In Exodus 12:37, the NIV translate into of the scriptures says, introduce to the Israelites leave Egypt during the Exodus, “There were around six hundreds thousand men on foot, as well as women and children.” What has puzzled holy bible scholars and archaeologists about this number is the it seems much too large. If we add the women and children, we room looking at end 2 million Israelites. Estimates of the complete world populace at that time are between 25 and also 100 million people, and also the Israelites space referred to, in the Bible, as little in numbers contrasted to other civilization groups in the ancient near east.

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Now, that is not impossible that there to be literally 2 million Israelites that left Egypt, but there are various other ideas around how to interpret Exodus 12:37. Biblical scholar Douglas Stuart uses a persuasive alternate explanation in his Exodus: an Exegetical and also Theological Exposition of holy Scripture (New American Commentary)

. Follow to Stuart,

The Hebrew the the Exod 12:37 claims literally, “The Israelites traveled from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundreds ‘elephs the foot-soldiers, as well as women and also children.” The NIV translation, like many English translations, has two arguable presumptions on the component of the translators: the ʾeleph should be analyzed “thousand,” and that raḡlı̂ in the expression raḡlı̂ haggĕbārı̂m should be interpreted “men.” Both that these presumptions are, in ours opinion, incorrect.

The second, which assumes the raḡlı̂ have the right to mean “men,” is no supportable in any Old testimony context. Part lexicons walk so far regarding suggest the the term in the singular could mean a “man ~ above foot,” but none could rightly indicate that it method simply “man.” In the grammar that the verse, the enhancement of the appositional noun haggĕbārı̂m (lit., “ young men”) just clarifies the period of the man/men in question. Since raḡlı̂ always occurs in contexts explicate soldiers, including the existing context (note the wording “all the LORD’s divisions” in v. 41), and also differs from any kind of of the usual terms for “man” or “men,” over there really deserve to be tiny doubt the it need to be rendered “foot soldier” or, as part do, “infantryman” where it wake up in the Old Testament. The complete expression raḡlı̂ haggĕbārı̂m, then, way “young foot soldiers.”

Stuart’s an initial argument is the the NIV has actually mistranslated the text as “men top top foot” once it need to say “foot soldier” or “infantryman.” This is important due to the fact that the Hebrew text seems to it is in counting the dimension of the Hebrew army, not the complete population. However we room still left with just how to interpret the word ‘eleph.

Because the question of the meaning of ʾeleph, however, is therefore much higher an concern for civilization as the relates come the accuracy of the Scripture and also the appropriate interpretation of miscellaneous stories involving the Israelite exodus and conquest that Canaan, the conversation of this term requires a far an ext extensive review. The reader should bear in mind, however, that Moses go not describe six hundreds ʾelephs of “men” that left Egypt but to 6 hundred ʾelephs that foot soldiers. He to be counting oh my gosh army, not all the civilization of Israel . . . .

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With this in mind, Stuart now takes up the an obstacle of translating the word ‘eleph. We’ll look at at that in component 2.

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