; Hebrew “The Three”. and became their leader, but he was not as famous as “The Three”.
20Benaiah son of Jehoiada, from Kabzeel, was another famous soldier; he did many brave deeds, including killing two great Moabite warriors. He once went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21He also killed an Egyptian, a huge man who was armed with a spear. Benaiah attacked him with his club, snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with it. 22Those were the brave deeds of Benaiah, who was one of “The Thirty”.23.22; 23.19 Probable text “The Thirty”; Hebrew “The Three”. 23He was outstanding among them, but was not as famous as “The Three”. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
24-39Other members of “The Thirty” included:
Asahel, Joab's brother
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem
Shammah and Elika from Harod
Helez from Pelet
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa
Abiezer from Anathoth
Mebunnai from Hushah
Zalmon from Ahoh
Maharai from Netophah
Heleb son of Baanah from Netophah
Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin
Benaiah from Pirathon
Hiddai from the valleys near Gaash
Abialbon from Arabah
Azmaveth from Bahurim
Eliahba from Shaalbon
The sons of Jashen
Shammah from Harar
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Gilo
Hezro from Carmel
Paarai from Arab
Igal son of Nathan from Zobah
Bani from Gad
Zelek from Ammon
Naharai from Beeroth, Joab's armour bearer
Ira and Gareb from Jattir
Uriah the Hittite.
There were 37 famous soldiers in all.
241The LORD was angry with Israel once more, and he made David bring trouble on them. The LORD said to him, “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah.” 2So David gave orders to Joab, the commander of his army: “Go with your officers through all the tribes of Israel from one end of the country to the other, and count the people. I want to know how many there are.”
3But Joab answered the king, “Your Majesty, may the LORD your God make the people of Israel a hundred times more numerous than they are now, and may you live to see him do it. But why does Your Majesty want to do this?” 4But the king made Joab and his officers obey his order; they left his presence and went out to count the people of Israel.
5They crossed the Jordan and camped south of Aroer, the city in the middle of the valley, in the territory of Gad.24.5 Probable text Aroer… Gad; Hebrew unclear. From there they went north to Jazer, 6and on to Gilead and to Kadesh, in Hittite territory.24.6 One ancient translation Kadesh, in Hittite territory; Hebrew to the land of Tahtim, Hodshi. Then they went to Dan, and from Dan they went24.6 Probable text and from Dan they went; Hebrew unclear. west to Sidon. 7Then they went south to the fortified city of Tyre, on to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites, and finally to Beersheba, in the southern part of Judah. 8So after nine months and twenty days they returned to Jerusalem, having travelled through the whole country. 9They reported to the king the total number of men capable of military service: 800,000 in Israel and 500,000 in Judah.
10But after David had taken the census, his conscience began to trouble him, and he said to the LORD, “I have committed a terrible sin in doing this! Please forgive me. I have acted foolishly.”
11-12The LORD said to Gad, David's prophet, “Go and tell David that I am giving him three choices. I will do whichever he chooses.” The next morning, after David got up, 13Gad went to him, told him what the LORD had said, and asked, “Which is it to be? Three24.13 Some ancient translations (and see 1 Chr 21.12) Three; Hebrew Seven. years of famine in your land or three months of running away from your enemies or three days of an epidemic in your land? Now think it over, and tell me what answer to take back to the LORD.”
14David answered, “I am in a desperate situation! But I don't want to be punished by human beings. Let the LORD himself be the one to punish us, for he is merciful.” 15So the LORD sent an epidemic on Israel, which lasted from that morning until the time that he had chosen. From one end of the country to the other 70,000 Israelites died. 16When the LORD's angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD changed his mind about punishing the people and said to the angel who was killing them, “Stop! That's enough!” The angel was by the threshing place of Araunah, a Jebusite.
17David saw the angel who was killing the people, and said to the LORD, “I am the guilty one. I am the one who did wrong. What have these poor people done? You should punish me and my family.”
18That same day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up to Araunah's threshing place and build an altar to the LORD.” 19David obeyed the LORD's command and went as Gad had told him. 20Araunah looked down and saw the king and his officials coming up to him. He threw himself on the ground in front of David 21and asked, “Your Majesty, why are you here?”
David answered, “To buy your threshing place and build an altar for the LORD, in order to stop the epidemic.”
22“Take it, Your Majesty,” Araunah said, “and offer to the LORD whatever you wish. Here are these oxen to burn as an offering on the altar; here are their yokes and the threshing boards to use as fuel.” 23Araunah gave it all to the king24.23 Probable text to the king; Hebrew to the king the king. and said to him, “May the LORD your God accept your offering.”
24But the king answered, “No, I will pay you for it. I will not offer to the LORD my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” And he bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25Then he built an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. The LORD answered his prayer, and the epidemic in Israel was stopped.