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made the sea dry land, and the waters were upon their chariots, and upon their horse'divided.
men. 22 And the children of Israel went into 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand the midst of the sea upon the dry ground : over the sea, and the sea returned to his and the waters were a wall unto them on their strength when the morning appeared ; and right hand, and on their left.
the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD 23 | And the Egyptians pursued, and | poverthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the went in after them to the midst of the sea, sea. even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and 28 And the waters returned, and covered his horsemen.
the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host 24 And it came to pass, that in the morn- | of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; ing watch the LORD looked unto the host of there remained not so much as 'one of them. the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and L 29 But the children of Israel walked upon of the cloud, and troubled the host of the dry land in the midst of the sea; and the Egyptians,
waters were a wall unto them on their right 25 And took off their chariot wheels, | hand, and on their left. that they drave them heavily: so that the 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. against the Egyptians.
31 And Israel saw that great ''work which 26 | And the LORD said unto Moses, the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the people feared the LORD, and believed the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, | LORD, and his servant Moses.
5 Josh. 4. 23. 7 Or, and made them to go heavily.
Psal, 114. 3.
8 Heb. shook of
€ Psal. 78. 13. 1 Cor. 10. 1. Heb. 11. 29.
Psal, 106, 11.
10 Heh, hand,
Verse 2. • Turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between , through the Red Sea-and unless that passage through the Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon.'—The fol- sea took place at a point where there was nothing in the lowing verses 3, 4, clearly indicate the nature and object occasionally fordable character of the place, nothing in of this movement; and if these are sufficient to account the conditions of the ebb or flow, to raise a question for it as a movement, we have no need, and scarcely any whether the passage of the Israelites, and the ensuing right, to seek other designs. It is important to keep this destruction of the Egyptians, might not be something less declared design distinctly in view, because it has neces- than a miracle, or in any way a less signal miracle than sarily much influence upon all the considerations which the Scripture declares it to have been, or than it was felt bear upon the circumstances connected with the passage of to be by the neighbouring tribes and nations. the Red Sea, especially as regards the question, at what These conditions are not met by the position near Suez, point that passage took place. The avowed object, then, was where many writers have, since the time of Niebuhr, been to place the Israelites in a position of so much, and appa- disposed to place it; and nothing which has transpired rently insuperable, difficulty and danger, as should beget since, in the first edition of this work, we declared the a false confidence in the Egyptian king, and lead him grounds of that conviction, has in any degree tended to into a snare, where his punishment, and the deliverance | alter the view we were then led to take of this most diffwrought for the Israelites might produce the greatest cult question. It is true that Dr. Robinson has since been moral effect, and where the miracle by which the Lord pur on the spot, and has declared in favour of the passage at posed to obtain reverence for his own great name, would Suez. But he had long before written-more fully than be most signal and impressive. The moral effect would in his Researches-in advocacy of the same view, in the be two-fold—that of teaching the disheartened Israelites, American Biblical Repository for 1832; and his more who had not yet learned to trust their Almighty Guide, | recent testimony as a traveller does therefore add nothing the extent and sufficiency of that power which was exerted more to the weight of authority on that side than prefor their protection; and of inspiring the surrounding tribes viously existed, except that his impressions in viewing the and nations with such salutary awe, as might prevent them place corresponded with his pre-conceived opinion. Had from venturing to molest the Israelites in their march, this view come before us first in his Researches as the and as might facilitate their final conquest of Canaan. conclusion of a mind not pre-occupied, it would have All these objects were accomplished by this course, which been of more original value than can now be assigned to must at first have seemed so unaccountable; and human it. We said this in substance before, in a work we were pubingenuity has not yet been able to devise any other by lishing (Pictorial History of Palestine, p. 187-190), when which the same results might be realized. The mi the report of this learned traveller's principal conclusions racles in Egypt, great and striking as they were, had not was given to the world in the Journal of the Royal Ges. been sufficient for these effects, though they had sufficed to graphical Society for 1840. This remark haring been procure the release of the Israelites from the house of seen by Dr. Robinson at Berlin, he took occasion, when bondage. Under the influence of such considerations, we subsequently in England, to remonstrate with us thereupon; may see that the predetermined results would be imper and now, therefore, we gladly avail ourselves of this opporfecily subserved, unless the position into which they were tunity of explaining that, in originally making, and in now brought by this movement was one of peril and great reiterating this remark, we meant nothing incompatible difficulty-unless that position left them no means of with the highest respect for his rare ability and great escape but by a miraculous passage being opened for them | industry of research as a traveller, to whom the public is infinitely more indebted than to any one who has writ a still less tenable hypothesis, this writer remarks: The ten on the topography of Palestine since Reland. But we Cambridge mathematicians seem to think that the Israeldid, and do, mean to say, that a mind previously made up ites were enabled to pass over dry land by adopting a route on the subject, and committed to a particular view by the not usually subject to the influx of the sea. This notion is published results of an elaborate investigation, could not plausible in a merely hydrostatical point of view ,... but possibly come to the examination of the question, on the | it is difficult to reconcile this theory with the account spot, with that entire freedom from bias which alone could given in Exodus, unless we can suppose that the words gire it weight as a traveller's conclusion. His view as | “sea ” and “ waters ” are there used in a sense implya scholar stood on record, and its facts and arguments ing “ dry land.”' Of greater importance are the remarks were diligently collected and skilfully arranged. We of Dr. Olin, an American divine and traveller, who obgave them very careful consideration, and it was in pre viously had in view, when writing, both the facts and argusence of them that we reached a different conclusion. ments of Dr. Robinson and those of the Pictorial Bible, Ilis subsequent testimony in the same direction as a tra withholds his assent from the former, and re-produces the veller, appears to add little or nothing to the value of his latter, with the valuable corroboration of his own obserprevious testimony, as no new fact or argument is pro vation and experience. For this reason we shall quote duced: and he merely corroborates his former opinion, as the substance of his statement, as it will afford at once was to be expected, when no absolutely constraining evj. both our own previous arguments and the corroboration dence on the other side of the question could be produced. they have since received. We feel bound to point this out, because there are many In contending for the upper passage at Suez, Niebuhr who will be apt to regard Dr. Robinson's testimony as and others who adopt the same opinion, appear to be a final on such a question; and it is therefore important to good deal influenced by the fact that “ the miracle would bear in mind that the just respect to which his deliberately be less if they crossed there than near Bedea." At this formed opinion on this or any other kindred subject is en point the bay, or narrow part of the gulf, is about twotitled, must not blind us to the fact that this opinion is thirds of a mile wide. Opposite to the ancient site of essentially rather one of those very · theories and hypo Kolsum, less than half a mile above the town, are some theses of learned speculation,' which, he says, are far out small islands, where, at low water, persons sometimes weighed by accurate inspection and scientific investiga ford the bay, and with little difficulty if it is not agitated tion. We must confess, however, that in a matter avow by the wind. A short distance below Suez there is also a edly miraculous, we do not see what ocular inspection shoal, which prevents the passage of all but very small and scientific investigatiou' is to prove. The object of all vessels at low tide, and may sometimes be forded by men this scientific investigation, from Niebuhr downward, has on foot, though with more difficulty. It is at this narrow been to find some place where the ebb of the tide, assisted pass, and between or upon these shoals, that the passage by a wind, might bring the water so low as to afford the is presumed to have been made. It is reasonable to beIsraelites a safe passage : and hence a place has been lieve that a strong wind, concurring with the ebbing of fixed upon near Suez, where the ebb alone now leaves a the sea, would lay this shallow channel bare, and allow Darrow arm of the bay fordable. Since so accomplished an easy passage to the Israelites, a traveller as Niebuhr advanced this view, ordinary tra •The obvious objection to this hypothesis, arising from vellers, taking no particular interest in the question, have the shallowness of the water, which is inconsistent, it usually assented to his conclusion; but of those who have might be thought, with the Scripture narrative, is a good examined the matter as an interesting point of Scripture deal diminished by the presumed fact, sustained by present history, Dr. Robinson is almost the only one who has appearances, that the channel has been partly filled up, concurred in Niebuhr's view. The Abbé Sicard, who as well as diminished in width, by the encroachments of explored the whole district for the express purpose of the sand. The ancient canal, which was certainly conclucidating the questions connected with the Exode, is very nected with the head of the bay four or five miles south of decided against it; so is the Rev. T. Lieder, one of the Suez, does not now approach to the water. Without reGerman missionaries of the Church Missiovary Society garding these changes, and supposing the natural features in Egypt-a most competent observer, intimately ac of this locality to have been the same as at present, it quainted with the Arabic language-who devoted much must still have been very difficult, if not impossible, for attention to the question, and after spending several days the army of Israel, encumbered with infants and aged in the locality, concluded that the miraculous passage did people, as well as with flocks, to pass over in the face of not take place at Suez, but did take place eighteen miles their enemies; and the adoption of this theory is not farther down, at the place where the mouth of the valley necessarily to be considered as a negation of the miracle. of Bedéa, or Tawirah, opens upon the shore of the Red Still it will be admitted that the circumstances here Sea, indeed a remarkable fact, that of the travellers enumerated must have had a tendency to disguise its who have been in this quarter since the publication of the character and impair its effect. To the Israelites the Biblical Researches, nearly all have expressed views of miracle had been announced beforehand, and they would the subject opposed to those which the learned author ad- be likely to perceive and acknowledge the Divine interpovocates, and in accordance with those which have always sition. Not so the pagan Egyptians, who would not so seemned to us more compatible with the Scripture nar readily recognise anything beyond natural agencies. A rative. We may instance Mr. Borrer, who, in his Journey lower ebb and a stronger wind than usual were quite from Naples to Jerusalem, examines the question in some enough to drive back the water, and allow armies to pass detail, and produces reasons not easily answered against where camels and footmen could wade through in ordinary the ground taken by Dr. Robinson, and those who agree times. If, however, the channel was laid bare by the with him. Even the lively but not unobservant author of wind acting with the tide, is this opinion presumes, what Esthen, has a well-considered page or two on the same becomes of the “ wall of water on the right hand and on side. In reference to the view from which we dissent, he the left ?" There might have been water on the right says--" One among many objections to this supposition is, hand below, though hardly “ a wall” of water; but how that the time of a single ebb would not have been sufficient could these agents, acting naturally, produce another for the passage of that vast multitude of men and beasts, or “wall” or bulwark of water on the left hand above? We even for a small fraction of it. Moreover, the creek to the are hardly at liberty to consider this as merely figurative north of this point can be compassed in an hour; and in language, meaning only that while the channel was left two hours you can make the circuit of the salt marsh over free to the passage of the Israelites, some water remaining which the sea may have extended in former times. If in the upper parts of it near its head protected them against therefore the Israelites crossed so high up as Suez, the their enemies in that direction. Language much stronger Egyptians, unless infatuated by divine interference, might and savouring much more of the miraculous, is used in easily have recovered their goods from the encumbered the song of Moses, in the fifteenth chapter of Exodus. fugitives by making a slight detour.' With reference to “ With the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered I
together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea." "He made the waters stand as an heap." Ps. lxxviii.
• It should be observed that none but a northerly wind could co-operate with the tide in clearing the channel of water in the manner supposed, as the gulf stretches nearly from south to north.“ A strong east wind" was employed as the miraculous agent, which would act nearly at right angles with the movement of the tide, and directly across the strait. This seems not to have been an ordinary or periodical, which does not blow from the east, but a spe. cial agency called up for the occasion. According to the obvious import of verses 21 to 29, Moses advanced with the hosts of Israel to the sea, and stretched out his rod over the waters in their sight, upon which a strong east wind descended, and formed a channel, into which the Israelites immediately entered. This passage, which was made by a wall of water “ on the right hand and on the left," was kept open during the whole night by the continued action of the same agent. The Egyptians followed the Israelites " to the midst of the sea," where Moses again stretched forth his hand, “ and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared.” The entire night seems to have been consumed in the passage. The Israel. ites had reached the shore in safety ; but the Egyptians who went in after him had only reached the middle of the sea on the return of day, when God again “ blew with his wind, and the sca covered them.” It is hardly credible that so much time should have been consumed in crossing the narrow arm or strait near Suez, to accomplish which one or two hours would have been sufficient, making due allowance for the tardy movement of multitudes. Nor is it conceivable that the large army of the Egyptians, composed of chariots and horsemen as well as other troops, and forming, as they naturally would on a march, a very long train, should have been at once within the banks of so narrow a channel. The more advanced troops would
naturally have reached the opposite shore before the rear had entered the sea; and yet we know that all Pharaoh's chariots and horsemen followed to the midst of the sea, and, together with all the host that came into the sea after them, were covered with the returning waves.
• The several considerations which I have enumerated seem to me to form a very strong-1 incline to regard it an insuperable-objection to the theory that fixes upon the narrow arm of the gulf at Suez as the place where the passage was made. I am not able to perceive that the transit from the valley south of Ras Attaka is liable to objections as numerous and grave.
• The sea or gulf, at the place in question, is perhaps ten or twelve miles wide. The valley here expands into a considerable plain, bounded by lofty precipitous mountains on the right and left, and by the sea in front, and is sufficiently ample to accommodate the vast number of human beings who composed the two armies. The opposite shore is a part of the great wilderness of Etham, consisting here of an extensive plain, covered at present with a sandy incrustation, and white in many places with an efflorescence of salt. An east wind would act almost directly across the gulf. It would therefore be unable to co-operate with an ebb tide in removing the waters-DO objection, certainly, if we admit the exercise of God's miraculous agency in this transaction. The channel is wide enough to allow of the movements described in the account by Moses, and the time, which embraced an entire night, was sufficient for the convenient march of a large army over such a distance of twelve miles,
Other travellers, not feeling the same degree of interest in the scriptural narrative, have nevertheless expressed strong opinions against Niebuhr's conclusion. Thus Turner, a very competent traveller, who had Niebuhr's book with him, and compared his plan on the spot, speaking of the celebrated arm of the Red Sea' which has been so often mentioned, says • Niebuhr brings this arm, in his
map, round to the north-west, whereas it is strictly con Clysma has been fixed in so many (at least four) different fined to the north. On this let us remark that Professor places as to render it probable that the name was not a Robinson in his first tractate on this subject, argued upon proper but a generic denomination applied to different the basis which this faulty plan of Niebuhr afforded. The towns, or else that there were at least two different, perhaps east wind of Scripture he first makes a 'north-easť wind, successive, towns called Clysma, one the parent of the other. and then shews that, from the peculiar form of the arm Part of this remark applies to the Kolsum, in which the of the sea (as represented in Niebuhr), such a wind ancient Clysma is supposed to be found. The different would drive back the waters, etc. What is more extra Arabian geographers speak of Kolsum in such a way, howordinary is, that after having been on the spot, he uses ever, as to shew that there were two towns of that name, the same argument, with the same reference to Niebuhr's one at the extremity of the gulf, near Suez, and the other plan. Now it will be obvious from the inspection of any more than a degree south of Suez, at the foot of a mountain good map of the gulf,' (and here is a foot reference, espe which continues to bear the name to this day. M. Gossecially Niebuhr's') that a strong north-east wind, acting lin cites one geographer who expressly says that there here upon the ebb tide, would necessarily have the effect were two towns called Kolsum; and, when the traditions of driving out the waters from the small arm of the sea.'
speak of a passage as having taken place in the neighbouretc. Now, in point of fact, it appears from any good hood of Kolsum, it is clear that they mean the latter place, map that a north wind only could have that effect; and from the fact that the bay on the opposite coast has its name although Scripture might perhaps call a north-east wind! (Birket-el-Faroun) from the drowning of the Egyptians, an 'east wind,' it certainly would not call a north wind | and that this part is more generally pointed out than any an east wind. Again, Turner says:- Those who reduce other as the place where the Israelites crossed the gulf.
e passage of the Israelites to a mere maneuvre of Moses. If the reader reverts to the text placed at the head of contend that the army passed over this arm at the begin this note, he will notice that there is scarcely so minute a ning of the flow of the tide, which, so well had he timed specification of locality in the whole Bible as that which it, overwhelmed the ignorant or incautious Egyptians. it affords. One might almost think that the site was thus The theory is improbable, if not impossible, for the fol. carefully pointed out in order to render it manifest that lowing reasons: It cannot be supposed that Moses knew the passage of the gulf could not at that spot have been the ebb and flow of the sea here better than the Egyptians, effected by less than a miracle; or, in other words, to or that the Egyptians would have been so imprudent as preclude such attempts to account for the facts on natural to incur the risk of drowning by following him through grounds as have actually resulted from our being no the water, when (having over his timid and fugitive com longer able to recognise, by the given names, the spot they panions the advantage of horses and chariots), they could were intended to indicate. No trace of these names now so easily have overtaken them by going only six miles exists in the locality, but some inferences may be built round. The Mohammedans and Greeks in these quarters upon the signification of the names. With respect to believe that Moses passed near Suez, but do not do away 7700 'Ppi ha-Hiroth, it is to be observed that the word the miracle by placing the passage over this arm of
pi, mouth, is separate in the original, and the il ha the sea. Passe pour cela. Their authority is not very
| is the definite article. Now as proper names carry no ardecisive.' Journal of a Tour in the Levant, ii, 411. To the last remark we may add, that the Moslems and Greeks ticles in the Hebrew, niin hiroth, or rather chiroth, must along this eastern gulf of the Red Sea fix the point of be regarded not as a proper name, but as a substantive : transit at several other places; every one being disposed and we must search for its meaning accordingly. It indi. to assign it the locality nearest to his own abode. The cates something cutting deep into the land ;' hence a weight of their evidence, and even of their traditions, valley, defile, or pass : hence also, mouth of a river, a bay would fix it at Birket el-Faroun (Pharaoh's Bay), which is of the sea. Thus we reach the signification before the much further down than we should ourselves like to place mouth of the pass,' or 6 of the bay;' both of which senses it. The intermediate tradition, which fixes the passage suit admirably the expansion by which the important pass as from near Ras Attaka (Deliverance) across to Ayun of Bedéa (which extends from the valley of the Nile to the Mousa (Fountains of Moses), better deserves attention, Red Sea), opens upon the latter. We are not unaware that not only as having a double tradition in its favour, em some regard the word as Egyptian. But the other names bodied in long-standing names on both sides the gulf; are not Egyptian ; and there is no reason why this alone but as being free from the objections applicable to any should be so. We have made it a rule to ourselves not to place further down or higher up; and where all the con- regard any word or name as foreign, which affords a sufditions of the Scripture narrative are met. Lower downficient and satisfactory sense in Hebrew; and in this place it could not be, because on the other side of the valley of the words do not seem to form a proper name at all. Bedéa the rocks stand out towards the sea, and the beach Migdol indicates a fortress or citadel ; and where was narrows in such a manner, as to block up the further pro- there more likely to be a fortress than near the mouth of gress of a large host in that direction, so that they were this important pass which led into the very heart of Egypt? literally, when they had come so far, shut in by the As to Baal-Zephon, 'over against' which they were to enland, not only on the right flank (by the Attaka moun- | camp, it seems likely that it was some marked site or tains) but in front. Higher up it might be. We are not object (not necessarily a town) on the other side, that is the disposed to contend dogmatically for any particular point. | eastern side of the gulf, so that encamping on the western Our argument is, that it was not among the shoals and ebbs shore, they had Baal-Zephon on the other side in front of at Suez; but we do not say where it was: and our com them. The text will, however, equally allow that Baalplaint is against those who venture so positively to fix Zephon should have been upon the ridge of hills which This uncertain site to a spot open, both on religious and
wall in the mouth of the valley of Bedeah on the south, historical grounds, to so much objection.
and which would have been before,' or in front of, the A great deal has been made of the statement of Euse Israelites as they came down from the north. We do not bius, that the transit took place at Clysma, which has however build upon this explanation of names, though it been usually identified with the above-mentioned Kolsum, is interesting to observe their agreement with the view above Suez. If this were really the case, and if we received we have indicated. this as a tradition of the time, it is not clear that a tra The final result would be that the Israelites turned off dition two thousand years after the event, fixed by no at right angles to their former course, and marched hence writings or monuments, is entitled to much more credit along the western shore, between Mount Attaka and the than the identical Arab tradition which exists at the sea, till they came to the valley of Bedea, where they present day.
could proceed no further without going through the sea, But it may further be observed that the identity of Kol unless they returned to Egypt through the valley. Well sum with Clysma, or at least with the Clysma of Euse might Pharaoh exult when he found them in such a situ. bius, is exceedingly doubtful. The site of the ancient | ation, where it seemed quite in his choice to slay them by
the sword, or to drive them into the sea, or back through foot, in a chariot, upon a throne, or in a litter. The few the valley into Egypt.
figures which appear on horses almost all belong to fo4. · He shall follow after them.' –The facility with reigners. In fact war.chariots formed the cavalry of which Pharaoh received information from his scouts of Egypt, and cavalry in our sense of the term cannot be the movements of the Israelites, agrees with the circum said to have had existence in that country. We have to stances enumerated in reference to the position of his see what relation the declarations in the present chapter court in the note to ch. xii. 37, and the rapidity with bear to this result. Were the common view, under which which his forces were collected for the pursuit is remark riding on horses is superadded to chariots of war in this ably in agreement with other circumstances which remain and the following chapter, the right one, some suspicion to be indicated. Great part of the military force of Egypt against the credibility of the narrative might be created. was in fact concentrated in this region, as the weakest But a more accurate examination will shew that the sacred and most exposed frontier of the land. This we learn | writer does not mention Egyptian cavalry at all; that from Herodotus (ii. 158), who has expressly named the according to him the Egyptian army was composed only Egyptian nomes in which the military force was quartered. of chariots of war; and that he agrees in a wonderful The military tribe or caste was separated into two divi. manner with the native Egyptian monuments. And this sions, the Hermotymbi and the Calasiri, the distinction agreement is the more minute, since the second division between which is not known. The former were in the 1 of the army could not, in the circumstances of the barratime of Herodotus 160,000 strong, and the latter 250,000. tive, take part in the pursuit. As their increase or decrease was that of a tribe, not of a The first and principal passage is that in the present profession, these numbers imply nothing as to the number text, in which Pharaoh's preparations for war are fully in the time of Moses; and are mentioned merely to fix described. It consists first of chariots, and secondly of other particulars. These are, that four nomes and a half chariot warriors. Cavalry are no more mentioned than were possessed by the Hermotymbi within the Delta, and infantry. This passage, which is so plain, explains the twelve others by the Calasiri; while each of them had second, in v. 9, where the arrival of the same army in only one single nome in all Middle and Upper Egypt, sight of the Israelites is plainly and graphically described. namely, the districts of Chemmis and Thebes. In the The word rendered • horsemen' is literally riders, and Mosaic times,' says Heeren, the warrior caste first ap should, according to the connection of v. 7, mean riders in pears in Lower Egypt. The rapidity with which the the chariots, not riders on horses. If riders on horses Pharaoh there mentioned could assemble the army with were meant, where would be the chariot-warriors? They which he pursued the fugitive Israelites evinces clearly would not be omitted since the description is studiously enough that the Egyptian warriors of that epoch must minute, and since it is cvidently intended to accumulate have been quartered in just the same district in which circumstances as much as possible. Again, in v. 17, the Herodotus places them. Historical Researches, v. 134, riders' (translated as before • horsemen') correspond to 135.
the chariot-warriors of v. 7. If there were then chariot7. • Sir hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of warriors and riders, how strange it is that they are never Egypt.'- Whenever arinies are represented on the mouu spoken of together. In v. 23, the three constituent parts ments of Egypt, they are represented as composed of of the Egyptian warlike army are fully designated all troops of infantry armed with bow or lance, and of ranks the horses of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his riders. If of chariots drawn by two horses. Chariots also appear in riders were here to be understood in the common way of Homer as the principal strength of the Egyptian arnıy. horsemen, it would be surprising that horses and chariots Upon the monuments neither a king nor any other person are named, and that chariot-warriors, who are most in. of consequence is represented in any other way than on portant, are left out. Finally, the meaning of the pas