Help me please to understand one instance in Numbers: "Those numbered of them, by the number of every male from a month old and upward—those numbered of them were 7,500... By the number of every male, from a month old and upward, there were 8,600. They were responsible for the care... Those numbered of them, by the number of every male from a month old and upward, were 6,200... All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered by the word of the Lord, by their families, every male from a month old and upward, were 22,000" (3:22,28,34,39). Yet 7500 + 8600 + 6200 is not 22,000. Why the difference? We always gladly remember about your visit in SPCOC, Russia. Please, can you explain? -- Evgeny Sukhomlinov (Sankt Peterburg, Russia)
Yes, at first glance this seems to be a (minor) problem. I would say that, just as the first three numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred, the total is also a round number. Yet numbers in the Bible are not always rounded; sometimes they are exact. Another possibility of course is that the 300 accidentally dropped out in the earlier manuscripts.
Neither explanation suggests any biblical doctrine is affected – unless it is the belief that copyists would have followed our modern standards.