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Let's take a look at 1 Chronicles 21:1. "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." So, it wasn't right for David to number Israel. It was the devil's business. The next two verses give us a slight idea as to why. 1 Chronicles 21:2-3 "And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it." "And Joab answered, The Lord make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? Why then doth my lord require this thing? Why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?" I speculate that David counted Israel because he felt like Israel belonged to him and he had the right to know the census, when Israel actually belonged to God. Also, notice that David had won a lot of wars in the previous chapters. He might have numbered the people as a "way to prove that he didn't win because God helped him, but because he had a lot of soldiers." That would have been wrong; David won the wars because God was with him, and not because there were a lot of people.
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