MemberJanuary 23, 2021 at 8:12 pm
Overview of the Theories
So far, therefore, the following historical reinterpretations of the tribal census listings have proponents and are represented in various publications:
— Original אֶלֶף figures for ‘captains’ and אֶלֶף figures for the thousands of fighting men under them have been confused and conflated: total population 140,000 (Clark) or 72,000 (J. Wenham).
— The אֶלֶף figures are fighting units (’troops’) and the מֵאוֹת are the hundreds of fighting men divided amongst those units: total population 24,000 (Mendenhall).47
— The אֶלֶף figures are families (‘tent-groups’) and the מֵאוֹת are rounded totals of all people in the tribe: total population 6000 (Petrie).
— The אֶלֶף figures are totals of all people in the tribes, the מֵאוֹת figures do not apply: total population 600 (Ben Gurion).
47 5550 men doubled for underage males, doubled again for females, plus a proportionate estimate for the tribe of Levi.