The purchase of the threshing floor (1 Chr 21:18-21:25)

“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.

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