# In the desert, how didn't the male population grow to 1.5M over 40 years?

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?

• 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. Aug 24, 2019 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? Aug 24, 2019 at 20:08
• @Al Berko can you give us a more specific reference where the targum is? Aug 24, 2019 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. Aug 24, 2019 at 22:45
• I'm not sure I understand the question. Didn't 600k die because of the spies? Aug 25, 2019 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)

• 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). Aug 25, 2019 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 Aug 25, 2019 at 11:55
• @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? Aug 25, 2019 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. Aug 25, 2019 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" Aug 25, 2019 at 13:13