Who was Araunah the Jebusite in the Bible?

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By BibleAsk Team


Araunah the Jebusite

Araunah the Jebusite is a biblical figure mentioned in the Old Testament, primarily in the context of King David’s interaction with him. His story is recounted in the books of 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, shedding light on his significance in relation to the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The first mention of Araunah comes in 2 Samuel 24, where King David, driven by a desire to ascertain the number of his military forces, orders a census of Israel and Judah. This action displeases the Lord, and as a result, a divine punishment is sent upon the land. Recognizing his error, David repents, and in response, God sends the prophet Gad to deliver a message to the king. Gad presents David with three options for punishment: three years of famine, three months of fleeing from his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land.

David chooses the third option, acknowledging God’s mercy over the hands of men. The angel of the Lord then brings a devastating plague upon Israel, resulting in the death of 70,000 men. As the angel approaches Jerusalem, the Lord commands him to cease, and David, seeing the angel, pleads with God to spare the city.

David and Araunah

In 2 Samuel 24:18-25, Araunah enters the narrative. David, directed by Gad, goes to Araunah’s threshing floor to build an altar and offer sacrifices to God, seeking to stop the plague. Araunah, upon seeing the king, offers to give David the threshing floor, as well as oxen and wood for the burnt offering. However, David insists on paying for the land and sacrifices, declaring in 2 Samuel 24:24 (NKJV), “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.”

This encounter reveals the character of Araunah as a generous and willing contributor to the worship of God. His readiness to offer his property for the construction of an altar demonstrates a heart of hospitality and a recognition of the significance of worshiping the Lord, even in the midst of a crisis.

Chronicles Narrative

The story of Araunah is also found in 1 Chronicles 21, offering a parallel account with some additional details. In 1 Chronicles 21:15, it is mentioned that God commanded the angel to stop at the threshing floor of Ornan (an alternative name for Araunah). The Chronicles account emphasizes the fact that Araunah and his four sons were present, witnessing the unfolding events.

In 1 Chronicles 21:22-25 (NKJV), Araunah’s generosity is highlighted: “Then Ornan said to David, ‘Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.’ Then King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.'”

Ornan was willing to make every possible sacrifice on his part that the plague might be stopped. David’s insistence on purchasing the property and offering sacrifices at full cost underlines the principle that worship should involve genuine sacrifice and devotion.

Ultimately, Araunah’s threshing floor becomes the chosen site for the construction of the altar. In 2 Samuel 24:25 (NKJV), it is recorded, “So David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.”

Conclusion

The story of Araunah the Jebusite illustrates themes of repentance, sacrifice, and the importance of genuine worship. His generosity and David’s commitment to offering sacrifices that truly cost him something emphasize the biblical principle that worship is not merely about external rituals but involves the sincerity of the heart.

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