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Deeper Commentary

2Sa 24:1 Again-
I will suggest on :25 that there are similarities with the cursing of the land at the time of 2 Sam. 21:14. So "again" may mean that this final cameo of Davidic history is another example as that of 2 Sam. 21, of where Yahweh's anger was against the land of Israel and He was then "intreated for the land" by repentance and sacrifice.

The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel-
This common phrase is typically used of God's anger with Israel for idolatry, which was clearly a problem amongst them even at David's time. He didn't want to punish them. The census gave them the opportunity to pay a half shekel each for "atonement money" (Ex. 30:12-15), lest they be struck with plague. It seems God worked through David's fear of an invasion or forthcoming battle with a 'satan'' / adversary, so that he took a census and the people had the chance to pay that atonement money in loyalty to Yahweh. But they didn't- and so they were struck with plague. David's feeling of guilt over the matter is understandable, but I will argue on :10 that it was more a case of false guilt.

And He moved David against them saying, Go, number Israel and Judah-
This is an example of God's Spirit moving people to do things, operating on their heart through circumstances- in this case, the 'satan' of some opposition which provoked David to take a census of his fighters.

The books of Samuel and Chronicles are parallel accounts of the same incidents, as the four gospels are records of the same events but using different language. 2 Sam. 24:1 records: “Yahweh... moved David against Israel” in order to make him take a census of Israel. The parallel account in 1 Chron. 21:1 says that “Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David” to take the census. In one passage God does the ‘moving’, in the other Satan does it. The only conclusion is that God acted as or through a ‘Satan’ or adversary to David. He did the same to Job by bringing trials into his life, so that Job said about God: “With the strength of Your hand You oppose me” (Job 30:21); ‘You are acting as a Satan against me’, was what Job was basically saying. Or again, speaking of God: “I must appeal for mercy to my accuser (Satan)” (Job 9:15 NRSV). The idea is sometimes used to describe our greatest adversary, i.e. our own sin, and at times for whole systems or empires which stand opposed to the people of God and personify sinfulness and evil. But it seems obvious that it is a bizarre approach to Bible reading to insist that whenever we meet these words 'Satan' and 'Devil', we are to understand them as references to a personal, supernatural being.

Perhaps the satan which moved David to number Israel was a Satan-Angel, as in the case of the righteous Angel involved with Balaam, acting as a satan / adversary, and with Job. The parallel with Balaam is that God sent a Satan-Angel against him because His anger was kindled against Balaam (Num. 22:22, the same phrase as in :1). The Angel may have acted directly on David's heart to bring about a trial for both David and Israel. This is one of the many indications that the numbering of the people was not David's sin. See on :10. But the adversaries to David and Israel were at that point the surrounding nations. Even if an Angel was involved, the immediate 'satan' would have been an approaching enemy army; and David wanted to know how many men he had to fight off that invasion. Or it could have been an extension of the gathering of troops made at the time of 2 Sam. 20:4, when David wanted to know how many soldiers he could really count on after Absalom's rebellion. See on :2.

2Sa 24:2 The king said to Joab the captain of the army, who was with him, Now go back and forth through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the sum of the people-
The list of David's mighty men just given in 2 Sam. 23 included men literally from Dan to Beersheba. I suggested on :1 that the occasion of this census may have been when David wanted to know how many soldiers he could really count on after Absalom's rebellion. It's possible that although out of chronological sequence, the catalogue of mighty men in 2 Sam. 23 was the result of this census. This would explain Joab's comment in 1 Chron. 21:3 "Are they not all my Lord's servants?", as if to say 'Loyalty to you is not in question, taking a census won't prove loyalty to you'.  

2Sa 24:3 Joab said to the king, Now may Yahweh your God add to the people, however many they may be, one hundred times-
Joab is alluding to Dt. 1:11. For all his unspirituality, he did also have a spiritual side. He was not unaware of the scriptures, and seemed to want to do what was genuinely best for Israel. Men with deeply mixed motives is quite a theme of the Bible's historical records; and that is because they are true to life. For that is how people are.

And may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king delight in this thing?-
The numbering of Israel was another weak moment for David (note 2 Sam. 24:3,4,10), leading to suffering for others. Yet this same David had written that “there is no king saved by the multitude of an host” (Ps. 33:16). Perhaps this was an expression of repentance after this incident; or, if written before it, an example of David being over confident of his faith. “Why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?” (1 Chron. 21:3) suggests Joab suspected the people would not pay the half shekel required when a census was taken, and so would be led into sin. Although it was their fault, the situation was provoked by God Himself provoking David to take the census, because His anger was kindled against Israel (:1). This would then be an example of God confirming a sinful people in the way they wished to go.

2Sa 24:4 Notwithstanding, the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the army. Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel-
The army captains likewise agreed with Joab that the census was not a good idea. This incident is at a time when David's word prevails against Joab and the generals, and we get the impression that this would not have happened after his sin with Bathsheba, after which Joab speaks and acts towards David in a belligerent manner. So the incident may be not in chronological order; indeed none of the cameos of Davidic history at the end of 2 Samuel are in chronological order.

2Sa 24:5 They passed over the Jordan, and encamped in Aroer, on the right side of the city that is in the middle of the valley of Gad, and to Jazer-
The list of cities given in this section is detailed, and if they just describe the itinerary and maximum extent of the route taken by the generals in making the census, we wonder why such detail is given. I suggest that the areas named were those where they found significant numbers of men loyal to David and willing to fight for him. For that was the purpose of the census. Jazer was a priestly city (Josh. 21:39). Yet it was on the very borders of Hebrew territory, suggesting that Israel gave the Levites the remotest and very poorest of their cities, rather than the best. Yet we also see the theme discussed on 2 Sam. 23:20 continued- that the Levites, although exempted from military service by the Law (Num. 1:47), were often to be found amongst David's most loyal soldiers.

2Sa 24:6 then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; and they came to Dan Jaan, and around to Sidon-
"Tahtim Hodshi" is unknown, so we can go with LXX "to the land of the Hittites to Kedesh". Sidon likewise was never really inhabited by the Hebrews (Jud. 1:31) but rather by the Phoenicians, who are therefore called the Zidonians. But the idea may be that in these Gentile areas, David had soldiers he could count on. Because it is a theme of the list of commanders in 2 Sam. 23 that David's most loyal supporters were often Gentiles or from distant, isolated areas. This is often the case with the Lord's supporters in this life.

2Sa 24:7 and 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, at Beersheba-
This could be simply defining the borders of the areas covered. But there is also the possibility that just as the mighty men of David were from various odd places, there were pockets of loyalty to David in various unusual places such as the city of Tyre- which was never generally inhabited by the Israelites. And likewise, the list of the mighty men in 2 Sam. 23 include Gentiles who had previously been David's enemies. And so it is possible that amongst the Canaanites, there were groups of men loyal to David who could be counted as his loyal soldiers.

2Sa 24:8 So when they had gone back and forth through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days-
The maximum human gestation period may have been thus understood at the time. We can understand the concern of Joab and the generals; they were going to be scattered throughout Israel and this would leave the nation very weak and open to attack. We see the contradiction, the fear was of some 'Satan', some external group of attackers, and yet by the military leadership scattering amongst Israel to take the census, they were left even weaker before the threat. We wonder at what stage David was ever able to allow his army generals nine months to take a census. We get the impression that he was under constant military threat, especially after the sin with Bathsheba. So this incident may have occurred well before that.

2Sa 24:9 Joab delivered the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men-
According to 1 Chron. 21:5, there were 1,100,000 “men that drew sword” in Israel. According to 2 Sam. 24:9, there were 800,000 “valiant men” in Israel, according to the same census. One way to reconcile this is to focus on this distinction between "valiant men" and standard soldiers. The Samuel record is perceiving that there was a higher level of commitment amongst some who were numbered. There were the enthusiasts, and those who merely could draw a sword. They were all living on different levels.

The numbers are also difficult because the Hebrew word for "thousand" need not mean a literal 1,000, but it is at time used to refer to a military subdivision. And it can have different definitions in some areas and at some times and by some writers. That is likely the reason for the difference between the numbers presented in Samuel and Chronicles, rather than textual corruption. If taken literally, the numbers are unrealistic; nearly 2 million soldiers (according to Chronicles) in the combined kingdom would imply a huge total population. Even if there were six million population in the territory they then inhabited (about 11,000 square miles), this would give an average population density of 600 / square mile. It seems really doubtful that the country could have supported this.

The Levites were not numbered as they were exempt from military service (Num. 1:47), indeed Joab didn't number Benjamin or Levi (1 Chron. 21:6) which would further heighten the total population.

"Drew the sword" is the same phrase used in 1 Chron. 21:16 of how the destroying Angel had a drawn sword in his hand. The idea seems to be that God's Angelic power was more than a match for thousands of Israelites with their drawn swords. This would be an argument in favour of the idea that David did indeed sin at this time by trusting in his own swords, although the greater sin appears to have been with the people; see on :10.

2Sa 24:10 David’s heart struck him after that he had numbered the people-
This phrase is used three times of David; his heart struck him concerning cutting off Saul's skirt (1 Sam. 24:5- false guilt), about Bathsheba (Ps. 102:4- true guilt) and now about numbering the people (2 Sam. 24:10), which I suggest was a mixture of true and false guilt.

David said to Yahweh, I have sinned greatly in that which I have done-
The response is similar to that to the sin with Bathsheba, again before a prophet. Balaam also said the same words (Num. 22:34), and again we find an Angel 'standing'. Although David did take false guilt, it seems there was some element of real failure.

But now, Yahweh, put away, I beg you, the iniquity of Your servant; for I have done very foolishly-
The allusion is to the foolishness of Saul (1 Sam. 13:13). He feels he is no better than Saul for his trust in human strength; see on :14. 1 Chron. 21:6,7 says that David's "word" of command of the census was "abominable" to Joab, and also God was "displeased" with "this thing", the same Hebrew translated "word". Unless this refers to His displeasure with Joab for despising David's word. Yahweh had likewise been "displeased" with David in the matter of Uriah (2 Sam. 11:27 s.w.). But although David's lack of faith wasn't good, it seems to me on balance that he was largely taking false guilt. Perhaps we are to read that God was displeased with Israel's lack of response to the word of command about the census, seeing Israel didn't pay the half shekel required at the time. Indeed David's trust in human numbers would not have been pleasing to God, it was a slip backwards. But we wonder whether he took false guilt in this matter. For it was allowable to take a census of Israel, although there was to be a half shekel tax paid at the time, which if not paid would result in plague (Ex. 30:12-15). Joab perhaps guessed that those numbered would not pay this and therefore the census would lead Israel into sin. This is why God chose the punishment of plague; not upon David, but upon Israel. Yet David perhaps realized all that, but knew that his lack of faith in wanting a census, his lack of consideration for the weakness of others, would lead them into sin and punishment. And therefore he felt guilty. It could be argued that his sacrifice atoned for himself and for the people, but they still suffered for not having paid the required "atonement money". But then we must balance against this the comment that "David had done that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, and didn’t turn aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1 Kings 15:5). No mention is made of the matter of the census. There is true guilt, the guilt we should take for our actual sins; and false guilt, the guilt put on us by others and the malfunctioning of the human conscience. In this matter of David's guilt about the census, we may have an example of a man taking false guilt. The fact Israel and not David were punished with plague would rather confirm this. It may be impossible for us to sort out within us what is true guilt or false guilt, at least not be any intellectual process. But we can rest assured that all our guilt, of whatever kind, is met in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, the ultimate guilt offering.

2Sa 24:11 When David rose up in the morning, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying-
Gad was to write his record of these things (1 Chron. 29:29), so maybe his record has been incorporated here into 2 Samuel.

2Sa 24:12 Go and speak to David, ‘Thus says Yahweh, I offer you three things. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you’-
When given a choice, Ahaz declined to choose, and was condemned for it (Is. 7:11). David declines to choose, because he preferred to fall into God's hands of grace than decide himself; and is not condemned. The same actions can be committed with different motives, and therefore only God can judge. But the invitation to "choose one of them" was for David's education, to elicit his reflection as to whether it was appropriate that he were punished, or the people; or he be punished along with the people. God's choice of plague was in accordance with the teaching of Ex. 30:12-15, that if Israel didn't pay the atonement money at the time of a census, they would be punished with plague.

2Sa 24:13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said to him, Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land?-
LXX "three years", in line with 1 Chron. 21:12. As king, this would not have hurt David personally. He was asked to consider whether this was appropriate.

Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days of plague in your land? Now answer, and consider what answer I shall return to Him who sent me-
Famine, war and plague are the three Divine judgments listed in Ez. 14:21 as coming upon Jerusalem at the time of the exile. David had already experienced war and famine (because of the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. 21). Now he was to experience plague. The lesson to the exiles was that these judgments had indeed come because of sin, but the experience of them could be cut short by intense prayer and repentance after the pattern of David. For Yahweh "relented" of the three days plague because of David's prayer and sacrifice. See on :15. We see here the open ended nature of His purpose. 

2Sa 24:14 David said to Gad, I am in distress-
The phrase "sore distressed" in 1 Chron. 21:13 is that used of Saul's great distress on the night of his final condemnation (1 Sam. 28:15). David felt he had been foolish as Saul had been (2 Sam. 24:10 = 1 Sam. 13:13). David had replaced Saul because of Saul's apostacy, but he was being made to realize through this experience (even if it was all false guilt), that he too was a sinner and saved by his acceptance of grace, and not because he was intrinsically better than Saul.

Let us fall now into the hand of Yahweh; for His mercies are great. Let me not fall into the hand of man-  
David appealed to God's mercy in the matter of Bathsheba (Ps. 51:1). Perhaps he learned from that, and chose to throw himself upon that same mercy. But the exact timing of this incident isn't clear. Perhaps it was because of learning about God's grace through this incident that he later learned to throw himself upon God's great mercy when he sinned with Bathsheba and against Uriah. David’s experience of God’s grace stayed with him when he faced up to the results of his errors in the future. From experience, he can ask to fall into the Lord’s hand rather than man’s, because “His mercies are great” (2 Sam. 24:14)- using the same two Hebrew words he had used when Nathan came to him in Ps. 51:1: “Have mercy upon me… according unto the multitude [Heb. ‘greatness’] of thy tender mercies”. And so the experience of God’s gracious mercy over one sin fortifies us to believe in His grace when, sadly, we fall again; although, in passing, I think that in 2 Sam. 24, David himself didn’t really do so much wrong. Yet he perceived himself to have sinned, so the point is still established. 

Truly David is our example. David was very much involved in Israel his people. He saw himself as their representative. "The God of my rock is my shield... he is a shield to all them that trust in him" (2 Sam. 22:3,31). “I am in a great strait; let us fall now into the hand of the Lord” (2 Sam. 24:14) reflects this. When he sung Psalms, he invited them to come and sing along with him (Ps. 105:2; 107:22; 111:1). And many of these Psalms of praise seem to have their origin in his experience of forgiveness regarding Bathsheba. The Lord based His parables of the lost sheep and the man finding the treasure of the Gospel in a field on the statements of David (Ps. 119:162,176), as if He saw David as representative of all those who would truly come to Him. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven" (Ps. 32:1), David wrote, after experiencing God's mercy in the matter of Bathsheba. But Paul sees this verse as David describing "the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" (Rom. 4:6). Each of us are in need of a like justification; therefore we find ourselves in David's position.

God is kinder than men. It's better to be punished by Him than by men. This puts paid to the Catholic conception of God as a merciless torturer of wicked men. Clearly the doctrine of eternal torments was invented by men, not God.

2Sa 24:15 So Yahweh sent a plague on Israel from the morning even to the appointed time; and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men-
"The appointed time" could refer to the time of the evening sacrifice, which David was to offer on Araunah's property and not at the sanctuary. Or the idea may be that there was an "appointed time" of suffering but it was not defined, because it was open ended- the terminus depended upon the intensity of David's prayers and sacrifice. The three day period of plague (:13) was changed because "Yahweh relented" (:16)- because of David's prayer shortening the stipulated time period. This is why there can be no prescriptive chronology of events in the last days, nor date set for the Lord's return. The appointed time is variable, depending upon factors such as human prayer, repentance and taking the Gospel to all the world.

LXX "So David chose for himself the mortality: and they were the days of wheat-harvest; and the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from morning till noon, and the plague began among the people"

2Sa 24:16 When the angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it-
1 Chron. 21:16 says that the Angel had a "drawn sword" in hand, the same words used of the Angel before Balaam (Num. 22:23,31). His donkey "turned aside", using the same word for "stretched out" here. The sin of Balaam was connected with idolatry, and I suggested on :1 that this was the reason for God's anger being kindled against Israel. The sin of Balaam has connections with that of Israel, but not particularly with that of David. Again we get the impression the judgments were for the sake of the sins of the people, the anger of Yahweh was with them, rather than with David for wanting to take a census.

Yahweh relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who destroyed the people, It is enough. Now stay your hand. The angel of Yahweh was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite-
This could imply that Araunah's area was about to be destroyed. But it seems we have here an example of the summary being made, and then we read how that came about. Perhaps David was in Jerusalem, maybe praying at the sanctuary, and saw the Angel standing over the nearby hill of Jebus or Moriah. His prayer and obedient, urgent sacrifice then stopped the Angel right there. The Angel "stood" by the threshing floor (1 Chron. 21:15), as if the Angel's path of destruction was stopped right there by the sacrifice offered in that place.

The encouragement for the later generation of Jews was that the evil planned upon Jerusalem could be relented from; if there was genuine repentance. God's hand here was "stayed", but the encouragement was that God would not "stay" His hand in His program of redemption; the same word is often translated "fail" in the assurance that God will not fail His people in ultimately restoring them.

This “destroying Angel” (1 Chron. 21:15 RV) is surely “the destroyer” who operated in the wilderness. We see here one Angel having the ability to formulate a purpose and another blindly carrying it out until told not to- a scenario which we  see repeated elsewhere (e. g. at the Passover and in Ez. 9). It was only David's prayer which lead to “the destroyer” ceasing. Notice how the Angel repented and then encouraged David to offer a sacrifice so the Angel would be "intreated for the land" (:19,25). Similarly, the Angel repented of punishing Israel and wanted to restore them, and to enable this to happen He encouraged the people through Ezra to be spiritual. Thus Angelic repentance has to be confirmed by human action.

2Sa 24:17 David had spoken to Yahweh when he saw the angel who struck the people, and had said-
1 Chron. 21:17 adds “David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord standing between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. And David and the elders, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces”.

Behold, I have sinned, and I have done perversely; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me, and against my father’s house-
This was effectively asking God to abrogate the promises about his family of 2 Sam 7.

Thanks to David building an altar at his own expense and asking God to kill him and his family, God stopped the plague upon Israel (2 Sam. 24:16,17- the stretched out hand of God in destruction was what David asked to be upon him and his family). Israel were suffering the effect of their own sin, in not paying the temple tax (Ex. 30:11-16); but  in the spirit of Christ, David was willing to die for them. And his dominant desire was counted as if it had been done, and thanks to his self-sacrificial spirit, the people were saved when they personally were unworthy. The wrath of God can be turned away by the actions of those He is angry with (Num. 25:4; Dt. 13:15-17; Ezra 10:14; Jonah 3:7,10; 2 Chron. 12:7; Jer. 4:4; 21:12). And yet that wrath can also be turned away by the prayers of a third party (Ps. 106:23; Jer. 18:20; Job 42:7). This means that in some cases, our prayers for others can be counted as if they have repented. We can gain our brother for God’s Kingdom (Mt. 18:15), as Noah saved his own house by his faithful preparation (Heb. 11:7). Through our personal dying to the flesh, the life of Christ is manifest not only in us, but is made available to others: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you” (2 Cor. 4:10-12). The life that is even now made manifest in us is also made available to work in others because death to the flesh has worked in us personally.

2Sa 24:18 Gad came that day to David-
At the direction of the Angel (1 Chron. 21:18).

And said to him, Go up, build an altar to Yahweh on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite-
2 Chron. 3:1 implies David assumed that the spot where the Angel appeared to him in 2 Sam. 24:17,18 was where he should build the temple. It is another example of David's tendency to wildly over interpret, which led him to a mistaken obsession about building the temple and assuming Solomon to be his Messianic seed.

2Sa 24:19 David went up according to the saying of Gad, as Yahweh commanded-
1 Chron. 21:16 says that David went along with the elders of Israel, clothed in sackcloth. David is always presented as totally obedient to the prophets in his life (Samuel, Nathan and Gad), unlike Saul who was consistently disobedient to God's word through Samuel.

2Sa 24:20 Araunah looked out-
From the place in the threshing area where he was threshing wheat, where he and his four sons had hidden from the presence of the Angel (1 Chron. 21:20). The records in Chronicles and Samuel perfectly fit with each other, although clearly focusing upon different elements of the scene; just like the gospel records.

And saw the king and his servants coming on towards him. Then Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground-
Chronicles has "saw the Angel". 2 Sam. 24:20 "saw the king". This may reflect the confusion between malak ["Angel"] and melek ["king"], especially as ancient Hebrew didn't add the vowel points and the consonants of the two words are the same, m-l-k. Or it could be that Araunah saw David and also at the same time saw the Angel behind him in some form.

2Sa 24:21 Araunah said, Why has my lord the king come to his servant? David said, To buy your threshing floor, to build an altar to Yahweh-

The urgent thing required was sacrifice to God represented by the Angel hovering over the hill where both men were standing, about to slay the people of Jerusalem. We wonder why David firstly asks to buy the threshing floor, as this was a long process which Araunah may have needed to think carefully about as it was his home. Maybe this is a hint that Araunah was not a worshipper of Yahweh and therefore the land must be bought before an offering to another God could be made upon it. There is more evidence for that on :23. Or it may be that David wanted to offer the most genuine sacrifice, which was thought to be offered upon one's own property. He offered to buy the threshing floor "for the full price" (1 Chron. 21:22), the same phrase used of Abraham's purchase of property from the Canaanites in Gen. 23:9. This confirms the impression that Araunah was a Canaanite and not an Israelite.

That the plague may be stopped from afflicting the people-
This is the very phrase of Num. 16:48,50 and Num. 25:8; Ps. 106:30, where the people of Israel suffered from plague because of their idolatry, and Aaron stopped it, standing between the living and the dead. David was in an identical position to Aaron, again acting as the High Priest. And again we have evidence that the essential sin being punished was not David's taking of a census, but Israel's sin (see on :1).

2Sa 24:22 Araunah said to David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Behold, the cattle for the burnt offering, and the threshing instruments and the yokes of the oxen for the wood-
Chronicles adds “and the wheat for the meat offering”. LXX "and the wheels and furniture of the oxen for wood". "The threshing instruments" may have referred to quite a major and expensive piece of equipment. But Araunah totally senses the urgency of the situation and is willing to offer even this as wood.

2Sa 24:23 all this, my king, does Araunah give to the king. Araunah said to the king, May Yahweh your God accept you-
AV "All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king". This could mean that Araunah ['the scarlet one', maybe hinting at royalty] was king of Jebus at the time; or had once been. The way Araunah speaks of "Yahweh your God", whereas David speaks of "Yahweh my God" (:24) could support the idea that he was a Gentile. But he was genuinely willing to give freely toward the offering of sacrifice to Yahweh. There are three different spellings of Araunah's name in the record, and this might suggest his name was unusual and a Gentile name, which could be legitimately be transcribed in different ways in Hebrew. See on :21.

2Sa 24:24 The king said to Araunah, No; but I will most certainly buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to Yahweh my God which cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver-
I have suggested that the historical records were in places edited and made relevant for the exiles; and given their mean attitude to offerings in Mal. 1:10,13,14, David's example and principle would have been pertinent. And this is an abiding principle; sacrifice is to be costly, we are to be left "minus", rather than being without cost to us.

1 Chron. 21:25 speaks of 600 shekels for "the place", whilst 2 Sam. 24:24 mentions 50 shekels for the threshing floor and oxen. The entire area was later bought, in order to build the temple on that site (1 Chron. 22:1; 2 Chron. 3:1).

2Sa 24:25 David built an altar to Yahweh there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So Yahweh heard the prayer for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel
LXX "And the Lord hearkened to the land", as if His pity was stirred by the tragedy seen there. The idea is the same as in 2 Sam. 21:14, that the sin had affected the land, but sacrifice meant that the land's suffering stopped once it had been repented of and atoned for. 1 Chron. 21:26 adds that God "answered him from the sky by fire on the altar of burnt offering". This is just the language of God justifying Himself over Baal at the time of Elijah. I have suggested throughout that the plague was essentially punishment for Israel's idolatry; see on :1. The Angel put the sword back into its sheath (1 Chron. 21:27) at Yahweh's command. We have here a visual representation of God's sensitivity to human prayer and repentance. Burnt offerings always precede peace offerings (2 Sam. 24:25), because sacrifice is the principle upon which we can have peace with God. But David remained traumatized by the incident, fearing the sword he had seen (1 Chron. 21:30). This was a similar reaction by him to how he feared association with the ark for some period after the slaying of Uzzah (1 Chron. 13:12,13). The similarity in reaction is another indication that the record is true and the character portrayals absolutely consistent, as could only be true of a Divinely inspired record.

LXX adds "and Solomon made an addition to the altar afterwards, for it was little at first". The site was purchased for this; see on :24.