My best friend forwarded this e-mail (the
bold font) to me 9 September 2002, and something didn't seem "right" about this way
of figuring the Exodus Miracle. Halley's2 was extremely helpful. When the famine (Genesis 41:531)
drove the Abrahamic-Isaac-Jacobite family of about the year 702 BC from Palestine to Egypt,
they increased over the 430 subsequent years (Exodus
12:40)1 of Egyptian slavery [about 1880-1250
BC1] to about 3 million2 (a population doubling at about every 25
years2). The majority of the Jewish population fled Egypt after the
"Passover" night in which all firstborn mammalian males who weren't protected died. The
original e-mail is in large, bold font; and commentary is inserted by me.
e-mail: This is almost overwhelming
when you think about it. You MUST read to
"Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going
to do with them? They had to be fed, and feeding 2 or 3 million people requires a lot of
food." [True! Two years and two months
after fleeing and being in the desert, Moses took a census; and there were 603,550 males 20 years
old or older and able to serve in Israel's army...Numbers 1:44-461. Another census 38 years later
numbered 601,730...Numbers 26:511.]
"According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is
reported that Moses would have to have had 1500 tons of food each day. Do you know that to bring
that much food each day, two freight trains, each at least a mile long, would be
required!" [Possibly true & maybe
over-estimated! As of 2 months and 15 days after fleeing Egypt, the Israelites had run out of food
and were griping mightily. God told Moses that He would provide meat from Heaven at twilight that
one day and bread the following and each morning thereafter...Exodus 16:11-121. So, quail swarmed
in that evening. About two quarts of manna (see description Exodus 16:31 & Numbers 11:7-9) per
person appeared each morning from that day forward for 40 years, 6 days per week...Exodus 16:16
& 34, Numbers 11:6-9, Joshua 5:121. But for those first two months out of
Egypt, subsistence was probably by way of the flocks and herds and unleavened dough they left Egypt
with...Exodus 12:341 ] When they
started griping mightily again about a desire for meat, the Lord heard and was angered & said...for those demanding meat (rather than trusting Him)...to prepare
to eat meat for a month. Then a wind from the west drove quail from the sea over them for a month and
turned out to be a plague of death for those who ate the meat (investigators have identified migratory quail in
that area who eat seed toxic for humans...coturnism3).
"Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, so
they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4000 tons of wood and
a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day." [No...there is no biblical indication that they used fires
much. They may well have used dried animal dung for fires. They possessed livestock...Exodus 12:38 & 17:31...and probably gathered warmth from the
animals at night, or from the continually present pillar of fire at night...Exodus 12:32 &
"And just think, they were forty years in
"And Oh yes! They would have to have water. If they
only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each
day." [Possibly true & maybe
over-estimated! It is not alleged that the people actually had to pack/carry the water, just that
it would be consumed...whether the water was supplied from natural sources, Divine provision or any
other method, the Israelites of the exodus would have consumed a lot of water4.
They only went 3 days without water...Exodus 15:221. First, water was found at
Marah where the bitterness miraculously became sweet...Exodus 15:22-251. Then on
to the 12 springs at Elim ...Exodus 15:271. Then on southeastward to Rephidim to
the miracle of water after Moses struck the rock with the divine staff of the Egyptian
miracles...water flowed...and again at Kadesh-barnea (now 'Ain Kadees2), the
waters of Meribah...Numbers 20:1-131. Kadesh-barnea may have been a
recurring general encampment area2.]
"...and a freight train with tank cars,
1800 miles long, just to bring water!" [Wrong! Transport of water was not needed...see above.]
"And then another thing! They had to get
across the Red Sea at night. Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800
miles long" [Try this: double-file, each
pair having 1 animal, and a pair every 3 feet forms a column only 94.7 miles long: 3,000,000
divided by 2 is 1,500,000 ranks times 3 feet length of each rank equals a column 4,500,000 feet
long. So, 4,500,000 divided by 5280 feet per mile means the column could be as little as 852 miles
long. Then, 852 miles divided by 15 miles per day is 57 days to cross. If you make the column 60 times
wider...120 abreast...is a column 14 miles long. 240 abreast is a 7 mile column, a half day's march
of a column no wider than two football fields!] "and would require 35 days and nights to get through.
So there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5000 abreast to get
over in one night." [Wrong! See
"But then, there is another problem...............each time
they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island
was required, or a total of 750 square miles long........ think of it!" [Wrong! If 20 people and 5 animals could...even
uncomfortably...camp in 400 square feet (size of a 20x20 bedroom): 3,000,000 divided by 20
equals the number of 400 square foot "packets" (camps) needed...150,000 "camps". A square mile is 5280 feet x 5280 feet =
27,878,400 square feet. 150,000 "packets" of land x 400 square feet per packet = 60,000,000 square
feet or 2.15 square miles. An encampment 5 times that size is no larger than the Columbia, S. C,
USA metropolitan area!]
"This much space for camping."
"Do you think Moses figured all this out
before he left Egypt? I think not!" [Wrong! Moses, one of the most brilliant, intelligent, and capable men ever born, trusted entirely in the provision of the Lord;
and this was a people divinely empowered to obey to a degree and extent that few modern Americans
can even begin to imagine! Moses was so confident that he gave the people a farewell address in (Deuteronomy 18:14-22) because he knew that God had declared that he, Moses, would not be allowed by God to enter the promised land. (Exodus 12:281)]
"You see, Moses believed in God. God took
care of these things for him." [The
Bible gives clear indication that none of this was easy. It was hard. None of my "defense"
against the Quartermaster's report in any way reduces the magnitude of this 40 year miracle!
The people griped and grumbled until Moses had to desperately go to God over and over...and
even accept the advice of his visiting father-in-law...Exodus
"Now do you think God has any problem taking care of all of YOUR
- New International
Version Disciple's Study Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, 1984.
- Halley's Bible
Handbook, Revised Edition, 1959, Henry H. Halley.
- e-mail from W.
R. W. Mattfield, 1 June 2003 (notifying of link to explanation).
from Steve, 8 July 2003 (modifying info about water
- email from Gary Ritter 30 July 2017 about the math figures for the size of the population fleeing through the parted sea, the fact that no one would expert water transportation of the water needed, and the fact that fires could be made from dried dung.
***give me your comments about this
check out the Highest
September 2002; latest adjustment 30 July 2017)