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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

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 23, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Ben Gurion’s Exodus (cont.)

    Ben-Gurion arrives at a total population of just 600 Israelites by counting the twenty-five great-grandsons of Levi, doubling for females, and multiplying by twelve tribes.43 His tally is flawed, however, in counting only Moses’ and Aaron’s generation across the tribe of Levi, although three generations were contemporary in the Exodus.44 A mere 600 people certainly eliminates the logistical problems of the nation’s travels and existence in the wilderness but takes no account of the מֵאוֹת ‘hundreds’ figures or the military nature of the census.45 Such a proposal, however, fits Ben-Gurion’s political conception that the Jewish people have never broken their direct ties with the land of Israel.46

    43 There are only 24 great-grandsons listed in the genealogies; Ben-Gurion includes Miriam. Ben-Gurion, Ben-Gurion Looks at the Bible, 123–4. Also, Levi had three sons which are fewer than the average four sons for the twelve tribal patriarchs.
    44 Ben-Gurion also does not allow for late marriages for both Moses and his father Amram, during which time other lines produced more children and another generation (Ex 6:20; Num 26:59). Thus Moses had young sons at the time of the Exodus (Ex 4:21-5), but Aaron’s sons were men, possibly fathers themselves (Ex 28:1).
    45 Another objection to this idea is that Pharaoh could hardly have said, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we” (Ex 1:9), especially a generation earlier when the people were far fewer.
    46 Ben-Gurion, Ben-Gurion Looks at the Bible, 114, 125.