God promised to preserve his word to all generations. Psalm 12:

6The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

The beginning of Numbers seems to hint at a very precise notion of checksums. In Numbers 1-2 a precise number of each tribe is listed twice together with a subtotal according to the side of the camp they are on, followed by a grand total.

So for example the number of Judah is given as 74,600 in Numbers 1:27 and again in Numbers 2:4 and they fight in the camp of Judah on the east side with Issachar and Zebulun (Numbers 2:3-9) with a subtotal of 186,400 (Numbers 2:9).

The four subtotals of the four camps given in Numbers 2:9,16,24,31 add to the grand total of 603,550 given in Numbers 2:32.

Did the Masoretes preserve the text through their understanding of checksums taken from the bible? And what do we know about that system?


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