May 26, 2023 Read Together

May 26, 2023 Read Together

May 26, 2023

2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4 (NRSV)
2 Samuel 24, 1 Crónicas 21, Romanos 4 (RVR1960)


2 Samuel 24

David’s Census of Israel and Judah

24 Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.” So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army who were with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know how many there are.” But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census of the people of Israel. They crossed the Jordan and began from Aroer and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and on to Jazer. Then they came to Gilead and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites, and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went around to Sidon and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites, and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beer-sheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab reported to the king the number of those who had been recorded: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand soldiers able to draw the sword, and those of Judah were five hundred thousand.

Judgment on David’s Sin

10 But afterward, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” 11 When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you on 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 decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great, but let me not fall into human hands.”

15 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. 16 But when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was standing[f] by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, “I alone have sinned, and I, the shepherd, have done evil, but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

David’s Altar on the Threshing Floor

18 That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 Following Gad’s instructions, David went up, as the Lord had commanded. 20 When Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming toward him, and Araunah went out and prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so that the plague may be averted from the people.” 22 Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him; here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23 All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God respond favorably to you.”

24 But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. So the Lord answered his supplication for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.


1 Chronicles 21

The Census and Plague

21 Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, so that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. Joab gave the total count of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred seventy thousand who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.

But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” The Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, so that I may do it to you.” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Take your choice: 12 either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel. Now decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.” 13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but let me not fall into human hands.”

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel. 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord took note and relented concerning the calamity; he said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 And 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, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house, but do not let your people be plagued!”

David’s Altar and Sacrifice

18 Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to tell David that he should go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up following Gad’s instructions, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Ornan turned and saw the king, and while his four sons who were with him hid themselves, Ornan continued to thresh wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David; he went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself before David with his face to the ground. 22 David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—so that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him; see, I present the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering. I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. He called upon the Lord, and he answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

The Place Chosen for the Temple

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he made his sacrifices there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord that Moses had made in the wilderness and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon, 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.


Romans 4

The Example of Abraham

4 What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David pronounces a blessing on those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.”

Is this blessing, then, pronounced only on the circumcised or also on the uncircumcised? We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, 12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.

God’s Promise Realized through Faith

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there transgression.

16 For this reason the promise depends on faith, in order that it may rest on grace, so that it may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (who is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”), in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore “it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.


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