Monday, May 25, 2009

How Many Jews Left Egypt?

How many Jews left Egypt?

Jacob's family came to Egypt with a total of 70 people (Exodus 1:5). After 430 years of brutal slave labor, that number rose to about 600,000 men (Exodus 12:37), which is remarkable considering the fact that many of the people would have died under cruel and dangerous work conditions. The book of Numbers begins with a national census (1:45-46). This census was conducted after the exodus from Egypt and it totals 603,550 men above the age of 20. Since these figures apply only to adult males, it has been traditionally assumed that the total number of participants including women and children, could have approximated 2.5 million people.

Some believe that the number could have been much higher than that. The estimated 2.5 million people is reached by estimating that the men would have been married and each family having at least 2 children. Among the Jewish people of ancient culture, large families were considered an honor. It is reasonable to believe that families would have totaled many more children than just two. If the number of children per family were just four, then the number of people that left Egypt could have been 3.5 million people.

5 comments:

Jeff said...

I agree with you, but is there any estimation or biblical evidence of how may Jews STAYED in Egypt?

Jeff

James Brummett said...

I have never seen any information on how many would have stayed. My guess is that after all the plagues and the death of the Egyptians none of the Jews would have wanted to say. You have to take into consideration of the psychological impact the plagues would have had on people. I can't imagine anyone wanting to stay. When a chance for freedom comes, people normally take it. There is no reason to believe this circumstance would be any different.

Mike Estep said...

I heard a Rabbi from Texas say on television recently that only 20% of the Jews left Egypt after the exodus. I had never heard that before. I didn't catch his name, but he seemed well versed in Hebrew history and is a friend of Pastor John Hagee.

MrJTH said...

First off, they were not slaves for 430 years. I you read what the book says, Joseph was some where around 38 when his father came to Egypt. He lived to 110, so there is 72 years where he took care of his father and his clan.

Now scripture says: Exodus 1:8 Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. rose up and treated them like slaves. (To control them) So they might have been slaves a good three hundred years of so, but no one really knows.

But back to the number who left Egypt, don't forget you had a men with more than one wife, then you had some Egyptians who went with, that caused trouble. Then you had families that had all daughter, that received an inheritance with their tribe (numbers 27).

So 2.5 million could easily be 3 or better.

James Brummett said...

Thanks Mr. JTH for catching the error. You are correct in saying they weren't slaves for 430 years. They were in the land of Egypt for about that many years before Moses led them out in the exodus. They were slaves for nearly 400 years (+/-).

The point I was making in the post wasn't about how long they were slaves, but how many Jews left Egypt. That number would have been between 2.5 - 3.5 million people. God's blessing on them is evident even through their time as slaves as their numbers increased dramatically. It is a remarkable thing given the lack of medical treatment in the ancient world.