24 But King David replied to Ornan, “No, I will buy them at the full price. I cannot make a present to God of what belongs to you, or sacrifice a burnt offering that has cost me nothing.”
va-YO-mer ha-ME-lekh da-VEED l’-or-NAN LO kee ka-NOH ek-NEH b’-KHE-sef ma-LAY KEE lo e-SA a-sher l-KHA la-do-NAI v’-ha-a-LOT o-LAH khi-NAM
כד וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִיד לְאָרְנָן לֹא כִּי־קָנֹה אֶקְנֶה בְּכֶסֶף מָלֵא כִּי לֹא־אֶשָּׂא אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ לַיהֹוָה וְהַעֲלוֹת עוֹלָה חִנָּם׃
21:24 I will buy them at the full price
King David refuses to receive the land upon which he would build the altar as a gift. Instead, he insists on paying full price for it. The first verse of the next chapter reveals that this land David purchased would become the permanent location of the Beit Hamikdash, the spiritual center of the Jewish people. As such, the ownership of the land must be beyond dispute. When something is given as a gift, the previous owner maintains some small moral claim to it, as he gave it without recompense. By buying the land, as Avraham had bought the Cave of Machpelah, David guarantees that the Jewish people’s claim to the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim would be indisputable for all time.