Araunah

Araunah

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Araunah was a Jebusite
Jebusite
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe who inhabited and built Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David; the Books of Kings state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event...

 who was mentioned in the Books of Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 who owned the threshing floor
Threshing floor
A threshing floor is a specially flattened surface, usually circular and paved, where a farmer would thresh the grain harvest and then winnow it, before the advent of threshing machines from the nineteenth century onwards. The threshing floor was either owned by the entire village or by a single...

 on the summit of Mount Moriah that David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 purchased and used as the site for assembling an altar to God
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

. The Scholar renders his name as Arunah.

Biblical narrative


The narrative concerning Araunah appears at both and . The Samuel version is the final member of a non-chronologically ordered group of narratives, which together constitute the "appendix" of the Books of Samuel. In the Samuel narrative, God
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

 incites David to punish the Israelites by imposing a census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 upon them, an order which Joab
Joab
Joab the son of Zeruiah, was the nephew of King David and the commander of his army, according to the Hebrew Bible.- Name :...

 reluctantly carries out. (In the version of the narrative presented by the Book of Chronicles, it is Satan, not God, that incites David to make the census). Yahweh regarded David's action as a sin, and so punished him, sending Gad the prophet
Gad (Bible prophet)
Gad was a seer or prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He was one of the personal prophets of King David of Israel and some of his writings are believed to be included in the Books of Samuel...

 to offer David the choice of punishment. Gad gave David three options:
  • seven years of famine
    Famine
    A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

     (the Book of Chronicles states that it was only three years of famine),
  • three months of fleeing from an invader
    Invasion
    An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a...

    ,
  • three days of plague from the Angel of the Lord
    Angel of the Lord
    The Angel of the Lord is one of many terms in the Hebrew Bible used for an angel. The Biblical name for angel, מלאך mal'ach, which translates simply as "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as The Angel of the Lord (or the Angel of...

    ,


David, according to both versions, chose the three days of plague, and so an angel was sent to spread the plague through the land. However, when the angel reached Jerusalem, God changed his mind and ordered the angel to stop; at this point the angel was at Araunah's threshing floor
Threshing floor
A threshing floor is a specially flattened surface, usually circular and paved, where a farmer would thresh the grain harvest and then winnow it, before the advent of threshing machines from the nineteenth century onwards. The threshing floor was either owned by the entire village or by a single...

, which David noticed. Gad instructed David to build an altar at Araunah's threshing floor, so David purchased the location from Araunah, even though Araunah offered it to him freely. According to the Books of Samuel, David paid 50 silver shekel
Shekel
Shekel , is any of several ancient units of weight or of currency. The first usage is from Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. Initially, it may have referred to a weight of barley...

s for the location; Chronicles states that David paid 600 gold shekels. However, some explain this by saying that the book of Samuel only talks about the price of the floor and oxen; Chronicles adds in all of the materials for the sacrifice. Several Rabbinical sources, including Sifrei or The Talmud on Zevahim (116b), reconcile the differences by suggesting that King David gathered fifty shekels of silver from each and every tribe, which totals six hundred silver shekels and that he presented Araunah with silver equal to the amount of fifty shekels of gold.

The census


In the Books of Samuel, the census is said to indicate that there were 1,300,000 men fit for military service. The Book of Chronicles states that the figure was 1,570,000 men fit for military service.

Joab's reluctance to complete the census is thought by some scholars to have been due to a religious belief that the people belonged to God, and hence that only God should know how many there were. Some scholars believe the motive was pride, that David's numbering of the people was to show his strength as a king; his sin in this was relying on human numbers instead of God. Other scholars believe that a more mundane motive is the reason - that the knowledge gained from a census would enable David to impose more accurate taxes and levies, and thus the census would be unpopular with the people who were at risk of higher taxes or levies.

Identity of Araunah


In Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 araunah means agile. However, the bible clearly identified Araunah as a Jebusite, an ethnic group that most scholars believe refers to the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

. In the Hittite language
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

 araunah means the lord, and is not a personal name but a title. In , Araunah is referred to as a king: ... Araunah the king gave to the king [i.e., David] .., although in modern English translations the king is referring to David both times and not to Araunah. Several biblical scholars believe that he may have simply been the Jebusite king of Jerusalem at the time.

Some scholars believe that Adonijah
Adonijah
Adonijah was the fourth son of King David according to the book of Samuel , which is contained in the Bible.-Life:After the death of his elder brothers Amnon and Absalom, he became heir-apparent to the throne, but Solomon, a younger brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his father...

(whom the Bible portrays as a son of David and rival of Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

) is actually a disguised or corrupted reference to Araunah, the ר
Resh
Resh is the twentieth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually or , but also or in Hebrew....

 (r) having been corrupted to ד
Dalet
Dalet is the fourth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic...

 (d). This proposition stems from the reverse conjecture originally proposed by Thomas Kelly Cheyne
Thomas Kelly Cheyne
Thomas Kelly Cheyne was an English divine and Biblical critic. He was born in London and educated at Merchant Taylors' School, London, and Oxford University....

, before the Hittite language was fully known.

The threshing floor


Threshing floors would usually be in places likely to catch the wind so that the wind would assist the separation of wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 from chaff
Chaff
Chaff is the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain, or similar fine, dry, scaly plant material such as scaly parts of flowers, or finely chopped straw...

. Hence, it is quite plausible for the threshing floor to have been located on a high hill. The narrative of the Book of Chronicles claims that the altar built by David on the site became the Temple of Solomon, and that the site had formerly been Mount Moriah
Moriah
Moriah is the name given to a mountain range by the Book of Genesis, in which context it is giv. the location of the sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally Moriah has been interpreted as the name of the specific mountain at which this occurred, rather than just the name of the range...

; the equation of the Temple of Solomon with mount Moriah is viewed as dubious by many scholars, though David's altar being the same site as Solomon's temple is seen as plausible.

The entire narrative is considered by most scholars to be more aetiological than historic - that it exists to explain why the site was regarded as a place of holiness by the Israelites. In an earlier narrative — the Genesis narrative concerning Melchizedek
Melchizedek
Melchizedek or Malki Tzedek translated as "my king righteous") is a king and priest mentioned during the Abram narrative in the 14th chapter of the Book of Genesis....

 — it is clear that Jerusalem (which is what most scholars think is meant by Salem) had a priesthood in pre-David times, and hence that it must have had some sort of sanctuary, probably at a high location. Some scholars have proposed that this pre-existing sanctuary, probably dedicated to Zedek
Zedek
Sydyk was the name of a deity appearing in a theogeny provided by Roman era Phoenician writer Philo of Byblos in an account preserved by Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica and attributed to the still earlier Sanchuniathon.-Etymology and role in the Phoenician theogeny:Philo of Byblos gave the...

 rather than Yahweh, is what became Solomon's Temple, and that the Araunah narrative is an attempt to provide a Yahweh-related origin for it. Connected with this proposal is the theory that Zadok
Zadok
Zadok was a high priest of the Israelites in Jerusalem after it was conquered by David.Zadok may also refer to:*Rabbi Zadok, tanna of the 1st-century CE*Zadok the Priest, an 18th-century coronation anthem by Handel...

 is actually a priest from this earlier sanctuary, his Aaron
Aaron
In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Aaron : Ααρών ), who is often called "'Aaron the Priest"' and once Aaron the Levite , was the older brother of Moses, and a prophet of God. He represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites...

id genealogy being a later fiction, with Zadok possibly being identical to Araunah himself.