This page was last updated on 10 June, 2017.
Crossing the Red Sea
The previous page ended with the Israelites being trapped by Pharaoh. Many people assume Moses quickly lifted his staff, the waters immediately parted and the Israelites ran for their life over the now dry ground of the Red Sea.
That’s clearly not what Scripture says.
Exod 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; 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 divided.
The east wind that drove back the water blew a whole night before the Israelites started the crossing.
Pharaoh’s armies likely were still at some distance and camped for the night, preparing to launch an attack at dawn. There was no need to hurry for Pharaoh because the Israelites had no way to go. Maybe another reason Pharaoh waited was a sandstorm caused by the strong wind.
2. Wind direction is another location hint.
The Bible states it was an east wind but we must keep in mind that at that time only 4 directions (north, east, south, west) were used.
That means east in the bible can mean northeast, east, southeast and everything in between.
Later on this page I’ll show the wind blew along, not across the Red Sea.
As the picture below shows a semi-
3. Wind setdown
The duration and direction of the wind are two hints of what happened that night. It very likely was a natural phenomena called ‘wind setdown’.
Requirements of a wind setdown:
If the water was fairly shallow to begin with ‘dry’ ground may appear. If the wind stops the water rushes back with tidal wave force. So the drowning of Pharaoh’s troops likely must for a large part attributed to the force of the water.
At a certain point the water is driven back as far as possible. The wind blowing additional hours won’t change that. This is the so called ‘steady state’; the water is pushing equally hard back as as the wind blows.
Below some articles and video’s on the subject. While I agree with the mechanism (it’s cold hard science), I don’t agree with the location.
4. The parting of the Red Sea
When Moses lifted his staff a favorable wind, see section 1, started blowing over the length of the Red Sea. That would push the water away over night.
Exod 14:22 And the children of Israel went into the middle of the sea on the dry ground: and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand, and on their left.
The Biblical wind setdown is special because it’d not just pushing away the waters but it’s piled up at the left and the right of them.
According to scientists Doron Nof and Nathan Paldor the crossing is a scientific possibility.
The left of the picture is NNE and the right is SSW.
The bump in the middle of the picture is ridge that crosses the Gulf.
Left and right stands water. When the wind suddenly stopped the water rushed back and swept Pharaoh's army away.
We found that even a storm of moderate strength with wind speeds of about 20 m/s could generate a sea level drop of about 2.5 m and a receding shoreline of roughly 1.2 km along the northern edge of the gulf.
By and large, these high values are a result of the particular geometry of the Gulf of Suez (which is a rather long, narrow, and shallow body of water) and the nonlinearity of the equation governing the motion. Such variations will obviously allow crossing in an area that was covered with water a day earlier.
Above a quote from the same article. Their research is based on The Gulf of Suez but it shows the concept. The numbers may not apply exactly to the Gulf of Aquba but likely te numbers are similar.
The water drops 2.5m (8.2ft) over and area of 1.2km (0.8mile). That’s wide enough for the people to cross and deep enough to drown.
5. The location
See the map on the last page of this site.
That may need some further clarification.
The crossing was, what’s now dry land. In times past the water level was higher than it is now. ~100 year ago coral was still dying because of the dropping water level.
Historical texts record that the Romans built a town called Aila at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba to act as a port for ships. The ruins of Aila are still there. However, they are now several hundred yards north of where the water in the Gulf of Aqaba ends. This is clear evidence that 2000 years ago the water in the Gulf of Aqaba was higher and came further north.