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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary

Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 24

Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 24

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Chapter 24

1And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and He moved David against them, saying, "Go count Israel and Judah."   אוַיֹּסֶף אַף יְהֹוָה לַחֲרוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִד בָּהֶם לֵאמֹר לֵךְ מְנֵה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת יְהוּדָה:
against Israel: I do not know regarding what.  
He moved: provoked.  
2And the king said to Joab the captain of the host that was with him, "Go please, to and fro throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan as far as Beer-sheba and take census of the people, so that I may know the number of the people."   בוַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל יוֹאָב | שַׂר הַחַיִל אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ שׁוּט נָא בְּכָל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִדָּן וְעַד בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע וּפִקְדוּ אֶת הָעָם וְיָדַעְתִּי אֵת מִסְפַּר הָעָם:
3And Joab said to the king, "May the Lord your God add to the people a hundredfold of whatsoever they may be, and the eyes of my lord, the king may see it; but my lord the king, why does he desire such a thing?"   גוַיֹּאמֶר יוֹאָב אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ וְיוֹסֵף יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶל הָעָם כָּהֵם | וְכָהֵם מֵאָה פְעָמִים וְעֵינֵי אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ רֹאוֹת וַאדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ לָמָּה חָפֵץ בַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה:
of whatsoever they may be: כהם implies double, וכהם is twice double or fourfold. Then he continues to increase the progression up to one hundred times. Consequently, Joab’s blessing was greater than that of Moses who stated: “a thousand times what you presently are” (Deut. 1:11). Furthermore, Moses’ blessing was over a lengthy period of time while Joab’s was to take immediate effect, as it stated: “and the eyes of my Lord the king may see it.”  
4But the word of the king prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people, the Israelites.   דוַיֶּחֱזַק דְּבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל יוֹאָב וְעַל שָׂרֵי הֶחָיִל וַיֵּצֵא יוֹאָב וְשָׂרֵי הַחַיִל לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ לִפְקֹד אֶת הָעָם אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל:
5And they crossed the Jordan, and they camped in Aroer, to the right of the city that is [situated] in the middle of the valley of Gad, and to Jaezer.   הוַיַּעַבְרוּ אֶת הַיַּרְדֵּן וַיַּחֲנוּ בַעֲרוֹעֵר יְמִין הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹךְ הַנַּחַל הַגָּד וְאֶל יַעְזֵר:
of Gad, and a Jaezer: He began with the children of Gad since they were mighty and firm and he reasoned: If only they would fight me and hold me back.  
6And they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan to the city of Jaan and round about to Zidon.   ווַיָּבֹאוּ הַגִּלְעָדָה וְאֶל אֶרֶץ תַּחְתִּים חָדְשִׁי וַיָּבֹאוּ דָּנָה יַּעַן וְסָבִיב אֶל צִידוֹן:
to the land of Tahtim- hodshi: Heb. חדשי. A new settlement where there were yet few people. [He reasoned:] Perhaps in the interim David would have a change of heart and send him a messenger that he return.  
to Dan: Among the children of Dan.  
Jaan: Name of a place.  
7And they came to the stronghold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites; and they went out to the South of Judah, to Beer-sheba.   זוַיָּבֹאוּ מִבְצַר צֹר וְכָל עָרֵי הַחִוִּי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וַיֵּצְאוּ אֶל נֶגֶב יְהוּדָה בְּאֵר שָׁבַע:
8And they had gone to and fro throughout the entire land, and they came at the end of nine months and twenty days [back to] Jerusalem.   חוַיָּשֻׁטוּ בְּכָל הָאָרֶץ וַיָּבֹאוּ מִקְצֵה תִשְׁעָה חֳדָשִׁים וְעֶשְׂרִים יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלָםִ:
9And Joab presented the sum of the number of the people to the king; And Israel consisted of eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.   טוַיִּתֵּן יוֹאָב אֶת מִסְפַּר מִפְקַד הָעָם אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ וַתְּהִי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁמֹנֶה מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף אִישׁ חַיִל שֹׁלֵף חֶרֶב וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף אִישׁ:
sum of the number: If sum why number? And if number, why sum? Joab made two lists, a long and a short one. He said: I shall show him the short one but if he gets angry then I will show him the longer one. This is why it says מפקד which is an expression of lacking. So it is explicated in the Pesikta.  
and Israel consisted: Heb. ותהי. Their strength ebbed as that of a female.  
eight hundred thousand valiant men: Now in I Chronicles 21:5 it is written “one million, one hundred thousand.” In the Aggadah of the Amoraim [the post-Mishnaic rabbis of the Talmud] we find: R. Joshua the son of Levi said: The verses add here what they omitted elsewhere, [i.e.,] the two tribes that were not counted, for it is written in I Chronicles (2:6): But Levi and Benjamin he did not number among them; for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. Joab said, From these I can free myself by claiming that the tribe of Levi is not [to be] counted among the other tribes but from one month and above [while the other tribes were counted from ages twenty to fifty]. Now concerning Benjamin it is enough that they were diminished and [nearly] destroyed in the incident of the Concubine in Gibeah (Jud. Ch. 20). Also in the thirty-two rules [of interpretation] of R. Eliezer the son of Rabbi Yosi of Galilee we learned: One verse states that “all of Israel were one million and one hundred thousand… and Judah was four hundred seventy thousand [men],” while another verse states that “Israel consisted of eight hundred thousand… and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand.” We thus find a discrepancy of three hundred thousand between them. What is to be said concerning these three hundred thousand? Comes the third verse (in I Chron. 27:1) and clarifies “And the children of Israel after their number, the heads of father’s houses and the captains of thousands and of hundreds and their officers that served the king, in any matter of the divisions which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year of each division were twenty-four thousand.” We learn from here that these three hundred thousand were written in the royal record and required no [additional] accounting. How [do we derive this sum]? Twenty-four thousand [multiplied] by twelve [tribes] totals two hundred and eighty-eight thousand leaving twelve thousand who were the rulers of Israel."  
10And David's heart smote him after he had counted the people. And David said to the Lord: I have sinned greatly in what I have done; and now, 'O Lord, put aside please, the iniquity of your servant, for I was very foolish!   יוַיַּךְ לֵב דָּוִד אֹתוֹ אַחֲרֵי כֵן סָפַר אֶת הָעָם וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל יְהֹוָה חָטָאתִי מְאֹד אֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתִי וְעַתָּה יְהֹוָה הַעֲבֶר נָא אֶת עֲוֹן עַבְדְּךָ כִּי נִסְכַּלְתִּי מְאֹד:
11And David rose up in the morning; and the word of the Lord came to Gad the Prophet, the seer of David, saying:   יאוַיָּקָם דָּוִד בַּבֹּקֶר פ וּדְבַר יְהֹוָה הָיָה אֶל גָּד הַנָּבִיא חֹזֵה דָוִד לֵאמֹר:
12"Go and speak to David, 'So says the Lord, "Three things I offer you, choose for yourself one of them, and I shall do it to you".   יבהָלוֹךְ וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֶל דָּוִד כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה שָׁלֹשׁ אָנֹכִי נוֹטֵל עָלֶיךָ בְּחַר לְךָ אַחַת מֵהֶם וְאֶעֱשֶׂה לָּךְ:
three things I offer you: One of three. The same with “with two you shall become my son-in-law” (I Sam. 18:21), [where the intent is] with one of two.  
three things I offer you: Coinciding with the three that you wished [lit. placed] upon Saul: “the Lord will smite him; or his day will come and he will die; or, he will go down to war and perish” (I Sam. 26:10).  
13And Gad came to David and he told him, and he said to him, "[Do you prefer] that seven years of famine in your land shall come upon you? or three months that you shall flee before your oppressor while he pursues you? or, that there be three days pestilence in your land? Now know and consider what I shall reply to Him that sent me.   יגוַיָּבֹא גָד אֶל דָּוִד וַיַּגֶּד לוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הֲתָבוֹא לְךָ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים | רָעָב | בְּאַרְצֶךָ אִם שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים נֻסְךָ לִפְנֵי צָרֶיךָ וְהוּא רֹדְפֶךָ וְאִם הֱיוֹת שְׁלשֶׁת יָמִים דֶּבֶר בְּאַרְצֶךָ עַתָּה דַּע וּרְאֵה מָה אָשִׁיב שֹׁלְחִי דָּבָר:
14And David said to Gad; "I am greatly oppressed; let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great; but into the hand of man let me not fall."   ידוַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל גָּד צַר לִי מְאֹד נִפְּלָה נָּא בְיַד יְהֹוָה כִּי רַבִּים רַחֲמָיו (כתיב רַחֲמָו) וּבְיַד אָדָם אַל אֶפֹּלָה:
I am greatly oppressed: Even the least of them is very harsh.  
hand of the lord: Pestilence, but not sword or famine, for it, too, is [partially] in the hands of the wealthy who store produce. Rabbi Alexandri said: David said, If I should choose the sword, the Israelites would then say that he depends on his mighty warriors that he will not die and only others will die. If I should choose famine they will say he depends on his wealth. Let me therefore choose pestilence in which all are equal.  
15So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time; And there died of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.   טווַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה דֶּבֶר בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל מֵהַבֹּקֶר וְעַד עֵת מוֹעֵד וַיָּמָת מִן הָעָם מִדָּן וְעַד בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע שִׁבְעִים אֶלֶף אִישׁ:
from the morning until the appointed time: From the time when the daily burnt offering was slaughtered until its blood was sprinkled.  
16And the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, and the Lord regretted the evil, and he said to the angel that destroyed among the people, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing-floor of Aravnah the Jebusite.   טזוַיִּשְׁלַח יָדוֹ הַמַּלְאָךְ | יְרוּשָׁלַםִ לְשַׁחֲתָהּ וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהֹוָה אֶל הָרָעָה וַיֹּאמֶר לַמַּלְאָךְ הַמַּשְׁחִית בָּעָם רַב עַתָּה הֶרֶף יָדֶךָ וּמַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה הָיָה עִם גֹּרֶן הָאֲרַוְנָה (כתיב הָאֲוַרְנָה) הַיְבֻסִי:
The Jebusite: He was the commander of the citadel of Zion, which was called Jebusite.  
17And David said to the Lord when he saw the angel that smote among the people, and he said, "Behold I have sinned, and have acted iniquitously; but these sheep, what have they done? I beg that Your hand be against me, and against my father's house."   יזוַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל יְהֹוָה בִּרְאֹתוֹ | אֶת הַמַּלְאָךְ | הַמַּכֶּה בָעָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי חָטָאתִי וְאָנֹכִי הֶעֱוֵיתִי וְאֵלֶּה הַצֹּאן מֶה עָשֹוּ תְּהִי נָא יָדְךָ בִּי וּבְבֵית אָבִי:
18And Gad came to David on that day, and said to him, "Go up to erect an altar to the Lord in the threshing-floor of Aravnah the Jebusite."   יחוַיָּבֹא גָד אֶל דָּוִד בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ עֲלֵה הָקֵם לַיהֹוָה מִזְבֵּחַ בְּגֹרֶן אֲרַוְנָה (כתיב אֲרַנְיָה) הַיְבֻסִי:
19And David went up according to the word of Gad, as the Lord had commanded.   יטוַיַּעַל דָּוִד כִּדְבַר גָּד כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה:
20And Aravnah looked afar and he saw the king and his servants passing on towards him: and Aravnah went out and he bowed down to the king with his face to the ground.   כוַיַּשְׁקֵף אֲרַוְנָה וַיַּרְא אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶת עֲבָדָיו עֹבְרִים עָלָיו וַיֵּצֵא אֲרַוְנָה וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לַמֶּלֶךְ אַפָּיו אָרְצָה:
And Aravnah looked afar: He was hiding from the angel. So it is written (in I Chron 21:20).  
21And Aravnah said, "Why has the lord my king come to his servant?" And David said, "To acquire from you the threshing-floor, in order to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague be stayed from the people."   כאוַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה מַדּוּעַ בָּא אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל עַבְדּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לִקְנוֹת מֵעִמְּךָ אֶת הַגֹּרֶן לִבְנוֹת מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהֹוָה וְתֵעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל הָעָם:
22And Aravnah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good in his eyes; behold the oxen for the burnt-offering and the threshing tools, and the [wooden] tools of the oxen for [fire] wood."   כבוַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה אֶל דָּוִד יִקַּח וְיַעַל אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינָיו (כתיב בְּעֵינָו) רְאֵה הַבָּקָר לָעֹלָה וְהַמֹּרִגִּים וּכְלֵי הַבָּקָר לָעֵצִים:
threshing tool: A wooden tool full of incisions. Now this instrument is heavy and is constantly drawn over the straw so that it chops it into feed for the animals.  
23All this Aravnah the king gave to the king. And Aravnah said to the king, "May the Lord your God accept you."   כגהַכֹּל נָתַן אֲרַוְנָה הַמֶּלֶךְ לַמֶּלֶךְ ס וַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִרְצֶךָ:
Aravnah the king: He was the lord of the Jebusites.  
24And the king said to Aravnah, "No; for I will only buy it from you at a price; so that I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt-offerings [which I had received] for nothing." And David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.   כדוַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל אֲרַוְנָה לֹא כִּי קָנוֹ אֶקְנֶה מֵאוֹתְךָ בִּמְחִיר וְלֹא אַעֲלֶה לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי עֹלוֹת חִנָּם וַיִּקֶן דָּוִד אֶת הַגֹּרֶן וְאֶת הַבָּקָר בְּכֶסֶף שְׁקָלִים חֲמִשִּׁים:
for fifty shekels of silver: Now in I Chronicles 21:25 it states: “six hundred shekel; of gold by the weight.” How can this be? He gathered fifty shekels of silver from each and every tribe which totals six hundred [silver shekels] and he presented him with silver equal to the amount of [fifty shekels] of gold. This we learned at the end of Tractate Zev. (116b). i.e., that he gathered silver in the amount of six hundred [shekels] of silver [equivalent to fifty] gold shekels. We also learned it in Sifrei.  
25And David built there an altar to the Lord, and he offered up burnt-offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.   כהוַיִּבֶן שָׁם דָּוִד מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהֹוָה וַיַּעַל עֹלוֹת וּשְׁלָמִים וַיֵּעָתֵר יְהֹוָה לָאָרֶץ וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
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