MemberFebruary 13, 2022 at 5:06 pm
Hi Michele. The passages you quote do not give any absolute or objective measure of the population, just relative or subjective assessments.
What would seem like a lot of people to ancient Moabite pastoralists and agriculturalists who need a large amount of land for subsistence would seem like a light occupation for us late modern urbanites, where our food is all grown out of our sight on huge tracts of land or intensive feedlots with advanced mechanisation.
Note Moab’s concern re the Israelite herds eating all the grass:
Num 22:4 And Moab said to the elders of Midian, "This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field."
Moreover, these regions are all small sections of a small land. The plains of Moab where the Israelites camped for some months before crossing the Jordan is only 8 km wide, and not particularly fertile without irrigation. The Israelites had many more head of sheep and cattle than people per family, and they all had to graze in that area.