Hebrew ’lp (eleph) is usually translated thousand. Flinders Petrie was the first to point out (Egypt and Israel (1911), pp. 42–46) that this Hebrew word can have many meanings, such as “cattle,” “family,” “tribe,” “chieftain,” and “friend,” in addition to “thousand.” He therefore suggested that in many texts where numbers are involved, the ancient translators had chosen the meaning “thousand,” and were then followed by all later translators, despite the fact that another acceptable meaning would make much better sense. For example, the Hebrew “600 ’lp” of Exodus 12:37 could be translated “600 families” rather than “600,000 men” and would at once remove the absurdity of believing that millions of Israelites wandered from one oasis to another in the Sinai desert. George Mendenhall, on the other hand, argues (Journal of Biblical Literature, 77 [1958], 52–66) that the numbers in Numbers 1 and Numbers 26 contain tribal military lists of the period of the Judges, and considers the ’lp to be a military unit. Although these interpretations do not solve all problems, as one quickly sees when one systematically applies these proposed suggestions to the passages involved, they seem to point in the right direction. Nevertheless, it is clear that the census lists as transmitted in the Bible contain many difficulties which at the present time have not yielded to scholarly efforts to explain them.