1 Paralipomenon xxi.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Satan. This shews that the Lord only (Haydock) permitted David’s sin, (2 Kings xxiv.; Worthington) and in this sense only he is said to have instigated him; (Du Hamel) though we read this was done by the fury of the Lord, or by an evil spirit. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Israel, who will be severely punished. (Calmet) — Sin is often used in this sense. (Vatable)
Ver. 5. The number, &c. The difference of the numbers here and [in] 2 Kings xxiv. 9., is to be accounted for, by supposing the greater number to be that which was really found, and the lesser to be that which Joab gave in; (Challoner) or the transcribers of this place have been inaccurate. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Number. These might therefore escape the pestilence. (Du Hamel) — For. Hebrew, “because the king’s word was abominable to Joab.” We read that Benjamin was numbered unto David, chap. vii. 5, 11. But that might be on another occasion; or the register continued in the archives, and was not brought to the king. See chap. xxvii. 24. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Iniquity. David was guilty, though he retained both faith and hope. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Seer, or prophet, whom David kept at court and consulted. He was endued himself with the prophetic spirit.
Ver. 10. Three; a word omitted in Hebrew, but supplied by the Protestants. (Haydock) — “I will bring three things upon thee.” (Septuagint)
Ver. 12. Three years’ famine; which joined with the three foregoing years of famine, mentioned [in] 2 Kings xxi., and the seventh year of the land’s resting, would make up the seven years proposed by the prophet, 2 Kings xxiv. 13. (Challoner) — Perhaps it would be as well to acknowledge a mistake, (2 Kings; Haydock) on account of the similitude of the Hebrew words signifying three and seven: (Tirinus) unless the prophet reduced the time from seven to three years; as in Ezechiel (iv. 15.) God mitigates the severity of his first threat. (Sanctius)
Ver. 13. Men. Susanna spoke on a different supposition, (Daniel xiii. 23., and Ecclesiasticus ii. 22.) of eternal punishment, in consequence of sin. David prefers to be punished by the hand of a tender father, rather than by that of an enemy; (Tirinus; Estius) and he does not wish to screen himself from suffering in this world, but offers himself to share in the chastisement of his subjects. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Took. Hebrew, “repented of evil,” taking pity of unhappy victims. — Ornan, or Areuna. (Challoner) — He had been king of the Jebusites before David took Jerusalem. (Mariana; Tirinus)
Ver. 18. Altar. Hence it appears that holy men erected altars by God’s command. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 20. Now. Hebrew, “and Ornan turned back.” — Angel. Vatican Septuagint, the king and his four sons with him, along with Achabin.” Other editions have, “and his four sons hidden with him.” Arabic, “and the king, being come near to Aran, he saw David and his,” &c. Syriac reads in like manner; but says nothing of the children either of David or of Ornan. We do not read that Ornan saw the angel, 2 Kings, but this circumstance may be here supplied. It is evident the Septuagint have read melec, “king,” instead of malac, “angel.” (Calmet) — Eupolemus says the angel Dianathan shewed David were to build the temple. (Eusebius, Pręp. ix. 30.)
Ver. 22. Worth. Hebrew, “give it me for the full price,” or “worth.” Septuagint, “the money was weighed.”
Ver. 25. Six hundred sicles, &c. This was the price of the whole place on which the temple was afterwards built: but the price of the oxen was fifty sicles of silver, 2 Kings xxiv. 24. (Challoner) — Or the fifty sicles were given for the threshing-floor alone. (Calmet) (Du Hamel)
Ver. 26. Fire, to testify his approbation. (Worthington; Tirinus) See Genesis iv. 4., and 2 Paralipomenon vii. 1. (Calmet) — This altar represented the cross, on which the Victim of our reconciliation [Jesus Christ] was offered. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 30. God. He performed what God had commanded. But he would have offered other voluntary victims at Gabaon, if he had been able. (Calmet) — The distance shewed the propriety of building the temple at Jerusalem, (Du Hamel) which was nearly in the centre of the country. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
David’s sin, in numbering the people, is punished by a pestilence: which ceaseth upon his offering sacrifice in the threshing-floor of Ornan.
1 And *satan rose up against Israel: and moved David to number Israel.
2 And David said to Joab, and to the rulers of the people: Go, and number Israel from Bersabee even unto Dan, and bring me the number of them, that I may know it.
3 And Joab answered: The Lord make his people a hundred times more than they are: but, my lord the king, are they not all thy servants? why doth my lord seek this thing, which may be imputed as a sin to Israel?
4 But the king’s word rather prevailed: and Joab departed, and went through all Israel: and returned to Jerusalem.
5 And he gave David the number of them, whom he had surveyed: and all the number of Israel, was found to be eleven hundred thousand men that drew the sword: and of Juda, four hundred and seventy thousand fighting men.
6 But Levi and Benjamin he did not number: for Joab unwillingly executed the king’s orders.
7 And God was displeased with this thing that was commanded: and he struck Israel.
8 And David said to God: I have sinned exceedingly in doing this: I beseech thee, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done foolishly.
9 And the Lord spoke to Gad, the seer of David, saying:
10 Go, and speak to David, and tell him: Thus saith the Lord: I give thee the choice of three things: choose one which thou wilt, and I will do it to thee.
11 And when Gad was come to David, he said to him: Thus saith the Lord: Choose which thou wilt:
12 Either three years’ famine: or three months to flee from thy enemies, and not to be able to escape their sword: or three days to have the sword of the Lord, and pestilence in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying in all the coasts of Israel: now, therefore, see what I shall answer him who sent me.
13 And David said to Gad: I am on every side in a great strait: but it is better for me to fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercies are many, than into the hands of men.
14 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel. And there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.
15 And he sent an angel to Jerusalem, to strike it: and as he was striking it, the Lord beheld, and took pity for the greatness of the evil: and said to the angel that destroyed: It is enough; now stop thy hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing-floor of Ornan, the Jebusite.
16 And David, lifting up his eyes, saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand, turned against Jerusalem: and both he, and the ancients, clothed in hair-cloth, fell down flat on the ground.
17 And David said to God: Am not I he that commanded the people to be numbered? It is I that have sinned: it is I that have done the evil: but as for this flock, what hath it deserved? O Lord, my God, let thy hand be turned, I beseech thee, upon me, and upon my father’s house: and let not thy people be destroyed.
18 And the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to tell David, to go up, and build an altar to the Lord God, in the threshing-floor of Ornan, the Jebusite.
19 And David went up, according to the word of Gad, which he spoke to him in the name of the Lord.
20 Now when Ornan looked up, and saw the angel, he and his four sons hid themselves: for at that time he was threshing wheat in the floor.
21 And as David was coming to Ornan, Ornan saw him, and went out of the threshing-floor to meet him, and bowed down to him, with his face to the ground.
22 And David said to him: Give me this place of thy threshing-floor, that I may build therein an altar to the Lord: but thou shalt take of me as much money as it is worth, that the plague may cease from the people.
23 And Ornan said to David: Take it, and let my lord the king do all that pleaseth him: and moreover, the oxen also I give for a holocaust, and the drays for wood, and the wheat for the sacrifice: I will give it all willingly.
24 And king David said to him: It shall not be so: but I will give thee money as much as it is worth: for I must not take it from thee, and so offer to the Lord holocausts free-cost.
25 So David gave to Ornan for the place, six hundred sicles of gold of just weight.
26 *And he built there an altar to the Lord: and he offered holocausts, and peace-offerings, and he called upon the Lord, and he heard him, by sending fire from heaven upon the altar of the holocaust.
27 And the Lord commanded the angel: and he put up his sword again into the sheath.
28 And David seeing that the Lord had heard him, in the threshing-floor of Ornan, the Jebusite, forthwith offered victims there.
29 But the tabernacle of the Lord, *which Moses made in the desert, and the altar of holocausts, was at that time in the high place of Gabaon.
30 And David could not go to the altar, there to pray to God: for he was seized with an exceedingly great fear, seeing the sword of the angel of the Lord.
1: Year of the World 2987.; 2 Kings xxiv. 1.; 1 Paralipomenon xxvii. 24.
26: 2 Paralipomenon iii. 1.
29: Exodus xxxvi. 2.