The place of the Temple (2 Chr 3:1-3:2)

“King Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where Yahweh had appeared to his father King David. This is the place that King David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began to build in the second month of the fourth year of his reign.”

During the description of the Temple in 1 Kings, chapter 5-7, there was no indication of where it is to be built. Here there is a clear reference to 1 Chronicles, 21, which in turn is based on 2 Samuel, chapter 24. Due to the fact that the pestilence stopped at the threshing floor of Ornan (1 Chronicles) or Araunah (2 Samuel), the city of Jerusalem was saved. Either King David had a vision from Yahweh or the prophet Gad had a vision and told King David to purchase this threshing floor. King David had built an altar there. Here it is called Mount Moriah, but this name is not mentioned elsewhere. King Solomon started building this temple in the fourth year of his reign, during the 2nd month as in 1 Kings. However, there is no mention of how long it took to finish the project here as in 1 Kings.

The altar will become the temple (1 Chr 21:28-22:1)

“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.

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.

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.