fifty thousand and threescore and ten men

1 Samuel 6:19

6:19 fifty thousand and threescore and ten men. This number seems inordinately large, probably larger than the whole population of this town, or that could possibly have looked into the ark. The Jewish historian Josephus, as well as a few Hebrew copies of I Samuel, indicate the number may have originally been only “seventy men.” It is also possible, of course, that all the men of the Beth-shemesh region were morbidly curious about the ark, and selected 70 representatives to examine it. Thus God could have considered them all guilty.

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