3 Yoav answered the king, “May Hashem your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while your own eyes see it! But why should my lord king want this?”
4 However, the king’s command to Yoav and to the officers of the army remained firm; and Yoav and the officers of the army set out, at the instance of the king, to take a census of the people of Yisrael.
ו וַיָּבֹאוּ הַגִּלְעָדָה וְאֶל־אֶרֶץ תַּחְתִּים חָדְשִׁי וַיָּבֹאוּ דָּנָה יַּעַן וְסָבִיב אֶל־צִידוֹן׃
8 They traversed the whole country, and then they came back to Yerushalayim at the end of nine months and twenty days.
ח וַיָּשֻׁטוּ בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ וַיָּבֹאוּ מִקְצֵה תִשְׁעָה חֳדָשִׁים וְעֶשְׂרִים יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃
10 But afterward David reproached himself for having numbered the people. And David said to Hashem, “I have sinned grievously in what I have done. Please, Hashem, remit the guilt of Your servant, for I have acted foolishly.”
12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus said Hashem: I hold three things over you; choose one of them, and I will bring it upon you.’”
יב הָלוֹךְ וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֶל־דָּוִד כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה שָׁלֹשׁ אָנֹכִי נוֹטֵל עָלֶיךָ בְּחַר־לְךָ אַחַת־מֵהֶם וְאֶעֱשֶׂה־לָּךְ׃
13 Gad came to David and told him; he asked, “Shall a seven-year famine come upon you in the land, or shall you be in flight from your adversaries for three months while they pursue you, or shall there be three days of pestilence in your land? Now consider carefully what reply I shall take back to Him who sent me.”
יג וַיָּבֹא־גָד אֶל־דָּוִד וַיַּגֶּד־לוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הֲתָבוֹא לְךָ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים רָעָב בְּאַרְצֶךָ אִם־שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים נֻסְךָ לִפְנֵי־צָרֶיךָ וְהוּא רֹדְפֶךָ וְאִם־הֱיוֹת שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים דֶּבֶר בְּאַרְצֶךָ עַתָּה דַּע וּרְאֵה מָה־אָשִׁיב שֹׁלְחִי דָּבָר׃
16 But when the angel extended his hand against Yerushalayim to destroy it, Hashem renounced further punishment and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Stay your hand!” The angel of Hashem was then by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
טז וַיִּשְׁלַח יָדוֹ הַמַּלְאָךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם לְשַׁחֲתָהּ וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהֹוָה אֶל־הָרָעָה וַיֹּאמֶר לַמַּלְאָךְ הַמַּשְׁחִית בָּעָם רַב עַתָּה הֶרֶף יָדֶךָ וּמַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה הָיָה עִם־גֹּרֶן האורנה [הָאֲרַוְנָה] הַיְבֻסִי׃
17 When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to Hashem, “I alone am guilty, I alone have done wrong; but these poor sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house!”
יז וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל־יְהֹוָה בִּרְאֹתוֹ אֶת־הַמַּלְאָךְ הַמַּכֶּה בָעָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי חָטָאתִי וְאָנֹכִי הֶעֱוֵיתִי וְאֵלֶּה הַצֹּאן מֶה עָשׂוּ תְּהִי נָא יָדְךָ בִּי וּבְבֵית אָבִי׃
יח וַיָּבֹא־גָד אֶל־דָּוִד בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ עֲלֵה הָקֵם לַיהֹוָה מִזְבֵּחַ בְּגֹרֶן ארניה [אֲרַוְנָה] הַיְבֻסִי׃
20 Araunah looked out and saw the king and his courtiers approaching him. So Araunah went out and bowed low to the king, with his face to the ground.
כ וַיַּשְׁקֵף אֲרַוְנָה וַיַּרְא אֶת־הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶת־עֲבָדָיו עֹבְרִים עָלָיו וַיֵּצֵא אֲרַוְנָה וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לַמֶּלֶךְ אַפָּיו אָרְצָה׃
21 And Araunah asked, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy the threshing floor from you, that I may build a mizbayach to Hashem and that the plague against the people may be checked.”
כא וַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה מַדּוּעַ בָּא אֲדֹנִי־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־עַבְדּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לִקְנוֹת מֵעִמְּךָ אֶת־הַגֹּרֶן לִבְנוֹת מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהֹוָה וְתֵעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל הָעָם׃
22 And Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take it and offer up whatever he sees fit. Here are oxen for a burnt offering, and the threshing boards and the gear of the oxen for wood.
כב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה אֶל־דָּוִד יִקַּח וְיַעַל אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב בעינו [בְּעֵינָיו] רְאֵה הַבָּקָר לָעֹלָה וְהַמֹּרִגִּים וּכְלֵי הַבָּקָר לָעֵצִים׃
23 All this, O king, Araunah gives to Your Majesty. And may Hashem your God,” Araunah added, “respond to you with favor!”
כג הַכֹּל נָתַן אֲרַוְנָה הַמֶּלֶךְ לַמֶּלֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִרְצֶךָ׃
24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I will buy them from you at a price. I cannot sacrifice to Hashem my God burnt offerings that have cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekalim of silver.
va-YO-mer ha-ME-lekh el a-RAV-nah LO kee ka-NO ek-NEH may-o-t’-KHA bim-KHEER v’-LO a-a-LEH la-do-NAI e-lo-HAI o-LOT KHI-nam va-YI-ken da-VID et ha-GO-ren v’-et ha-ba-KAR b’-KHE-sef sh’-ka-LEEM kha-mi-SHEEM
כד וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־אֲרַוְנָה לֹא כִּי־קָנוֹ אֶקְנֶה מֵאוֹתְךָ בִּמְחִיר וְלֹא אַעֲלֶה לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי עֹלוֹת חִנָּם וַיִּקֶן דָּוִד אֶת־הַגֹּרֶן וְאֶת־הַבָּקָר בְּכֶסֶף שְׁקָלִים חֲמִשִּׁים׃
24:24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I will buy them from you at a price”
King David purchases the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and, according to one classic rabbinic opinion, the entire city of Yerushalayim. That threshing floor, the place where he intends to offer sacrifices, is now called the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. As this site would later become the location of the Beit Hamikdash, David purchases the land publicly, just as Avraham did when he purchased the cave of Machpelah in Chevron for a great sum of money and in front of witnesses (Genesis 23). Although, like Avraham, David was offered the site as a gift, he does not want any future generations to claim that it was stolen by the Children of Israel. Since the sale of each is recorded in the Bible, the Sages of the Midrash teach that Yerushalayim, Chevron and Shechem (which was similarly purchased by Jacob, see Genesis 33:19) are the three places that indisputably belong to the Jewish people.