2 Chronicles 14:8:

And Zerah the Cushite came out against them with an army of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots, and he came as far as Mareshah.

How could the Ethiopians have an army so large when the world was a much smaller place back then. Wikipedia quotes that there were less than 20 million people on the planet. Are these figures true ?


RaSh"I, Metzudath Tziyon, Metzudath David and "Yemei Kedem" (MaLBI"M???) say nothing on this. (http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=39985&st=&pgnum=162) However, if we look at other examples of numbers being used that way, we find, for example, in the Shabbath morning prayer service, in Pesukei DeZimra, that "A thousand thousand thousands of thousands and tens of thousands of tens of thousands" ("Elef Alef Alfei Alafim VeRibbei Revavoth", (in Nishmath Kol Ḥai)) is used not for literal numbering but to indicate an overwhelming number that cannot realistically be tallied.

| improve this answer | |
  • Chronicles was written with a lower level of inspiration than the Prophets' works. Even great prophets like Hosea and Isaiah saw their visions through what the Sages call "a blurry pane". It is not unfeasible that the exact numbers are way off, and rather meant to describe "a lot" – Baby Seal Sep 30 '14 at 0:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .