This page was last updated on 15 August, 2017.
It’s no exaggeration to state I focused very hard on a Gulf of Aqaba crossing and mt. Sinai in modern Saudi-
But there is a totally different view. The days, including the crossing, took place in or very close to the Nile delta. My views on the problems I have with such a location should be well known from reading the other pages. So I’ll try to minimize references and remarks showing the weakness in the “Delta Exodus”. Weird for sure, but it has some interesting parts. Maybe the best part is that we we don’t have to walk 93km/58mi a day :-
Unfortunately this view/route is far from complete.
It locates the crossing and that’s about it. A few unconnected bits of info after that. No mt. Sinai for example. I hope to add those things at a later point.
Maybe this crossing can be combined with other routes because all of them start at nearly the same point.
Many things will contradict what you likely have learned in the past. Many things presented have little proof to back it up. But combined a very logical picture emerges.
2. Goshen was west of the Nile near Cairo.
On the vast majority of (Biblical) maps Goshen is on the east side of the Nile river. I think there is enough proof to suggest it’s located on the west side of the Nile.
Ps 78:43 How he had worked his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan.
Gen 14:7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelled in Hazezontamar.
Num 21:20 And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks toward Jeshimon.
“place of departure”
1) an ancient city of lower Egypt called Tanis by the Greeks; located on the eastern bank of the Tanitic branch of the Nile; the capital of the Shepherd dynasty, built 7 years after Hebron and existing before Abraham and the dwelling place of the Pharaoh at the time of the exodus
1) field, land
1a) cultivated field
1b) of home of wild beasts
1c) plain (opposed to mountain)
1d) land (opposed to sea)
The Hebrew word translated as field has various meanings and sizes. For example it can be a small field for a handful of cows, but just as well a huge valley. Well know where the city named Zoan was located, but how big was it’s ‘field’?
Ps 78:43 How he had worked his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan.
The Psalm was written during a time when Zoan/Tanis was the capitol of Egypt.
The red and pink text show that the ‘field of Zoan’ is another name for Egypt.
And that’s correct; God showed signs (10 plagues) "throughout all the land of Egypt" (Zoan)
Except Goshen where the Israelites lived. That was spared from the plagues.
Ok, back on topic. Where in Egypt/Zoan was Goshen located?
So the Hebrews went out of Egypt, while the Egyptians wept, and repented that they had treated them so hardly. -
At the beginning of the Exodus they passed Letopolis which is west of the Nile. That places Goshen west of of the Nile.
In all honesty it must be said on some maps Letopolis is on the east side of the Nile. But that doesn’t really matter because while the location of many cities isn’t 100% certain some locations like Cairo are very certain. And that’s enough.
The part about Babylon needs some clarification. Josephus isn’t saying Babylon was built in the Nile Delta. He was referring to “Fort Babylon”. This fortress was built on the east side of the Nile. To clarify I’ll rephrase Josephus:
“On their travel trough Letopolis they saw the location across the Nile where in a later time Fort Babylon was built.”
Babylon Fortress is located in the southern part of modern Cairo. That’s where the Nile Delta starts. So they walked past what once would become Cairo across the Nile Click here for a map.
On this page (click) I explained the Exodus Pharaoh was a lower co-
Philo agrees with that:
the country beyond Memphis, where the palace of the king of Egypt is
All the pyramids are located west of the Nile and according to Josephus the Israelite worked on some of them. That makes it likely they lived on that side of the Nile.
they set them also to build pyramids, and by all this wore them out;
Gen 47:6 the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.
Gen 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
A picture starts to paint. The Israelites lived in:
Conclusion: The Exodus started in the Letopolis district west of the Nile across modern Cairo.
3. Succoth, a matter of grave importance
Num 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
Num 33:4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: on their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
The combination of the two verses, the red part, tells us the reason all Egyptians saw the Israelites leave because they were burying their dead.
Exod 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
Exod 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and you shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
The reason they went past Succoth is because they had to pick up Joseph’s bones.
So the Israelites were at a place to pick up their dead person and the Egyptians for burying their dead. That sound like a graveyard or similar.
In ancient Egypt the biggest graveyard was Saqqara. (See map)
Saqqara, also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world-
That’s actually a very important hint. A high ranking person not worshipping sun gods.
An engraving reads:
Djoser….Imhotep, Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Chief under the King, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary Lord, High Priest of Heliopolis, Imhotep the Builder, the Sculptor, the Maker of Stone Vases...“
That sounds just like Joseph. And yeah the grave was empty!
And with that we can accurately pinpoint Sukkoth; The Step Pyramid of Sakkara aka Pyramid of Dosjer. About 16km/10miles of Fort Babylon (Cairo) Click
For a lot more info linking Joseph to that pyramid read section 2 on this page.
Sakkara is derived from the Egyptian god of the dead Sokar. With a silent R it may have sounded like Succoth?
It is not at all surprising that the Hebrew word should mean tents. We have here an example of what is called 'popular etymology, ' a philological accident which constantly occurs in mythology and geography. A name passing from a language to another keeps nearly the same sound and the same appearance, but it undergoes a change just sufficient to give it a sense in the language of the people who have adopted the word. The new sense may be totally different from the original.
Naville, The Store City of Pithom and The Route of the Exodus
4. Etham, a stroll at the lake
And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
Exod 13:20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
Is this the Etham all the way east at the Gulf of Aqaba? If so how did they get there? Crossed the Nile by boat? Another problematic thing is that according to Josephus they arrived at BaalZephon on the third day.
on the third day they came to a place called Beelzephon, on the Red Sea;
If BaalZephon is near the Gulf of Aqaba they had 350km/219mi to cover in the remaining 2 days. Even more because those numbers are a straight line. Impossible.
Is there another Etham, is there another wilderness? Well the whole area except the shore of the Nile and Nile delta is wilderness. Dry hot land. The graveyard area was already is desertlike land. That’s quite logical actually because it’s a bad idea to have a graveyard flooded each year, plus all the fertile land was needed for farming.
The wilderness really starts a little more west at the mountain range. A very long mountain range.
Exod 13:18 but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.
Exod 13:18 And God led the people round by the way to the wilderness, to the Red Sea. And in the fifth generation the children of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt.
About? Round? What does that mean?
1) to turn, turn about or around or aside or back or towards, go about or around, surround, encircle, change direction
1a1) to turn, turn about, be brought round, change
1a2) to march or walk around, go partly around, circle about, skirt, make a round, make a circuit, go about to, surround, encompass
1b1) to turn oneself, close round, turn round
1b2) to be turned over to
1c) (Piel) to turn about, change, transform
1d1) to encompass, surround
1d2) to come about, assemble round
1d3) to march, go about
1d4) to enclose, envelop
1e1) to turn, cause to turn, turn back, reverse, bring over, turn into, bring round
1e2) to cause to go around, surround, encompass
1f1) to be turned
1f2) to be surrounded
They didn’t walk to certain location/stop in Etham. It’s more like they walked along the border/edge of Etham.
Compare it with “I walked about/along the river all day long”.
Another meaning is around. “I walked around the lake”.
So wilderness was more like a route instead of a destination.
Etham = “with them: their plowshare”
1) a stopping place for Israel during the Exodus
Part of Speech: noun proper locative A
Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: of Egyptian derivation
→ "boundary of the sea;" click
This lake has a circuit of three thousand six hundred furlongs [450 miles], or sixty schoeni, which is as much as the whole seaboard of Egypt. Its length is from north to south
The natives of the place moreover said that this lake which is in Libya, turning towards the interior of the continent upon the Western side and running along by the mountain which is above Memphis.
For its circumference, they say, is three thousand six hundred stades
600 furlongs = 600 stades = 720km/450 mi
Currently the lake is about 184km/114mi. Where were the remaining ¾ of that lake?
The discrepancies entirely disappear, if the changes of time and dynasty be considered. In place of confusion or contradiction there is an orderly series of natural alterations, substituting cultivated land for desert, or encroaching upon the lake with dykes to exclude its waters from the upper plateau.
An intelligent Ionian, relying upon the Herodotus in the fourth century, B.C., would have understood that a great reservoir of unequal depth, extended from northeast to southwest, nearly parallel with the Nile Valley, a short distance to the south and west of Memphis.
F.C. Whitehouse. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, 1882. p92-
It was therefore a foregone conclusion that between the parallels of Gizeh and Behnesa, the Nile and the 'Bahr Bela-
F.C. Whitehouse. Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 1882. P152
All the river had flowed close under the sandy mountains on the Libyan side, but Min made the southern bend of it, which begins about twelve and one half miles above Memphis, by damming the stream, thereby drying up the ancient channel, and carried the river by a channel so that it flowed midway between the hills. And to this day the Persians keep careful watch on this bend of the river, strengthening its dam every year to keep the current in; for were the Nile to burst its dikes and overflow here, all Memphis would be in danger of flooding."
An ancient Pharaoh named Min, altered the course of the Nile by damming a certain section. If those dams broke a large area flooded, like it did in the past. Not just the delta area but the banks over the river itself flooded too.
In summary the lake extended north to Memphis.
A canal was dug between the lake and the Nile. It acted as a buffer to reduce the flooding of the Nile and it was water buffer for irrigation. Irrigation means farming, so perhaps that’s where the Hebrew plowshare comes from.
Where did they go? What was their route?
According to Exo 13:18 they went to Lake Moeris, and God led them along the shore. Northward? Southward?
They started with traveling south from across Cairo to Succoth, to pick up Joseph’s bones.
Num 33:7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again to Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol.
Num 33:7 And they journeyed from Etham, and turned back to Pihahiroth, which is before Baal-
While this verse is about the next stop it’s still very revealing. They started their trip going south to the graveyard. Then they turned, meaning north. Turning again is going south again; but that’s for the next section.
Conclusion: Etham at the sea is a lake near a mountain range.
5. A sneak peek at the conclusion
I thought long about how to present the logic that leads to pinpointing all the things and places mentioned in the next stop. Taking it step by step leads to a tedious long and confusing story. So I decided to start with a short conclusion and fill in some details in later sections. Even that’s kept quite minimal because the real proof comes from combining all things
Moses also addressed himself to God, saying: "O Lord of the world! I am like the shepherd who, having undertaken to pasture a flock, has been heedless enough to drive his sheep to the edge of a precipice, and then is in a despair how to get them down again. Pharaoh is behind my flock Israel, in the south is Baal-
West: Pharaoh behind the Isrealites
South: The location of BaalZephon
If Israel camped between the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, then north and south would make sense. But they camped at the sea. That puts both of them in the west. That puzzled me for quite a while. I think it must be understood as this. Draw a westward line from the Israelite camping spot at the sea. That line passes between the sphinx and pyramid. North of that line is the pyramid and south of that line is the sphinx. So both where a little of the exact eastward line.
Is that wrong? A bit odd I would say, but not wrong. When Pharaoh’s army is stationed at the east does that mean exactly east? There is only place for one soldier exactly east. The rest of the frontline wouldn’t be exactly east. I think all agree Pharaoh’s army made a frontline so the Israelites had no way to escape. That frontline was line a half circle from north to west to south.
Compare it with the East Coast of the USA. Is it really in the east? Yes it is. But at the same time it’s not because some states are south and others far north. So my point is that it’s meant a rough indication. Not a scientific statement with 50 digit accuracy.
As I wrote the main strength of the locators is when they are grouped.
If the east-
Exod 14:11 And they said to Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness/desert/wasteland? why have you dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Most of the time the Israelites are near the Nile but (almost) all translations read wilderness, desert, wasteland or something similar that gives an impression of a place without water, just sand and rocks. Not something one would expect on the very fertile banks of the Nile. That riddle is easily solved by quoting the Strong definition of the Hebrew word.
1b) uninhabited land, wilderness
1c) large tracts of wilderness (around cities)
1d) wilderness (figuratively)
2a) mouth (as organ of speech
6. Return to Pihahiroth at the apex of the Nile Delta
Exod 14:2 Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall you encamp by the sea.
From where they lived they went southward to the Step Pyramid in which Joseph was buried. From there they went back northward along Lake Moeris. Now God orders them to go southward again to Pihahiroth.
Was one of their previous stops at Pihahiroth or is this a new destination?
6a. Geon = Nile = crossing point
Geon runs through Egypt
There is only one river in Egypt and that’s the Nile.
from the Red Sea, and then I turned southward, until I reached the Gihon River.
Dead Sea Scrolls 1Q20
The Gihon/Nile connects to the Red Sea. What is the Red Sea? The Nile Delta or the Mediterranean Sea? I think we can rule out the Mediterranean Sea because they didn’t cross that. But let’s look at the next quote.
Now the Egyptians tried to flee to their land in their chariots drawn by she-
And the Lord fought against the Egyptians also with the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. The former made the soil miry, and the mire was heated to the boiling point by the latter, so that the hoofs of the horses dropped from their feet, and they could not budge from the spot.
The anguish and the torture that God brought upon the Egyptians at the Red Sea caused them by far more excruciating pain than the plagues they had endured in Egypt, for at the sea He delivered them into the hands of the Angels of Destruction, who tormented them pitilessly. Had God not endowed the Egyptians with a double portion of strength, they could not have stood the pain a single moment.
The writing style is way over the top and contains folklore. But it’s clear it’s about the famous Red Sea crossing. It took place in the river Pishon; which as we saw above is the Nile.
Conclusion the famous crossing took place at the Nile.
Pihahiroth is something or someplace at the other side of the Red Sea. Fort Babylon is on the other side (east) of the Nile.
The ruins of Fort Babylon stand in an area that’s called ‘Maadi’ which means ‘crossing point’. In ancient times without bridges trading caravans took a ferry and crossed the Nile at that spot.
Below two ancient commentaries on the Exodus:
Targum Jerusalem about Exodus 14 , "And they shall return and encamp before the caravansaries of Hiratha
Targum Jerusalem, Numbers 33 , "they returned to the caravansaries of Hiratha
An inn in eastern countries where caravans rest at night that is commonly a large bare building surrounding a court <stopped for food and shelter at an unpromising caravansary situated on a small oasis
So while caravansary isn’t a synonym for ferry or crossing it’s quite obvious the ferry area would also be a caravansary.
Where the Bible has ‘Pihahiroth’ the Targums have Hiratha, Pum Hiratha and Mouths of Hiratha.
If I got that connection right, Pihahiroth was located about across the place where Fort Babylon would be built in later times. That’s across the Nile of south Cairo.
That’s around the spot the Nile opens it’s mouth and the Delta flows out of it.
Conclusion the famous crossing took place near modern south Cairo.
6c. Mouths of Hiratha, Pihahiroth and more
Pihahiroth, Pumey Hiratha,Pum Hiratha, PumHiratha, caravansaries of Hiratha, Mouths of Hiratha; all different names and spellings for the same word.
Those words were used by commentator who wrote in Aramaic. A close sister language of Hebrew. Why so many differences? Was the meaning lost in time? Just a matter of updated more modern spelling? Or isn’t it Hebrew at all?
Many questions, but I’ll do my best to muddle the waters even more :-
Strong: Place where sedge grows. (Egyptian)
Gesenius's Lexicon: The mouth of caverns. (If Hebrew but likely is Egyptian)
The main curl pit is:
ha means ‘the’ in Hebrew. I know of no Egyptian counterpart.
Please note that the Targum doesn’t translate Hiroth at all. As if it’s a name.
Perhaps it’s a combination of Hebrew and Egypian. Leaving four main possibilities (underlined is Hebrew, italic is Egyptian)
It’s closely related to a word meaning end, extremity.
All the above can be divided into two groups:
*=End isn’t really an opening but mouth is the end of a throat.
I think it’s the end of the river/canal dumping in the delta.
I’ve created enough riddles, let’s start solving them.
6d. Sounds like …
The scientific approach is analyze each letter. Compare with a mile high stack of reference works. But sometimes things are much easier. When you hear a word in a strange language you may not able to write it down in that language but you may be able to write it down in your own language the way it sounds. Phonetic spelling. So perhaps the key is to find an Egyptian word that sounds like Pi-
For a German, French of Swedish person the phonetic spelling would be different. Some sounds don’t even exist in all languages. That makes phonetic spelling even more difficult.
We even see similar problems in various English translations of the Bible. All translators know exactly what they are translating but sometimes, to over simplify, English doesn’t have the right letters to write down a Hebrew name.
My point is, if Moses would have been German his phonetic spelling would have looked very different. If linguists then assume it was ancient Egyptian or German the meaning of the word can will be way different.
When the prefix Pi (house) is added the pronunciation becomes Pekharti.
Josephus said that Pi-
A town on the right or east bank of the Nile which lay between Heliopolis and the river. All the remains of it which were above ground have disappeared, and its exact site is unknown; it seems, however, to have stood upon the ground now occupied by Fustat, or Old Cairo. Kher-
Hiroth = Kher-
When the prefix Pi (house) is added the pronunciation becomes Pekharti.
6e. War of the gods.
In the Egyptian creation myth the world began as a huge whirlpool near what’s now Cairo. Pagan gods like to fight and one of their battle was on that spot.
The fight between Horus and Set began on the 26th day of the month of Thoth, and lasted three days and three nights. It was fought in or near the hall of the lords of Kher-
Legends of the Gods
an offering was made for Atum in Khereha, the divine ennead in the house of the ennead. the cavern and the gods dwelling in it . . .His majesty proceeded to Heliopolis, upon that mount of Khereha,
James Henry Breasted, Ph.D. , in his book Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume IV, 1 906.
Jackpot! There was a cavern in mount Khereha.
So old Cairo:
*=A quick note about canal. In section 5 we saw that the Nile near the Delta has been moved by dams and walls. That makes that section of the river a canal.
The fight is over; no matter what Pi-
Conclusion #1: The spot of the most famous crossing of all times.
Conclusion #2: PihaHiroth is the Nile Delta apex and/or a cave of pagan god at that apex.
The location of Gihon is debated, but one of them is the Nile river. Avoiding a useless yes/no debate I’ll just state that Red Sea = Nile Delta and Gihon is Nile fits perfectly with the conclusion of this article.
7. Sphinx of the North
Great Sphinx with ‘Migdol’ in the background.
Remains of a cobra on the forehead Detail of the cobra
The Uraeus … is the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra (asp, serpent, or snake), used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority in ancient Egypt.
The Uraeus is a symbol for the goddess Wadjet. She was one of the earliest Egyptian deities and was often depicted as a cobra, as she is the serpent goddess. The center of her cult was in Per-
Please note that Lower Egypt = Northern Egypt = Nile Delta
Perhaps calling north lower sounds a bit odd. Lower is downstream, and the Nile flows from south (upstream) to north (downstream).
Another bit of proof is that Giza from “The Great Pyramid of Giza” means border. The border between north and south Egypt.
The nose was probably removed in the 8th century AD by a Sufi who considered the Sphinx a blasphemous idol, but all that can be said for certain, based on the tool marks that remain, is that it was deliberately pried off with chisels. The Sphinx's face, which in ancient times was painted dark red, was also decorated with a stone beard and displayed a sculpted cobra on its forehead, both of which have also fallen off. This may explain why for much of the Sphinx's later history, its face was interpreted as a woman's.
Baal means lord. A ruler. Often a god. And that sphinx is exactly that. She’s the ruler of the Northern Kingdom. Baal of the North. The Hebrew word for ‘north’ is ‘zephon’. The only ‘flaw’ is that the goddess is female and for that reason is Baalah is the feminine form of Baal click.
Perhaps the Israelites didn’t really care and named it after the Caanite stormgod they knew.
But why not simply use the names the Egyptians used? They surely must have known that name after living there for centuries.
The Greek Zeus is the Roman Jupiter. But also the Egyptian Amun. That’s just the way it is.
Accordingly, they retraced their steps to Pi-
Right in from of the Great Sphinx are the remains on a temple/sanctuary click
That’s another piece of the puzzle because both the sphinx and BaalZephon had a sanctuary.
Num 33:7 And they journeyed from Etham, and turned back to Pihahiroth, which is before Baal-
The face of the Sphinx faces the banks of the Nile where the Israelites were camping. It also approximately faces PihaHiroth
Conclusion: Great Sphinx of Giza = BaalZephon
8. The Great Migdol of Giza
As we shall see the Migdol is the Great Pyramid of Giza. Because it’s so close to the Sphinx mos of the things I said about the location of the Sphinx are valid for Migdol too.
Num 33:7 And they journeyed from Etham, and turned back to PihaHiroth, which is before Baal-
The Spinx was literally facing the Israelites with it’s face. The Pyramid does so with it’s entrance which faces east toward the sunrise. Toward the shore of the Nile the Israelites were camping.
The reason the Bible doesn’t mention pyramids and sphinxes is because those are names the Greeks gave them much later. They named the sphinx by it function BaalZephon worship and the pyramid by it’s looks. A tower.
Not much more to say about Migdol, that would just be rehashing stuff from previous sections. Perhaps you like this short 3 page article about the pyramid which according to some is a reference to Jesus -
9. Location summary
Let me start with asking forgiveness for my ‘artwork’… :-
The Israelites were trapped between the Nile in the east, and the lake in south.
Pharaoh’s army came from the south, Memphis. They went around the lake and Pharaoh stationed his troops in the west and north.
During the night the Bible states the east wind blew and the Pharaoh didn’t attack the Pharaoh brought sacrifices to in the sanctuary of BaalZephon.
That didn't help much as we all know :-
10. Papyrus delta
Exod 2:5 Now Pharaoh's daughter came down to the Nile to take a bath, while her women were walking by the riverside; and she saw the basket among the river-
The delta was, and still is, several smaller rivers sprouting from the main Nile river. Between those rivers was inhabited land.
Very likely Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the Nile a few miles more south near the palace in Memphis. So there was papyrus too.
10a. Land → River → Sea of papyrus
Egyptians called the Nile Delta ‘Land of Papyrus’. Rivers of papyrus would be more accurate because it grows in water. But that still doesn’t explain why the Hebrew ‘Yam Suph’ means ‘Papyrus Sea’ instead of ‘Papyrus River’ or “Papyrus Land’. I think the answer could be very simple. When they crossed the Nile Delta was flooded. So no more rivers and land between it but one big continuous body of water. A sea.
They said that when Moeris was king, the Nile overflowed all Egypt below Memphis, as soon as it rose so little as eight cubits Now Moeris had not been dead 900 years at the time when I heard this of the priests; yet at the present day, unless the river rise sixteen, or, at the very least, fifteen cubits , it does not overflow the lands
In 440+900= 1340BC Delta flooded when the Nile rose 3.7m or 12ft.
In Heodotus time, 440BC that was about doubled to about 7.2 or 24ft.
Lake Moeris was mentioned before. It was one of the waterworks of the king to control the flooding. The Exodus was about a century before Moeris so very likely it flooded even sooner back then.
Flooding is very dependant on the weather. If it rains a lot (upstream) the flooding will be more severe than in the more dry years. The Bible tells us the weather was very severe.
Exod 9:18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
Exod 9:33 Moshe went out of the city, away from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to ADONAI. The thunder and hail ended, and the rain stopped pouring down on the earth.
Rain and melting hail made the the Nile flood ‘out of season’; and turned the Nile Delta into a sea. That was fallout from God’s plague so to speak.
10b. Red Sea vs Reed Sea
“I proceeded by the Red Sea until I reached the extension of the Reed Sea which goes out from the Red Sea, and then I turned southward, until I reached the Gihon River....”
In section 6a it was proven Gihon River = Nile River.
Red Sea → Reed Sea → Nile river
The Reed Sea was part of the Red Sea.
There were only 2 bodies of water. Lake Moeris which is a sea. The Nile isn’t a sea, most of the time…
They pass by water not now by the channels of the river but over the midst of the plain (=delta): for example, as one sails up from Naucratis to Memphis the passage is then close by the pyramids, whereas the usual passage is not the same.
Herodotus. Book 2, p97
Herodus is saying when the Nile Delta is flooded ships sail over it. The flooded area comes close to the Pyramids. So during that period the Nile Delta can surely be classified as a sea.
10c. Isaiah states they crossed the Nile Delta
Isa 11:15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over with dry sandals.
Isa 11:16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
Tongue means delta. The delta originally had 7 streams.
Isa isn’t looking back but forward, but that’s of no importance right now. He states that God will make a highway of dry ground trough the delta as He did for Moses. So Isaiah clearly states they crossed the Nile Delta.
None of the other crossings have a delta and none are ever called Egyptian sea.
Sure it can be debated if the crossing at the Spinx is the river or the delta. Whatever the conclusion it’s close and not the Gulf of Aqaba or Suez, of the Bitter Lakes etc.
That completes the first part of their route. They are still in the heart of Egypt but Pharaoh is permanently removed from their list of problems.
11. Walled in at Shur
And he built before the land of Egypt. from one of its regions at the edge of Aswan, to the other, a wall contiguous to this end."
"That such a Wall was actually made by one of the Egyptian monarchs, we have positive proof from the vestiges which remain in different parts of the valley. It was not confined to Lower Egypt, or to the east of the Delta from Pelusium to Heliopolis, but continued to the Ethiopian frontier at Syene
But as if this natural defense had not been sufficient, the remains of an extensive wall, about twenty-
That a really long defensive wall! 960km/600 mi
Num 33:8 And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the middle of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.
Exod 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Shur means wall
Etham in Hebrew means “with them: their plowshare”
Etham in Coptic means ‘Boundary of the sea” -
Plowshare makes no sense in this context so I just ignore it..
A defensive wall at the boundary is very logical.
Please note this Etham is at the other side of the Nile. They didn’t return to the Etham mentioned in section 4.
So they crossed the Nile, walked a bit, arrived at the eastern border of Egypt which has 600+ mile long defensive wall reaching all the way south to Ethiopia. The eastern border also was protected by a mountain ridge.
Both the natural and manmade defensive wall kept enemies out but at the same time it stopped the Israelites leaving Egypt. This is quite important for the route they took. Being trapped between the wall and the Nile their only way to go was south or north.
Exod 13:17 Now after Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not take them through the land of the Philistines, though that was near: for God said, If the people see war, they may have a change of heart and go back to Egypt.
That rules out going to the north because road to land of the Philistines was there.
That forces a southward route. Roughly southward because they followed a road that wasn’t straight. The contours of the mountains even forced them all the way back to the Nile.
You may wonder why I so boldly claim they followed a road and not whatever other route. The perfect route is always a tradeoff between distance and ease of travel. The road was flat and for those times in often very good condition. Shortcuts often meant climbing and (very) bad walking conditions, that not only wears them out but also greatly slows them down. So the shortcuts may actually take longer. Not to mention that carts aren’t suited for off-
Things didn’t change much since then. Just take a look at the map of the wilderness outside the big inhabited area’s, asphalt highways just zigzag trough the mountains. Often ancient routes. Sure the hyper expensive technology to lay straight roads by drilling tunnels and building bridges exists and is used at times. But mostly the roads zig zag trough valleys.
So it boils down to this: Only 2 routes existed that could handle the volume of the Exodus. Moses was forced to take, the ancient highways so to speak. And only one has the camping spots mentioned in the Bible.
Conclusion: The verses about Shur and Etham are best understood as “They followed the eastern Egyptian border southward”.
Exod 15:22 And Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Exod 15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
1. When the Hebrews had obtained such a wonderful deliverance, the country was a great trouble to them, for it was entirely a desert, and without sustenance for them; and also had exceeding little water, so that it not only was not at all sufficient for the men, but not enough to feed any of the cattle, for it was parched up, and had no moisture that might afford nutriment to the vegetables; so they were forced to travel over this country, as having no other country but this to travel in. They had indeed carried water along with them from the land over which they had traveled before, as their conductor had bidden them; but when that was spent, they were obliged to draw water out of wells, with pain, by reason of the hardness of the soil. Moreover, what water they found was bitter, and not fit for drinking, and this in small quantities also; and as they thus traveled, they came late in the evening to a place called Marah, which had that name from the badness of its water, for Mar denotes bitterness. Thither they came afflicted both by the tediousness of their journey, and by their want of food, for it entirely failed them at that time. Now here was a well, which made them choose to stay in the place, which, although it were not sufficient to satisfy so great an army, did yet afford them some comfort, as found in such desert places; for they heard from those who had been to search, that there was nothing to be found, if they traveled on farther. Yet was this water bitter, and not fit for men to drink; and not only so, but it was intolerable even to the cattle themselves.
The wells they found along the way, had to be dug on the spot. And all those wells were bitter. And that was before reaching a bitter well named Marah.
What we learn from this if we read ‘well’ in the Bible we can’t assume it readily available water. Often those wells didn’t exist before they were made by the Israelites. And that makes locating them very hard because they could have dug at a thousand spots.
Marah was a place with a name so unlike the previous wells this one was visible without the need for digging.
13. The wet sand of Elim
Exod 15:27 And they came to Elim where there were twelve water-
That sounds great. 12 springs and even more palm trees. Not according to Josephus.
3. And now removing from thence they came to Elim; which place looked well at a distance, for there was a grove of palm-
So Elim is an area with 12 moist places and small palm trees. While not much it’s quite unique in that dry region. Nothing with a name similar to Elim is on any map. But there are a few hints from tradition. Places with names like ‘Canal of Moses’, ‘Mosque of Moses’, a stone with the ‘Footprint of Moses’, are all found in a fairly small area.
In that same area is a place with an area of about 4 km2 / 1.5 mi2. It has palm trees and 12 springs that are no more than moist places like Josephus described it.
14. Knead our daily bread in Alush
Num 33:13 And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush
Alush means ‘I will knead’ or ‘I will knead bread’.
This can mean they camped for a while and made bread for several days or something like that. But in ancient and more recent times there were public bakeries near trading and shipping routes. Flour could be bought there. Ovens and space could be rented and large quantities of bread could be baked for a ship’s crew or a caravan.
Now, it was in the bond that our crew were to be allowed twenty-
Siut, modern Asyut I think is across the Nile. So that couldn’t have been the place the Israelites went. Unless they camped across Siut.
15. Burning and lust
Num 11:1 Now the people were saying evil against the Lord; and the Lord, hearing it, was angry and sent fire on them, burning the outer parts of the tent-
Num 11:2 And the people made an outcry to Moses, and Moses made prayer to the Lord, and the fire was stopped.
Num 11:3 So that place was named Taberah, because of the fire of the Lord which had been burning among them.
Num 11:33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.
Num 11:34 And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
Kibroth hattaavah means graves of lust.
From the above it’s clear the people were complaining, God got angry and killed many. They were buried near the place they camped.
But what kind of of plague was it? Pestilence, small pox, something else.
Does “God burning among them” has a symbolic meaning or a literal one.
Is there and connection between the plague and the burning besides that it both involved God?
There is an interesting theory. People were literal burned to ashes, put in urns and placed in catacombs
we arrived at the low hills of Wady Girfe, which lie between Gebel Kolzim and the sea.
a small knoll containing eighteen excavated chambers, besides, perhaps, many others, the entrances of which are no longer visible. We went into those where the doors were the least obstructed by the sand or decayed rock, and found them to be catacombs; they are well cut, and vary from about eighty to twenty four feet, by five; their height may be from six to eight feet.
Those catacombs are near the potential route so they possibly contain the people God destroyed. If so God really turned them to ashes because the Israelites didn’t cremate their dead. No marks, inscriptions or anything that could identify who where in the tombs were found. But Egyptians didn’t cremate, Romans and Greeks did but the had a very different style of urn. Painted plus inscriptions.
The catacombs seem to be manmade not caves, so it must took some time to make them.
Num 11:19 You shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
Num 11:20 But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome to you: because that you have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
Does that mean they camped a month at that spot? If so they had enough time to cut out the catacombs.
2x Mount Seir
Deut 2:1 Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spoke to me: and we compassed mount Seir many days.
Deut 2:2 And the LORD spoke to me, saying,
Deut 2:3 You have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
The circled around mount Seir for many day. Or a long time according to other translations.
Deut 2:4 And command you the people, saying, You are to pass through the coast of your brothers the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take you good heed to yourselves therefore:
God commands the to go to Seir, the place where Esau’s descendants live. That’s odd because in verse 1-
Deut 2:5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir to Esau for a possession.
Deut 2:6 You shall buy meat of them for money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water of them for money, that you may drink.
They had to pay for food and water at this Seir.
Surely they did eat and while circling Seir in v1-
Those little facts combined can only mean there were at, least, two Seirs.