Millions of Hebrews in the Desert? Frakking unlikely!
Remember that ridiculous number of ancient Hebrews wandering through the desert? 600,000 men plus women, children, people of mixed breeds and vast herds of livestock? This came up to an implausible number of humans totaling, at least, 2.5 to 3 million people plus “all their livestock, very numerous flocks and herds.” 300? Uh… maybe. 3000? Damned unlikely. 3 million? WTF! How can anyone with even a sliver or intelligence believe in this crapola? This has always been one of those glaring absurdities for which the Bible is quite famous, infamous really, and for which its undying fans defend constantly. It started off as farcical, but as we go further into Exodus the number becomes more so.
The story continues. The Hebrews have begun their great “wandering in the desert” phase, all three million of them. Naturally, they are quite thirsty, as anyone who has walked in deserts can attest to. Both humans and animals are going to go through a lot of water, and the bodies can go without adequate supplies only for a short while. A gallon of water a day is a paltry sum and really insufficient for the most basic of needs. In a hot desert, and the Arabian deserts are quite hot, it wouldn’t even cover drinking water. Two gallons a day would be barely adequate for drinking and basic cooking and then only for short durations. This means that at the very least 6 million gallons per day would have to consumed, plus a very plausible equal amount for the animals. Where did this water come from? This is a dry land, hence the term “desert.”
The believer always brings up magic, the power of God, that Voodoo that Yahweh does so well. This is their ultimate bullshit trump card brought out whenever parts of the Bible don’t make any rational sense. Like now. But lets look at it a bit closer. Even with magic water springing from rocks, getting water to 3 million people would have been quite an undertaking. So let’s just allow that God’s magic can bring water forth from the rocks. Yeah. Yeah. I know it hurts, but the results are quite interesting.
After three days of desert marching with no water, Moses’ tribe comes to Marah, a place where water exists but tastes so bitter it cannot be drank. Obviously the people are pissed at Moses and his god for not taking care of this basic need. One does have to wonder why God continually let’s his “chosen people” get to the point of bitching about thirst before he acts. I’d be a poor father if I never fed my son until he was dropping along the trail or never gave him water until he was clawing at his throat. But Yahweh hardly seems concerned about my Father-of-the-year award anyway, so he ignores them up until they can’t take it any more, and they start to whine. And whine they do. So God in his infinite goodness, instructs Moses to take a certain magic stick and throw it into the pond to make it fresh and God be praised, it does. The water is now potable. OK, I’ll shove my head up my ass and just accept this. But think, only one source of water and 3 million people plus their vast herds of livestock to drink. How in the hell are they all going to get even close to the source, let alone get enough water to drink. Like getting food to starving people, the difficulty all lies in the distribution. It’s distribution baby, distribution!
Having lived in the poorer parts of Africa for two years, I am well acquainted with people getting water from primitive sources. It is a long laborious process getting water from a communal pool to your house. Let’s use an African model and just assume only the women go and each of them carries a big pot or jug to fill and supply their family’s needs for the day. That’s 600,000 women per day taking 8 gallons of water for their four member families from a single source. Let’s make it easy for the believer and say that five feet of space per person is adequate and the water doesn’t get muddy as they fill. The pool water magically remains clean after each fill. Not the norm, mind you, but let’s give the deluded literalists what we can.
While were pulling magic figures out of the ass of Yahweh, let’s also say that each woman can fill her jug and get out-of-the-way in just a minute. If anyone thinks this is too long and I am making shit up, you really need to watch this process in action, even better, try it for yourself. One minute is goddamned efficient. A woman who can do this consistently is a woman to hang on to. I’m telling you that babe is worthy of amazon status and should be worshipped accordingly. Let’s also be very generous and say they can do this all night long to give them as long as possible. The numbers are fascinating. 600,000 women divided by 24 hours and again by 60 minutes gives us 417 women filling at any one time. With five feet of shoreline apiece the pool has to be a minimum of 2100 feet in circumference and be at least 670 feet across. Now that’s a damned big pool. And that’s being very generous with my estimates and assuming that everyone works together like a well oiled machine. And of course, all vast hordes of human beings are incredibly well mannered and efficient when busting their asses in very close proximity to each other. Shit! There’d be heaps of bodies floating in the pool every morning from the fights that broke out. And this is with my highly generous figures. There can be little doubt that realistic pool dimensions would be, at least, three or four times this!
And I doubt even these Hebrew super women could carry enough water for their entire family and all their animals in a single trip. If you think that it’d be easy understand that two gallons of water apiece for a family of four is 64 pounds of water to haul back to camp. With 3 million people camped sprinkled like cow shit in a pasture, can you imagine how far the average water trip would be? A mile? Simple calculations on the space such a number would take are astounding. With every person just taking 100 square feet and this is for themselves, their possessions and animals but also including room for walkways, carts, and cooking, not to mention basic sanitation, the entire group would form a circle just under 4 miles in diameter. That’s an average of a mile from the water and still everyone is packed tighter than sardines. I’m sorry people, but I must call bullshit. There is no way that this could be done with even ten water sources. The cake is a lie!
Anyway! After this, Moses leads them to the oasis, Elim. The water here has to be good because everyone appears happy with it. 3 million people descend on twelve whole springs and seventy palm trees. Whoowhee! Paradise, right? Swimming! Bathing! Um… Wait… Twelve springs? Seventy palms? Holy sheep shit, Batman! That’s 250,000 people per spring and nearly 50,000 per palm tree. The entire oasis would look like an emerald postage stamp lying in a parking lot of people, a little green speck in square miles of humanity. No Frakking way! Of course, all the same watering issues apply. And seventy palm trees? That wouldn’t supply enough wood to cook a single meal for even a hundredth of them. After this swarm passed through there’d be nothing left but a damp spot and a few wood chips, and people dying of thirst wouldn’t even have been affected. Bullshit again!
Then farther along they again are thirsty and pissed, once again. So pissed that Moses is worried they’re going to stone him, so God commands him strike a rock with his staff. He does this and, (It’s a miracle!) water gushes forth. And let me tell you, We now know it’d really have to gush forth, a veritable geyser of water, a raging torrent that would wash people away.
No matter how you rationally view it, these numbers come out to be absurd. The story of Rapunzel becomes down right logical compared to this. The Brothers Grimm? Inerrant truth tellers. Nostradamus? Well, he’s still a stoned out of his mind idiot, but the rest look better. Now, I admit that there may be nuggets of wisdom in this book, but in no way can it be regarded as literal and inerrant truth. Forcing the issue by insisting the entire Bible is without blemish helps the atheistic cause rather than hinders it. If you champion the very concept of saving everything or nothing, you save nothing. It’s all true or none of it is then you wind up with nothing. You end with stories, simple stories, which is exactly what the Bible is. These are fairy tales used to explain shit an illiterate group of herdsmen couldn’t understand. I understand why they believe what they did. In the savage times they lived, it was the best they could do. What I don’t understand is why people today continue to hold on to their Santa Claus mythology in the face of all the evidence. All the science and knowledge we have accumulated over the preceding centuries is tossed to the side in sight of the most vacuous superstition. Everyone knows that storks are the real source of babies in spite of all that falsified vaginal birth evidence.
Goddamn it! We’re not children. We should know better by now! The fact that we don’t makes me despair for the species.