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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

    February 16, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Thomas, you should post Exodus 23:30 over on the Population of the Israelites during Exodus
    discussion. That verse and Deuteronomy 7:1 about seven nations of
    Canaan greater and mightier than Israel pretty much ends any doubts that
    the census numbers have been corrupted. The Israelites were a mixed
    population of all ages. The young, sick, and elderly could ride donkeys
    and wagons where available.

    Hi Deborah. I am full of doubts and insecurity about any viewpoints that I jump to right now. Though I’ve watched Patterns of Evidence: Exodus many times (probably my all-time favorite movie) and watched the accompanying material in the Collector’s Edition and am starting to watch some of the Collector’s Edition extra material again, I still don’t know much for myself. I don’t know enough Hebrew to make any determinations about when or how the text might have become corrupted, in regards to census numbers. Nor can I rule out that some of the census numbers were actually in code, but somewhat lower. Why? Typical military stuff. George Washington hid the bad conditions of his troops at Valley Forge even from Congress. If word got out about how bad their condition was, he figured the British would have immediately moved against his weak force. Nathan Bedford Forest who commanded a small Calvary in the South during America’s Civil War was a master at making his forces seem more powerful than they really were. He was great at intimidation. Sun Tzu “If you are weak, pretend you are strong.” I’m not ruling this possibility in OR out.

    David Rohl in Patterns of Evidence: Exodus kept referring to certain dig finds of Manfred Bietak at Tall al Daba (did I get that right?) where the ancient city of Avaris was. I am not sure you are familiar with David’s thoughts on that. I’m not opposed to finding the dig reports online to verify his assertions. But neither am I making it such a high priority that I’m about to spend hours doing so right now either. I’m a very mediocre husband and dad and most everything else, so I’m not sure this is how God wants me to use my time. Tim’s film and the accompanying material in it makes up almost all the knowledge that I have on this field. I don’t even know if I can refer to any such material in Tim’s Exodus film. If I do, I’m not sure if you’ve seen it or remember it or agree with it.

    Back to the census though. It had “oddities” in it as I think you observed. But corruption is just one of many possibilities. Moses made things a bit complex when he approached Pharaoh. Instead of just asking about letting the Israelites leave Egypt he instead got to requesting permission for a three day journey. Then he irritated Pharaoh by keep increasing his requests from apparently just the men going, to men and women and then asking that all the flocks and herds go too. “We won’t know how many sacrifices God will require.” “Not a hoof is to be left behind!” I can see how Pharaoh got annoyed. It is a good lesson for me. Focusing on sticky details might cause someone to miss the overall picture. God wanted to redeem the oppressed Israelites and Moses changing his negotiation positions wasn’t the real problem. Pharoah’s oppression of the Israelites was the real problem.

    Deborah, I know nothing about when the Exodus took place. I know nothing about the route of the Exodus. I know nothing about how many bodies would have been buried where. I know nothing about whether any of the suggested sites or camp sites are correct or not. I know nothing about how orderly the Israelites were when the left Egypt, how dispersed they were, where they camped or how they set up their camps and latrines or places to bathe or whatever. I don’t know how much water they required. I don’t know about the ratio of firstborn Israelites to the others. Were there 20,000+ or so? Was that census correct? Did Gad, Reuben and 1/2 of Manasseh really send 40,000 troops ahead of the other Israelites when crossing the Jordon? Did the Israelites really send one thousand from each tribe to attack the Midianites? Does that dispel the lower estimates of the Exodus population?

    And I’m not really that passionate or overly interested in this topic. It would be really cool finding some good evidence. Mauri in a 20 minute YouTube segment showed a Menorah drawn on a rock in Saudi Arabia. What am I to make of that? Is it distinctly Jewish? When was it drawn? Was the symbolism more used in the past than I imagine? Like a pottery fad could there have been a been some high end candle fad that spread beyond the Israelites?

    I have no context for understanding anything. In the extra material I see a man named Bimpson (Bimson?) telling Tim Mahoney that he would like to have the pottery independently dated apart from Associates for Biblical Research. And Tim somewhere told a certain excavator he has to publish his findings. We can’t just take everyone’s word for everything. And I’m quite good at looking at things from different angles.

    I’ll doubt that I have anything to offer yet in the discussions, except that I can likely ask a bunch of questions to people who hold any number of perspectives.

    I’m less confident than ever in the veracity of any of the ideas that I’m looking at. I’ve not substantially looked at ANY archaeological reports. No, I can’t be confident about any particular angle on this topic Deborah. The truth might be obvious, but I don’t have the background to recognize it yet.