The bible is not a history book. Its authors were not historians, but priests who made every effort to pretend it was created by one being, a supreme god who neglected all the other peoples in the world to devote his time to guide only the children of Israel. For 1500 years, Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) forgot about the rest of his "creation" and dedicate his efforts to protect just a few, the Hebrews.
The facts presented in the sacred book of the Hebrews are often exaggerated to praise their god, leaving room for doubts and skepticism.
One of those exaggerated facts is the number of people who fled from Egypt. How many Hebrews were following Moses through the desert? The numbers the pentateuch gives us have to be inaccurate.
I will analyze the figures in Called Numbers for you to see that not all that is written in the bible is true.
I’ll start with the following question: what did the Hebrew army look like at the beginning of their odyssey? It is stated in Called Numbers that Moses had 603,550 soldiers. Let us see if they were really that many. To that purpose, we will read everything concerning the census Moses took at Mount Sinai.
1:21 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.
1:23 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.
1:25 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty.
1:27 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.
1:29 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.
1:31 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.
1:33 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred.
1:35 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.
1:37 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.
1:39 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.
1:41 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.
1:43 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
1:46 Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.
Let us put these numbers in numerical figures:
According to the census in Called Numbers 603, 550 are just the men 20 years or older, able to go to war. That would have to be a formidable army. Once again, I do not think the old testament is accurate. With such numbers, the Hebrews would have easily defeated any nation. Not even Saul, the first king of the Hebrew, had that many soldiers at his disposal. If those figures were true, it would mean that over 3 million Hebrew were living in Egypt!
Let us make a rough head count.
100, 000 (considering they were prolific)
1,000, 000 (They had to be more than the men because they had more than one wife.)
Egypt was the mightiest empire when the Hebrew people were enslaved in its territory, and their numbers were not much greater.
I doubt that by the time the Hebrews reached Mount Sinai, they were that many. In those times, the law of the fittest prevailed. If they were that strong, why would they ask for permission to cross some nations? When the Huns were heading to Rome, they did no wait to have anybody’s permission to cross any city or town. They simply raided it, and to the next town they went.
Let us read what Moses did when they wanted to pass through the land:
20:14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:
20:15 How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers:
20:16 And when we cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border:
20:17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.
20:18 And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.
20:19 And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing anything else, go through on my feet.
20:20 And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.
20:21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.
20:22 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.
Moses had 603,650 soldiers and he had to beg to pass through Edom! I am sure the king of Edom did not have more than 10, 000 soldiers. If they begged, they did not have as many soldiers as the bible claims they did.
Before that incident in Edom, Moses tried to take possession of the Promised Land.
Read what he did:
13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
13:2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.
13:17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:
13:18 And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;
13:19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;
13:20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.
First, Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) instructed Moses to send 12 spies to gather information about the promised land, Canaan. Why did he have to do that? Did the creator of the land not know what there was on it? He could perform all kinds of miracles, but he did not know how to gather intelligence! That is really strange! But let us continue:
13:25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
13:26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.
13:27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
13:28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
13:32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
14:3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Ten out of twelve spies considered any of the nations in the land stronger than they were. In fact, because of that, they were not willing to fight.
They would rather go back to Egypt. If they had been that many, they would have been more confident. But they all wanted to go back to Egypt. They preferred being slaves to fighting.
Could it be possible that Moses lied to them? That attitude of the Hebrews tells me that they expected something different. Perhaps he told them about the promised land, and they thought that, because it had been promised to them, it would be free for them to take. But when they saw other people living there, and they learnt that they had to kill or be killed to take possession of it, they got cold feet. We know for sure that in two years and two months, they could have not gotten any training to get them ready to war. This fear reaffirms my theory that Moses did not have 603,550 soldiers. This number is one more biblical hyperbole.
But that is not all:
14:10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.
The frustration they show confirms my suspicion that Moses lied to them. They not only wanted to return to Egypt, they were ready to stone him and Aaron! The realization that things were not what they were told turned them into an angry mob. That attitude of the Hebrews I do not understand. According to the pentateuch, they had just seen Moses perform great feats; nonetheless, there they were, ready to kill Moses and Aaron one more time. They were not afraid of Moses! They had to be the fearless ancient people in history!
Or maybe not, they simply knew that Moses had no special powers. That was why they did not fear him. In fact, Moses and Aaron had to plead for their lives:
14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
There they were, on their knees, supplicating for their lives. It is certain that there will be some who will say that they were not begging but praying to Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah), but that is unlikely. Whenever Moses wanted to talk to him, he entered the ark of the covenant. In this instance, he was begging the congregation to spare their lives.
Then again, if Moses was able to perform the miracles they say he did, why did he not create a protecting shield of some sort to avoid the stones? We know he could not do anything like that.
The Hebrew torah says that before turning back to the Red Sea, the children of Israel tried to conquer the land:
14:44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
14:45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
The Hebrew people were defeated, supposedly because Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) had abandoned them for murmuring against him. Was that the actual reason? I do not think so. They were defeated because they were ill organized, not well trained to war and not that numerous.
Called Numbers says that they wandered for forty years in the desert as a punishment Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah)imposed on them for rebelling against him:
14:33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
The Hebrew wandered in the wilderness for forty years, not because Jealous' (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) punishment. That was what the Levites wrote to explain the fact that the Hebrew could not take possession of "their land". The real reason was that 40 years was what it took them to regroup, get organized and train for war.
The first time they reached the promised land, they were begging for permission to pass. If they had been well organized, well trained and numerous; would they have done it? No, they would not have. If they did, it was because they had no other choice. In fact, they had to turn away.
Now let us read about their attitude after forty years of training:
2:30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.
2:31 And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land.
2:32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz.
2:33 And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
2:35 Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.
Forty years later, the Hebrew people were not asking for permission or turning away. They were willing to fight. Was it really because Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) had pardoned them, and he was interceding on their favor? I do not think so. They were willing to fight because they knew they were strong enough to defeat their enemies now.
Let us read about their next victory:
3:1 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
3:2 And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
3:3 So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
3:4 And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
3:5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
3:6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
Is it not suspicious that whenever the Hebrew people win it is because Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) is on their side, and when they lose it is because they have sinned against him? For me it is. Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) abhorrers killing, Thou shall not kill, remember? Why does he let them kill all the inhabitants of a city just because he is happy with them? And why does he let them die when he is angry at them? The truth is Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) had nothing to do with those victories. They won because they were the fittest. They knew that, and they were not turning their backs anymore.
When Joshua felt they were ready to take Canaan, he stroke.
6:20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
6:21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep,and ass, with the edge of the sword.
Now even walls are afraid. Shouting and the sounds of trumpets are enough to make them fall. If god could do that, why did he not do it before? Oh, I forgot. Jealous (A.K.A. Yahweh or Jehovah) was mad at them, so he would not do it.
No. They could do it now because they were really strong, so strong the inhabitants of Jericho could not do anything to prevent their annihilation. Did they have a special permission to break the 6th commandment, Thou shall not kill? No. They needed no permission. They were not killing their brothers. They were killing their enemies. They were on a mission; getting a piece of land where they could start their nation and worship their god.
Moses might have lied to them to convince them to escape, but once out there, they were determined to conquer, because going back to Egypt was not an alternative for them.
I think that 603,550 soldiers are too many for an early Hebrew army. The Levites, one more time, are exaggerating. Considering that Ai had 12,000 inhabitants, that would mean that its army could have been comprised of 4, 000 soldiers. Jericho had to have had even less soldiers, because it was the weakest of all the citystates. If we count the cities Joshua defeated, 31, and make a rough average of soldiers per city, 5,000, we can conclude that there were 155,000 soldiers in all those kingdoms. Considering that Joshua and his army were not facing them all at once, I suppose Joshua had 75,000 soldiers at the most. And that is 40 years later! When Moses was begging for permission to pass, he must have had no more than 10,000 ill trained and ill fed soldiers. The information in the bible is not always accurate.
<< Previous Next >>