Jacob and his family went to Egypt numbering (approximately) 70 people. After approximately 200 years, 600,000 men between the ages of 20-60 (if I'm not mistaken). So probably 2 million total got out (this is an estimate I've heard). The highest estimation(Rashi, I think) is that 20% got out from Egypt, so by that estimate there were 10 million Israelites in Egypt at the time of the Exodus. And this was a generation after Pharaoh decreed that all the Israelite baby boys be killed.

My question: How is it possible that 70 people in 200 years multiplied to 10 million?

  • I don't know why you take the "highest estimation" if you are looking to understand this. Just assume the people who were there left. That is the simple pshat of the verses. You want to know how ~100 became ~2M in ~200 years. Who's up for some math? – Double AA Jul 1 '13 at 20:14
  • @DoubleAA . Already made the changes in the question. But still, the question remains. Even in the simple pshat, 600.000/70= is like in 200 years you have already 8.500 grand-grandsons, knowing that also in the simple pshat Pharao wanted to kill every boy. And the family of Moshe was with just 3 people. – juanora Jul 1 '13 at 21:08
  • Hmmm...yes....thinking better now... mathematically makes sense...the question is kind of answered... Thank you @DoubleAA – juanora Jul 1 '13 at 21:34
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/13815/… – Menachem Jul 1 '13 at 21:39
  • @Menachem this reinforce my question – juanora Jul 1 '13 at 22:02

The number of people in a generation is (N/2) * x where N is the number of people in the previous generation and x is the number of children each couple has. If N_0 = 70 and x = 6, after 10 generations, there would be over 4 million children. And that's assuming everyone in all previous generations had died.

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  • i was thinking wrong when I did the question... – juanora Jul 1 '13 at 21:47
  • (n/2)*x^y/2^(y-1)...when y=number of generations. – juanora Jul 1 '13 at 21:59
  • in your number is 4133430 – juanora Jul 1 '13 at 21:59
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    @juanora If each couple had 8 children instead of 6, then you're at 73.4 million after 10 generations. So I guess the average was between 6 and 8. – Daniel Jul 1 '13 at 23:40
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    Or maybe they were having children at ages younger than 20 years old. If a generation is 18 years, then there are 11 generations in Egypt – Daniel Jul 1 '13 at 23:42

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