A Question about the Book of Ezra for Biblical Scholars

    So, on a discussion board elsewhere, someone posted the following Tom the Dancing Bug comic:

    Now, I'm familiar with the the 1 Kings 7:23-26 reference, and it's never fazed me: 10 cubits times pi (3.14159…) is 30 cubits, to one significant figure. No problem. The Ezra 1:7-11 reference is more confusing. Specifically, Ezra 1:9-11:

    9 And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; 11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

    I can't explain that one, but nor am I going to use it as a weapon to try to falsify the Bible or some such. I'm quite certain that back when Ezra was written they knew enough math to know that 30+1,000+29+30+410+1,000 didn't equal 5,400. The best explanation I can come up with is that there are other "other" vessels not accounted for, but that seems odd, too. Is there a standard explanation for this anywhere? Here's what I found from one source, which sort of agrees with my intuition:

    The author of the SAB's conclusion seems inescapable, Ezra couldn't add up. But perhaps not so fast. It's unlikely Ezra is doing arithmetic here. Ezra just mentions the most peculiar items and doesn't total them in this verse. This verse just concludes with “and other vessels, 5400 vessels in total”. Some think that Ezra just mentions in particular the large vessels, see 2 Chr. 36:18. The vessels he doesn't describe are the small vessels.

    Any other ideas from our learned dagbloggers?


    Simple.  Take the number of years since the bible was written, multiply by the number of translators who've ever worked on the bible, divide by the combined number of popes and kings over the last two thousand years and then change from cubits to meters to yards.  If you come up with a number that comes even close to what you think should be the answer, just write it down and claim it IS the answer and put the burden of proving you wrong onto someone else.   .

    I'm thinking that there's probably a less cynical answer. I'm pretty sure the Jews were able to add numbers that big back then and would've known those numbers didn't add up correctly. It would've been retconned long before Jesus' time if it had bothered them, but it didn't bother them. Why not?

    The less cynical answer (in my opinion), would be that they weren't writing a math book, they were writing a book about faith and spirituality so they really weren't concerned with making all the math add up.  I know this might come as a shock to some in the religious community, but perhaps parables aren't meant to be taken literally.  The were meant as abstract lessons about how to live one's life in a moral way, not how to acquire religious OCD.  

    Don't know; don't care why those numbers don't add up but the cartoon bugs me. Here's a clue why:


    I'd say that's an apt analogy. I hope you understand that I was not endorsing the comic strip. (XKCD, however, is a comic strip that I think I can pretty much always endorse.)

    Must be all that hair weighing down her brain, creating undue stress on the atlas, and so on.

    I've asked a scholar. We'll see if he responds. It seems like something that the Talmud or other commentaries probably took up somewhere.

    Here's his reply:

    I think there are only two appraoches that one can take here:
    a) either soemthing is mssing in the text
    b) the "lamed" of כל כלים לזהב  should be read as "and all the vessels of (other metals) in addition to the gold and silver ones were 5,400 etc"- See Daat Mikra

    Yes, poor translation (b) is one explanation that occurred to me. It's nice to have someone suggest an alternate viable translation. Of course, (a) is a semi-reasonable explanation, but I would've thought that it would've bothered ancient scholars enough to "fix" the mistake if it felt like one to them. (That's my cynic, I suppose: I definitely don't put such alterations out of reach.)

    I need to follow up with the scholar to see if he meant "text" as in the original scroll or "text" as in the written book form in Hebrew or "text" as in the translation.

    So a and b could be the same, in effect. We're working from a translation which, for religious Jews and Hebrew scholars is NOT the text, if you see what I mean.

    If I have this right, even the Hebrew in book form is not the text (because it's subject to errors). Only the scroll form is the text. Those get copied as they wear out, but that's a whole 'nuther matter.

    So if the alternative translation "is the text" ancient scholars were working with, they wouldn't have seen a problem because there wouldn't have been a problem. They would simply have read the text (as my scholar explains it) because that's what the lamed would have meant to them. Just as our words, generally, mean what we write them to mean. Awkwardly worded, I know-:)

    But this gets to what I've tried to say below...and a certain amount of cynicism on our part is natural. The ancient scholars saw nothing in the text as "accidental." So even if the "surface" meaning made no sense, they would've pondered the text and "seen" that the lamed resolved the discrepancy. (Which it might, even reading it from a secular standpoint. I don't know enough Hebrew at all to weigh in on this.)

    To some degree, this is the difference between just reading the text as we would any other book and reading it within the context of having a religious relationship to it. The process of studying and deciphering the text become very different if you truly believe the words were written by God. Or you can think of it as the difference between reading something and studying it.

    So I knew this fellow, a Christian and a very learned musicologist and mushroom hunter, who converted. He went to a rabbi to study and announced that he'd already read the Torah was, as it were, ready to move on from there. Later, he understood that he might have read the Torah, but he hadn't even begun to study it.

    We all have different axioms that we rely on to interpret the world around us, whether we know it or not. Those axioms cannot be proven nor disproven, but we might find that some axioms work better for us than others. If you suddenly change, add, or remove an axiom, your conclusions based on those axioms could change dramatically.

    By the way, it appears that "lamed" can also mean 30. Don't know if that helps or just confuses the matter more.

    So, here's an interesting observation. I read an alternate translation that said:

    9 Now this was their number: 30 gold dishes, 1,000 silver dishes, 29 [a]duplicates; 10 30 gold bowls, 410 silver bowls of a second kind and 1,000 other articles. 11 All the articles of gold and silver numbered 5,400. Sheshbazzar brought them all up with the exiles who went up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

    Where [a] was a footnote saying "Ezra 1:9 Heb obscure; other possible meanings are knives, censers"

    I then omitted the 29 and did the simple math: 5400-(30+1000+30+410+1000), which yields 2930. So, if I take that obscure Hebrew to be hundreds of something, then that gives me 2900, which is really close to 2930. Not quite there, but I found it interesting. Please run that past your scholar friend if you don't mind and see what he says.

    Not entirely following you...

    Is your meaning that 2900 is CLOSER to 5400 than the previous sum?

    No, I mean if you take the word that the footnote says could be translated as "duplicates", "censers", or "knives" to mean "hundreds of [articles/vessels]", so that 29 of them becomes 2900, you get 30+1000+[2900]+30+410+1000 = 5370, which is much closer to 5400 than the previous sum.

    Why are you taking it to mean "hundreds of"?

    Is that also in the footnote?

    Or are you just doubling (or more) all the numbers because it says "duplicates"?

    I guess, technically, "duplicate" should mean "one copy of" so that there are two of the same thing.

    You know, of course, that the mathematician is always the most susceptible to becoming a "believer," though he wouldn't use the term.

    He just follows the numbers, and when they point in a certain direction, he becomes convinced of the solution.

    "Holy Smokes! God IS real! Just look at this proof..."

    The mathematical version of the "bigger they are, the harder they fall." In advertising, we always say that the skeptic is just a sucker whose buy button hasn't been pushed yet-:) But when it is...watch out...and re-stock!

    Now that I'm thinking about it...

    I've always assumed that "Verified Atheist" was just a play on this site's system which labels certain names as "verified" if someone has registered and signed in and others as "unverified," if the person has just dropped in to comment.

    But now I see that you believe you've actually verified your atheism, i.e., proven it to be true. Velly interesting...

    Why are you taking it to mean "hundreds of"?

    Is that also in the footnote?

    No, I was just trying to make the math work. I thought that if it was an "obscure" word, I could stretch it even further to make it mean something entirely different from what they thought. I don't know anything about Hebrew, but in other languages it is not unusual to have two words that look alike mean something very different.

    You know, of course, that the mathematician is always the most susceptible to becoming a "believer," though he wouldn't use the term.

    Yes, when the math works on a complicated proof it is a most beautiful thing. Transcendental, even. Although an atheist, I believe in magic, in the figurative sense only, but magic nonetheless. Once you have an excellent and beautiful proof, you really don't want to go back and challenge your axioms, even when you should.

    My nom de dagblog is indeed a play on the "(Unverified)" label, as before I created an account I was "Atheist (Unverified)". However, it was also meant to suggest the alternate interpretation that I am verifying my atheism.

    See? If God were around, we could ask him all these questions and clear things up in a nano second or two.

    Here's my interpretation:

    One of my favorite jazz musicians is Thelonious Monk, now departed. He was/is a deep practitioner of the spontaneity in jazz. And also not so good at communicating in words. His side men treated him with great deference and reverence. All duly earned in my opinion.

    In this documentary on him, there's a scene in the recording studio where he's just finished a take and is a bit irritated because no one's playing it back for him. In this pause in the action, his saxophone player (whose name I can't recall now) comes up to him with the chart (the music) and points to a note and asks if he, Monk, wants him to play a "high C" there.

    Now, if you've seen jazz charts, you know they are just sketched in. The basic melody and chord changes with lots of room for the players to improvise. But I imagine that Monk's were even sketchier and probably hard to read--hence the guy's difficulty in figuring out what Monk meant him to play.

    Already irritated that no one was playing back the take, he had no patience for this question and barked: "I don't know! Play what you want."

    Which is one way I imagine God answering these questions. He's sketched it in. It's up to us to make it real and use the heart and mind he gave us.

    This is one of the most remarkable metaphors I have ever read.

    This wont mean much to you, but I hereby render unto you the Dayly Comment/Metaphor

    of the Year at this here Dagblog Site, given to all of you from all of me!

    And I am an A-Theist. hahaha

    Aw, blame it on Monk.

    (But thanks).

    Here's something else he used to do.

    When his band or quartet were really cooking, he'd often get up and dance on stage to the music, totally in his own world, in his own way, oblivious to the audience (it seemed).

    When asked to explain why and when, he said that when the band was really cooking, they didn't need his help. So he'd get up and dance. When he sat back down at the piano, it was a signal they needed a little guidance from him again.

    If you don't know his work, Richard, treat yourself. I don't know you (except through here), but I think he might be your kind of guy.

    To refresh my memory, I just played Round about Midnight and Ruby, My Dear (youtubes). Shortly after Midnight began, my cat jumped off its perch and left the room.  Shortly after Ruby finished, it returned.  I think I will rename it Philip Larkin. LOL, critics.


    Two of his greatest and two of the greatest of all time...IMHO.

    Monk was a different breed of cat.

    The Torah...or the Five Books of Moses...were supposed to have been given by God to Moses. But I'm not sure the same infallibility applies to the other books grouped under the term "Old Testament."

    However, if they are also considered divine in origin, they are shot through with mathematical meaning and, at least in the Jewish tradition, nothing in them is an accident, including the shapes and decorations (the "crowns") of the letters (which all have numerical equivalents and numerological meanings). Everything was put there by God for a purpose to communicate something. The key is to figure out what it is.

    In The Sayings Of The Fathers, it says: Turn it over and over for everything is in it.

    The Torah...or the Five Books of Moses...were supposed to have been given by God to Moses.

    Which really must have bummed him out since his death is recorded in Deuteronomy. wink

    That's the difference between regular folks like us and folks like Moses-:) or even, perhaps, folks like MLK.

    In general, prophets are able to see into the future without problem and tend to accept their end as God's will.

    And when you're talking about God, the arrow of time doesn't apply.


    Well it is all myth and mistranslated songs of the very distant past and and songs

    of the distant past written and sung by different tribes over different periods

    of time and Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible and

    there are seven anyway and...

    Hell, different sects of the Jewish and Christian Faiths cannot even

    agree on which books belong in the Old Testament anyway and

    there are so many 'versions' of the books that 'they' agree on that...

    Hell there are two different versions of 'creation' in every book of

    Genesis I ever read.

    Genesis I, 4-8

    And the evening and the morning were the third day.

    I mean there was light before the sun and the moon and the stars,

    there was an earth before the 'firmament'....

    Makes for good poetry even when the poems are written

    with different words and meters and....

    They have made another Noah movie. Yet in Genesis the small part of

    which describes Noah has different conflicting sizes depicting 

    the ark and the short discussion cannot even agree on how long

    Noah's family stayed in the ark.

    And Noah was supposedly 900 years old when he died.

    So the math is screwed up? So what?

    And that is all just fine because there are contradictions in the Iliad and

    the Odyssey and hundreds of other tribal compendiums of songs

    throughout the Earth.

    Let's just keep these examples of math out of the school room!






    Hey Dick... How right you are . . .

    It would have been better if man had stuck with the original ancient Sumerian pictographs (column I, circa 3400 B.C.E.).

    From: SumerianShakespeare.com




    And remember:

    I'm as old as dirt and road shotgun for Abram out of the Land of Ur.


    I bet you I have seen and reseen twenty? docs on the subject of your graph and I have read as many discussions on the subject of your graph and maybe many more times than that!

    I love this graph, I love the development of 'language' and the written word from pics to symbols.

    But damn, Chinese scrawl looks just the same to an untrained eye!

    More people on this planet read English than Chinese or other Asian Script.

    ABC's still work pretty well.



    Here I'm not so much interested in the myths themselves, as to the story behind the myths. For example, you mention the two different creation stories. That, in itself, tells a meta-story: the first (in chapter order) of those creation stories, from about the 6th century BCE, is about how Elohim created the universe, and the second of those creation stories, generated earlier in about the 9th century BCE, is about how YHWH created the universe. These two stories were merged when it was later decided that YHWH = Elohim, since of course, there was only one [G]od. (I think this might not be dissimilar to how Zeus = Jupiter.) And it's not just the creation story of which there are two versions. There are also two versions of the flood story, for example, one with Elohim and another with YHWH. In one version (YHWH), the flood lasted 40 days (Genesis 7:17). Elohim's flood (Genesis 7:24) lasted for 150 days. Elohim had Noah bring just two of each creature on board, but YHWH wanted Noah to bring seven of every clean animal on board but only two of the unclean. Fascinating stuff.

    In my particular question, however, I'm assuming, as Emma alludes to, that these ancient authors weren't idiots or "bad at math". They would know how to do arithmetic, just as the person or people piecing together the previously alluded to narratives knew that the two narratives were somewhat contradictory. They just didn't care because audiences back then where different from audiences today. They weren't so literal. Still, I'm a very pedantic person by nature (part of my day job involves rigorous formal proofs of software properties), so I ask questions of the sort I ask above. Even not taking the words literally, how could the authors/readers not be bothered by Ezra 1:7-11? I think Peter's (b) response makes the most sense to me, which again tells a tiny bit of a meta-story.

    Edit to add: and of course, just as I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a biblical scholar, so take all of what I've said with a grain of salt.

    There are also two stories about man's creation.

    In one, God just creates him.

    In the other, more famous one, He creates him (from the earth) and her by taking a rib from him to make her and so on.

    The first is sort of a 30K foot view. The other is very earthy. But they appear right next to each other.

    The following is a story behind those myths . . .

    This is a wee bit before the Hebrew Scribes started work on their scrolls.

    Have a good time deciphering the true meaning of the tale.


    Enûma Eliš - "When on High" circa 1100 B.C.E.

    When on high the heaven had not been named,
    Firm ground below had not been called by name,
    Naught but primordial Apsu, their begetter,
    (And) Mummu-Tiamat, she who bore them all,
    Their waters commingling as a single body;
    No reed hut had been matted, no marsh land had appeared,
    When no gods whatever had been brought into being, 

    Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined-
    Then it was that the gods were formed within them.
    Lahmu and Lahamu were brought forth, by name they were called.
    For aeons they grew in age and stature.
    Anshar and Kishar were formed, surpassing the others.
    They prolonged the days, added on the years.
    Anu was their son, of his fathers the rival;
    Yea, Anshar's first born, Anu was his equal.
    Anu begot in his image Nudimmud.
    This Nudimmud was of his fathers the master;
    Of broad wisdom, understanding, mighty in strength,
    Mightier by far than his grandfather, Anshar.
    He had no rival among the gods, his brothers.

    The divine brothers banded together,
    They disturbed Tiamat as they surged back and forth,
    Yea, they troubled the mood of Tiamat
    By their hilarity in the Abode of Heaven.
    Apsu could not lessen their clamour
    And Tiamat was speechless at their ways.
    Their doings were loathsome unto (. . .).
    Unsavory were their ways; they were overbearing.
    Then Apsu, the begetter of the great gods,
    Cried out, addressing Mummu, his vizier:
    "O Mummu. my vizier, who rejoicest my spirit,
    Come hither and let us go to Tiamat!"
    They went and sat down before Tiamat,
    Exchanging counsel about the gods, their first born.
    Apsu, opening his mouth,
    Said unto resplendent Tiamat:
    "Their ways are verily loathsome unto me.
    By day I find no relief, nor repose by night.
    I will destroy, I will wreck their ways,
    That quiet may be restored. Let us have rest!"
    As soon as Tiamat heard this,
    She was wroth and called out to her husband.
    She cried out aggrieved, as she raged all alone,
    Injecting woe into her mood:
    "What? Should we destroy what we have built?
    Their ways are indeed troublesome, but let us attend kindly!"
    Ill wishing and ungracious was Mummu's advice:
    "Do destroy, my father, the mutinous ways.
    Then shalt thou have relief by day and rest by night!"

    When Apsu heard this, his face grew radiant
    Because of the evil he planned against the gods, his sons.
    As for Mummu, by the neck he embraced him
    As (that one) sat down on his knees to kiss him.
    (Now) whatever they plotted between them
    Was repeated unto the gods, their first born.
    When the gods heard (this), they were astir,
    (Then) lapsed into silence and remained speechless,
    Surpassing in wisdom, accomplished, resourceful,
    Ea, the all wise, saw through their scheme.

    A master design against it he devised and setup,
    Made artful his spell against it, surpassing and holy.
    He recited it and made it subsist in the deep,
    As he poured sleep upon him. Sound asleep he lay.

    When Apsu he made prone, drenched with sleep,
    Mummu, the adviser, was impotent to move,
    He loosened his band, tore off his tiara,
    Removed his halo (and) put it on himself.

    Having fettered Apsu, he slew him.
    Mummu he bound and left behind lock.
    Having thus upon Apsu established his dwelling,
    He laid hold on Mummu, holding him by the nose rope.

    After he vanquished and trodden down his foes,
    Ea, his triumph over his enemies secured,
    In his sacred chamber in profound sleep he rested.

    He named it "Apsu," for shrines he assigned (it).

    In that same place his cult hut he founded.
    Ea and Damkina, his wife, dwelled (there) in splendor.
    In the chamber of fates, the abode of destinies,
    A god was engendered, most potent and wisest of gods.
    In the heart of Apsu was Marduk created,
    In the heart of holy Apsu was Marduk created.
    He who begot him was Ea, his father;
    She who conceived him was Damkina, his mother.
    The breast of goddesses did she suck.

    The nurse that nursed him filled him with awesomeness.
    Alluring was his figure, sparkling the lift in his eyes.
    Lordly was his gait, commanding from of old.
    When Ea saw him, the father who begot him,
    He exulted and glowed, his heart filled with gladness.

    He rendered him perfect and endowed him with a double godhead.
    Greatly exalted was he above them, exceeding throughout.
    Perfect were his members beyond comprehension,
    Unsuited for understanding, difficult to perceive.
    Four were his eyes, four were his ears;
    When he moved his lips, fire blazed forth.
    Large were all hearing organs,
    And the eyes, in like number, scanned all things.
    He was the loftiest of the gods, surpassing was his stature;
    His members were enormous, he was exceedingly tall.

    "My little son, my little son!
    My son, the Sun! Sun of the heavens!"
    Clothed with the halo of the ten gods, he was strong to the utmost,
    As their awesome flashes were heaped upon him.

    Disturbed was Tiamat, astir night and day.
    The gods, in malice, contributed to the storm.
    Their insides having plotted evil.
    To Tiamat these brothers said:
    "When they slew Apsu, thy consort,
    Thou didst not aid him but remaindest still.
    Although he fashioned the awesome Saw,
    Thy insides are diluted and so we can have no rest.
    Let Apsu, thy consort, be in thy mind
    And Mummu, who has been vanquished! Thou are left alone.

    Then joined issue Tiamat and Marduk, wisest of gods,
    They swayed in single combat, locked in battle.
    The lord spread out his net to enfold her,
    The Evil Wind, which followed behind, he let loose in her face.
    When Tiamat opened her mouth to consume him,
    He drove the Evil Wind that she close not her lips.
    As the fierce winds charged her belly,
    Her body was distended and her mouth was wide open.
    He released the arrow, it tore her belly,
    It cut through her insides, splitting the heart.
    Having thus subdued her, he extinguished her life.
    He cast down her carcass to stand upon it...
    The lord trod on the legs of Tiamat,
    With his unsparing mace he crushed her skull.

    When the arteries of her blood he had severed,
    The North Wind bore (it) to places undisclosed.
    On seeing this, his fathers were joyful and jubilant,
    They brought gifts of homage, they to him.
    Then the lord paused to view her dead body,
    That he might divide the monster and do artful works.

    He split her like a shellfish into two parts:
    Half of her he set up and ceiled as sky,
    Pulled down the bar and posted guards.
    He bade them to allow not her waters to escape.

    He crossed the heavens and surveyed (its) regions.
    He squared Apsu's quarter, the abode of Nudimmud,
    As the lord measured the dimensions of Apsu.
    The Great Abode, its likeness, he fixed as Esharra,
    The Great Abode, Esharra, which he made as the firmament.
    Anu, Enlil, and Ea he made occupy their places.

    When Marduk hears the words of the gods,
    His heart prompts (him) to fashion artful works.

    Opening his mouth he addresses EA
    To impart the plan he addresses EA

    To impart the plan he had conceived in his heart:
    "Blood I will mass and cause boned to be.
    I will establish a savage, 'man' shall be his name.

    Verily, savage man I will create.
    He shall be charged with the service of the gods
    That they might be at ease! The ways of the gods I will artfully alter.
    Though alike revered, into two (groups) they shall be divided."

    Ea answered him, speaking a word to him.
    To relate to him a scheme for the relief of the gods:
    "Let but one of their brothers be handed over;"
    He alone shall perish that mankind may be fashioned.

    Let the great gods be here in Assembly,
    Let the guilty be handed over that they may endure."

    Marduk summoned the great gods to Assembly;
    Presiding graciously, he issued instructions.
    This utterance the gods pay heed.

    The king addresses a word to the Anunnaki:
    "If your former statement was true,
    Do (now) the truth on oath by me declare!
    Who was it that contrived the uprising,
    And made Tiamat rebel, and joined battle?
    Let him be handed over who contrived the uprising.
    His guilt I will make him bear that you may dwell in peace!"

    The Igigi, the great gods, replied to him,
    To Lugaldimmerankia, counsellor of the gods, their lord:
    "It was Kingu who contrived the uprising,
    And made Tiamat rebel, and joined battle."
    The bound him holding him before Ea.

    They imposed on him his guilt and severed his blood (vessels).
    Out of his blood they fashioned mankind.
    He imposed the service and let free the gods.






    This is delightful.

    Why cannot we just appreciate poetry for poetry's sake and science for science sake?


    In the Big Inning, God created Heaven and Earth.... and then Casey struck out, and lo, the people wept, and there was rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, and throwing of bottles upon the field...That is all...


    I have asked you several times over the years...

    Why is it you always make me laugh?


    I believe this is evidence that one (or perhaps both) of us would do well to answer guardedly on our next occasion for psychiatric evaluation...

    Yeah I get two and two is four unless we mire ourselves in Quantum Mechanics which I do not understand anyway. And a lot of 'popular scientists' do not really understand QM anyway and the 'real scientists' cannot agree on the conclusions of proposed QM theories anyway.

    But damn, if you are going to describe the Ark in cubits in one clause and then go on to describe the Ark in a different number of cubits in another clause, I mean, come on?

    If you will enumerate the number of days that the Ark floated on the sea of death as forty days and nights in one clause and then go ahead and add a hundred days in another clause...obviously we must come to the conclusion that different hands wrote these narratives.

    But, I am sure that you are correct in your assessment since the Bible tells me so; that is the American Roman Catholic version that Hagee and many deceased ministers despise.


    Math was never the Bible's strong point.


    And neither was astrophysics or any number of scientific constructs.

    But I think that saying "Math [or astrophysics] was never the Bible's strong point" is like saying that "Math [or astrophysics] was never Hamlet's soliloquy's strong point", with the only significant difference (in my opinion) is that people like Hagee seem to feel otherwise when it comes to the Bible.

    That is why the Old Testament is poetry for me!

    The text riddles my soul just like Wild Bill and hundreds of other poets.

    I am okay with that 'fact'.

    I, again, am in awe of Genesis just like I am in awe with Homer and hundreds of other poems written by way of old tribal songs.

    Amazing really, and underneath it all, that is the great legacy we have inherited (which everybody might read for free except for our monthly 'rate') what wonder, what incite to human experience could be made available to anyone on this planet not born soon enough to see the communication era arise before us?

    Who are we?

    Where did we come from?

    Why are we here?


    By the way, just as an aside, because I'm such a math and science geek, you don't need QM to get to some interesting math. Although 2 feet + 2 feet = 4 feet, 5 feet x 5 feet = 30 sq. feet when using significant figures. (However, note that 5.0 feet x 5.0 feet = 25 sq. feet, if that makes you sleep better.)

    Oh I like this!

    Hell, I am amazed and have always been amazed at how mathematics 'creates' space!

    Why should five times five become 25 in terms of area?

    Well that is the way it is.

    I certainly would love to see a post by you describing how this situation might increase to 30?

    Arithmetic and mathematics astound me.

    Cubits are amazing just like cubic numbers.

    Well, in this particular case it's just a matter of rounding. When using significant figures, if I say something is "5 feet" (as opposed to "5.0 feet"), I mean that it might be 4.5 feet or it might be 5.4999… feet. It only has one digit of accuracy. Thus, after multiplying it, the result will only have one digit of accuracy, so I must round the 25 sq. feet up to 30 sq. feet to reflect that.

    On a more realistic example, consider average body temperature. It was measured some time ago to be 37° C, to two digits of accuracy. Then, some wonderful person decided to convert that to Fahrenheit and gave us 98.6° F. Except that idiot reported it as having three digits of accuracy, which is just wrong. Using significant figures rules they should have said it was 99° F (for the conversion formula the 9 and 5 in 9/5 is considered "exact", not each having only one significant figure). Of course, if it had been measured in Fahrenheit to two significant figures in the first place, they would have found that it was about 98° F. And 98° F, to two significant figures, is 37° C.

    And of course, everyone who uses Fahrenheit still "knows" today that average body temperature is 98.6° F. (sigh)

    As Sheldon of "Big Bang Theory" would say, either number is good enough for civil engineering (or clinical medicine). The bigger error comes from using the original armpit temperature data from Dr. Carl Wunderlich.

    The "normal" temperature set- point is wrong. Worse, elderly people have temperatures below the accepted set-point. Thus, they can be febrile with a temperature below 98.6 (or 99) degrees.

    Yes. It's not just a matter of there being errors in the measurement. There are actual individual differences that are not insignificant.

    Whatever you do, do NOT bring up quantum phenemona when Verified A is around, unless you want to find yourself scraping the contents of your recently exploded head off the walls...consider yourself warned...(two words: entangled particles)

    I think the general understanding is that 40 day was the period of rain and springs opening up.  150 days was the time it took the flood to recede.

    Then the flood *came* upon the earth for forty days...

    The water *prevailed* upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.

    I thought that the zero, as a place holder didn't exist back then. So try again putting all those numbers in Roman Numerals (I am lazy).  Math gets much more complicated using those representations of numbers.
    Here's what I really think:   Maybe he just meant that in the end there were a Bazillion Vessels. When I was a kid we used the term "Forty-leven" to indicate a hugely large amount.. Maybe 5,400 was as much as anyone could imagine.  After all, biblical descriptions of heaven and hell are limited to human imagination.  Nothing unimaginable, nothing that isn't already experienced as "earthly" is even attempted. 

    Well, speaking in terms of number systems, I'm not sure what the Hebrews used, but the nearby Egyptians used a base-60 numbering system, and 5400 is 1.5 * 60 * 60, so maybe there's something to that. I.e., it would be represented as 1 group of 60*60 and 30 groups of 60. Of course, that's Egyptian. Hmm. It seems the Hebrew system was quite different from both the Egyptians and the Romans. And it seems they have a special glyph for 100, as well as a cardinal name for it. These would correspond to 100/hundred, I think. I'm still wondering how similar that word for a hundred is compared to that obscure Hebrew word. If you throw that in with a shnayim/shtayim where one of the 30s is, then the math works out.

    I wish I had a better math education but even my limited one is aware that there have been than base-10 systems and that the use of a zero (0) as a positional placeholder is a fairly recent, historically speaking, innovation. 

    Anyway, I looked some things up and here they are a couple of things presented for your consideration:

    The Book of Ezra chronicles the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity circa 500-600 BCE.

    The Babylonian number system was sexagesimal (base-60) and used either a space or a variety of other symbols to represent zero that I would think made it very difficult for western translations.

    More information is available from Wikipedia; Enjoy.


    Thanks for throwing in the bit about the Babylonians. I was aware of the existence of Egyptian base-60 systems, but didn't know the Babylonians used it, too. That 5400 is 1.5 * 60 * 60 is probably significant somehow.

    (For those who wonder why they would use such a horrible number system consider that 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 all divide cleanly into 60. This makes math involving those numbers much easier.)

    da maths are making my head hurt!!!

    much easier

    9 * 6 = 54

    90 * 60 = 5400


    But if you use base 12, as the English did for their money a while back, you get almost all that minus the 5. No?

    Yes, but why are you disrespecting the 5? You got something against the Pentagon? Is that it?

    I remember back when I was a waiter and got a job at a very trendy bar/restaurant. I really thought I'd hit it big.

    Anyway, I was assigned to a section called The Jive Five. Why so named? Of all the sections, it had only five tables (and three were deuces) and was farthest away from the kitchen, and there was no place to put down your tray of drinks or food while serving your tables, and the only place to stand while you were serving was right in front of the main entrance to the establishment.

    So you were always in the path of the entering hordes who were always threatening to topple your tray or ram your arm or run into your butt while you were leaning over a well-dressed couple setting down their very expensive drinks and entrees.

    I had to learn to tie a real bow tie for that job and work the pre-checker. I was a dismal failure at both. Every day, after lunch, the very nice accounting lady would come down from her office and sit me down and ask me why my checks weren't reconciling. They NEVER reconciled and I never knew why. Honestly, I didn't really know what reconciliation was.

    You were also supposed to arrange your drink glasses in a certain order at the service bar: rocks, high balls, wine, etc. Never could remember that either.

    I was miserable and was fired. It hurt my pride, but honestly, I wanted out of there. Interestingly, the guy who hired and fired me said that he really thought I'd work out. I also thought/hoped so, because it was a step up for me in the waiting world, and I could-a made some real dough there.

    ICYMI, I have joined in your boycott....SOLIDARITY!


    Tyndale or whoever translated from Latin, Greek and Hebrew not Babylonian cuneiform The mistake or misunderstanding or whatever was likely already there and it is impressive to me that they got that close.


    Just noticed above you posted something similar at the same time. ;D


    Great minds or something like that… wink

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