The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Large Numbers in the Old Testament
The exceedingly high numbers of the able-bodied men over the age of twenty conscripted into the armies of Israel, as recorded in Numbers 1:26, continue to trouble modern scholars. The numbers of soldiers in each listing total in excess of 600,000 (603,550 in Numbers 1:46; 601,730 in Numbers 26:51). These numbers of men mustered for warfare demand a total population in excess of 2 million. Indeed, perhaps a population of 3 or 4 or even 5 million might be required to supply a conscripted army of 600,000 able-bodied men over twenty years old. Such numbers are exceedingly large for the times, for the locale, for the desert wanderings, and in comparison to the numbers of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan whom the Israelites set out to conquer.
Misquoting in Matthew
Skeptics often cite Matthew’s use of Old Testament passages as evidence against the inspiration of the Bible. These arguments are invalid because they assume that when Matthew describes certain Old Testament passages as being “fulfilled” he means the fulfilment of predictive prophecy when he is actually making use of typology.
Alleged Scientific Inaccuracies in the Bible
Claims that the Bible is riddled with scientific errors are commonly made against the Bible by sceptics of its claim to be the word of God. These claims are unimpressive as they are ironically predicated on a literal reading of translations of the Bible in with no attempt made to understand Hebrew idiom or make due allowance for folk taxonomy. Furthermore, they ignore the point made by conservative scholars that inspiration does not give the writers scientific knowledge above their peers. Finally, such claims ignore evidence that the cultic aspects of the Mosaic Law have been acknowledged as providing considerable benefit from a sanitation point of view.
Discrepancies In Numbers
And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew [the men of] seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. (2 Samuel 10:18) But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand [men which fought in] chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host. (1 Chronicles 19:18)
The Statistics of the Exodus (II)
I have been aware of this difficulty over numbers—such as it is—for many years. I have twice read Dr. Young’s argument in MS., the first time some years ago. Earlier I had read what Dr. Garstang has to say on the subject, for I bought a copy of his “Joshua Judges,” in the year of its publication. Much earlier still—at least thirty years ago—I was aware of the uncertainty of the higher numbers in Hebrew records and of the great disparity in this matter between our version of the Old Testament and the Septuagint rendering. Difficulties have to be faced as they arise but I have never regarded it as part of my duty to advertise them.
The Statistics of the Exodus and the Half-Shekel Tax
The article by W. J. Young in the August Testimony has performed a useful service in drawing attention to the existence of these problems, but it does not follow that W. J. Y.’s theory provides the correct solution.