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David Numbers the People The Lord had given the nation of Israel the procedures for numbering the population in the book of Exodus (Exodus 30:11-16). Each man was to offer half a shekel unto the Lord in order to make an atonement for his soul so that a plague does not break out among them. In this way, the Lord would recognize each person counted. Since David does not perform this census properly, he caused a plague to break forth among the people.
Exodus 30:11-16, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.”
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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 21". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/
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