Researched Writer Sir Godfrey Gregg OHPM, ROMC, D. Div
Araunah’s Threshing Floor
David was by no means a perfect king. He had a number of wives and his marriages were apparently nothing to boast about. His grievous sin of murder and adultery in the case of Bathsheba brought war in David’s household for the rest of his days. Yet when confronted with his sin David showed contrition and repentance (Psalms 32, 51 for instance).
Late in his reign David carelessly chose to take a census of the army acting against the advice of General Joab and other army leaders. The Lord was provoked to great anger at David who evidently had forgotten that the strength of Israel was in her God and not in the number of her soldiers or skill in battle. Confronted with the seriousness of his poor judgment by the prophet Gad, David was given three choices by God as to the consequences that were to follow this serious mistake on the part of the king. The three choices given him were (1) three years of famine, (3) three years of devastation by Israel’s foes, or (3) of three days of destruction (pestilence) wrought by The Angel of the Lord, (1 Chronicles 21, 2 Sam 24 for the accounts).
Knowing that God was merciful, David asked God to choose. The result was three terrible days of pestilence from the Angel of the Lord. Jerusalem was spared at the last minute when David cried out for mercy–the sin was his and not that of the people–they were but sheep.
It was at this time, when the hand of the Angel of the Lord was stayed, that David was told by Gad to erect an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite. The location was on wind-swept Mount Moriah. The site is the place where one thousand years earlier God had stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac.
And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” . . . And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. (2 Samuel 24: 15,1 6, 18, 25).