Numbers were rounded off
Nowadays, our culture obliges us to be precise. If several friends are going to take a flight, they have to be there at 4:20 P. M.. In past centuries it was not like this, if several friends got together to take a trip on horseback, they had to be at the starting point either mid-morning or after lunch.
With the same reason, when a census is done today, numbers are exact, but the custom in that time was to round out numbers. For example, if they counted 3,218 persons, they wrote 3,200 and if 3,288 were counted, it was 3,300.
In the following passage, we see proof of this. In Numbers 3:22 it says that the descendants of Gerson were 7,500. In 28, it says that the ones from Coath were 8,600; and in 34 it says that the ones from Merari were 6,200. It is too coincidental that all three would end in two zeros. It is a possibility of three hundred to one that they would all end in zeros. Let’s see.
“Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them were seven thousand and five hundred.” (Numbers 3:22)
“In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary.” (Numbers 3:28)
“And those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred.”
“All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.” (Numbers 3:39)
It is not only this that I just said what
shows that this was the custom, but in verse 39, where it says
that all the ones that had been counted among the Levites were 22,000.
The sum of 7,500 + 8,600 + 6,200 = 22,300 and not
22,000. This indicates to us that the amount was rounded off by
subtracting the 300. When there were other cases, however that
have the need to better exactitude due to the circumstances, the count
was exact as in the case of Ezra and Nehemiah, when they made a census
of the nation that returned from
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