Could the author of Numbers count? by Dr Gordon Stanger, 23 July, 2020.
February 18, 2022
Some have cast doubt about many of the large numbers in the OT, as being absurd. In particular, use of the Hebrew word “aleph” as being translated 1000. E.g. ‘600 of aleph’ (600,000) as the number of Israelites of fighting age, implying that the total number of Israelites including old men, women and children, must have been about 2.5 to 3.0 million. This number is inconsistent with other passages of the Bible, which describe Israel as a ‘tiny nation’. There is a strong case that aleph = 1000 is a mis-translation, based upon internal (Biblical) and external (archaeological and scientific) arguments. This would bring many aspects of the Torah and Kings / Chronicles narratives into line with rationality, and hence believability.
Gordon obtained his geology degree in University College London, and a PhD on ‘The Hydrology of the Oman Mountains. Since then he has worked for the Institute of Hydrology (UK), Flinders Uni (8 years), as a ‘Chief Technical Advisor’ (for the United Nations Development Program in Yemen), a stint as a visiting Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (Taiwan), and as a water resources and/or climate-change consultant in about 30 other countries.
He has worked for AusAID (as was), World Bank, Asia Development Bank, and a large swag of development agencies, large and small. He has contributed to numerous books and international symposia, and am the author of ‘Dictionary of Hydrology and Water Resources’. He is currently working on his farewell opus; a trilogy called ‘sensible Christianity’. Most recently he became the project leader for ‘Climate-Driven Migration’ for an NGO called SafeGround (one time co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize).
His talk is available on YouTube.