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The Exodus- Fact or Myth
[Someone sent me the following piece. The numbers were wildly inflated and bore no relation to reality, so I have cut them way down. The piece was unattributed. If anyone knows the source, I will be glad to credit them.]

Moses and the Hebrew people left Egypt for the Promised Land. The Bible says there were 600,000 of them, but that doesn't count women and children! So we're talking about close to three million people out there in the desert. Consider the logistics for a moment.

Moses would have required a minimum of 1500 tons of food each day. To transport that much food, a freight train at least a mile long would have been needed, each car carrying ten tons. Then, they would have to have firewood to use for cooking the food. This would take 3000 tons of wood (another freight train a mile long carrying 20 tons in each car) just for one day. And, of course, they would need water. If they had only enough to drink and do a minimum of washing, it would take 6,000,000 gallons each day and would require a freight train almost two miles long, consisting of 40' tank cars each carrying 30,000 gallons of water. And they were in the desert!

Also, they had to get across the Red Sea at night. Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would have been 425 miles long and would require 16 days to get across, if they traveled at 2 miles an hour for 12 hours a day. The Gulf of Akabah, which is supposed to be where they crossed, is 15 miles wide. So they had to walk at least 35 abreast to have any hope of getting across in one night. And there is another problem. Each time they camped at the end of the day, the area they covered would be larger than two square miles, and even that would give each of them barely enough room to lie down.

Now, whoever wrote this piece used it to say that God can do anything. "Think of how he provided these unbelievable quantities of goods to support his people." Well, I certainly believe that God can do anything. But in this case, I think the operative word is "unbelievable." When you reduce this story to its details, it becomes obvious that this historic event has been inflated to mythic proportions.

Religious writers tend to do this, elaborate a simple story to an incredible extent to demonstrate how great God is. It makes you wonder what else in the Bible has lost all contact with the actual proportions of the original story.

We don't need to tell tall tales in order to understand the greatness of God. And we don't honor God when we look at old myths and demand that others believe them as literal truth. God's truth doesn't need embellishment.

Posted 8-15-05

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2005