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Home Forums Evidence for Biblical miracles The population of the Israelites during Exodus Reply To: The population of the Israelites during Exodus

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 21, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Census Anomalies (cont.)

    Moreover, there are several differences in clan and tribal totals between Hebrew and Septuagint versions, as follows:

    [I will post this table in my profile update]

    Discrepant figures in parallel passages elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible demonstrate that numbers are particularly difficult to transmit accurately, often lacking the context and grammar by which the sense of a damaged text may be deduced.12 Other anomalies between the first and second census listings involve large fluctuations in tribal totals: seven tribes show an increase varying from 1700 to 20,500 (Manasseh), and five tribes show a decrease varying from 2770 to 37,100 (Simeon).

    12 In some places extra noughts have been added (e.g. 2 Sam 10:18 reads ‘700 chariots’ whereas 1 Chron 19:18 reads ‘7000’), digits deleted (e.g. 2 Kings 24:8 gives the age of Jehoiachin on accession as ‘18’ whereas 2 Chron 36:9 gives it as ‘8’), an entire numeral missed out (e.g. 1 Sam 13:1 reads in the Hebrew Text ‘Saul was… years old’), and digits varied by one or more units (several examples in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7). John Wenham lists several types of textual corruption in the Hebrew Bible with examples of each, and notes that damage to numbers may also be due to selective copying of a (partly illegible) original. John W. Wenham, “Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” Tyndale Bulletin 18 (January 1, 1967): 20-24.