3 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;and they stayed between Bethel and Ai, west of Ai.8221;
2 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;and the valley [was] between them and Ai.8221;
3 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;Let about two thousand men or about three thousand men go up to defeat Ai.8221;
2 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;Take with you all the people of war and arise, go up against Ai!8221;
1 tn 8220;And Joshua and all the people of war arose to go up [against] Ai.8221;
1 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;it8221;; the referent (the city of Ai) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
1 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;When the king of Ai saw, the men of Ai hurried and rose early and went out to meet Israel for battle, he and all his people at the meeting place before the Arabah.8221;
3 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;as he had done to Jericho and to its king, so he did to Ai and to its king.8221;
1 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;Joshua did not draw back his hand which held out the curved sword until he had annihilated all the residents of Ai.8221;
1 tn <i>Hebi> 8220;and they saw, and look.8221; The Hebrew term <font face="Galaxie Unicode Hebrew">1492;1460;1504;1468;1461;1492;font> (<font face="Scholar">hinnehfont>, 8220;look8221;) draws attention to the scene and invites the audience to view the events from the perspective of the men of Ai.
1 tc 8225; Most witnesses have <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;8054; 964;940;962;font> (<font face="Greektl">kai tasfont>; so D<sup>1sup> <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">936;font> 1881 <font face="Greek Uncials">207;font>) or simply <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;943;font> (<font face="Galaxie Unicode Hebrew">1488;font><sup>2sup> D* F G 6 365 1739 <i>pci>) after <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">8033;963;945;973;964;969;962;font> (<font face="Greektl">Jwsautw"font>). A few important witnesses lack such words (<font face="Galaxie Unicode Hebrew">1488;font>* A H P 33 81 1175 <i>pci>). The evidence is for the most part along 8220;party8221; lines, with the shortest reading being found in the Alexandrian text, the conjunction in the Western, and the longest reading in the Byzantine tradition. Externally, the shortest reading is preferred. However, there is a good chance of homoiomeson or homoioteleuton in which case <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;943;font> or <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;8054; 964;940;962;font> could have accidentally been omitted (note the <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">945;953;font> [<font face="Greektl">aifont>] and <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">945;953; 945;962;font> [<font face="Greektl">ai asfont>] in the word that follows, written here in uncial script): <font face="Greek Uncials">wsautwskaigunaikasfont>/ <font face="Greek Uncials">wsautwskaitasgunaikasfont>. Nevertheless, since both the <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;943;font> and <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;8054; 964;940;962;font> are predictable variants, intended to fill out the meaning of the text, the shortest reading seems best able to explain the rise of the others. NA<sup>27sup> has the <font face="Galaxie Unicode Greek">954;945;943;font> in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
2 sn There has been much discussion about the numbers in the Israelite wilderness experience. The immediate difficulty for even the casual reader is the enormous number of the population. If indeed there were 603,550 men twenty years of age and older who could fight, the total population of the exodus community counting women and children would have been well over a million, or even two million as calculated by some. This is not a figure that the Bible ever gives, but given the sizes of families the estimate would not be far off. This is a staggering number to have cross the Sea, drink from the oases, or assemble in the plain by Sinai. It is not a question of whether or not God could provide for such a number; it is rather a problem of logistics for a population of that size in that period of time. The problem is not with the text itself, but with the interpretation of the word <font face="Galaxie Unicode Hebrew">1488;1462;1500;1462;1507;font> (8217;<font face="Scholar">eleffont>), traditionally translated 8220;thousand.8221; The word certainly can be taken as 8220;thousand,8221; and most often is. But in view of the problem of the large number here, some scholars have chosen one of the other meanings attested in literature for this word, perhaps 8220;troop,8221; or 8220;family,8221; or 8220;tent group,8221; even though a word for 8220;family8221; has already been used (see A. H. McNeile, <i>Numbers,i> 7; J. Garstang, <i>Joshua-Judges,i> 120; J. Bright, <i>History of Israel,i> 144). Another suggestion is to take the word as a 8220;chief8221; or 8220;captain8221; based on Ugaritic usage (see R. E. D. Clarke, 8220;The Large Numbers of the Old Testament,8221; <i>JTVIi> 87 : 82-92; and J. W. Wenham, 8220;Large Numbers in the Old Testament,8221; <i>TynBuli> 18 : 19-53). This interpretation would reduce the size of the Israelite army to about 18,000 men from a population of about 72,000 people. That is a radical change from the traditional reading and may be too arbitrary an estimate. A more unlikely calculation following the idea of a new meaning would attempt to divide the numbers and use the first part to refer to the units and the second the measurement (e.g., 65 thousand and four hundred would become 65 units of four hundred). Another approach has been to study the numbers rhetorically, analyzing the numerical values of letters and words. But this method, known as <i>gematria,i> came in much later than the biblical period (see for it G. Fohrer, <i>Introduction to the Old Testamenti>, 184; and A. Noordtzij, <i>Numbersi> [BSC], 24). On this system the numbers for 8220;the sons of Israel8221; would be 603. But the number of the people in the MT is 603,550. Another rhetorical approach is that which says the text used exaggerations in the numbers on an epic scale to make the point of God8217;s blessing. R. B. Allen8217;s view that the numbers have been magnified by a factor of ten (8220;Numbers,8221; <i>The Expositor8217;s Bible Commentaryi>, 2:688-91), which would mean the army was only 60,000 men, seems every bit as arbitrary as Wenham8217;s view to get down to 18,000. Moreover, such views cannot be harmonized with the instructions in the chapter for them to count every individual skull 8211; that seems very clear. This is not the same kind of general expression one finds in 8220;Saul has killed his thousands, David his ten thousands8221; (1 Sam 18:7). <i>Therei> one expects the bragging and the exaggerations. But in a text of numbering each male, to argue that the numbers have been inflated ten-fold to form the rhetoric of praise for the way God has blessed the nation demands a much more convincing argument than has typically been given. On the surface it seems satisfactory, but it raises a lot of questions. Everything in Exodus and Numbers attests to the fact that the Israelites were in a population explosion, that their numbers were greater than their Egyptian overlords. Pharaoh had attempted to counter their growth by killing males from the ranks. That only two midwives are named must be taken to mean that they were heads of the guilds, for two could not service a population 8211; even of the smaller estimate given above. But even though the size had to have been great and seen as a threat, we are at a loss to know exactly how to determine it. There is clearly a problem with the word 8220;thousand8221; here and in many places in the OT, as the literature will show, but the problem cannot really be solved without additional information. The suggestions proposed so far seem to be rather arbitrary attempts to reduce the number to a less-embarrassing total, one that would seem more workable in the light of contemporary populations and armies, as well as space and time for the people8217;s movement in the wilderness. An army of 10,000 or 20,000 men in those days would have been a large army; an army of 600,000 (albeit a people8217;s army, which may mean that only a portion of the males would actually fight at any time 8211; as was true at Ai) is large even by today8217;s standards. But the count appears to have been literal, and the totals calculated accordingly, totals which match other passages in the text. If some formula is used to reduce the thousands in this army, then there is the problem of knowing what to do when a battle has only five thousand, or three thousand men. One can only conclude that on the basis of what we know the word should be left with the translation 8220;thousand,8221; no matter what difficulties this might suggest to the reader. One should be cautious, though, in speaking of a population of two million, knowing that there are serious problems with the calculation of that number, if not with the word 8220;thousand8221; itself. It is very doubtful that the population of the wilderness community was in the neighborhood of two million. Nevertheless, until a more convincing explanation of the word 8220;thousand8221; or the calculation of the numbers is provided, one should retain the reading of the MT but note the difficulty with the large numbers.