Notes and Ideas based on my reading of
Undesigned Coincidences in the Writings of Both the New and the Old Testaments, An Argument of Their Veracity by John James Blunt
(published by Robert Carter & Brothers, New York, 1851)
Ideas to Think About Regarding: Veracity and Culture
Leviticus (everyone’s favorite book of the Bible) has an interesting test of veracity. First it claims that there are 603,550 males over the age of twenty, the Levites being excepted. It then claims that, a short time later, there are 603, 550 males, yet some men are unclean due to touching a dead body. If someone died, how then is the number unchanged?
A few possibilities exist.
First, there is an account of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, who are smote by God for offering strange fire as high priests. Their bodies are taken care of by their cousins, Mishael and Elizaphan, which would make these men unclean for Passover. As Levites, these men would not have been counted in the census, therefore their deaths would not change the number of men over twenty years of age. This is the most likely solution.
Other possibilities include rounding of numbers and/or people turned twenty during this time in equal number to those who died. The birth/ death equivalency is unlikely though since the Jewish culture did not celebrate birthdays and considered any part of a year to be the equivalent of a year, so a Jewish person would never say my child is two and a half. If any part of the year had passed, it was counted as a year so their child was three years old. To further confuse things, the time in the womb was also counted as time alive, so our ‘two’ may be their ‘three’. Jewish people did however keep track of and celebrate loved one’s death days- hence we have Easter being celebrated early, but Christmas was established much later- though rising from the dead is a much bigger accomplishment than being born in the entire scheme of things, so….
Joseph: Joseph is second in command in Egypt yet does not have the ability to choose his own wife. He is given Asenath, the daughter of the Priest of On.
(On is a place, likely Heliopolis, which worships Ra, the sun God. Her father is a prophet. Pharaoh is likely marrying a prophet to a prophet in hopes of breeding more prophets. Since Egyptians worship many Gods, the daughter would be expected to shift her main alliance to the god of her husband, so she would be amenable to hearing about Joseph’s God and since her sons become leaders of two tribes of Israel, it is extremely likely she converted.)
Joseph is also unable to visit his father without permission, despite his lofty title and responsibilities. Our culture cannot fathom having that much power, and that little freedom, but it is something to keep in mind when examining Joseph’s decisions during this phase of his life.