One interesting feature of textual variants in Bible manuscripts is that they reveal a bit about how the people of the time understood the texts.

For a famous example, most manuscripts have the number of the beast in Revelation as 666. But a few have it as 616. This seems an odd occurrence until you realize that one interpretation of the number is that it is gematria of Neron Caesar in Hebrew (666) or Nero Caesar (616). Hence whatever the correct interpretation is, the gematria view was likely held by originators of the 616 variants [NB: no I am not talking about the Marvel Multiverse lol].

Or Luke 10:1 which has either 70 or 72 sent out by Jesus, depending on the variant. Again, it makes sense how this different reading arose if this passage is viewed as part of Messiah’s reversal of Babel – the table of nations in Genesis 10 is counted as either 70 or 72 names depending on the way they are divided up.

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