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> The 5.1 LRM says that 'Exponentiation works for any exponent', but
> doesn't mention this boundary condition.

There is no boundary condition for exponentiation. The problem is that
table.insert converts the index to an integer and then 2^32 overflows
32-bit integers. This glitch in table.insert (and other functions that
convert doubles to ints) is known and will be fixed.