Weíve now reached the point in the story that the entire book is named after, the Exodus.
I have a couple issues with Exodus 12:37-42. Letís start with a quibble. Back in a rather ill-fitting passage (Genesis 15:13) God told Abram that his offspring would be slaves in a strange land for 400 years, but now weíre told that the the Israelites were there for 430 years. This isnít a big deal, since the Israelites lived for awhile in Egypt before becoming slaves, so we can assume they had a period of 30 years before becoming enslaved.
To me, that sounds reasonable on its own, but Christian apologists give it a more complex twist. They interpret the 430 year span starting when God first mentioned it to Abram back in Genesis. However, Abram spent decades of his life after that journeying around Gerar, Moriah, and finally settling in Canaan. Only a brief amount of his time was actually spent in Egypt; through Isaacís adult life, and the majority of Jacobís life, the family remains in Canaan. Yet, apologists count this as time in Egypt. They total up 215 years from the time Abram was told about the enslavement to the time Jacob moved with his families to meet Joseph in Egypt. Add another 215 years to make up the difference, and boom, youíve got 430 years in Egypt. Even if we ignore that over 130 of those first 215 were spent in Canaan, the total still doesnít fit because God told Abram this his offspring would be slaves for 400 years.
Also, if Abrahamís clan was only in Egypt for 215 years, that makes their already unbelievable population growth even more inconceivable, which brings me to my second point, how on Earth did the Israelites go from 70 people to 2,000,000 in 430 years (or 215 if you believe the apologists)?
My estimate of 2,000,000 people comes from The Jewish Time Line Encyclopedia which says that if you have 600,000 men as the bible says, and you include the expected number of women, boys, and girls, youíre looking at around 2,000,000 total people. So, how do you get from 70 to 2,000,000 in 400 years and only 4 generations (according to the time line back in Exodus 6? And donít forget, the previous Pharaoh wiped out every first born save Moses.
If there really were 2,000,000 people, along with an additional several million animals, you canít just up and leave, can you? To picture it in todayís terms, imagine if every single person in the city of Houston, Texas decided to leave town all at the same time, in the same direction, with a good portion of their possessions with them. The streets would be jam-packed in deadlock; it would be rush hour times a million. The cityís layout just wasnít built to allow for millions of people being mobile all at once, and thereís no reason to think Egyptís is either.