The Exodus was the mass movement of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt back to the Promised Land in Canaan. It was not an easy movement. The Pharaoh of Egypt did not want them to go, and he threatened them with military retaliation. The miracles God performed during this time are among the most spectacular recorded in the Bible – the Nile River turned to blood, shepherds’ rods turned to snakes, the firstborn of every Egyptian household dies, and the Red Sea parted to allow the Israelites to cross over on dry land, escaping the Egyptian army.
Films have sometimes portrayed this event as a little band of nomads roaming around the desert, camping under palm trees and singing Hebrew folk songs around a small campfire. This picture could hardly be further from the truth. The book of Numbers tells us that when the Israelites left Egypt, there were six hundred thousand fighting men. It is reasonable to assume that if there were six hundred thousand fighting men, there were also six hundred thousand fighting women. That’s 1,200,000. Each of those families may have had at least two children. That’s another 1,200,000. In addition there the men who were too old to fight and their wives. There was the priestly tribe, the Levites, who didn’t fight, and their wives and children. There were, conservatively speaking, between two and a half to three million people who left during this ‘exodus’.
This was not a little tribe of nomads roaming about the desert. This was a nation on the move.
Look at Britain on a map and imagine two to three times the population of Birmingham beginning to move across the map, and you’ll get an idea of the magnitude of the Exodus.
When you add all the animals they took with them for food and milk, as well as for sacrifices, this qualified as a horde! Instead of looking for a flat spot under a palm tree to camp, they had to look for a valley ten miles square. When they lined up to cross the Red Sea, it was more than a little aisle that was required. If they crossed the Red Sea one hundred abreast, counting the animals, the column would have stretched perhaps as far as fifty miles back into the desert.
Personal beliefs aside, this ranks as one of the greatest historical events of the ancient world, and this was an event over which Moses presided.
Taken from 30 Days to Understand the Bible by Max Anders.