The pestilence and plea of King David (1 Chr 21:14-21:17)

“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.

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