# The Josephus Problem

I came across a video on this problem yesterday. Cliff had a post on the Josephus Problem on his old blog, but with that page no longer active, I thought it would be fitting to expand on his work.

The Josephus Problem is a fun little mathematical exercise, but this post will be instead exploring the numerology and gematria of the story surrounding the problem, which originates from a story about Jewish soldiers. Historically, gematria has been a predominantly Jewish practice. A big clue is given in the Wikipedia page when they mention the year **1612****, **which is the Jewish gematria of the word **Jewish**

In the Jewish Talmud, Baba Kamma **113**a says it’s okay to circumvent a non-Jew with subterfuges (lies). A significant amount of words having to do with dishonesty sum to **113.** **113 – liE**

To illustrate that both English and Jewish/Latin gematria are significant to this riddle, notice how **Josephus** sums to **113** in one cipher and **1103** in the other:

The Josephus Problem is about **forty-one Jewish soldiers**

**The**** Josephus Problem** comes to us from the Siege of Yodfat:

The Siege took place in **Galilee, Judea Province**

**194** minutes is **3:14** on a clock

**3.14** are the first three digits of Pi

The smallest equation you can use to get pi is **22÷7
**(Alt+

**227**) = π (Pi)

There are

**360**degrees in a circle.

Pi resolves the mathematics of the circle. In the Josephus Problem, **41** soldiers are sitting in a **circle**

**The Josephus Problem** has the same gematria as **The circle**

**83** is the **23**rd **Prime** number, syncing up with **Flavius Josephus** and **Jewish soldiers**

Why **41** soldiers? First of all, **41** is the **13**th **Prime** number.

With **41** soldiers in the circle, the one who ends up being the last to survive would be soldier #**19**

In Jewish gematria, the word **nineteen** has the same numeric value as the Hebrew word for **kill**

### The **19**th **Prime** number is **67**

The Siege of Yodfat was in the year **67** CE

There are **19** years in the Moon’s Metonic cycle. The Jewish calendar is lunisolar, observing both Moon phases and revolutions around the Sun. Every **19** years, **7** of them must contain a **13th month.**

Both **Sun and Moon** and **Sun & Moon** give us **13**‘s in gematria: