Page images
[graphic][merged small]


1 God instructeth the Israelites in their journey. 5 Pharaoh pursueth after them. 10 The Israelites murmur. 13 Moses comforteth them. 15 God instructeth Moses. 19 The cloud removeth behind

the camp. 21 The Israelites pass through the Red sea, 23 which drowneth the Egyptians. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before 'Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?

6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:

And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.

8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.

9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.

10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.

11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?

Josh. 24. 6. 1 Mac. 4. 9.

3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.

4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.

5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we

1 Num. 33. 7.

wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

13 ¶ And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no

more for ever.

you, and

14 The LORD shall fight for shall hold your peace. 15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.


19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen,

24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sca; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were 5 divided.


25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.

27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as 'one of them.

29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

31 And Israel saw that great 10 work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

5 Josh. 4. 23. Psal. 114. 3.
9 Psal. 106. 11.

3 Chap. 6. 9. 4 Or, for whereas 10? have seen the Egyptians to-day, &c.
7 Or, and made them to go heavily. 8 Heb. shook off.
Verse 2. "Turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon."-There is not a
more minute specification of locality in the Bible than that which the text affords; and one is led to think that it was
thus carefully pointed out, in order to render it manifest that the passage could not there be effected by less than a
miracle; or, in other words, to preclude those attempts to account for it on natural grounds which have actually
resulted from the memory of the spot thus distinctly denoted being now lost. Not one of the names now exists. It
perhaps throws some light on the passage to read the word Pi-ha-hiroth not as a proper name, but as a descriptive
epithet. Hiroth means a valley, a confined pass, or a defile among mountains; pi signifies "mouth," or "entrance;"
ha is merely the definite article the, or of the: so that we may read the word Pi-hahiroth, as "the entrance of the valley
or pass." It would thus denote, as we may take it, the pass or strip of land along the western shore of the gulf, between
the mountains which skirt the sea, and the sea itself. It is certain that they crossed from the western to the eastern shore ;
and as this valley between the mountains and the sea commences nearly at the extremity of the gulf, the Hebrews must
have encamped along its "mouth" or entrance, if the sea were nearly then as it is now; and there they would have been

6 Psal. 78. 13. 1 Cor. 10. 1.Heb. 11. 29. 10 Heb. hand.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]


effectually "shut in" between the mountains, the desert, and the sea. The same result arises if we read Pi-hahiroth as a proper name, and apply it to the mountains which confine the valley at its entrance, the present name of which, Addagi, "Deliverance," may be supposed to commemorate the passage of the Red Sea, and therefore to have superseded some previous name. This opinion is the more probable, because the flanks of the Hebrew host would have been exposed to the Egyptians whilst marching into the sea, if we place the point of passage any where above this valley, in which the mountains protected the right flank, and the sea the left. Here their rear only would be exposed, and accordingly we read only of their rear being protected by the pillar of cloud, which implies that their flanks needed no protection. We also think that it has not been sufficiently considered that an encampment consisting of about two millions of people must have covered a vast extent of ground; and wherever they encamped so as to face the sea, their camp must have stretched along the shore for the extent of several miles, particularly if they were hemmed in between the sea and the mountains as we would conjecture; and if then-when thus stretched out in one extensive line from north to south along the western shore of the gulf-the southern part of the body commenced the move into the dried passage in the sea, it necessarily follows that the point of passage must have been many miles below the termination of the inlet. This argument is conclusive to our minds that, consistently with their encampment along the sea coast, they must have passed many miles to the south of the end of the gulf, wherever the gulf then ended; and even if it terminated much more to the south than at present, we are still disposed to consider this position of the camp as the most probable, because most consistent with the "shutting in," the "entangling," and the other circumstances, which imply that, when the Egyptian host took them in the rear, their only way to escape was through the sea. As we allow that the extensive line of the Hebrew host may have had its northern part little if at all below the end of the gulf, it may be asked why we make the southern instead of the northern part of the body first enter the sea, since the gulf is more shallow and narrow in the north. The answer is, that it is evident the van in this miraculous passage was led by that part of the body most distant from the Egyptian army; and as Pharaoh, before he set out, was aware of their position, and prepared to take advantage of it, he must in common sense have come upon the north or north-western part of the body, in order to hem them in between the sea, the mountains, and the wilderness; for if he had, as some suppose, approached them on the south through the valley of Badea, he would have left open their retreat northward from their unfavourable position, and so have wilfully given up the advantage which it seemed to offer. To this argument for the passage being a good way below the termination of the Gulf of Suez, we may add the common one, that, had it been otherwise, it would more naturally have occurred to the Egyptians to ride round and intercept the Israelites as they came out of the sea than to pursue them into the sea itself. And besides this, at the point where the passage did take place, the sea must have been broad enough for the rear of the Egyptian army to have entered before the van had emerged, because it is said that not one escaped; and moreover, to enable the vast Hebrew host to pass in part of a night, the opening must have been so wide that there could have been no water on the left hand at all, as we are assured there was, unless the passage was effected at a good distance below the gulf.

After all this, we are not at all prepared to indicate any particular locality as that at which the passage took place, because we do not know how far the gulf formerly reached to the north. Let us then mention the different opinions. Lord Valentia carries it more to the north than any other writer-considerably to the north of Suez, but he does so on

the understanding that the gulf then extended at least twenty-five miles more northerly than at present, so as to comprehend the present salt marshes. Eusebius relates, after ancient traditions, that the Hebrews crossed the gulf at Clysma. This is probably no more than one of the Arabian traditions which fixes the transaction at Kolsoum. These names and places are thought to be identical; but this identity has not been placed beyond doubt. Now Clysma is placed by many geographers at the head of the gulf, a little to the north of Suez, and just at that place the inhabitants point out some ruins as the Kolsoum of former times, and believe that the Israelites passed there. Niebuhr adopts this opinion, and has been followed by many other writers. The narrow arm of the sea that runs up here is now fordable at low water, but not at the flood tide, and in winter after the rainy season the low grounds to the northward for several miles are inundated and impassable for camels. The hypothesis of Lord Valentia seems rather too gratuitous; and to that of Niebuhr it may be objected, that so far as it is built upon tradition it is of little value, because Clysma has been fixed in so many (at least four) different places as to render it probable that the name was not a proper but a generic denomination applied to different towns, or else that there were at least two different, perhaps successive, towns called Clysma, one the parent of the other. Part of this remark applies to the supposed identical Kolsoum. The different Arabian geographers speak of Kolsoum in such a way as to show that there were two towns of that name, one at the extremity of the gulf, near Suez, and the other more than a degree south of Suez, at the foot of a mountain which continues to bear the name to this day. M. Gosselin cites one geographer who expressly says that there were two towns called Kolsoum; and, when the traditions speak of a passage as having taken place in the neighbourhood of Kolsoum, it is clear that they mean the latter place, from the fact that the bay on the opposite coast has its name (Birket-el-Faroun) from the drowning of the Egyptians, and that this part is more generally pointed out than any other as the place where the Israelites crossed the gulf. (See the end of this note.) And if tradition and local report did undoubtedly point to the place near Suez, the testimony would be worth little. Niebuhr himself observes that all the inhabitants of the coast claim the miracle for their own neighbourhood; and whenever a traveller makes inquiries on the subject, he is told that the Israelites passed the sea just at the point where the question is asked. Their more spec fic traditions refer to Ain Mousa, the valley of Badea, Wady Gharendel, Birket Faroun, and Tor. If therefore we allow the bare possibility of Niebuhr's hypothesis, it can only be on the ground of his concession, that the extremity of the gulf was more to the north, and wider and deeper than at present; but even allowing this, we should still feel at liberty to look more to the south for the place of passage, for the reasons we have already assigned.

Let us then proceed down the valley between the mountains and the sea, which we have supposed the Israelites to have taken. At the distance of about fifteen miles below Suez, occurs Ras (Cape) Addagi projecting into the sea, and which is formed by the termination of a cluster of hills about five miles in length, which now interpose on the left between the valley and the sea, so that the road in this part has mountains on either hand for several miles. Was the entrance of this defile the mouth of the Hiroth, or pass, before which the Hebrews encamped? The cape on the opposite coast is called Ras (Cape) Moses, and near this are Fountains of Moses (Ain Mousa), which one of the most distinct traditions points out as the scene of the miracle. The claims of Ain Mousa above Suez in the present, and indeed in any, state of the gulf, are, that if the Israelites crossed here, they must have been more completely "shut in" than at Suez, between the mountains, the wilderness, and the sea-that it is far enough from the bottom of the gulf to account for the Egyptians not going round to intercept them as they came up from the sea-that the waters being here deeper and broader, the miracle would be the more conspicuous and unquestionable, and at the same time the waters would be the more adequate to overwhelm the Egyptian host; while still the channel is not too broad for the Hebrew host to pass through in a single night. It is true that Dr. Shaw does not think the water deep enough even here; but there is every reason to conclude that the water was deeper formerly than at present, and the same objection certainly applies with still greater force to the passage at Suez. Let us however proceed southward, and having traversed the pass, and continued our course along the shore, we come to an expansion or bay, forming the mouth, towards the Red Sea, of a valley or opening in the mountains, which is here called Badea, and also Wady Tyh, or "the Valley of Wandering," and which, under the various names of Wady Ramlia, Derb Towarek, Wady Jendeli, &c. extends from the Nile to the Red Sea, and through which a canal of communication seems to have formerly ran. Was this the Hiroth, or pass, before or in the mouth of which the Israelites encamped, and from which they afterwards made their famous passage? Many good authorities are of this opinion; and it deserves to be mentioned that D'Anville and Major Rennel concur in fixing the town of Clysma at this spot. Certainly no body of men could be more effectually shut in than in this bay of Badea. There are many indications that an arm of the sea, now filled up, stretched a considerable way into the opening at this place, and must have prevented all further progress to the south; and if such progress had not been thus prevented, it would be so by the mountains of Ghobebe, which bound the bay and valley on the south, and which, with their continuations, stand out so close to the sea as to preclude the continuation of the march along the shore. There was therefore no retreat but through the sea, or back to Egypt through the valley; and, on the hypothesis that there was then, as at present, a practicable road through this valley between the Red Sea and the Nile, we hazard a conjecture, that it was Pharaoh's intention to drive them back before him through this valley. As names and traditions, on one side of the sea, point the egress of the Hebrews at Ain Mousa-as, on the other side, the same authorities place the ingress at Badea-and as it is necessary to assume that the opening was most extensive, we might hazard a conjecture that the whole opening extended from about Ain Mousa to opposite Badea. We must again repeat, however, that not the least stress is to be laid on the unsupported traditions of the natives. Ain Mousa is only one out of many places which they indicate as the point of passage. Perhaps the place which both Arabian and Egyptian traditions most strongly indicate is the large bay called Birket Faroun (Pharaoh's Pool), about the 29th parallel of latitude. The waters of this bay are in continual commotion, which the natives think to be occasioned by the unquiet spirits of the drowned. But the passage cannot reasonably be fixed here or any where else below Wady Gharendel at the lowest for not only does the gulf from thence downward become too wide to have been crossed by such a body as the host of Israel in one night, but the shore, which till thereabout is low and sandy, then becomes rocky and mountainous, while that on the Egyptian side is still more impracticable-affording a convenient place neither for the ingress nor egress of such a multitude. Upon the whole, we should think the claims of Ain Mousa far preferable to those of Suez, and those of Badea at least equal to those of Ain Mousa. The statements in this and other notes cannot well be appreciated without a reference to carefully prepared maps; and we may take this opportunity of announcing, that in order to render the present work the more complete, a set of Bible maps will ultimately be prepared. That they are not at present issued, is in order that they may receive the full benefit of the investigations which the progress of the work will render necessary.


7. "Chariots."-In the note to Gen. xlv. 19, we have remarked on the early existence of wheel-carriages in Egypt. That country was famous for those vehicles in very ancient times; and that they ultimately fell into disuse is probably owing to the number of canals which were progressively cut, and which in the course of time so intersected the country as to render it no longer suitable for such conveyances. Goguet ingeniously traces the origin of the idea of wheel

[ocr errors]


carriages from sledges, which must have been first invented, The use of rollers must also have been early discovered and when men had both these inventions they began to reflect, that if they could join the sledge to the rollers, without impeding their turning round, it would greatly lessen their labour. By these steps they at last came to the discovery of wheels. At first the wheels were without spokes, as they still are generally in those parts of Asia where wheelcarriages are in use, being made of one solid piece of wood. The ancient Egyptians, as well as the Persians, had spoked-wheels to their chariots, as appears from existing paintings and sculptures. Goguet is of opinion that riding in carriages preceded the practice of mounting a horse. Ancient monuments and historical notices certainly favour his hypothesis; and, as he observes, to guide the simple cars which were then in use must have been a much less complex and difficult art than that of riding on horseback. That in ancient history we read so much of chariots, and little or nothing of cavalry in battle, Goguet thinks to be accounted for by the fact that a horseman has his attention divided between the care of fighting and that of managing his beast; whereas, a warrior in a chariot can give all his attention to fighting, the charge of the horses being consigned to a charioteer. This is true generally; but it is remarkable that it does not apply to the Egyptians. In all the plates from Egyptian drawings which we have examined, we do not remember to have seen charioteers employed to guide the chariot. The warrior himself, standing erect in his chariot, and in full warlike action, has the reins lashed around his waist, and seems to control the horses by the movements of his body. The Egyptian chariot is commonly a small box mounted on two low wheels. There are commonly two horses to each car, and the animals are adorned with rich trappings, and bear plumes of feathers on their heads. The warrior, who has scarcely more than standing room in his car, is in most cases furnished with bow and arrows, or a javelin; but sometimes has in his hand a weapon not unlike a reaping-hook, but not so much curved. The chariot-warriors are sometimes represented as fighting on foot, while the heads of those they have slain are fixed in different parts of the car; and sometimes captives are represented as dragged along behind the chariot of the conqueror. These Egyptian paintings must be interesting to the reader of the Bible, as indicating the sort of treatment to which the Hebrews would have been subjected had not their Divine Protector interposed his miraculous aid.

9. "Horsemen."-The earliest armies were no doubt wholly composed of infantry. The art of using animals in war must have been for some time unknown; and savages, to this day, do not employ them. But, ultimately, when methods were found out of subjecting the stronger animals to the control of man, the idea of using the more spirited in war would naturally occur. Accordingly, in the histories of different nations, we read of various animals being thus employed-as horses, elephants, camels, dogs, and even lions; but we do not know at what period these customs were introduced. We know, however, from Gen. xlix. 17, that the art of riding on horseback was known in Egypt so early as the time of Jacob. Indeed, the profane historians represent this art as an Egyptian invention, attributing it either to Osiris himself or to his son Orus, which at least shows that they thought its invention in Egypt very ancient. It seems to have been an object of ambition with the kings of Egypt to keep a great number of horses. Diodorus mentions that the kings before Sesostris had a hundred stables each for 200 horses on the banks of the Nile, between Thebes and Memphis; and when the Hebrew kings were infected with a similar taste they got their horses, and also their chariots, from Egypt. Heeren is undoubtedly mistaken in saying that the Egyptians used horses only for chariots, not for riding, and that no mounted figures are represented in Egyptian paintings. We have not only the express testimony of Scripture for the fact, but that testimony is corroborated by paintings. See, for instance, Hamilton's Ægyptiaca, plate ix. That great attention was paid to the breeding of horses, and that Egypt had a valuable breed,

« PreviousContinue »