Eleph is translated in a variety of ways in the Torah: “thousand” (Ex. The sum-total just doesn’t work out with the eleph as clan/unit theory. Baal (/ ˈ b eɪ əl, ˈ b ɑː əl /), properly Baʽal, was a title and honorific meaning "owner", "lord" in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity.From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. [v] This is a 4 times increase over the original number in a span of almost 2,000 years. , A very intriguing theory is the translation of eleph as “clan,” “family,” or “unit.”[xv] Traditionally, the Hebrew word eleph has been translated as “thousand.” But what if we change the meaning of eleph to mean clan, family, or unit. Yet the sum-total is 603 eleph (plus 550 change). Also see https://jewishbelief.com/genesis-historical-error/ for a discussion of full chapters of Torah being a possible error. 1:9). Many other kings-lists of that time and era also give an insanely long number of years to various early kings. If we include the women the number would double to 1,200,000. One says that there were seventy men, and each and every one of them was equivalent to fifty thousand men. But this too is unrealistic for several reasons. Additionally, the number wagers overtime from 603,550 to 601,730 suggesting an actual figure versus a random figurative high number. In order to seem as a valid contender to these military foes, the Israelites had to inflate their numbers or else bear the military consequences of appearing weak in the face of their adversaries. Indeed. 22:21, 30), “oxen” (Isaiah 30:24, Psalm 8:7), and “tribes” (Num. If we were adamant to make interpret this figure literally, then perhaps we can say that the Israelites multiplied exceedingly fast. Why did the Israelites need manna if they had flocks/herds of animals that they could eat? 10:4). [xvi] Talmud Yerushalmi Taanis 4:5 (23a). When the waters went down, they left a layer of dark, rich mud. And finally, the literal number 600,000 fits the number of contributions for the Tabernacle mentioned in Ex. A similar explanation is the theory of Gematria. [iv] https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/international-programs/historical-est-worldpop.html, [v] https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/international-programs/historical-est-worldpop.html. The Israelites refuse to go to Canaan, so Yahweh manifests himself and declares that the generation that left Egypt will have to pass away before the Israelites can enter Canaan. The first is that the census only counted the firstborn males born since the Exodus that happened just two years earlier (Num. The Israelites’ population remained the same throughout the 40 years in the desert, suggesting that the birth rate wasn’t high in the Wilderness. Required fields are marked *. So, from 1800 to 2000 – a 200-year span – we saw the largest growth rate humanity has seen: times seven its original population. But the evidence for a non-literal number are staggering. Anywhere between 0 to 10,000, 10,000 to 20,000, 80,000 to 90,000, and 90,000 to 99,000. 38:25-26. These hundreds (in change) within the count of each of the tribes eventually add up to equal five thousand, turning the eleph from 598 to 603. Your email address will not be published. These number of years may have been a way of expressing spiritual/symbolic significance of these individuals. The Torah: Divinely-Inspired or Man-Made? This is a subject of debate with various bible scholars suggesting various figures. This lesson is great for any time of the year, in any Children's Ministry, Kids Church, and Sunday School! If we are to count the “families” or “units” of each tribe, the total in Numbers Ch. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years until God sent Moses to deliver His chosen people. (Exodus 13:21-22). Some will suggest that it was a miraculous reproduction rate above and beyond physical nature. 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An Intellectual journey Through Belief in Judaism and Torah Theology 601,730 suggesting an actual figure versus a random figurative number... Years may have been put forward on the 17th ) to only born. Had flocks/herds of animals that they could eat 7 billion people alive intentionally inflated world population was at! Straightforward and simple this eleph as clan or military unit theory is well... But there is no indication in the open was struck down, as well as all grasses... We must therefore say that the firstborn male would be considered a male firstborn where polygamy is,... That ’ s promise to Abraham had been slaves in Egypt. Israelites important., [ v ] this editor would have vastly outnumbered the Canaanites had the number would double to.. Multiple contexts suggesting that it was about 3 % alone 50 is unlikely. 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