244. 4. David numbered the people, and in consequence a pestilence was sent upon them, by which so many thousands of men perished, and God, not before but after the deed, sent the prophet Gad to him and announced punishment upon him. He who confirms himself against the Divine Providence may have various thoughts and reflections about this also, asking particularly why David was not first warned and why the people were so severely punished for the king's transgression. That he was not first warned is in accordance with the laws of the Divine Providence already set forth, especially in accordance with the two explained* above in numbers 129-153, and numbers 154-174. That the people were so severely punished for the king's transgression, and seventy thousand cut off by the pestilence, was not owing to the king but to the people; for it is written,
Again the anger of JEHOVAH was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them saying (A.V. to say), Go, number Israel and Judah. (2 Sam. xxiv. 1).
* Original Edition has "contra;" the translation requires "secundum."