2 Samuel Chapter 23 to 24 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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David’s Last Words

23 These are the last words of David: This message is from David son of Jesse. This message is from the man that God made great, the king chosen by the God of Jacob, the sweet singer of Israel. 2The Lord’s Spirit spoke through me. His word was on my tongue. 3The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me, “The person who rules people fairly, the person who rules with respect for God, 4that person will be like the morning light at dawn; like a morning without clouds; like sunshine after a rain—the rain that makes tender grass grow from the ground.” 5God made my family strong and secure.* He made an agreement with me forever! God made sure this agreement was good and secure in every way. So surely he will give me every victory. He will give me everything I want! 6But bad people are like thorns. People don’t hold thorns. They throw them away. 7If a person touches them, it hurts like a spear made of wood and iron. {Yes, those people are like thorns.} They will be thrown in the fire, and they will be completely burned!

The Three Heroes

8These are the names of David’s soldiers: Josheb Basshebeth the Tahkemonite.* Josheb Basshebeth was captain of the Three Heroes. Josheb Basshebeth used his spear against 800 men at one time and killed them.* 9Next, there was Eleazar son of Dodai* from Ahoah. Eleazar was one of the Three Heroes that were with David at the time they challenged the Philistines. They had gathered for a battle, but the Israelite soldiers had run away. 10Eleazar fought the Philistines until he was very tired. But he kept holding on to the sword tightly {and continued fighting}. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day. The people came back after Eleazar had won the battle, but they only came to take things from the dead enemy soldiers. 11Next, there was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines came together to fight. They fought in a field of lentils.* The people ran away from the Philistines. 12But Shammah stood in the middle of the field and defended it. He defeated the Philistines. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day. 13Once, David was at the cave of Adullam and the Philistine army was down in Rephaim Valley. Three of the Thirty Heroes* crawled flat on the ground all the way to that cave to join David.* 14Another time, David was in the fortress,* and a group of Philistines soldiers was in Bethlehem. 15David was thirsty {for some water from his hometown}. David said, “I wish someone could give me some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem!” {David did not really want this, he was only talking.} 16But the Three Heroes* fought their way through the Philistine army. These three men got some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem. Then the Three Heroes brought the water to David. But David refused to drink the water. He poured it on the ground as an offering to the Lord. 17David said, “Lord, I can’t drink this water. It would be like drinking the blood of the men who risked their lives for me.” This is why David refused to drink the water. The Three Heroes did many brave things like that.

Other Brave Soldiers

18Abishai was the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah. Abishai was the leader of the Three Heroes.* Abishai used his spear against 300 {enemies} and killed them. He became as famous as the Three. 19Abishai was as famous as the Three Heroes. He became their leader, even though he was not one of them. 20Then there was Benaiah son of Jehoiada. He was the son of a powerful man. He was from Kabzeel. Benaiah did many brave things. Benaiah killed the two sons of Ariel from Moab. One day when it was snowing, Benaiah went down into a hole in the ground and killed a lion. 21Benaiah also killed a big Egyptian soldier. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand. But Benaiah only had a club in his hand. Benaiah grabbed the spear in the Egyptian’s hand and took it away from him. Then Benaiah killed the Egyptian with his own spear. 22Benaiah son of Jehoiada did many brave things like that. Benaiah was as famous as the Three Heroes.* 23Benaiah was even more famous than the Thirty Heroes,* but he did not become a member of the Three Heroes. David made Benaiah leader of his bodyguards.

The Thirty Heroes

24Asahel, the brother of Joab, was one of the Thirty Heroes.* {Other men in the group of Thirty Heroes were}: Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem; 25Shammah the Harodite; Elika the Harodite; 26Helez the Paltite; Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa; 27Abiezer from Anathoth; Mebunnai the Hushathite; 28Zalmon the Ahohite; Maharai from Netophah; 29Heled son of Baanah from Netophah; Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of Benjamin; 30Benaiah the Pirathonite; Hiddai from the Brooks of Gaash; 31Abi Albon the Arbathite; Azmaveth the Barhumite; 32Eliahba the Shaalbonite; the sons of Jashen; Jonathan 33the son of Shammah from Harar; Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar; 34Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite; Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite; 35Hezro the Carmelite; Paarai the Arbite; 36Igal son of Nathan of Zobah; Bani the Gadite; 37Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai from Beeroth (Naharai carried the armor for Joab son of Zeruiah); 38Ira the Ithrite; Gareb the Ithrite; 39and Uriah the Hittite. There were 37 in all.

Rock A name for God. It shows he is like a fortress or a strong place of safety. God … secure Or, “Hasn't God made my family strong?” Josheb Basshebeth the Tahkemonite Or, “Jashobeam the Hacmonite.” See 1 Chron. 11:11. Josheb ... killed them The Hebrew text has, “He was also called, Adino the Eznite.” Eleazar son of Dodai Or, “Eleazar his cousin.” lentils Small round beans. Thirty Heroes These men were David’s famous group of very brave soldiers. Three ... David The Hebrew is hard to understand here, but compare 1 Chron. 11:15. fortress A building or city with tall, strong walls for protection. Three Heroes These were David’s three bravest soldiers.

David Decides to Count His Army

24 The Lord was angry against Israel again. The Lord caused David to turn against the Israelites. {David} said, “Go count the people of Israel and Judah.” 2King David said to Joab, the captain of the army, “Go through all the family groups of Israel from Dan to Beersheba,* and count the people. Then I will know how many people there are.” 3But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God give you 100 times as many people, no matter how many there are! And may your eyes see this thing happen. But why do you want to do this?” 4King David very strongly commanded Joab and the captains of the army to count the people. So Joab and the captains of the army went out from the king to count the people of Israel. 5They crossed over the Jordan River. They made their camp in Aroer. Their camp was on the right side of the city. (The city is in the middle of the valley of Gad, on the way to Jazer.) 6Then they went {east} to Gilead, all the way to Tahtim Hodshi. Then they went {north} to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon. 7They went to the fort of Tyre. They went to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites. Then they went south to Beersheba in the southern part of Judah. 8It took them nine months and 20 days for them to go through the country. After nine months and 20 days they came back to Jerusalem. 9Joab gave the list of the people to the king. There were 800,000 men in Israel that could use the sword. And there were 500,000 men in Judah.

The Lord Punishes David

10Then David felt ashamed after he had counted the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I did! Lord, I beg you, forgive me for my sin. I have been very foolish.” 11When David got up in the morning, the Lord’s word came to Gad, David’s seer.* 12The Lord told Gad, “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I offer you three things. Choose the one that I will do to you.’” 13Gad went to David and told him. Gad said to David, “{Choose one of these three things:} 1. Seven years of famine for you and your country. 2. Your enemies will chase you for three months. 3. Three days of disease in your country. Think about it, and choose one of these things. And I will tell the Lord about your choice. The Lord sent me to you.” 14David said to Gad, “I am really in trouble! But the Lord is very merciful. So let the Lord punish us. Don’t let my punishment come from people.” 15So the Lord sent a disease against Israel. It began in the morning and continued until the chosen time {to stop}. From Dan to Beersheba* 70,000 people died. 16The angel raised his arm over Jerusalem to destroy it. But the Lord felt very sorry about the bad things that had happened. The Lord said to the angel that destroyed the people, “That’s enough! Put down your arm.” The Lord’s angel was by the threshing floor* of Araunah* the Jebusite.

David Buys Araunah’s Threshing Floor

17David saw the angel that killed the people. David spoke to the Lord. David said, “I sinned! I did wrong! And these people only did what I told them—they only followed me like sheep. They did nothing wrong. Please let your punishment be against me and my father’s family.” 18That day Gad came to David. Gad told David, “Go and build an altar* to the Lord on the threshing floor* of Araunah* the Jebusite.” 19So David did what Gad told him to. David did what the Lord wanted. David went {to see Araunah}. 20Araunah looked and saw King David and his officers coming to him. Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground. 21Araunah said, “Why has my lord and king come to me?” David answered, “I came to buy the threshing floor* from you. Then I can build an altar* to the Lord. Then the disease will stop.” 22Araunah said to David, “My lord and king, you can take anything you want for a sacrifice.* Here are some cows for the burnt offering, and the threshing boards* and the yokes* for the wood. 23O King, I give everything to you!” Araunah also said to the king, “May the Lord your God be pleased with you.” 24But the king said to Araunah, “No! I tell you the truth, I will pay you for the land. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor* and the cows for 50 shekels of silver. 25Then David built an altar* to the Lord there. David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Lord answered his prayer for the country. The Lord stopped the disease in Israel.

Dan to Beersheba This means all the people of Israel. Dan was the town farthest north, and Beersheba was in the south. seer Another name for a prophet. threshing floor A place where grain is beaten or walked on to remove the hulls from the grain. Araunah Also spelled “Ornan.” altar(s) A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar. threshing boards A place where grain is beaten or walked on to remove the hulls from the grain.  yoke(s) A pole that was put on the shoulders of men or animals to help them carry or pull things. This often showed that a person was a slave.

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