This page was last updated on 14 July, 2017.
The ‘Tiny Exodus’ page has still some problems to overcome.
Let’s see if they are big problems.
1. Annual growth rate
They entered Egypt with 70 people. They left with 22 thousand or 2.3+ Million depending on the view.
God made Israel grow vigorously. No percentage is given but to today standards that’s above 2% annually. Muslim countries range 3-
If we take the modern muslim growth rate as a standard a 2.3+ million Exodus is certainly possible for all durations. But the 4.98% seems overly high.
Does that debunk Tiny Exodus?
Like always that depends on what you want to believe…
The section in which Exodus took place is 550 years long. Egypt grew from 2 to about 2.8 million. That a 40% increase in 550 years.
That’s an average annual growth rate of 0.0061%.
That’s almost nothing. It could be argued that was because the 10 plagues killed a lot of Egyptians, but the graph shows the growth in ‘our’ period is one of the strongest. Even if we would artificially double the growth then it’s still very low, 0.012%.
The lowest growth percentage in the table is 1.35%; that’s 112x the Egyptian growth rate. So, while 1.35% is low to modern standards it was way above average in times long past.
The numbers aren’t accurate but but they do show 1.35% most certainly was a vigorous growth compared to the ancient averages.
I think the numbers lean toward a Tiny Exodus.
2. Saul’s army
During the reign of Saul the total population of Israel was 100-
Herzog and Gichon 67
1Chr 21:5 And Joab gave David the number of all the people; all the men of Israel, able to take up arms, were one million, one hundred thousand men; and those of Judah were four hundred and seventy thousand men, able to take up arms.
1Chr 21:6 But Levi and Benjamin were not numbered among them, for Joab was disgusted with the king's order.
1.1 million of fighting age equates to about 4.4 million in total + Levi + Benjamin.
The verse below gives a more accurate representation of the Hebrew source text.
1Chr 21:5 And Joab gives the account of the numbering of the people unto David, and all Israel is a thousand thousand and a hundred thousand, each drawing sword, and Judah [is] four hundred and seventy thousand, each drawing sword.
1Chr 21:6 And Levi and Benjamin he has not numbered in their midst, for the word of the king was abominable with Joab.
Elep eleph and 100 eleph
1,000 troops and 100 troops = 1,100 troops
Section 14 of ‘Tiny Exodus’ shows the troop sizes varied a lot, so I’ll use the average of 9.4 men per troop.
10,358 soldiers equates to a total population of 41,433 people.
Plus the smaller tribes of Levi and Benjamin adds up to about 49,000 people.
That’s 40x less than the lowest estimate of the big Exodus, 2 million
Based on excavations it’s estimated that Israel during King David’s time was about 300,000 people. Admitted that’s much more that the estimate of section 3. But it still is proof for a ‘Tiny Exodus’.
4. The empty land
Exod 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against you. Exod 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
Israel was too small to occupy the whole promised land; so God gave them more land as the population grew in size. In 1960 Israel was just over 2 million -
That more support for a Tiny Exodus.
1Cor 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
23,000 is more that the whole Exodus. The above verse is in Greek so the elep misunderstanding doesn’t apply here.
That’s translated from Greek. That really translates to 23,000. No eleph in Greek. In case of eleph it would have read 23 troops. 216 people.
It’s beyond the scope of this site but it can be argued the Greek text was written with an Hebrew mindset. That means eleph is still buried in the text.
I’ll award a point to Big Exodus
In Numbers 31:25-
That’s a huge amount of loot for such a small nation. The unmarried women or more that all women in Israel.
The amount of gold isn’t that huge and averages to 7.3 grams per unmarried woman. And, obviously, even less when taking an average of the whole conquered nation.
Another strange thing is that all the animals are multiples of 1,000. That hints toward elpeh, but I have no idea troops were used for animals, and if they were how big those troops are.
As for the number of those that were expelled out of Egypt, he [Apion] hath contrived to have the very same number with Lysimaehus, and says they were a hundred and ten thousand.
This is that novel account which the Egyptian Apion gives us concerning the Jews' departure out of Egypt, and is no better than a contrivance of his own. But why should we wonder at the lies he tells about our forefathers ..."
Josephus, Against Apion 2-
Apion hated the Jews and claimed only 100,000 left Egypt. Josephus calls that a lie. Apion on purpose estimated the numbers lower. And that number is much higher than the ‘Tiny Exodus’ conclusion.
8. 48 cities for the Levites
Only one tribe, and one of the smallest, the Levites that served the tabernacle and were not farmers or shepherds, received 48 cities as their share in Canaan. Each city was, with its surroundings outside the wall (for the cattle), approximately 1 x 1 km (Numb. 35:1-
9. Massive amounts killed
Exod 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made for them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
→ Response to that idolatry:
Exod 32:27 and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Each man fasten his sword on his side, and go back and forth from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and each one kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’”
Exod 32:28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
Exod 32:35 And the LORD sent a plague on the people because they had made the calf – the one Aaron made.
1Cor 10:8 And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-
→ Before the first census 3,000 were killed by the sword (Tiny Exodus section 18) and after that 23,000 by a plague.
→ Brother, friend and neighbor seems to hint that only Israelites were killed. But nothing more than a hint.
Num 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.
Num 16:49 Now 14,700 people died in the plague, in addition to those who died in the event with Korah.
Num 25:9 Those that died in the plague were 24,000.
→ All between the two censuses. We don’t know how many died, neither do we know how much the population grew between censuses.
14,700 + 24,000 = 38,700 + 250 (Korah event) + very great plague
There is an added factor of uncertainty. An unknown number of strangers traveled with the Israelites. They should be added to the group that left Egypt. Where some or even all killed in the above events?
An added uncertainty is the large number of foreigners (Ex 12:38) traveling with the Israelites. When they among the killed?
More people killed that the total number alive?