“And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, ‘I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.’ For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, ‘Go and say unto David, ‘Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.’ So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, ‘Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? Or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? Or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land?’ Now advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him that sent me.
And David said unto Gad, ‘I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.’
So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, ‘It is enough: stay now thine hand.’ And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, ‘Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? Let Thine hand, I pray Thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.’ And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, ‘Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.’ And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.
And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, ‘Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant?’ And David said, ‘To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people.’ And Araunah said unto David, ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.’ All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, ‘The LORD thy God accept thee.’ And the king said unto Araunah, ‘Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.” 2 Samuel 24:10-25 (KJB)
REFERENCES: 12:13; 1 Samuel 9:9; 12:13; 1 Chronicles 21:24; 29:29; Psalm 103:8; Genesis 6:6; 1 Kings 19:21; Romans 12:1-2
Some things to note:
- When King David realized his sin he repented;
- He was given a choice of discipline/judgment, and chose the mercy of God rather than the hands of men;
- When the judgment started falling on his people he told the LORD that “It is all my sin” and plead for them;
- The threshing floor the king bought for an altar for sacrifice was at the place just outside the city of Jerusalem;
- At this sacrifice the plague was stayed/stopped;
- This same threshing floor is believed by many to be the same hill where Jesus was crucified.
There is other history of this hill as well (Genesis 22).