MemberJanuary 24, 2021 at 7:24 am
Good point. Yet considering the text indicates they were sprawled out across several settlements there on the East side of the Jordon can be understood to confirm a larger population scenario. Would this be required for the smaller totals you are considering? But also don’t forget that Moses gave the Gadites, Reubenites and half tribe of Mannasah plenty of land to stay. This had to have been built up earlier. It was already planned see chapter 32 (the chapter before).
31 The Gadites and Reubenites answered, “Your servants will do what the LORD has said.
32 We will cross over before the LORD into Canaan armed, but the property we inherit will be on this side of the Jordan.”
33 Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan– the whole land with its cities and the territory around them.
34 The Gadites built up Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer,
35 Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah,
36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran as fortified cities, and built pens for their flocks.
37 And the Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh and Kiriathaim,
38 as well as Nebo and Baal Meon (these names were changed) and Sibmah. They gave names to the cities they rebuilt.
39 The descendants of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it and drove out the Amorites who were there.
40 So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there.
41 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, captured their settlements and called them Havvoth Jair.
42 And Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding settlements and called it Nobah after himself.
(Num. 32:31-42 NIV)
I haven’t gone through all your calculations nor did I try to measure out the settlements you described them as squeezed into. And there is no guarantee the Bible described every arrangement that was made for all flocks and herds of the rest of the Israelites. Perhaps they made some other arrangements for their flocks, or paid the Reubenites and Gadites and half tribe of Mannaseh to watch them for a little while. The Bible doesn’t always get into the fine details of events. Anyways maybe you can consider this at least a partial answer to the space problem you discussed.