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Sizes in ancient texts sometimes used hyperbole e.g. "as many as the grains of sand on the shore" is a typical example. But also a factor in ancient languages is that they used homonyms just as the English language does, and distinguished differences from context. (Example: "row" has several meanings in English, I can think of 3 immediately and there may be more.)

To take a biblical example, "אלפ" means thousand in ancient Hebrew. But it originally meant "head" or "head of an ox", and in context regarding numbers of people in the 12 tribes it also meant "head of the household".

So in Numbers 2 where you see the listing of the peoples, you might see a modern translation like: "The leader of the people of Judah is Nahshon son of Amminadab. His division numbers 74,600." Then: "The leader of the people of Issachar is Nethanel son of Zuar. His division numbers 54,400." And so on.

But if you add up all the numbers you get: 74,600+54,400+57,400=186,400; 46,500+59,300+45,650=151,450; 40,500+32,200+35,400=108,100; 62,700+41,500+53,400=157,600. Then 186,400+151,450+108,100+157,600=603,550. However there is something strange. If you then go right to numbers 3:43 it says: "The total number of firstborn males a month old or more, listed by name, was 22,273". So really -- if there were 603,500 men able to fight, but between them all they only had 22,273 firstborn sons? Something is wrong.

One attempt at handling this is to assume in context that Judah consisted of 74 households of 600 men, and Issachar had 54 households of 400 men, and so on. This approach results in 598 households of 5,550 men. But this results in too small of a number of men, because they couldn't have 22,273 firstborn sons. Or if it was 22 households with 273 firstborn sons, that is too few firstborn sons for 5,550 men.

So no matter how you slice it, the numbers are messed up. A clue exists in the name of the book (Numbers) but no one has I think ever figured out an explanation that satisfies everyone.

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Case for an Older Baalbek 1660 Thanos5150 11-Apr-18 06:04
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 261 MDaines 11-Apr-18 08:28
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 210 Origyptian 11-Apr-18 11:15
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 196 Thanos5150 11-Apr-18 22:34
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 174 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 13:25
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 167 MDaines 12-Apr-18 13:39
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 159 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 22:47
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 178 Thanos5150 11-Apr-18 22:31
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 146 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 13:01
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 170 MDaines 12-Apr-18 13:25
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 161 Audrey 12-Apr-18 17:49
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 148 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 22:36
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 164 Audrey 12-Apr-18 23:08
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 145 Origyptian 13-Apr-18 01:44
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 164 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 03:07
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 142 Eddie Larry 13-Apr-18 03:26
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 148 Origyptian 13-Apr-18 04:00
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 182 Audrey 13-Apr-18 03:16
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 146 Origyptian 13-Apr-18 04:18
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 213 Barbelo 11-Apr-18 11:41
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 173 Thunderbird 11-Apr-18 15:02
Re: Case for no King Solomon 195 Thunderbird 11-Apr-18 15:19
Re: Case for no King Solomon 178 Thanos5150 11-Apr-18 22:51
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 205 Audrey 11-Apr-18 16:42
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 158 Thanos5150 11-Apr-18 23:11
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 177 Eddie Larry 11-Apr-18 20:40
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 181 Thanos5150 11-Apr-18 22:18
How Big Was The Forest? 171 Barbelo 11-Apr-18 23:25
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 164 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 13:58
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 158 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 16:18
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 169 MDaines 12-Apr-18 16:54
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 157 Audrey 13-Apr-18 03:29
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 171 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 15:20
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 180 Audrey 14-Apr-18 01:57
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 197 Eddie Larry 14-Apr-18 04:12
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 167 Barbelo 14-Apr-18 10:25
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 158 Eddie Larry 14-Apr-18 15:54
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 118 Barbelo 14-Apr-18 22:13
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 145 Eddie Larry 14-Apr-18 22:45
Re: Beer bottles Fly......Duck! 148 Thunderbird 14-Apr-18 22:26
Re: Beer bottles Fly......Duck! 145 Eddie Larry 14-Apr-18 22:37
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 133 Thanos5150 15-Apr-18 02:49
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 141 Eddie Larry 15-Apr-18 02:56
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 161 Thanos5150 15-Apr-18 03:36
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 131 Eddie Larry 15-Apr-18 04:21
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 160 Barbelo 15-Apr-18 05:45
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 124 Eddie Larry 15-Apr-18 14:00
Zagros, Shoulder of the Cosmic Matriarch 161 MDaines 16-Apr-18 07:41
Re: Zagros, Shoulder of the Cosmic Matriarch 128 Thunderbird 16-Apr-18 12:59
Re: Zagros, Shoulder of the Cosmic Matriarch 174 MDaines 16-Apr-18 13:30
Re: Zagros, Shoulder of the Cosmic Matriarch 156 Thanos5150 16-Apr-18 19:39
Re: Zagros, Shoulder of the Cosmic Matriarch 163 MDaines 17-Apr-18 07:40
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 147 Thanos5150 14-Apr-18 14:43
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 156 Mike D 20-Apr-18 13:15
Re: Did the Russians visit Baalbek? 135 Thunderbird 20-Apr-18 13:56
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 141 Thanos5150 20-Apr-18 16:00
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 149 Eddie Larry 20-Apr-18 16:09
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 141 Thanos5150 20-Apr-18 17:00
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 141 Eddie Larry 20-Apr-18 17:11
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 151 Barbelo 20-Apr-18 20:47
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 138 Origyptian 20-Apr-18 21:45
Re: How Big Was The Forest? 229 Barbelo 20-Apr-18 22:57
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 154 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 00:53
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 152 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 03:56
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 162 Corpuscles 12-Apr-18 00:34
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 184 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 01:39
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 165 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 03:52
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 145 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 04:36
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 160 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 14:12
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 155 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 14:44
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 124 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 17:01
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 174 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 00:47
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 119 Eddie Larry 13-Apr-18 03:40
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 173 Audrey 13-Apr-18 05:44
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 146 Thanos5150 14-Apr-18 01:32
Re: Baalbek.....Home of the God's 162 Thunderbird 13-Apr-18 15:14
Re: Baalbek.....Home of the God's 149 Audrey 14-Apr-18 02:30
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 142 Audrey 12-Apr-18 19:42
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 132 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 20:43
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 149 Audrey 12-Apr-18 16:56
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 147 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 17:08
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 154 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 21:42
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 130 Eddie Larry 12-Apr-18 22:41
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 142 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 22:58
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 132 Eddie Larry 13-Apr-18 17:52
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 143 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 19:06
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 129 Origyptian 13-Apr-18 21:08
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 154 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 21:37
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 139 Origyptian 13-Apr-18 22:06
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 152 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 22:41
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 149 Origyptian 14-Apr-18 15:14
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 135 Jon Ellison 14-Apr-18 22:20
Re: For God's sakes Lee!... 148 Thunderbird 16-Apr-18 00:15
Some Give A Shit 191 Barbelo 12-Apr-18 05:11
Re: Some Give A Shit 190 MDaines 12-Apr-18 07:48
Re: Some Give A Shit 166 Audrey 12-Apr-18 20:42
Re: Some Give A Shit 156 Barbelo 12-Apr-18 21:43
Re: Some Give A Shit 151 Audrey 12-Apr-18 23:21
Re: Some Give A Shit 135 Barbelo 13-Apr-18 00:44
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 149 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 15:03
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 152 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 17:11
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 185 MDaines 12-Apr-18 17:55
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 153 Origyptian 12-Apr-18 22:18
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 158 Thunderbird 12-Apr-18 22:53
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 146 Audrey 13-Apr-18 00:28
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 182 Thunderbird 13-Apr-18 03:31
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 150 Thanos5150 12-Apr-18 04:46
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 193 Race Jackson 12-Apr-18 22:54
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 188 MDaines 13-Apr-18 08:20
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 177 Audrey 14-Apr-18 00:40
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 215 MDaines 14-Apr-18 08:04
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 176 Manu 13-Apr-18 18:10
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 145 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 19:28
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 163 Manu 13-Apr-18 19:50
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 149 Thanos5150 13-Apr-18 20:53
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 159 Manu 13-Apr-18 21:31
Re: Case for an Older Baalbek 160 Barbelo 13-Apr-18 20:26


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