Exodus 1:9 He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”

Had Bene-Israel more population than the Egyptians then?

Or may be it was a kind of exaggeration from the mouth of the Pharaoh, the sort of exaggeration in which unprincipled persons indulge when they would justify themselves for taking an extreme and unusual course?

  • 2
    the commentators suggest all sorts of reasonings here from "the Jews had amassed financial wealth through underhanded practices which made them stronger" to "their birthrate is higher" to "their God is stronger" to "on the level of man-to-man, their soldiers are stronger."
    – rosends
    Aug 19, 2021 at 12:11
  • 1
    Not all translations of the verse give it that way: JPS 1917 has it ".. the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us", suggesting they were numerous enough to be a problem/threat, but not [necessarily] that they were more numerous than the Egyptians.
    – Tamir Evan
    Aug 19, 2021 at 16:39
  • many commentaries prefer the translation: that Bene-Israel actually outnumber his own people. because according to them ,elsewhere the expression carries comparative force (“far more numerous than” [Num. 14:12; Deut. 9:14]; “much larger than” [Deut. 7:1]; “greater and more populous than” [Deut. 4:38; 9:1]; “stronger than we” [1 Kings 20:23]; “stronger than I” [2 Sam. 22:18]).
    – capri reds
    Aug 19, 2021 at 21:58


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