Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bible scholars and tenth-grade algebra

Numbers 1-2 – Some “scholars” think these numbers are too big, suggesting that Hebrew ‘eleph should not be translated “thousand” but something smaller.  Let’s do the algebra, just for three tribes:  Reuben 46x+500, Simeon 59x+300, and Gad 46x+650, which total 151x=450, according to the text, where we are substituting “x” for “thousand”.  Solve for x:

151x+450 = (46+59+45)x+(500+300+650), so
151x+450 =150x+1450, so subtracting
150x+450 from each side, we have
x = 1,000.  QED

The “scholars” are not as scholarly as 10th graders!  Russ Humphries brought this to my attention; he did the algebra for Judah’s group; any group or the whole of Israel will show the same.

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