Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of YAHWEH. And YAHWEH said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."
So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). Thus David said to the Gibeonites, "What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of YAHWEH?"
Then the Gibeonites said to him, "We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel." And he said, "I will do for you whatever you say."
So they said to the king, "The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before YAHWEH in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of YAHWEH." And the king said, "I will give them."
But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of YAHWEH which was between them, between David and Saul's son Jonathan. So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before YAHWEH, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.
And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.
When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa.
He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus they did all that the king commanded, and after that Elohim was moved by prayer for the land.
Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary. Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, was girded with a new sword, and he intended to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel."
Now it came about after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among the descendants of the giant. There was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.
There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant. When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David's brother, struck him down. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
Did you read that? SIX fingers and SIX toes?
And David spoke the words of this song to YAHWEH in the day that YAHWEH delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said, "YAHWEH is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my Elohim, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence. I call upon YAHWEH, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. For the waves of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me; the cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon YAHWEH, yes, I cried to my Elohim; and from His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help came into His ears. Then the earth shook and quaked, the foundations of heaven were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. And He rode on a cherub and flew; and He appeared on the wings of the wind. And He made darkness canopies around Him, a mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky. From the brightness before Him coals of fire were kindled. YAHWEH thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice. And He sent out arrows, and scattered them, lightning, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were laid bare by the rebuke of YAHWEH, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but YAHWEH was my support. He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. YAHWEH has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
"For I have kept the ways of YAHWEH, and have not acted wickedly against my Elohim. For all His ordinances were before me, and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless toward Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore YAHWEH has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness before His eyes. With the kind You show Yourself kind, with the blameless You show Yourself blameless; with the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the perverted You show Yourself astute. And You save an afflicted people; but Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase. For You are my lamp, O Master; And YAHWEH illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; by my Elohim I can leap over a wall. As for Elohim, His way is blameless; the word of YAHWEH is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is Elohim, besides YAHWEH? And who is a rock, besides our Elohim?
“Elohim is my strong fortress; and He sets the blameless in His way. He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and sets me on my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise; And they fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, and I destroyed those who hated me.
"They looked, but there was none to save; even to YAHWEH, but He did not answer them. Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth; I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets. You have also delivered me from the contentions of my people; You have kept me as head of the nations; a people whom I have not known serve me. Foreigners pretend obedience to me; as soon as they hear, they obey me. Foreigners lose heart, and come trembling out of their fortresses. YAHWEH lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be Elohim, the rock of my salvation, the Elohim who executes vengeance for me, and brings down peoples under me, Who also brings me out from my enemies; You even lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Master, among the nations, and I will sing praises to Your name. He is a tower of deliverance to His king, And shows loving-kindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever."
Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, the man who was raised on high declares, the anointed of the Elohim of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel,
"The Spirit of YAHWEH spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The Elohim of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, 'He who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of Elohim, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain.' Truly is not my house so with Elohim? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, ordered in all things, and secured; for all my salvation and all my desire, will He not indeed make it grow? But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns, because they cannot be taken in hand; but the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place."
These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time; and after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn. He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and YAHWEH brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain.
Now after him was Shammah the son of Agee a Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered into a troop where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the people fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot, defended it and struck the Philistines; and YAHWEH brought about a great victory.
Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
David had a craving and said, "Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!" So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to YAHWEH; and he said, "Be it far from me, O YAHWEH, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.
Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he swung his spear against three hundred and killed them, and had a name as well as the three. He was most honored of the thirty, therefore he became their commander; however, he did not attain to the three.
Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. He killed an Egyptian, an impressive man. Now the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but he went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and had a name as well as the three mighty men. He was honored among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David appointed him over his guard.
Asahel the brother of Joab was among the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, Heleb the son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the sons of Benjamin, Benaiah a Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Ararite, Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maacathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armor bearers of Joab the son of Zeruiah, Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite; thirty-seven in all.
How did you do with all those names? Whew, I didn't do too good myself!
Now again the anger of YAHWEH burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah."
The king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, "Go about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and register the people, that I may know the number of the people."
But Joab said to the king, "Now may YAHWEH your Elohim add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my master the king still see; but why does my master the king delight in this thing?"
Nevertheless, the king's word prevailed against Joab and against the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to register the people of Israel. They crossed the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the city that is in the middle of the valley of Gad and toward Jazer. Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi, and they came to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon, and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites, and they went out to the south of Judah, to Beersheba.
So when they had gone about through the whole land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave the number of the registration of the people to the king; and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
Now David's heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to YAHWEH, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O YAHWEH, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly."
When David arose in the morning, the word of YAHWEH came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go and speak to David, 'Thus YAHWEH says, "I am offering you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you."'"
So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, "Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me."
Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of YAHWEH for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man."
So YAHWEH sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, YAHWEH relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, "It is enough! Now relax your hand!" And the angel of YAHWEH was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
Then David spoke to YAHWEH when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, "Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me and against my father's house."
So Gad came to David that day and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to YAHWEH on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."
David went up according to the word of Gad, just as YAHWEH had commanded. Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants crossing over toward him; and Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground before the king. Then Araunah said, "Why has my master the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to YAHWEH, that the plague may be held back from the people."
Araunah said to David, "Let my master the king take and offer up what is good in his sight. Look, the oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May YAHWEH your Elohim accept you."
However, the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to YAHWEH my Elohim which cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
David built there an altar to YAHWEH and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus YAHWEH was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.