In the last podcast episode we continued our series on studying the Bible in a way that amounts to more than reading by taking a look at the legal genre in Old Testament books. Today we’re focusing on another genre – military annals. I think the best way of illustrating how this genre can matter for interpretation is to begin with a problem that it solves, one that biblical scholars have grappled with for centuries. More specifically, I’m speaking of the problem of the unrealistically large numbers in the exodus and wilderness journey of Israel. In this episode of the Naked Bible podcast, I’ll illustrate this problem from the biblical material, mention a commonly proposed solution, and then introduce you to what I think is a better solution—one that derives from the type of literature we’re dealing with in the exodus, wilderness, and conquest narratives.
David L. Fouts, “A Defense of the Hyperbolic Interpretation of Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40 (1997): 377-387