10218. Then they shall give everyone an expiation of his soul to Jehovah in numbering them. That this signifies purification or liberation from evil through the acknowledgment and faith that all the truths and goods of faith and love, and their setting in order and disposing, are from the Lord, and not at all from man, is evident from the signification of "giving an expiation of his soul," as being to be purified or liberated from evil by means of the truth of faith, which here is to acknowledge that all truths and goods are from the Lord; and from the signification of "numbering Israel," as being the setting in order and the disposing of them by the Lord alone and not by man. That these things are signified is evident from all that is here said about the half of a shekel that was to be given to Jehovah, and about the expiation by it in numbering the people; for by the "shekel of holiness" is signified the truth which is of the Lord alone; by "expiation thereby" is signified purification or liberation from evil (see n. 9506); and by "numbering the sons of Israel" is signified to set in order and dispose all the truths and goods of the church (n. 10217).
 The case herein is this. It was forbidden to number the sons of Israel because by "numbering" was signified to set in order and dispose, and by the "sons of Israel" and by the "tribes" into which they were divided, were signified all the truths and goods of faith and love in the complex; and as the setting in order and the disposing of these was of the Lord alone and not of man, therefore to number them was a trespass, such as is made by those who claim for themselves the truths which are of faith and the goods which are of love, and the setting in order and disposing of these, the character of whom is known in the church. For they are such as justify themselves by claiming for themselves as merit all things of faith and love, and consequently believe themselves to have of themselves merited heaven by virtue of their faith and works. This evil was involved in the numbering of the people by David, concerning which we read in the second book of Samuel:
Again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and therefore He incited David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah. And the king said to Joab, Go through all the tribes of Israel, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Jehovah thy God add unto the people how many soever they be, a hundred-fold, but why doth my lord the king desire this word? But the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the princes of the army; wherefore they went out to number the people Israel. Afterward David's heart smote him, wherefore he said unto Jehovah, I have sinned exceedingly in that I have done; nevertheless, O Jehovah, put away, I beseech thee, the iniquity of Thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. But Gad the prophet was sent to David, that he might choose one evil out of three; and he chose the pestilence, whereof seventy thousand men died (2 Sam. 24).
 From all this it is evident how great a sin it was to number Israel; not that regarded in itself the numbering was a sin, but because, as already said, the numbering of the sons of Israel by David signified the setting in order and disposing of all things of faith and love by self and not by the Lord, the "numbering" itself signifying setting in order and disposing, and "the sons of Israel" signifying all the truths and goods of faith and love. To the intent therefore that they might be delivered from sin in numbering the sons of Israel, the half of a shekel was given for an expiation; for it is said, "they shall give everyone an expiation of his soul to Jehovah in numbering them, that there be no plague in them in numbering them." From this it is evident that by these words is signified purification or liberation from evil by the acknowledgment that all the truths and goods of faith and love, and their setting in order and disposing, are from the Lord and not at all from man.
 That this is so, namely, that all the goods and truths of faith and love are from the Divine and not at all from man, is also known in the church, and likewise that it is evil for man to attribute them to himself; and that those are delivered from this evil who acknowledge and believe that these are from the Lord, for so they claim for themselves nothing which is Divine and from the Divine. But see what has been shown above on this subject, namely, that those who believe that they do good of themselves and not from the Lord, believe that they merit heaven (n. 9974); that goods from self and not from the Lord are not good, because those who do goods from themselves do them from evil (n. 9975, 9980); that such despise the neighbor, and are angry with God Himself if they do not receive a reward (n. 9976); that such persons cannot receive heaven into themselves (n. 9977); that they cannot possibly fight against the hells; but that the Lord fights for those who acknowledge and believe that all goods and truths are from Him (n. 9978); and that the Lord alone is merit and righteousness (n. 9486, 9715, 9809, 9979-9984, 10019, 10152).