649. But here the numbers or measures of the ark signify nothing else than the remains which were with the man of this church when he was being reformed, and that they were but few. This is evident from the fact that in these numbers five predominates, which in the Word signifies some or a little, as in Isaiah:
There shall be left therein gleanings, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the branches of a fruitful one (Isa. 17:6),
where "two or three" and "five" denote a few. Again:
One thousand at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee; until ye be left as a pole upon the top of a mountain (Isa. 30:17),where also "five" denotes a few. So too the least fine, after restitution, was a "fifth part" (Lev. 5:16; 6:5; 22:14; Num. 5:7). And the least addition when they redeemed a beast, a house, a field, or the tithes, was a "fifth part" (Lev. 27:13, 15, 19, 31).