Were There Enough People to Build the Pyramids?

Since Egypt was established shortly after the Tower of Babel and since the early Egyptians built some of the most amazing structures mankind has ever seen, how could they have had enough people to build the pyramids? Wouldn’t such projects need tens of thousands of laborers?

That gives a window of about 150–250 years before Egypt began constructing the pyramids.

When people think of Egyptian pyramids, they usually think of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built by King Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty. However, the first stone pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, was probably built during the Third Dynasty between 2100 and 2000 BC, according to the revised Egyptian chronology proposed by archaeologist David Down (see Dating the Pyramids).

According to Archbishop James Ussher’s biblical chronology, the Tower of Babel was about 2250 BC. So that gives a window of about 150–250 years before Egypt began constructing the pyramids.

So who went down to Egypt? The founder of Egypt was Noah’s grandson Mizraim. As a matter of fact, the Hebrew word translated as Egypt in the Bible is Mitsrayim, which is also translated as Mizraim, Ham’s son (Genesis 10:6,13).

If we assume that Mizraim left Babel with a family of eight children (four boys and four girls), and if each couple averaged eight children every thirty years (which is probably quite conservative), in 150 years he could easily have had nearly 30,000 descendants. In 250 years, the population could explode to well over one million.

Genesis 11 indicates that the older generations remained alive throughout most of this time, living well over 200 years. Can you imagine the population of your own country today if all the people born since 1808 were still alive?

How many people were necessary to build a step pyramid? Well, with the right technology and resources, it would take far fewer people than most people think. There are several factors to take into account.

  1. The Egyptians likely had knowledge of building pyramids from the Tower of Babel.
  2. They surely had many labor-saving technologies (cranes, hoists, etc.).
  3. The Egyptians could have hired outside help or used slave labor (as is evidenced by the time of Joseph, Genesis 37–40), or both.

So we can see from Scripture and other evidence that the Egyptians could have had not only the population but also the technology and means for such great architectural feats.

Answers Magazine

April – June 2008

This issue focuses on the Tower of Babel and its impact on mankind, covering the event at Babel, skin shades, today’s languages, ape and human fossils, and much more. Don’t miss it!

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