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Home Forums Evidence for Biblical miracles The population of the Israelites during Exodus Reply To: The population of the Israelites during Exodus

  • Thomas Donlon

    January 20, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    I came across a few more scriptures that argue for a large number of Israelites during the Exodus and a scripture or two that might suggest a moderate number.

    Just so I can direct the reader into the word of God, I’ll just relay the incidents from memory and let the reader look up scriptures as led by God. Also, people can add their own thoughts as appropriate.

    Moses was given advice my Jethro to get other people to help him solve the numerous disputes the children of Israel had. He advised they get people to decide or judge issues by appointing people over smaller groups to solve their disputes and Moses could just handle the difficult cases. At yet another time Moses complained about dealing with all the people and God took some of the spirit that was on Moses and gave it to 70 other men so they could share his load. As the size of the population is larger this is needed.

    Another time the people cried out meat and God promised that he would give them meat for a whole month. Moses was bewildered and stated there were some 600,000 men and asked if flocks and herds or all the fish in the ocean were caught if they would yet have enough. God sent a bunch of tired quail who covered the camp and also flocked above ground in other directions for the distance of a day’s walk. I might suggest this indicates a lot of food for a lot of people.

    God sent spies into the promised land. From what I am reading they were concerned about the people there being stronger, saying they felt like grasshoppers compared to the inhabitants of the land. I didn’t see a concern about being outnumbered. The tall walls also caused them concern.

    Yet, there seemed to be a potential problem with a high number. In addition to some census’s being taken for the fighting men, different census’s were taken of the Levites and the firstborn of Israel. These numbers were somewhere around 20,000. The problem is the ratio for all fighting men is about 30 times higher.

    One way to account for it is to think of the Egyptian genocide policy against males being born. A woman who just gave birth to her first male, might not have extensive resources to hide her son. She is exhausted from giving birth, the Egyptians come and kill the newborn. The woman later though gives birth to more children and soon she has a daughter or two or three. Now the woman gives birth to a son. The daughters though and her friends might keep an eye out for Egyptians. They see the Egyptians coming and do a quick temporary switch with some other girl baby that was recently born smear a bit of blood on it and show the Egyptians a girl baby. Remember it was Moses’s sister that was keeping an eye on Moses when he was floating among the reeds. Most adults probably aren’t going to stick their neck out for someone else’s kid. But a girl will look out for a baby brother as did Miriam. The answer I gave is likely weird. But I think girls will go through some effort to confuse the Egyptians and keep their younger baby brothers alive. I’m not pretending to know all the answers, but it appears that over time the efforts to keep the Israelite males alive would have become very well planned out. We have Biblical evidence of midwives explaining to Pharaoh why they couldn’t get there in time to kill the baby boys. The story of Moses birth shows the Egyptians were serious about carrying out Pharaoh’s orders to kill the baby boys. Evidence of more females being buried later in life shows that the Egyptian policy was partly successful. Moses sister watching over Moses and asking Pharaoh’s daughter if she should get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby boy shows the strong family preservation instinct that will only increase as the number of daughters in a family increase.

    When the cloud settled over the tabernacle Moses said to the Lord, literally “Return oh Lord to the ten thousand thousands of Israel. Now there are other translations of the words. So hyperbole or other translations are possible. But so are the numbers which may literally be ten millions.

    I’ve only given this some thought today. Other people who are familiar with the scriptures might have some thoughts to share too.

    Some explanations are given for Manna. What though if it is supernaturally produced or produced in some way that hasn’t been duplicated in history? Again, I’m not arguing for a shut and closed case. God’s word might make it so, but still it would be good to be able to explain some things to those who have doubts about God’s word.