Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Jewish Population Numbers In Different Periods

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                          

Abraham lived during the 2nd millennium BCE, about in 1948 BCE, most likely in the 17th Century BCE.  They had migrated from Mesopotamia, which is today's Iraq.  Ur, the city Abraham lived in is in Iraq.    He had 2 sons, Ishmael by Hagar and then Isaac by his wife and niece, Sarah.
 Isaac's sons were Jacob and Esau, twins. Esau left the family group.  Jacob later during a dry famine period, led his family containing 70 people; close family members and possibly servants, from  Canaan for Egypt.

In the beginning of the 40 year trek from Egypt to Canaan, a census was taken by Moses as listed in Numbers ch. 1 and at the end of the 40 years as listed in Numbers ch 26.

1: They gathered together the entire assembly on the 1st of the 2nd month, and they established their genealogy according to their families, according to the fathers' household, by number of the names, from 20 years of age and up, according to their head count.  As Hashem (G-d "The Name")  had commanded Moses, he counted them in the wilderness of Sinai.  

26: It was after the plague--Hashem spoke to Moses and to Elazar, son of Aaron the Kohen, saying:  Take a census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel, from 20 years of age and up, according to their fathers' houses, all who go out to the legion in Israel.  Moses and Elazar the Kohen spoke to them in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan near Jericho, saying, from 20 years of age and up, .
1. Reuben             46,500                   43,730
2. Simeon             59,300                   22,200
3. Judah               74,600                   76,500
4. Issachar           54,400                    64,300
5. Zebulun           57,400                    60,500
6. Dan                 62,700                    64,400
7.Naphtali           53,000                    45,400
8. Gad                45,650                     40,500
9. Asher             41,500                     53,400
10. Ephraim        40,500                    32,500
11. Manasseh     32,200                     52,700
12. Benjamin      35,400                    45,600
TOTALS         603,550                  601,730 
 .When Moses led them all out 400 years later, he took a census.  It had taken them 40 years to go from Egypt to Canaan.  Including the Levites, the number given is 611,730.  The non-Levites were men fit for military service and were from 20 to 60 years of age.
The Levites were descendants from Moses and Aaron, who went back to Levi, one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Starting with Moses and Aaron, brothers, their father was Amram.  His father was Kohath, and his father was Levi.  Levites were men that were obligated to serve in temple services and were males between 20 and 50 years of age.  This was a population then of about 3,000,000.  Today, Jewish men usually know if they are a Cohen (Priest) or a Levite as they have certain functions in the synagogue during services.  The information is handed down from father to son.  Other Jews are the Israelites.  The 12 tribes conquered Canaan, the land of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua between the 113th to 11th centuries BCE.

Saul was the 1st king selected (1020-1004 BCE).
Later, the Census of King David, Saul's successor (1010-970 BCE)  recorded 1,300,000 males over 20 years of age, which would be a population of over 5,000,000.  (Today, Israel's population of Jews is a little more than  6,000,000.)
Babylon attacked Israel in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE when they took away the best of the population.  The number of exiles who returned from Babylon is given at 42,360.  Tacitus, a Roman historian, declared that Jerusalem at its fall in 70 CE contained 600,000 people.  Josephus, a Jewish General who saved his own life and worked for the Romans as a historian of their current events, reported that there were as many as 1,100,000 Jews slain in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, along with 97,000 who were sold as slaves.  Josephus qualified this count by noting that Jerusalem was besieged during the Passover Holiday.  The majority of the 1,197,000 would not have been all residents but would have included those visiting for the festival from other towns and cities in Israel.
It was during the Roman (70-395)  and Byzantine rule (395-636)  that a large Jewish community survived, mainly in Galilee, in parts of the coastal plain and in Judaea.  Our reference is the Talmud which was compiled during this period, and it mentions more than 400 Jewish localities, most of the villages.

Jewish communities subsisted on agriculture.  It's leaders evolved and consolidated the Jewish way of life, in teachings and scholarship.  The outstanding works of that era are the Mishnah, completed in the 2nd century, and the Jerusalem Talmud, completed between the 4th and 5th centuries.
Picking up Manna during the 40 year Exodus
There were difficulties supplying 600,000 people with food crossing the Sinai desert and even later with  3,000,000 as a John William Colenso,(1814-1883)  a British mathematician, theologian, Biblical scholar and social activist, who was the first Church of England Bishop of Natal. pointed out, but he might have forgotten that the Israelites were taken care of from Egypt to Canaan with something supplied by G-d that came with instructions on how many were allowed per person. They were told  not to pick more than this allotted amount, and it was called  Manna.  (Exod. 16:4-35). I hope the Babylonian soldiers had traveled with food.  Obviously the Jews had to take all they had with them. No doubt those that survived lost a lot of weight.
The Torah tells us the number of adult male Jews that left Egypt 400 years later and walked back to their Homeland of Canaan.

In the Hadrianic War of 132-135 CE when Aluf Bar Kokhba fought against the Romans, 580,000 Jews were slaughtered in battle, according to Cassius dio (1xix.14).  According to Theodor Mommsen, in the 1st century CE, there were about 1,000,000 Jews in Egypt, with a total of 8,000,000 inhabitants there.  Of these, 200,000 lived in Alexandria, whose total population was 500,000.

Another historian, Adolf Harnack (Ausbreitung des Christentums, Leipzig, 1902) said that there were 1,000 Jews in Syria at the time of Nero in the 60's CE.  Also, 700,000 lived in Judea, and he allowed for additional 1,500,000 living in other places.  He estimated that there were during the 1st Century, 4,200,000 Jews in the world.  Jacobs remarked that this estimate is probably too high.  

1,100,000 is comparable to the population of the largest cities that existed anywhere in the world before the 19th century CE, but geographically, the Old City of Jerusalem is just a few % of the size of such cities as ancient Rome, Constantinople, Tokyo in the Edo period and Han Dynasty Xi'an.

The 1st century then found about 3,000,000 Jews living in Israel/Judah

63 BCE Roman empire occupied land; Herod king, 200,000 in Jerusalem.
73 CE-time of Masada, 3,000,000 Jews in the land.  After the revolt in 132-135 by Bar Kokhba and his men, many were driven into exile from Jerusalem where they had again lived for 3 the years.  Large Jewish communities emerged in countries of the Middle East and beyond like Germany and France.  .
By 1600, there were only about 500,000 Jews living there.
By 1800, even less, about 250,000 Jews. Ottoman rule for 400 years (1514-1914) Between 16th to 19th century, Jewish villages were reduced by about 1/2.  Jewish population dwindled and at the beginning of the 19th century, did not exceed 250,000.  At same time, terrible pogroms were going on in Russia and other places, driving Jews to Palestine.  Golda Meier was one of them.
By 1914,  about 680,000 people lived on the land west of the Jordan; 85,000 were Jews.

By 1948, the Jewish population was up to 650,000 on May 14th, end of year was 872,000. The Arab population had 126,000.

By 1949, the Arab population had left a 140,000 Arab population  after many Arabs had left.

By 1958 at end of year, population was 2,031, 072.
By 1968, at the end of year, population was 2,841,100
By  1971, the Jewish population was back to 3,095,100.  The great majority of Israel's people were Jews (2,636,600).  Arab Muslims numbered 343,900.  Population included 1,440,000 Jewish  immigrants; 700,000 had come from Moslem countries. They came destitute, little education, large family sizes.

By 1972, the Arab population was 458,500.

By 1978:  3,738,000 population.
By 1988: 4,477,000 population
By 1998: 6,038,000 population
By 2008: 7,337,000 population
By 2015: 8,462,000 population
By 2016: 8.522 million Israeli citizens, 10 times more than at its founding in 1948.

  Christians, mostly Arabs, numbered 77,300.  They are from 30 different denominations.  The main ones were the Greek Catholic (25,000), Greek Orthodox (22,000), Latin (16,000) and Maronite of Lebanon (3,500)  Protestants numbered 2,500 and were from the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Lutherans.  Adherents of the Eastern Monophysite Churches including Armenian Orthodox, Coptic of Egypt, Ethiopian and Syrian Orthodox numbered 3,500.  Over 11,000 Christians live in Jerusalem.

By 1971, the Karaites, Jews that only accepted the literal law of the bible, numbered 10,000. They live in or near Ramla.
The Samaritans who only recognize the Torah (Pentateuch) and Joshua, numbered 230 around Holon near Tel Aviv, and 250 in Nablus (Shechem), home of their high priest.
Circassians live in the Galilee and near Haifa.   and number over 700 of the Ahmadi sect from Pakistan.
Druze numbered 38,000 and lived in 18 villages in the Galilee and on Mt. Carmel.  8,000 Druzes live on the Golan Heights.

The Arabs and the Druzes are Israel's largest minority groups.
1972:  458,500 minorities in Israel of which 73,000 live in Jerusalem.

Now in 2016, the Jewish population is 6,000,000 with 1.7 million Arabs.

"An example of other places, "The city of Athens in the 4th century BC had a population of 60,000 non-foreign free males.   Including slaves, women, and foreign-born people, the number of people residing in the city state was probably in the range of 350,000 to 500,000 people, of which 160,000 normally resided inside the city and port.

The population of Sicily is estimated to range from about 600,000 to 1 million in the 5th century BC. The island was urbanized, and its largest city alone, the city of Syracuse, having 125,000 inhabitants or about 12% to 20% of the total population living on the island.

Greek historian Diodorus Siculus estimated that 7,000,000 inhabitants resided in Egypt during his lifetime before its annexation by the Roman Empire. Of this, he states that 300,000 citizens lived within the city of Alexandria.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the number of Jews living in the Land was estimated to be 10,000.  
When Israel was reborn on May 14, 1948, the number of the Jewish population was 650,000.  
"Now, 6,218,000 or 74.9% are Jews, and 1,719,000 or 20.7% are Arabs and 359,000 or 4.22% are other-Christians, etc." 

One thing we know for sure, and that is that 6,000,000 Jews were slaughtered on purpose in the Holocaust in the attempt of the Nazis to exterminate all Jews.

Today, there are 14,000,000 of us Jews  and we make up 0.02% of the world's population.

Resource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jewish_population_comparisons
Tanach, The Stone Edition, ArtScroll Series.

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