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Instances frequently occur in both let. Testaments.

XVI. If no other fatisfactory solution of the difficulty could be assigned, candour and common sense surely would suppose, that the word seven, in 2 Sam. xxiv, was originally three, especially as three is the word in the Greek version of the Lxx.*

But-" If David only sinned, why • should the punishment fall upon " the people ? "

Such is the union between king and people, like that between the head and the body, that this happens continually in the natural order of things; and therefore, why not, judicially? What greater misfortune can befall a king, or a father, than the loss of his subjects, or his children ?

* Tpia Etno

LET. It is possible, however, that such
XVI. might not be altogether the case, in

the present instance, though David,
like a true patriot king and most af-
fectionate father, intercedes for his
people, and desires to receive in his
own person and family the stroke that
was ready to descend on them "I
“ have sinned, and done wickedly:
" these sheep, what have they done?
" Let thine hand, I pray thee, be
“ upon me, and upon my father's
“ house”- Notwithstanding all this,
I say, it should seem, that the people
were by no means without fault. For
the history opens thus ; “ The anger
" of the Lord was kindled against if-
"rael, and" - as a consequence of it

" David was excited to number 66 Ifrael."

But

But of what nature, then, after all, LET.
was this act of numbering the people, XVI.
and why should it have been followed
by a plague ?

I am persuaded that we are much
in the dark upon this point. If any
light can be thrown upon it, that
light must proceed from a passage in
the book of Exodus, Ch. xxx. 12.
where God says to Mofes, “ When
so 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 numberelt them, that there be
“ no plague among them, when thou
“ numberest them.” To number the
people, then, was not, as it should
seem, merely to count them out of
curiosity, or vain glory. It was a re-
ligious rite, it was a muster, a review

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LET. a visitation, an inquisition into their

conduct, into the religious and moral state in which they at that time stood before their God. For upon such inquisition something came out, or appeared against them, which required an offering, by way of atonement or ransom for their fouls - “ They shall “ give a ransom, that there be no plague amongst them, when thou numberest so them ; " A very observable expreffion ; for when David numbered them, this was the very thing that happened ;, there was a plague among them, in consequence of their being numbered. They might be in such a state, that God would not accept them, or their offerings. It is not improbable that they should be in such a state, if we consider what corruptions must needs creep in under Saul's wicked reign,

and

LET. and David's long wars, during most xvi. of which time the country had been overrun by the Philistines, &c. who would propagate their idolatry, with it's fagitious concomitants. In short, Israel had provoked God; for otherwise, his anger would not have been kindled against thein, as we are informed that it was; their offences called for punishinent, and on the numbering the people, an opportunity was taken to inflict it. Joab appears to have been aware of the consequence, as a known case. " Why " ( says he ) will my lord the king be "a cause of punishment, trespass, or “ forfeiture, * to Israel ?” As if he knew, that, upon a visitation, they must be punished who should be found guilty ; and was unwilling that the * nowx i Chron. xxi. 3.

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