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Census and Censure: Sacred Threshing Floors and Counting Taboos in 2 Samuel 24

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

Abstract Focusing on the mythological features in the story of David’s census and the plague at the threshing floor of Araunah in 2 Samuel 24, this paper argues that David, by conducting a census, transgressed the power of God by mimicking God’s creator/counter role. By examining the mythological aspects of the story, such as cosmogony, threshing floors, counting taboos, sacrifice and temple building, this paper argues that the narrative disparages David’s kingly status in order to assert God’s position as the ultimate king, creator and counter. Moreover, the story points towards the future function of Araunah’s threshing floor as the site of Solomon’s Temple, a place that would symbolize the continual presence, power and rule of the Israelite deity.

Affiliations: 1: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Austin, TX USA


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