How Many Hebrew Slaves Were There?

Q. When drought forced a flight into Egypt, how many Hebrew people were involved in the eventual slavery under the pharaoh ? Thank you.

A. When Jacob relocated his family to Egypt at the end of the Book of Geneses there were about 70 people involved. (Gen. 46:27) 400 years later when Moses brought them out, the number of men eligible for military service numbered in excess of 600,000 (Numbers 2:32) This didn’t count any Levites, men too old for service, women of all ages, or children. Scholars estimate the actual number may have been 2-3 times higher.

These are only the statistics for the first and last generations of the 400 year period, and are the only ones available. There’s no way of knowing how many were born and died between them, although Scriptures say that they were very fruitful, multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous (Exodus 1:7).

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