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The most telling piece in the puzzle is the mishna in Avos which reffers to gematarios as being a appetizer for wisdom and none of the major mipharshim explain it to mean the letters equal numbers idea. The exception is the pirush attributed (incorrectly) to Rashi. But even according to him the point of the mishna is to juxtapose gemataria against halacha. ...


Ibn Ezra appears to reject gematria as a means of discovering meaning. In response to Rashi's equating the 318 men with Eliezer (see Genesis 14:14), he writes: " חניכיו - שחנכם פעמים רבות במלחמה ואם לא נזכר. וחשבון אותיות אליעזר דרך דרש, כי אין הכתוב מדבר בגימטריא, כי יכול יוכל הרוצה להוציא כל שם לטוב ולרע, רק השם כמשמעו." "and the count of the letters ...

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