21:3 a cause of guilt for Israel. Taking a census was not prohibited by Old Testament law, though there were specific regulations (Ex. 30:12; Num. 1:2; 26:2). David’s desire for a count of his military personnel may have been an indication of reliance on human might rather than on divine power (2 Chr. 13:18 and note). In the light of Joab’s response (21:6; 27:24), David may have insisted that the tribe of Levi be counted for military service as well (v. 6 note).