Numbers 1 continued — controversy over translation of the Hebrew word ’elef as ‘thousand’

Some Jewish and Messianic scholars are feverishly debating whether the word “elef” (Strong’s lexicon Nos. 504 and 505) in Numbers 1 and the counting of the fighting men of the 12 tribes means “clans” or “thousands.” There’s more controversy in Judaism over this one Hebrew word than any other Hebrew word in the TaNaK.

Richard explains the controversy and gives us some tools on how to wade through all the scholarly debates on this issue. Judges 6 and the book of Chronicles gives us some insight into this controversy as well.

Thought Questions

Where did God send the people of Israel?

How many people died at the Golden Calf?

How is the word elef used when counting other items like shekels and animals?

How many tribes were counted?

Which tribe was excluded from the count?

How is the count at the end of Numbers different?

How many years did they wander in the wilderness?

How would that have affected population growth?

What was the counting of the men of the Levites from age of 30-50?

What is the importance of the age of 20?

What is the importance of the age of 30?

How is the census recorded in Chronicles relevant?

Does the effort to argue vehemently with fellow believers on this point profitable?

Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Richard Agee.

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