With application of the Sower’s Parables numbers (30-60-100 and 100-60-30), Sower’s Sevens (70 x 7) emerge in The Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, chapter 2.

In chapters 1 and 2, you may begin to wonder if the numbers in the supposed “census” of men age 20 and over can actually be historical, because the numbers are all rounded off to the nearest 100 or 50.  What kind of census is that?  Not an actual count but an approximation?

Are these post-Exodus census figures historical or mystical?  We should recall that the purpose of the ancient Hebrew biblical writers was not to write history for Christian believers, people they would scorn as “unclean Gentiles.”  Rather their purpose was presumably to write for their own Levite confreres – those priestly men who might appreciate the numerical patterns of 70 x 7 that were maybe “sacred” to them.  And the purpose was presumably to generate stories that would unify the tribes in service to the Levite priesthood.

You may also wonder why the order of the names of the Twelve Tribes is different in chapter 2 from chapter 1.  Could there be a puzzle waiting to be discovered?  It turns out that the order of arranging the tribal regiments for camping and marching in chapter 2 is the same order to be used in solving the census puzzle, and also to solve another census puzzle (below).

I apply the Sower’s Parables numbers (100-60-30) and then the reverse (30-60-100).  Amazingly, the Sower’s sevens (70 x 7) appear both ways.  This is the first time this has happened in more than 40+ examples I have discovered.

First arrange the Twelve Tribes in their order in chapter 2.  Then divide into three subsets of census numbers with four numbers each and sum:

Subset 1

East – Judah74,600; Issachar 54,400; Zebulun 57,400; South – Reuben 46,500

Subtotal 232,900

Subset 2

South continued – Simeon 59,300; Gad 45,650; West – Joseph-Ephraim 40,500; Manasseh 32,200;

Subtotal 177,650

Subset 3

West continued – Benjamin 35,400; North – Dan 62,700; Asher 41,500; Naphtali 53,400

Subtotal 193,000

Total men = 603,550

The naming of the Twelve Tribes in chapters 1 and 2 of The Book of Numbers differs slightly from other listings in the Bible.  Levi is not included here and Ephraim is merged with Joseph.  (For variations in the naming of tribes, see my post at  There are 14 names for the 12 tribes.)


100 x 232,900 = 23,290,000

60 x 177,650 = 10,659,000

30 x 193,000 = 5,790,000

Sum of products = 39,739,000; factor 70 x 7


30 x 232,900 = 6,987,000

60 x 177,650 = 10,659,000

100 x 193,000 = 19,300,000

Sum of products = 36,946,000; factor 70 x 7

Difference between sums of products = 2,793,000, factor 70 x 7 x 12

I strongly suspect that the supposed census figures have been ‘finessed’ in order to produce the 70 x 7.

Also suspect is the figure given in Exodus 12:37 which says that 600,000 Hebrew men left Egypt in the Exodus, because it is approximately the same total number of men as given in the supposed census figures in Numbers, which total 603,550 men.

I already have accumulated more than 40 examples of Sower’s Sevens that I found in various documents (Bible, etc.), and I feel that must be going against the odds, although I can’t prove it.  And in this case, what are the odds of getting a factor of 49 to appear twice from the same number set?  I don’t know, but maybe 1 in 49^2, that is, 1 in 2,401.

The biblical “70 x 7” is printed in Matthew 18:22 (NRSV footnote).  The biblical “70 x 7” is also found printed in Genesis 4:24.  This 70 x 7 is the special number which emerges when I apply the Sower’s Parables numbers.   Also 12 emerges, another special number in the Bible.

The Sower’s Parables numbers can be found at: (1) Matthew 13:8 (100, 60, 30); (2) Matthew 13:23 (100, 60, 30); (3) Mark 4:8 (30, 60, 100); (4) Mark 4:20 (30, 60, 100); and (5) Luke 8:8 (100).

Two Pope Francis documents reveal the factor 70 x 7 x 12 (factor of 5,880):  Laudato Si and Amoris Laetitia.  Both of these documents share a sum of products (5,880) also present in 1Kings 7:23 (Solution 4 in Temple of Solomon, side-bar).

Papal documents:

Temple of Solomon:

Perhaps the factor 70 x 7 x 12 is like a signature?

Example 2, Book of Numbers

There is a later census in Numbers chapter 26.  Again, the order of tribes that produces a 70 x 7 is the same order as in chapter 2 for camping and marching.

I strongly suspect that this census also is a number set that is not historical, but rather, is designed to produce the 70 x 7.  Again, the numbers are rounded off, not precise.

First arrange the Twelve Tribes in their order in chapter 2.  Then divide into three subsets of census numbers with four numbers each and sum:

Subset 1

East – Judah 76,500; Issachar 64,300; Zebulun 60,500; South – Reuben 43,730

Subtotal 245,030

Subset 2

South continued – Simeon 22,200; Gad 40,500; West – Joseph-Ephraim 32,500; Manasseh 52,700;

Subtotal 147,900

Subset 3

West continued – Benjamin 45,600; North – Dan 64,400; Asher 53,400; Naphtali 45,400

Subtotal 208,800

Total men = 601,730


100 x 245,030 = 24,503,000

60 x 147,900 = 8,874,000

30 x 208,800 = 6,264,000

Sum of products = 39,641,000; factor 70 x 7

What are the odds of having two censuses in the same book that produce three instances of 70 x 7?  Perhaps 1 in 49^3 or 1 in 117,649.  It is not likely that a historically valid number set would produce the 70 x 7; rather, more likely the author has deliberately inserted it.  What are the odds that both these censuses use the very same order of tribal names given in chapter 2 for camping and marching in order to produce the 70 x 7?  Amazing.

Also contributing to my doubts about historical accuracy is the fact that the figures for Ephraim (ch 1,2) and Gad (ch 26) are exactly the same – 40,500. Likewise, Naphtali (ch 1,2) and Asher (ch 26) are exactly the same – 53,400.  Possible, but it does not seem likely.

Further, the figures in Numbers 3 for a different census don’t even add up to the supposed total given there:  7,500 + 8,600 + 6,200 = 22,300, not 22,000 as stated.

Think of the turmoil at the time the Israelites were possibly traversing the wilderness, and how difficult it would be to keep records while living in tents, pillaging neighbors, and under constant threat of ‘plague.’  It is difficult enough to keep records over generations even while living in homes with a central HVAC and Internet access and peace and modern medicine.  So not a surprise that the “censuses” seem something other than precise and historical, being constructed maybe long after the fact.

It is also interesting to contemplate whether there ever really was an Exodus and how the stories of the Exodus may have served to rally the ‘twelve’ tribes, and inspire their loyalty and service to the dominating Levites.  Where did the Levites actually come from with their incredibly complex religion and their unusual ability to feed stories about Yahweh to other tribes and thereby make them want to give support to the Levites?  Even today, these stories have a hold.

A friend has suggested that if the biblical author of Numbers lacked the actual census numbers, ‘special’ numbers would suffice and would indicate that the people of the Twelve Tribes reflected the glory and perfection of God’s natural world and its sacredness as revealed in numbers.


NRSV used throughout this post

Posted May 7, 2018