MemberJanuary 25, 2021 at 11:25 pm
Any proposed solution for the large population figures of the exodus and conquest should also shed some light on other large numbers in the Hebrew Bible.
The OT large numbers
The census lists of Numbers 1 and 26 contain some strikingly large numbers, sometimes used by sceptics as evidence that the Bible is historically unreliable. Whereas there is abundant evidence that the Old Testament text is marvellously well preserved, it does appear that the transmission of numbers has been exposed to error. The following examples of some of the more unlikely numbers illustrate the proposal that there have been some errors of transcription:
- One of David’s captains killed 800 men in one battle and another killed 300 (2 Sam 23:8, 18).
- After Israel under Ahab killed 100 000 Syrian soldiers, a wall fell in the town of Aphek and killed 27 000 more (1 Kgs 20:29-30).
- The Israelites in Asa’s time massacred an Ethiopian army of one million soldiers (2 Chr 14:9).
- When Ahaz was king of Judah, Israel invaded Judah and killed 120 000 ‘valiant men’ and took 200 000 captives (2 Chr 28:5-8).
- During Hezekiah’s reign, the angel of Yahweh smote 185 000 Assyrians besieging Jerusalem (2 Kgs. 19:35), and these were army elite only (2 Chr 32:21).