Here's my basic calculation:

  • at the time of Yetzias Metzrayim (Exodus), the 600K males had 5 kids per family (Targum Yonasan)

  • half of the kids were males

(it is also highly probable that even if they hadn't they would have on average 5 kids in the first 20 years).

That totals to 1.5M boys (not counting Levis). They turned men 20-60 years in the next 40 years of wandering in the desert. Some casualties here (24K at G.Calf) and there (Midyan) do not add up to 900K.

I would expect the population to count at least 1.5M males at the time of entering the promised Land. The Torah only accounts for around 630K.

What am I missing?

  • 1
    Having references in your question would help see what you are speaking about. But kids also died during childbirth, from accidents, were being eaten by wild animals, etc. – mbloch Aug 24 '19 at 17:44
  • @mbloch, the Clouds of Glory didn't protect them from wild animals? And if they weren't doing much physical labor in the desert, what accidents? – Mordechai Aug 24 '19 at 20:08
  • @Al Berko can you give us a more specific reference where the targum is? – SE is Evil - Support Monica Aug 24 '19 at 22:27
  • @SamuelManuel Added to the text. That's pretty obvious that they could have at least 5 kids in the first 20 years of the wilderness. – Al Berko Aug 24 '19 at 22:45
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    I'm not sure I understand the question. Didn't 600k die because of the spies? – Double AA Aug 25 '19 at 0:44

About those 5 kids per family... there are other sources that counter this, and at least some of the males weren't married.

For new children that will be born:

"לפי שהדרך גורמת לשלשה דברים ממעטת פריה ורביה וממעטת את הממון וממעטת את השם"

A journey lessens three things: reproducing, wealth and reputation.

(Rashi Bereshit 12:2)

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  • Even though they didn't travel very much (Rashi in the beginning if parshas Maasei), they thought they would, and for that reason they didn't give milah (yevamos 72a). – Mordechai Aug 25 '19 at 8:45
  • This is not an answer, the question wasn't how many children did they have, we take the number 5 for granted. The rest is also inapplicable here, as they stayed in the clouds, no lessening of wealth, health and reputation. You can mention that in comments though – Al Berko Aug 25 '19 at 11:55
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    @AlBerko It's not clear from your question that you take the 5-kids-per-family as simple historical fact. You do understand, that if you don't take it as simple fact, the question is not very strong? – Alaychem goes to Codidact Aug 25 '19 at 11:58
  • You probably didn’t see the link to the Targum. 2. Your answer is inapplicable to the wilderness, it only speaks of a regular situation. 3. They had kids, and no reason to think that less than 5 per household. So do your math. – Al Berko Aug 25 '19 at 12:47
  • @AlBerko Do you think that all the 600K men were married and had 5 children? it's more likely to read "every married men had five children" – Alaychem goes to Codidact Aug 25 '19 at 13:13

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