2 Million or 22,000 in Exodus?
Professor Colin J. Humphreys spent many years making sure this book was as accurate as possible.
There were only 22,000, not 2 million. Mount Sanai is Mount Bedr. All the major miracles are naturally explained.
All tribes in Numbers 2 fit the group sizes of between 5 to 14 per group where "eleph" for thousand actually means "clan or group" (troop) in the original. For example, take the tribe of Judah which is 74,600 (Num. 1.3-4). This amounts to 600 men in 74 groups. Adding up the 12 tribes in Numbers 1.20-43 brings us to 5,550 males 20 years of age and older.
"14,700 people died in that plague, in addition to those who had died in the incident involving Korah" (Num. 16.49 NLT). Fourteen groups into 700 is 50 people per group. Since the average group has 5 to 14 males 20 years of age and older then there are 45 to 36 more family members per group.
The 603,550 men who are 20 years of age or older (Ex. 38.26) can be reconciled as well, for we can see what the transcribers have done. The error lies in transcribers who assumed 2 million at exodus then interpolated by assuming transcribing errors for the rest of the numbers to try to fix them.
The reason why the correct number in Numbers 2.32 is not 603,550 but 5,550 is as Colin J. Humphreys states: "Concerning the numbers, I think my number of 5,550 is correct. What you have to do when adding up the number of people in all the tribes is to add the thousand separately from the other figures. If you added up all the 'hundreds' first, you come to the number 5,550. What I think happened is that the original numbers were correct, but then some scribe misinterpreted the Hebrew word that meant "troop" and translated it as "thousand" so the numbers we now have in the Bible are incorrect." I totally agree and love this answer.
Notice the similarity to the 550 and the 5,550. Gad's tribe is the only tribe with an extra 50 in it (Num. 2.14-15). If you add the 50 onto the 5,500, you get our desired number of 5,550. Or if the 50 shouldn't be there, then the total comes to 5,500.
603,550 is really 598,550 because when you add up the thousands portions together by themselves you come to 598. Therefore, we have instead of 603 groups of 5,550 men, it is 598 groups into a total of 5,550 men which about 9 men per group.
We come to the number 22,000 instead of 2 million. How? In the plague in which 50 people died per group, there were anywhere from 5 to 14 men 20 years of age or older per group (derived from the various group sizes in Numbers 1 & 2) which means the population of 700 that were killed in Numb. 16.49 would be anywhere from 4 to 10 times the number of men (anywhere from 5x10 to 14x4 = ~50). Therefore, the total population of Israel would be at least 22,000 but no more than 55,000 (that is, anywhere from 5,500x4 to 5,500x10).
In Numbers 3.39, there were 22,000 males one month old and up, but in actually that would be the total population. The 22,000 Levites replaced the 22,273 firstborn males (Numb. 3.43) one month old and up, and the 273 males in excess of 22,000 had to pay 5 shekels each to Aaron as a redemption price (vv.46-48) when the Levites replaced the firstborn males (v.45). The intricacy of this detail make one think there really was 2 million Jews leaving Exodus, because from the 75 males in Jacob's tribe entering Egypt they remained in Egypt for 215 years: about 5 to 8 generations (25 to 40 years per generation). With only 4 males per family within 7 generations, there would be over 1 million men and 1 million women for a total of 2 million out of Exodus.
What if in Numbers 3 it is: 22 groups into 100 Levites (about 5 per group) and 22 groups of 273 Levites (about 12 per group) could explain Numbers 3. Then the 273 difference is actually 5 shekels for every single one of the firstborn over one month old.
"That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian troops" (Is. 37.36). 185 groups in 1000 people would be 5.4 men on average per group which would seem reasonable. It seems unlikely that 185,000 could die in one night. Even in our wars today, that would be impossible.
I asked, "Do you think, Colin, that this could refer to 185 groups in 1000 so that each group would be 5.4 men on average per group? It seems unlikely that that many could die in one night given population sizes for even such a thing as this does not happen in the wars of our population today. A thousand in one day seems more reasonable. How pervasiveness do you think this numbering problem exists throughout the OT?
Humphrey's replies, "'That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian troops' (Isaiah 37.36). Concerning the 185,000 Assyrian troops, I have not looked into this in any detail to see the Hebrew words actually used, but it does seem to me, in principle, likely that it refers to 185 troops, because the word for 'thousand' is also the same word as the word for 'troop.' If the troop size was about 10 people, this would mean about 1850 men were killed. As you say, this seems much more reasonable. I suspect this numbering problem in the OT is quite pervasive. It is curious that translators have not understood all of this! (Colin)".
Instead of 5.4 men on average per group, it's interesting you can look at it the other way as well. 185 groups of 10 is 1,850 which seems even more likely.
Where is Mount Sanai?
"I agree that it is very curious that anyone could think Mount Horeb was in the Sinai Peninsula when the Bible so clearly says to both of us that it was in Midian [see the proofs in Miracles of Exodus]. What seems to have happened is that when the traditional Mount Sinai was identified, they then called the Sinai Peninsula after this mountain, which obviously helps to justify it in people's mind as a real mountain!", said Humphreys. I totally agree.
How do We Explain How Men Lived to be 900 Years Old
in the Antediluvian Period (Before the Flood)?
In Mesopotamia, the tradition of the times was to enlarge ages to designate importance. But according to God's word should we suspect the same behavior? Only unless proven otherwise.
Had their population reached over 10 billion at the end of the antediluvian period, they would have required similar technology as we have today (rail, refrigerated shipping, sophisticated farming methods, fast and reliable communication, etc). Though these ages may not be correct, the effects of sin on age is remembered. These sites, http://www.ldolphin.org/popul.html and http://www.ldolphin.org/pickett.html go overboard.
Could the antediluvian period have ended with a population of 9 billion at its peak? If the population reached over a billion, there would tend to be massive logistical problems in feeding and caring for the population (clothing, housing, jobs, etc). This indicates that this belief would be false, especially since they did not have the technology we have today.
Colin J. Humphreys agrees with this finding so beautifully, "I am sure you are correct and there were not 10 billion people at the time of the flood. My own view is that the very large numbers in the book of Genesis were often based on symbolic numbers. These numbers had a special meaning to the writer and the original readers, but we may have lost this meaning today. For example, the numbers 3, 7, 12 and 40 occur regularly in the Bible and clearly have a special significance. In the early chapters of Genesis the number 60 also occurs frequently. it may not be a coincidence that the number 60 also occurs frequently in ancient Mesopotamian literature. With best wishes. Colin."
We should not misjudge sin. 90 years is still quite a long time. I think I know what happened. The extreme view of depravity by Calvinists called Total Depravity is shown by changing 90 into 900. The average lifespan through the millennia has been far below 90, so there is still a drop in lifespan through the centuries due to sin, just not as extreme as a Calvinist would have you believe. I know there were not men who called themselves "Calvinists" in ancient Israel, but there were men who thought like Calvinists who would alter Scripture unethically.
People never lived hundreds of years of age in the Old Testament. Rather the person with the amazing age was a summary of a number of individuals over a span of time, similar to how the six days sum up the period of restoration. One individual was the representative figure of the group or the message to be spiritually communicated. We known many cultures in ancient history used this same approach to speak honorably of their ancestors. It was a particular genre or way of speaking. It's not false. They were summing up a particular line. So it is acceptable to still add up the ages in the Old Testament to come to 4004 BC to when the first Adamic man was born. Just like Jesus who is God could be born into the world, God the Father can create the first sinless Adamic man by placing the seed into the ovary of a pre-Adamic woman to produce a living soul made in God's image. Amen.
God was marking his stake in the snake to begin the 10 plagues.
All miracles in Exodus have been naturally explained except where the cane turns into a snake. This is not mythology. It comes from the efforts of snake charmers that we all know about in India to get a snake to stand up virtually straight. The humbling lesson is to teach us is that we don't know all the answers and even think something is impossible. Then later we discover how it can happen. God can do some things in creation we are not aware of. God's foreknowledge knew that man would fall. He uses nature in connection with man's sin to deal with man's hostility to Him so that these effects of nature will be used in precise timing to help men of God and hinder men not of God. This includes turning the inanimate into the animate just as we came from dust. God shows us the cane where God can change the inanimate into the animate and back again.
A miracle is really in the timing. Something we thought was a miracle before later we discover how to explain it naturalistically. Such occurrences have happened in nature before.
Manipulating the Snake (Most Plausible)
Colin writes, "There is a book by Zimniok (Van der Voort, 1992) that describes how snake-charmers manipulate cobras that still have their fangs. Some helpers are essential for his trick. These men distract the snake's attention, while one of them approaches it from behind, grabs it, caresses/strokes it a few times and finally presses its neck on a certain spot. The snake will then stiffen immediately and change into a staff in the hand of the snake-charmer. This catalepsis will continue a while, after which the man will throw away the snake. Then the snake will revive and show its characteristic threat behavior (Zimniok, 1984, page 95)."
"For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods" (Ex. 7.12).
Save you had the experience of looking off into the distance and horizon wiggles? Gas fumes can cause this or heat waves. Miracles of Exodus describes a pagan temple was built around a toxic hallucinogenic gas which was coming out of the ground. A person would go into the temple and come out, showing the people he or she was having a spiritual experience, but the person was just intoxicated. Why can't this happen by simply throwing a stick down onto the ground and if the fumes or other gaseous element is present, it would make the stick look like a snake that is wiggling but when you brought it back up off the surface to hold it upright, it looks as it did before.
All of this is coming together nicely. Even the other day I heard on the news of some examples of men who were really caught in a blue whale and came out alive so this easily explains John's 3 days in the belly of a sea creature.
How do you prove the effect of gaseous fumes that would be present causing the stick to look like a wiggling snake when thrown on the ground? That same condition would have to be present both back in median and in Egypt since this trick of sorts was done in both places.
Colin Humphreys writes (Feb, 2005), "I think your suggestion of the cane turning into a snake by means of gas fumes and appearances is very interesting. I remember that a few years ago I was walking up the volcanic Mount Etna in Sicily. I suddenly noticed there was a shimmering column of air just in front of me. I only noticed it because the rocks behind it seemed to be moving around themselves. It was all caused by a small volcanic vent in the ground, only and inch or so across, that I could easily have stepped on. When I put a piece of paper across this hole it instantly caught fire, so I think your suggestion is very good."
The translation of the Hebrew word “by their occult practices” (v.11) is “by their flames." How was this different than the way Moses' did it? Email me the answer if you figure it out.
If the cane was hollow and wind blew through it, it could additionally produce a hissing sound like a snake if placed horizontal with the wind (that idea was just for fun).
If I had to decide which theory is the best
one, I would say physically manipulating the back of the snake's
"For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's
rod swallowed up their rods" (Ex. 7.12).
How did that white powder happen in Moses' pocket? (Ex. 4.6-7)