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Biblical Women

Exodus, 600,000

Exodus: 600,000

Video art, 3 minutes; to be played on continuous loop


We read in the Bible, Exodus 12, 37-38:

לז  וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵרַעְמְסֵס, סֻכֹּתָה, כְּשֵׁשׁ-מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף רַגְלִי הַגְּבָרִים, לְבַד מִטָּף.

לח  וְגַם-עֵרֶב רַב, עָלָה אִתָּם, וְצֹאן וּבָקָר, מִקְנֶה כָּבֵד מְאֹד.


37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, beside children.

38 And a mixed multitude went up with them; and flocks and herds and many cattle.



I have taken the number 600,000 as my title, as mentioned here in verse 37, although it is clear that this refers only to the men, and on this verse Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzachi, the renowned Bible commentator from the Middle Ages) explains that it refers to men aged 20 and older, of army age. That means that altogether, including the women, children and the “mixed multitude” (which Rashi describes as nations of proselytes) of the next verse, the number leaving Egypt was probably closer to 2.5 million people, and in addition many sheep and cattle.

Imagining this great multitude setting out from Egypt together, I have created here an animation video of masses of people, interspersed with many sheep and cattle, all seen from above and all moving determinedly in the same direction, passing through a canyon in the Sinai desert, on their way to freedom at last. 

Since the video is on a loop, these enormous numbers can be reached in a few minutes.

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