• William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 11, 2021

February 11

Daily Reading: Numbers 1-2

Numbers 1:46

Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.

"How many Israelites came out of Egypt?" This is a common question, and the answer may amaze you. But before we answer that let's answer the question, "What is the book of Numbers about, why is it in our Bible?"

First of all, Numbers derives its name from the "numbering", or census, of the Israelites. Primarily this numbering took place in chapter 1, at the beginning of their journey into the wilderness (in the second year), and chapter 26 that took place toward the end of their forty years of wandering. Also included in this book are numerous times of testing that Jehovah sent to His people. As Leviticus is a book about personal and national holiness before God, so then, logically, a testing would be allowed by God to prove their faithfulness. Numbers highlights these times of testing and the people's success or failure to keep His commands. Lastly, in Numbers we see Israel's absolute inability to keep the laws of God. They failed at almost every juncture. It is a sad book that magnifies the tragic results of disobedience, a book that is repeatedly quoted in the New Testament.

So, how many people came out of Egypt? The number of men of all tribes except for the priestly tribe of Levi that were twenty years old and up were 603,550. If each man had a wife, and only two children the number of Israelites would be 1,810,650. Remember though, most families at this time had more than two children, plus this did not include any of the people of the tribe of Levi. Therefore, it is likely that there were more than 2,000,000 people that came out of Egypt. Imagine the amount of manna, quails, and water that this number of people needed. Amazing!

In chapter 26, almost forty years later the number of men from 20 and up equaled 601,730, only 1,820 less than the first census in chapter 1. Again, Amazing. God sustained His people in the midst of humanly impossible conditions. Hey, if He could take care of them then, He can take care of you today.

When we read of the Exodus try to remember, this was not a few hundred people, or even a few thousand, it was probably much more than 2,000,000. Let it be said again; Amazing!

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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