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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

  • James Seward

    February 2, 2021 at 8:54 am

    “based on gematria”

    Hello Deborah, I am impressed with your candor and approach. After searching this discussion for “gematria,” I found your post. I too have encountered this explanation, that the number in Numbers 1:46 and 2:32 of 603,550 has been seen by some to be the result of gematria. The NET Bible in its first edition for Numbers 1:21 had a lengthy footnote regarding 603,550 that included this idea. It stated regarding gematria: “On this system the numbers for ‘the sons of Israel’ would be 603.”

    Adding to this, Lloyd R. Bailey tackled the whole number:

    This figure … may be derived by placing the gematria of two phrases in sequence (rather than totaling them). In order to answer the question “How many such males were there?” the authors of scripture may have resorted to the following gematria: “The sons of Israel” + “each male,” or [bene yisrael + kol ros].” (END QUOTE)

    After totaling up the letters as being 62+541=603 and 50+501=551, and noting the extra 1, he continued:

    “What would be the significance of depicting the total of soldiers at 603,550? Not that this was a literal count …, but rather something like: Every male of the required age, in compliance and readiness.” (Genesis, Creation, and Creationism, 1993, 2006, page 163)


    Jim Seward