||Large broadside expressing opposition to the census issued under the names of leading rabbis in Jerusalem, R. Pinhas Epstein, Rosh av bet din, R. Israel Isaac ha-Levi Reisman, and R. David ha-Levi Jungreiss. The header of the poster states that it is according to the rabbis, geonim of the Bet Din Zedek and has the title Teshuvah le-rabbim. The text states that in response to the public concerning the census it has been decided after serious consideration that there is sufficient reason to prohibit participation and that there should not be any response to the census takers, not to general nor to specific details.
The Jewish Encyclopedia notes several cases of census in the Bible. The first mentioned is that in Num. i. when the males—i.e., men capable of bearing arms—numbered 603,550 at the Exodus. The numbering was again gone through six months later, according to the account of Num. xxvi.-xxvii., with exactly the same result. On these occasions, the numbering was done indirectly, half a shekel being given to the sanctuary by each person of the proper age, and then the half-shekels, and not the persons, were counted. This expedient, according to the critics, was resorted to by the writer of Numbers owing to the superstition which had arisen against a census through the experience in David's reign. After David had organized his kingdom he found it necessary, for military purposes, to know exactly how many men, of an age suitable for bearing arms, he could depend upon; and he determined to take a census (II Sam. xxiv.). Notwithstanding the remonstrances of Joab, David persisted in carrying out the numbering of the people. It appears to have been a laborious operation, as it took no less than nine months and twenty days to complete it. Unfortunately, the numbers given in the Biblical text are discrepant; the Book of Samuel giving 800,000 for Israel and 500,000 for Judah, whereas I Chron. xxi. raises the former to 1,100,000 and reduces the latter to 470,000. As these numbers included only the fighting men, they would imply a population of probably 5,000,000 for Israel and 2,000,000 for Judah. The Assyrian practice of counting captives shows that such a census was not uncommon at the time. In the Biblical text David's action in ordering a census is regarded as sinful.