The New Math Textbook (Oklahoma)

The following was a comment posted at Crooks and Liars. One respondent suggested that question #5 was a trick question noting that God and not Moses did the deed.

AJ Jacobs

Hallelujah! Thank you to my creative friends for all these great Biblical math problems. They’ll really help the Oklahoma school superintendent’s goal of inserting biblical content into math and science! I’ve collected a multitude of the problems into one post for ease of reading:

1) Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).

If he lay with one wife or concubine every night, but took off one day per week for rest, how many days would it take him to lay with all of his wives and concubines?

2) David captured the foreskins of 200 Philistines (1 Samuel 18:27).

If David split those foreskins into baskets of 40 foreskins each, how many baskets would he need?

3) The prophet Elisha summoned two she-bears to kill 42 children after they mocked him for being bald (2 Kings 2:24)

One she-bear mauled twice as many children as the other she-bear. How many kids did each she-bear maul? (Use fractions)

(Courtesy of Margo Evans )

4) Jael killed General Sisera by driving a tent peg into his skull. (Judges 4:21)

If Jael could hammer 1.5 inch per blow and the peg was 9 inches long, how many blows would she need to drive the peg all the way in?

(Courtesy of Julie Brady Murdoch )

5) Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21).

If he moved the water in the Red Sea at 1,000 cubic liters per second, how long would it take him to part the Hudson River?

(Courtesy of Lynn Nesmith)

6) There are 8.7 million animal species on Earth. If Noah took two of each of them onto the ark, how many square cubits of space were required to accommodate all 17.4 million passengers?

(Courtesy of Todd Kreisman)

7) Elijah killed 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40). If it took him one minute to kill each pagan prophet, how long would it take him expressed in hours

(Courtesy of James Frese )

8 ) Adam and Eve had two sons. One killed the other.

So where did all the people

come from?

(Courtesy of Hilary Dumitrescu )

9) Jezebel was thrown from a window and died (2 Kings 9:33). If the window was 30 feet high, and she fell at a rate of 16 feet per second squared due to gravity, how many seconds did it take for her to reach the ground? (Use the formula \( s = \frac{1}{2}gt^2 \), where \( s \) is the distance, \( g \) is the acceleration due to gravity, and \( t \) is the time in seconds).

(Courtesy of Dana Kienzle)

ALSO I have started to craft an introduction to the Biblical Math book. Something like:

The Bible and mathematics make a perfect match. Just consider the name of the Bible’s fourth book: Numbers.

So students of Oklahoma, go forth and multiply (and add, and subtract, and divide).

Once again, thank you all for your help in this project for the students of Oklahoma!