“King David said. ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced. The house that is to be built for Yahweh must be exceedingly magnificent, famous, and glorified throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.’ Thus King David provided materials in great quantity before his death.”
Based on 1 Kings, chapters 1-3, King David made a last minute decision about who was to succeed him. Of course, it was Solomon, but that was not clear until Solomon actually became the king. In fairness, Solomon was king while David was still old and alive. He wanted to provide the materials for King Solomon.
“King David gave orders to gather together the aliens who were in the land of Israel. He set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. King David also provided great stores of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for the clamps. He provided bronze in quantities beyond weighing. He had cedar logs without number. The Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to King David.”
Instead of King Solomon as the builder of the temple as in 1 Kings, chapters 6-8, here King David takes an active role. King David gave the orders. He wanted the aliens gathered together so that they could be the workers. He wanted stonecutters. He provided iron and bronze. He also got great quantities of cedar from Sidon and Tyre.
“At that time, when King David saw that Yahweh had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he made his sacrifices there. The tabernacle of Yahweh, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon. King David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of Yahweh. Then King David said. ‘Here shall be the house of Yahweh God. Here shall be the altar of burnt offering for Israel.’”
This biblical chronicler will leave 2 Samuel after these remarks. While King David made his sacrifices at the threshing floor, here King David wanted the tabernacle at Gibeon brought to this place. This is where the temple will be built. Instead of King Solomon being the builder of the temple, this biblical author will have King David do all the planning.
“King David built there an altar to Yahweh. He presented burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. He called upon Yahweh. Yahweh answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. Then Yahweh commanded the angel. The angel put his sword back into its sheath.”
This biblical chronicler continues to follow 2 Samuel, chapter 24, but with a little nuance. King David built an altar where he offered his sacrifices of burnt offering and well-being. Yahweh responded to King David as he lit the sacrifice with fire from heaven, just like Elijah. The plague was averted from Israel. Yahweh told the angel to put his sword away, which he did.
“Then the angel of Yahweh commanded Gad to tell King David that he should go up and erect an altar to Yahweh on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. So King David went up following Gad’s instructions, which he had spoken in the name of Yahweh. Ornan turned and saw the angel. While his four sons, who were with him, hid themselves, Ornan continued to thresh the wheat. As King David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw King David. He went out from the threshing floor. He did obeisance to King David with his face to the ground. King David said to Ornan. ‘Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to Yahweh. Give it to me at its full price, so that the plague may be averted from the people.’ Then Ornan said to King David. ‘Take it. Let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I present the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for a cereal offering. I give it all.’ But King David said to Ornan. ‘No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for Yahweh what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings which cost me nothing.’ Thus King David paid Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site.”
This biblical chronicler continues to follow 2 Samuel, chapter 24, always with a little nuance. The prophet Gad went to King David to tell him to build an altar to Yahweh at the threshing floor of Ornan. Thus King David did what Yahweh had commanded through Gad. He went to see Ornan who was a Jebusite, and not a Hebrew, the same as in 2 Samuel, but with a different name, Araunah. However, this was the place that the angel of Yahweh stopped sending the plague that saved Jerusalem. Ornan showed deference to King David since he had seen an angel before King David had arrived. In this episode, Ornan was with his 4 sons in the threshing area. He did not ask why the king had come to him, as in 2 Samuel. King David wanted to buy the threshing floor and erect an altar there per the instructions of the prophet Gad. Ornan said that he had some animals for a sacrifice plus wood to start a fire. King David would not accept his gifts. He wanted to buy the floor and everything for 600 shekels of gold. Instead of the mere 50 silver shekels in 2 Samuel, here it is the massive amount of 600 shekels of gold or about $45,000 dollars.
“Yahweh sent a pestilence on Israel. Seventy thousand persons fell in Israel. God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. But when he was about to destroy it, Yahweh took note and relented concerning the calamity. He said to the destroying angel. ‘Enough! Stay your hand.’ The angel of Yahweh was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. King David looked up and saw the angel of Yahweh standing between earth and heaven. In his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then King David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. King 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 you, O Yahweh, my God,
Be against me and against my father’s house.
But do not let your people be plagued.’”
Once again this biblical chronicler follows 2 Samuel, chapter 24. Yahweh sent a pestilence that killed 70,000 in Israel. However there is no mention of the geographical scope from Dan to Beer-sheba as in 2 Samuel. This was a quick violent disease. However, when the angel of Yahweh reached Jerusalem, Yahweh changed his mind and said that enough was enough. He had made his point. Somehow the angel of Yahweh was at the threshing floor of Ornan who was a Jebusite, the first inhabitants of Jerusalem. Here, he is called Ornan while in 2 Samuel he was called Araunah, close enough I guess. King David said that he was personally responsible, so let everything be on him and not the rest of the people. He pleaded before Yahweh to save the people and let him alone be punished.
“But God was displeased with this thing. He struck Israel. King David said to God. ‘I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray you to take away the guilt of your servant. I have done very foolishly.’ Yahweh spoke to Gad, King David’s seer. ‘Go and say to King David. Thus says Yahweh. Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, so that I may do it to you.’ So Gad came to David and said to him. ‘Thus says Yahweh. Take your choice. 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 Yahweh, pestilence on the land. The angel of Yahweh would destroy throughout all the territory of Israel. Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.’ Then King David said to Gad. ‘I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of Yahweh, for his mercy is very great. But let me not fall into human hands.’”
Once again this biblical chronicler follows 2 Samuel, chapter 24. King David was having second thoughts about the census he took. He thought that he sinned in doing it. Although there was no indication of why he thought like this in 2 Samuel, here it is obviously because it was Satan inspired. The prophet of King David, Gad, got a visit from Yahweh. This is not the Gad, the son of Jacob or Israel, whom a tribe and territory were named after. Rather this is a prophet or seer who guides David. Nathan had been the other prophet of King David. Yahweh told Gad to give King David 3 choices. His 3 choices were: 1) a 3 year famine; 2) 3 months fleeing his enemies; 3) 3 day pestilence. David had to choose. Gad had to let Yahweh know. Somehow this was not a direct conversation between Yahweh and King David. King David said fine, since he believed that Yahweh was merciful. He did not want to fall into human hands. In 2 Samuel, David chose the 3 day pestilence, but it is not mentioned here but assumed since the next section continues under that assumption.
“Satan stood up against Israel. He incited King David to count the people of Israel. So King David said to Joab and the commanders of the army. ‘Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan. Bring me a report, so that I may know their number.’ But Joab said. ‘May Yahweh 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 upon Israel?’ But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel. He came back to Jerusalem. Joab gave the total count of the people to King David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword. In Judah there were four hundred seventy thousand who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.”
This time, the biblical chronicler loosely follows 2 Samuel, chapter 24. However, as opposed to 2 Samuel, Satan, instead of an angry Yahweh, incited King David to take this census. Satan has become a personification of evil. King David then wanted a head count of all the people in Israel and Judah so that he told Joab and his army commanders to do this. Joab did not want to do it. He complained about it. In the end King David prevailed. Instead of explaining in detail about how it took 9 months and 20 days and where Joab had to go, as in 2 Samuel, here the biblical writer just explained that Joab went throughout all Israel and then reported back to Jerusalem. However, the results are different. In 2 Samuel, Joab reported to King David that there 800,000 men in Israel, while there were 500,000 in Judah, totaling 1,300,000 men, not counting the women and children. Here the number is 1,100,000 men in Israel and 470,000 in Judah, totaling 1,770,000, nearly a half million more. Besides, here Joab does not count the people of Benjamin or the Levites for reasons that are not clear. Both these numbers of people are extremely large, meaning that over 2 and a half million people might have been in Israel and Judah at this time. Archeologists are very skeptical of these numbers. Notice that this assumes the division of the kingdom into north and south, Israel and Judah, which did not take place until after the death of Solomon.
“After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants. The Philistines were subdued. Again there was war with the Philistines. Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number. He also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, King David’s brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath. They fell by the hand of King David and his servants.”
This time, the biblical chronicler loosely follows 2 Samuel, chapter 21. The battle here is at Gezer and not Gob. Sibbecai was one of King David’s leaders in his army. He killed this giant Philistine called Sippai or Saph as he was called in 2 Samuel, which is the only mention of him. It seems that the Philistines had a lot of giants. Elhanan, another of King David’s warriors, killed a giant named Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite in a separate battle. Here Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, but in 2 Samuel, it is Goliath who he killed. Was this chronicler trying to clean up the story since the young King David had supposedly killed Goliath? Gath was a Philistine stronghold city. There was an unnamed giant there who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. He too was descendent from the giants. When he taunted King David, Jonathan, King David’s nephew, killed him. These Philistines always seem to be fighting with King David. They seem to lose all the time, but they never go away. They are never annihilated like some other groups. They never give up. Even here it is only a few warriors and a few battles.
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led out the army. He ravaged the country of the Ammonites. He came and besieged Rabbah. But King David remained at Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah and overthrew it. King David took the crown of Milcom from the head of the king. He found that it weighed a talent of gold. In it was a precious stone. It was placed on King David’s head. He brought out the booty of the city, a very great amount. He brought out the people who were in it. He set them to work with saws, iron picks, and axes. This is what King David did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then King David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.”
Here this biblical chronicler put together 2 chapters from 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. King David stayed in Jerusalem in the spring time when most kings went out to do battle. Instead Joab went to conquer the Ammonites, which he achieved. Remember that in the last chapter they had all fled before the battle. This time Joab took Rabbah, the major city. However, he was always careful to be subservient to his uncle King David. That whole exchange of messages between Joab and King David in 2 Samuel, chapter 12, is not here. Here King David just shows up at Rabbah. Milcom was the Ammonite god so that this king of the Ammonites had worn the Milcom crown. King David took the crown with its precious stone and put it on his head. Generally speaking, taking the stuff of other gods was forbidden. Nevertheless, David made all the Ammonites work in the various cities, but it is not clear what they were building. Here there was no mention of brickworks as in 2 Samuel. Then they all returned to Jerusalem as the saga of the Ammonites came to an end.