MemberJanuary 18, 2021 at 11:16 am
HFS has featured this thread The population of the Israelites during Exodus for the present week starting 18th Jan 2021. This question was debated in the academic journals (mostly Vetus Testamentum and the Tyndale Bulletin) throughout 1998-2000. I think the “last man standing” was @colin.humphreys (Hi Colin). I will start this discussion off by posting a few introductory paragraphs from my article on this topic in 2001 and an 8k-word undergrad OT project (undergrad) in 2014. I am aware I am posting a lot on many threads… just trying to get things going here.
According to the biblical accounts of the Exodus, the nation of Israel led a nomadic life between Egypt and Canaan for forty years, halting here and there (Numbers 33) for a greater or lesser period of time (Num 9:22), and of necessity adapting their manner of life to their wilderness environment (Deut 23:10-13). They travelled for the most part afoot (Num 11:21), with tents (Deut 1:33), and with covered wagons, each drawn by two oxen (Num 7:3), to carry their household goods (Ex 12:34-36), arms (Deut 1:41), raw materials, tools and implements of industry (Ex 39:33-43), and for partial transport of children, the elderly, and infirm (cp. Gen. 46:5). On quitting Egypt after two centuries of sedentary civilisation, they bore away much of their stock-in-trade and valuables as shown in the chapters which treat of the Sanctuary and its accessories (Ex 35:4-29). The company also included a great number of large and small cattle (Ex 12:38; Num 32:1) and beasts of burden (Num 16:15).