2

Please see Devarim 7:7. How can Moshe say the Jews were the fewest? There were 601730 men between 20 and 60. That’s quite a large population. For the Jews to be smaller than all the other nations there would need to have been over 21 million people in Israel and over 9 million people among Moav, Ammon and Edom.

  • Some say they were only 600,000 Jews and not six million, which makes more sense. You could imagine they were more then 600,000 Egyptians in Egypt for that matter. – Turk Hill Aug 11 at 22:52
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    How did you get those numbers? – Alaychem Aug 12 at 8:07
  • A possible translation of the end of the phrase "all of the nations" meaning in combination, not as an individual nation. As for @TurkHill's comment the 600 K number is counting only men above age 20 from all tribes except Levi. If you count women and children and add the number from Levi, you have significantly more. – DanF Aug 12 at 14:28
  • You may be able to get some sense of what the population of Moav was by viewing the number of people taken as captive when Israel invaded Moav. The numbers are mentioned near the beginning of parshat Matot. I don't believe that the Torah states numbers regarding Og or Sichon's land. Additionally, if you care to do more math, assume that B'nai Yisra'els numbers stayed stable when they first waged war in Yericho and onwards. I think in Yehoshua, they list how many were killed in each place. Of course, you'd have to subtract the defat in 'Ai. – DanF Aug 12 at 14:34
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    I've never heard anyone claim there were 6 million Jews in the Exodus. – Monica Cellio Aug 13 at 14:30
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The commentator Rashi explains that the reference is not to numbers, but to estimation:

you regard yourselves as small, as, e.g., Abraham did who said, (Genesis 18:27) “For I am dust and ashes", and as, e.g., Moses and Aaron did who said, (Exodus 16:7) “And we, what are we?".

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    In his commentary to "לא מרובכם", Rashi says: "This is to be understood according to its plain sense. But its Midrashic explanation (taking לא מרבכם in the sense of 'not because you are great') is ...". It seems obvious to me, that the rest of the commentary on that verse (including the one quoted in the answer) is Midrashic, as well. (I am not criticizing the answer, just putting it in context.) – Tamir Evan Aug 12 at 1:45
-5

What did Moshe mean in Devarim 7:7 by we (Jews) are few in number?

For a short answer: Yes. We were fewest among the nations. But Abraham’s descendants will be as numerous as the stars.

I am convinced that the Bible always, not just sometimes, exaggerates numbers to make an impact. I think the total number of Israelites that left Egypt with some Egyptian spouses were far less than 600,000.

  • Of course, if you count Numbers (Parshas Bamidbar), it is possible to derive at the population. Males should be 600,000, females 3 million. This may sound far-fetched, but it is better than six. – Turk Hill Aug 13 at 3:21
  • I am convinced that the Bible always, not just sometimes, exaggerates numbers to make an impact. I think the total number of Israelites that left Egypt with some Egyptian spouses were far less than 600,000. – Turk Hill Aug 22 at 13:50

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