The television reports of the conflict that occurred a few years ago in Kuwait gave new insight into the biblical account of Israel’s exodus from Egypt in the days of Moses. The scenes that were portrayed on television of what the Arabian desert was like helps us understand certain parts of the wilderness in which the Jews wandered for forty years. The two deserts are located close to each other and conditions in each of them are almost identical.
One of the first news reports coming out of “Operation Desert Shield” told of an American general who instructed his soldiers to drink at least six gallons of water every day to avoid dehydration. There was talk of transporting barges filled with fresh water to seaports just so the demands for water could be met.
Using the figure of six gallons for each soldier each day, consider just how much water the Israelites in the Old Testament would have needed as they trekked across the wilderness for forty years. Instead of the 50,000 soldiers the United States had in Saudi Arabia, Moses had 603,550 men of war with him in the Sinai Peninsula. This number only included those “…from twenty years old and above—all who are able to go to war” (Numbers 1:3). It did not include those from the tribe of Levi (22,000), the aged or infirm men, the wives most of them must have had, nor the children. Assuming that 95% of the men were married and each had at least three children the total number that left Egypt would have exceeded three million. If six gallons is a true figure (and who can argue with a general!), the daily requirement for the Israelites would have been 18,000,000 gallons of water each day for forty years! When you consider the fact that water was needed for other purposes, including water for their animals, the numbers become astronomical. Yet, “…they did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He made the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock, and the water gushed forth” (Isaiah 48:21).
The miracles associated with the exodus of Israel from Egypt show how great our God is. He who cared for them cares for us!