An Observation about the Numbers in Genesis 5

Started by Rev. Edward Engelbrecht, September 24, 2021, 10:18:00 PM

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

I've been teaching on Genesis and we're coming up to Genesis 5. As I was studying, I noticed the following about the numbers (ages) in the Genesis 5 genealogy:

More numbers are divisible by 5 (67.85%) than by 2 (46.4%), which is surprising since 2 divides into all even numbers whereas 5 divides into far fewer numbers (only those ending in 5 and 0). One would not expect such a high representation of numbers divisible by 5.

These results, however, would make sense if the recorder was in the habit of rounding figures to the nearest 5 or 10. One may notice, for example, that none of the figures ends in a 1, 3, 4, 6, or 8. Although not all numbers in the genealogy are rounded to 5 or 10 (32% clearly are not since they end in 2, 7, or 9), it appears that the genealogy includes rounded information.

J. Thomas Shelley

#1
How can we be certain that these numbers were originally understood to be base 10? 

In the pre-Roman world there were also base 12 and base 60 systems n common use.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Have a look at this chart:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_numeral_systems

It shows the dominance of base 10. Counting by 60 works with both base 10 and base 12.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on September 25, 2021, 08:08:49 AM
Have a look at this chart:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_numeral_systems

It shows the dominance of base 10. Counting by 60 works with both base 10 and base 12.


If the chart is accurate about the appearance of Hebrew numbers, it suggests that the Hebrew Scriptures wouldn't have been written before 800 BC.
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