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that the sons of Jacob are adapted to this predetermined arrangement. As in ancient Egypt the distribution into Nomes was borrowed from the Decani of astrology', as Plato wished to copy his republic from the heavens, and a sign of the zodiac was actually held sacred by every tribe of Arabia?, so here, among the Jews, the astrological principle regulating the arrangement of the Levitical camp, with the tabernacle in the centre, is so self-apparent, that its influence has been admitted even in Genesis), and has constantly been explained in this manner by later writers 4.
To the number seventy also the same remarks are applicable. According to the belief of the Chaldæans, there were seventy nations and seventy languages, with an equal number of tutelary genii“; and to some such source (not historical, to say the least,) must be ascribed the seventy elders, the seventy members of the Sanhedrim, the seventy
1 Diodor. i. 54.
3 “And he [Joseph] dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed one dream more, and behold, the sun and the moon, and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, “What is this dream that thou hast dreamed ? Shall I come, and thy mother, and thy brethren, to bow down ourselves to the earth, to thee?'”—Gen. xxxvii. 9, 10.
Expressly by Philo (de Somn. p. 868), Diodorus (in Photius, Cod. 244), by the Priscillianists, who were condemned on this account in a council, A.D. 563. See Kopp, Palæogr. Crit. iii. 282. Compare also a treatise on this subject in the Mémoires de l'Académie, v. 31 ; Görres, Mythengeschichte, ii. 523 ; and Kaiser, Comment. p. 139: we have no desire to enlarge on the primitive wisdom” of the latter author, because mysticism of this precise description is, comparatively speaking, of very recent date.
5 Philo, ii. 29; Didymus in Wolf's Anecd. Græc. iv. 2. Toe TUTU i ovn eßòguhxorta. Compare Beausobre, Manich. ii. 319.
6 “And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and 1 See Lengerke on Daniel ix. 25, p. 430 etc.
interpreters, the seventy years of the Babylonish captivity', and the seventy souls that went down into Egypt.
It is impossible to arrive at anything approaching to historical certainty with respect even to the time which the Israelites remained in Egypt, since the two statements in the Pentateuch itself, of 400 years in Gen. xv. 13, and of 430 years in Exod. xii. 40, are inconsistent with each other, while the interval between Hezron, who went down into Egypt?, and his great-grandson Nahshon, the prince of the tribe of Judah, could have scarcely amounted to even 200 years. But wholly apart from this question, the immense increase of the population which is said to have taken place within the interval assigned is open to very serious difficulties; for during this short period, the Israelites, from the seventy males who went down into Egypt, had grown up into a nation numbering 600,000 fighting men and 22,000
Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ; and worship ye afar off....... Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.”—Exod. xxiv. 1, 9.
2 “ These are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt.......And the sons of Judah ; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah : but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.”—Gen. xlvi. 8. 12.
[Hezron had three sons, Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai; of these, Amminadab was the son of Ram, and Nahshon, the prince of the tribe of Judah, was the son of Amminadab, and was therefore great grandson of Hezron. See 1 Chron. ii. 9, 10, and Num. ii. 3.]
3 Num. i. 7.—[After the departure out of Egypt, a leading member of each tribe was elected, in the wilderness of Sinai, to be the captain or prince of his own tribe, and the prince of the tribe of Judah at that time was Nahshon the son of Amminadab.]
4 See Vater on Exod. xii. 40.
5 “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.”Exod. xii. 37.
Levites', and which, including women, children, and the “ mixed multitude,” must therefore have amounted, on the lowest computation, to 2,500,000 souls. The small district of Goshen could never have contained so large a population, still less the single province of Rameses, which is expressly mentioned in Exodus as the place where they assembled?. That the Egyptians could have exercised such oppression on so powerful a body, situated almost entirely beyond the limits of the valley of the Nile, seems at first sight highly improbable, and the insurrection which Pharaoh feared, would only have been accelerated by the tyrannical measures he is said to have adopted. The march through the Arabian desert is open to still greater difficulties, because each (German) square mile there would have been required to support more than 50003 individuals, a proportion which is scarcely reached at the present day even in the most fertile countries of Europe.
But palpable contradictions and other indications enable us to detect the epic source of these exaggerations. At one time the number of men able to bear arms above twenty years of age, is said to amount to 603,5505, exclusive of the Levites, and this number is subsequently distributed through their imaginary camp; soon afterwards, however,
1 « All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.”—Num. iii. 39.
2 Exod. xii. 37. See above, note (4).
3 [The German square mile = 21 English square miles, and 238 individuals for each English square mile. The mean population of the British Islands in 1831 was 220 individuals per square mile.]
4 Even Rosenmüller has some scruples here : Biblische Alterthümer (Biblical Antiquities), ii. 1. p. 243.
5 “A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty
the number of the firstborn males is set down at 22,2731, A comparison of these two statements is sufficient to show the fictitious character of the whole census; for from it we may deduce “ that every mother, taking one with another, must have brought into the world no less than forty [two male] children?;” or, in other words, “that only one
years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.”—Exod. xxxviii. 26.
· Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.”—Num. i. 46.
1 “And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the Lord) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel ; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel. And Moses numbered, as the Lord commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel ; and all the firstborn males, by the number of names, from a month old and upwards of those that were numbered of them were 22,273.”—Num. iii. 41-43.
[The total number of the firstborn, including the females, was probably at least 44,000, and, making allowance for the firstborn children under a month old, and for deaths, there may have been about 50,000 firstborn individuals in the different families of the Hebrews. Now the number of mothers bearing children must have corresponded with the number of the firstborn children, and there would thus appear to have been only 50,000 mothers bearing children to an adult male population of 600,000, or only 1 woman bearing children to 12 men. It must also be remembered that, as the firstborn included all
from a month upwards, many of the mothers must have been already dead; but even allowing 60,000 mothers, the proportion of 60,000 women to 600,000 adult males, i.e. one woman to ten men, is evidently exaggerated among a people where a plurality of wives and concubinage were freely allowed ; and it is therefore reasonable to suppose that one or both of these numbers may have been fictitious, and especially that the number of 600,000 adult males may have been greatly exaggerated.]
2 Michaelis, Moses Recht (Law of Moses), ii. 109.--[Michaelis, § 94, assumes that the number of males under twenty years of age must, at the lowest computation, have been equal to half the
603,550 number of those above it. Now 603,550 -- + 22,000 Levites =927,325, the whole male population, and 927,325 - 41.6, or 42 nearly. In the British census of 1821 the number of males returned under 20
firstborn child is to be allowed for every forty-two males 1."
The large extent to which invention has been carried in the numbers assigned to the people, is sufficiently seen in the preference given to round numbers; for all, with scarcely an exception, are found to terminate in hundreds?; and the inventive process is still more exemplified in the fact that the second census (except in a few inconsiderable differences) coincides with the first, although not a single individual survived of the whole of that multitude which Moses and Aaron are said to have previously
years of age was 3,072,392 ; upwards of 20 years of age, 3,002,200, or very nearly equal.)
| Vater on Num. iii. 39, where no explanation is adduced that at all removes the difficulty. [This verse declares, that “all that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males, from a month old and upwards, were 22,000.”] 2 See the table in Vater on Num. xxvi. 26.
[A comparative table is here added of the number of grown up men * in the first census of the Israelites, in the wilderness of Sinai (Num. i.), and in the second census, forty years after the first, near the river Jordan, in the plains of Moab (Num. xxvi.) :
Number of Men.
Total number of men ......