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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 12:33:05 -0400 Subject: Census Counts--an abnormal number In this weeks Sedra, Bamidbar, we have the census of the tribes All numbers end in 00, except for the tribe of Gad that ends in 50 Why? The question was first pointed out to me by my grandfather David Hendel but I have never found an adequate answer or even a source discussing it. Does anyone know of anything on this. One thought I had should be mentioned: The endings in 00 suggest rounding. If we use the rule "round to the nearest 100 unless you end exactly in 50" then that would explain the oddity provided only Gad ended in 50. One can calculate the probability that at least one tribe should have *exactly* 50 among the 12 (or the probability that exactly one should have exactly 50). This is a binomial probability problem and is not that low. At any rate I would expect at least some commentary to mention this. Also this raises the issue of when numbers in Tenach are exact and when they are approximations. Any one have any ideas. Thanx, Russell Hendel, Ph.d, ASA, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu