Exodus

Version 2
Work in progress.
Still adding and reorganizing material.

Main page

— PREAMBLE —

- Pharaohs

- Moses


— IN MIDIAN —

- Midian

- Wilderness

- Burning bush

- Mountain of Fire


— WHEN —

- Generations

- New chronology 1

- New chronology 2


— PREAMBLE —

- 10 plagues

- Tiny Exodus

- Big Exodus

- Travel days


— RED SEA —

- Unknown

- Reeds, papyrus

- Located

- Changes


— PLACES —

- Succoth

- Etham/Shur


— ROUTES #1 —

Pharaoh → Red Sea

- Routes map

- Roads to Etham

- Wadis to Etham

- Etham → Tip Aqba

- Etham → Nuweiba


— CROSSING —

- Tip of the gulf

- Nuweiba Beach


— ROUTE #2 —

Red Sea → Mt. Sinai

- Marah

- Dopkah

- Alush

- Sinai option 1

- Sinai option 2


— MISC —

- Moon Mountain

- In the land of

- Travel days

- List of stops

- Water from rock

- Jordan crossing



- Maps & Lists




This page was last updated on 6 July, 2017.

Etham to Nuweiba Beach


No matter if they arrived over the trading route, by the wadis, or otherwise, at Etham they had two choices. Following the road or wadi south to Nuweiba Beach. So several combinations of routes are possible.

This page discusses as you have guessed, the route to Nuweiba Beach.



Exod. 14:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp in front of Pi-ha-hi'roth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'alze'phon; you shall encamp over against it, by the sea.


Num. 33:7 They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.


Please note they left the Etham camping site and traveled about 18 miles south to the head of a main river.



1. Different locations?

The verse look a bit different. ‘Between Migdol’ and ‘before Migdol.

Exo 14:2 describes the location from the spot where they were camping.

Num 33:7 looks back at the travel and describes the location ‘from  a distance’.



2. Migdol

The mountains of Tor…form the mountainland of the Peninsula. This mass of mountains, rising in their highest points to the height of more than 9000 feet, forms the southern tower, if one may use that expression, of that long belt or chain of hills.

Arthur Stanley 1865


Traveling along this road one can see the imposing silhouette of the high mountain range of Southern Sinai beyond the escarpment that forms the boundary of the el- Tih plateau which rises to over 1000 metres above sea level

Zaki-Khalil 1998


Its southern part is formed of a complex of high mountains, many of which…rise to considerably greater heights than any mountains in Egypt proper. Flanking this mountain mass on the north, and forming…the northern two-thirds of the peninsula, is a great plateau sloping from heights of more than a thousand metres downwards to the Mediterranean

Ball 1939


From previous pages we know that the mountain range is described as a wall because of its very steep slopes. Often perpendicular.

But that wall doesn’t have a flat top. It has very high peaks as the above quotes state.

While there are mountains along the whole coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, only the south is mentioned. The reason for that is that the mountain in the south is a real landmark. A very high landmark. A tower.


Migdol is the redish/pinkish area at the bottom center of the map.

Likely the highest peak (st Catherine) in the south.

Click on this link and then anywhere in the map to display elevation.



3. Baal-Zephon

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.


Exod 14:9 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 Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.


Num 33:7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again to Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol.



Baal Zephon means Lord of the north. It’s a marine stormgod. Protector of sailors. Baal Zephon was the supreme god for several pagan nations.

Baal Zephon was known under (slightly) different names in Egypt, Phoenicia, Canaan.


His temple was on built on a mountain overlooked the sea. The temple/mountain was used as a navigation landmark by sailors. In general it was used as reference point. A bit like a compass.


While the Israelites didn’t worship this god, they knew it from other countries. Abraham originated from a Ur in which the god was worshipped.

Jacob lived for many years in Haran where the god was worshipped too.

So while not worshipping the god they knew the god and customs associated with it.


North obviously means the temple was located in the north.

It was north for those who called it Baal Zephon. That means it was north of Canaan


Just north of the Syrian border in modern Turkey the temple has been found.
Jebel Agraa is the mountain it stood on.

That’s about 430 miles north of the Etham camping spot.






4. Pihahiroth

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.


Exod 14:9 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 Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.


Num 33:7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again to Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol.


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.



Another highly debated translation.

The Strong definition is “place where sedge grows”. That an odd translation if you look at Exo 14:2. The sea is where the sedges actually grow. So Moses tried to pinpoint his camp by giving four markers; Pihahiroth, sea, Migdol and Baalzephon. Two of those markers are basically the same; “place where sedge grows”.


The real meaning can be found by analyzing the three parts of the word.

Pi-ha-hiroth. Pi= mouth of, ha=the, Hiroth=caves/holes

Mouth of the caves.


Pi is a word constructed from peh, which has general meaning of something that’s open. (Or the border or edge of something)


Opening of the caves.


If Moses’ camp was near caves we may have pinpointed his camp. But it’s almost sure there were no caves in that area so let’s hunt for more clues.

Nuweiba Beach can only be reached by traveling trough a ravine that passes trough steep mountains.


If we ignore ‘hiroth’ for now the ‘Pi-ha‘ is in every sense the entrance (opening, mouth) to Nuweiba Beach.


Now imagine a the authorities want an extra access point to that beach and drill a straight modern tunnel trough the rocks. Where would you place the entrance to the beach?

At the beach side of the tunnel?

At the other end of the tunnel?

Would the beginning of the tunnel be at the beach or at the other end?

The questions are extremely simple but the answer is less simple.


That fictive tunnel could be seen as a cave.

Opening of the cave. Entrance of the cave.


The ravine/canyon to Nuweiba Beach is the riverbed of ‘Wadi Watir’.

Let’s break some rules and be very flexible as a way to explain…

Entrance of the Wadi Watir.

The above rendering requires two things to be explained or proved.



As I wrote the views of what Pi-Hahiroth means vary greatly…


The last two are quite similar to what I suggested.

The great difference in translations lays in question if the word is Hebrew or Egyptian.


5. All locators combined

Num 33:7 Departing from there, they arrived opposite Pi-hahiroth, which looks out toward Baal-zephon, and they were encamped before Migdol.


Num 33:7 They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.


Num 33:7 And they removed pulled stakes from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth Pi Ha Hiroth , which is before Baalzephon at the face of Baal Sephon : and they pitched before encamped at the face of Migdol.

When someone is before an authority like a king or god he looks at that king or god and doesn’t show his back.


So all three verse means that Pi-Hahiroth looks toward that mountain 430 miles north.

Wadi Watir roughly consists of two sections. A 30 mile north-south section and the remaining part turns eastward.


Of course the north-south part isn’t a very straight line, but it it’s quite close.
It’s orientation is quite accurately toward BaalZephon.

When Moses faced BaalZephon his mouth is the direction of BaalZephon.

Using that logic the mouth is upstream at the Wadi Watir; which adds some proof to section 4.


They where camping between Migdol in the far south, BaalZephon far north a few miles north of Wadi Watir and a few miles west of the Red Sea





































The yellow line is the route Moses took from Etham. The arrow point to the suggested PiHairoth.

The picture on the left shows in a very schematic way what the mouth looks like. The point where all 3 lines touch is Pi-Hahiroth.

It’s very difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the exact start of a river. All those white lines are streambeds of wadis that can be seen on this map - click


This schematic drawing fits several definitions shown above:




6. What about the sea?


Above, in sections 1-5, the sea itself seems to be overlooked. They camped between migdol and the sea. Their camp was 16 mi from the sea. So that looks wrong. But Josephus account gives another view.


Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews, they prepared to fight them, and by their multitude they drove them into a narrow place;

Antiquities of the Jews , Book 2, Chapter 15, section 3


The Egyptians caught up with Moses and drove them to a narrow place. When they would already be encamped on the beach the only narrow route is away from the beach into freedom.


They also seized on the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was [on each side] a [ridge of] mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hebrews with their army, where [the ridges of] the mountains were closed with the sea; which army they placed at the chops of the mountains, that so they might deprive them of any passage into the plain.

Antiquities of the Jews , Book 2, Chapter 15, section 3


Nuweiba beach had just one exit (passage) not multiple. So they were not yet on the beach but Pharaoh drove them there.


When the Hebrews, therefore, were neither able to bear up, being thus, as it were, besieged, because they wanted provisions, nor saw any possible way of escaping; and if they should have thought of fighting, they had no weapons; they expected a universal destruction, unless they delivered themselves up to the Egyptians. So they laid the blame on Moses

Antiquities of the Jews , Book 2, Chapter 15, section 3


They were under siege and had time to complain, so the Egyptians didn’t attack right away.

All in this section applies to other suggested crossing too. They were not camping anywhere near the crossing spot. Pharaoh drove them there.


That said I must confess it’s hard to align with this verse

Exod. 14:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp in front of Pi-ha-hi'roth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'alze'phon; you shall encamp over against it, by the sea.


Num. 33:7 They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.


To me that sounds like:



On the northern part of the beach was once an Egyptian fortress (PiHaHiroth)


Zepho
watch-tower
, son of Eliphaz, son of Esau, (Genesis 36:11)
One of the "dukes" or phylarchs of the Edomites. ver. (Genesis 36:15) In (1 Chronicles 1:36) he is called ZEPHI. (B.C. after 1760.)

link

Zephon could refer to the territory of Zephon. Baal a worship site in that territory. If so BaalZephon can’t mean ‘lord of the north because it’s not norh of anything significant.


Migdol was perhaps a Egyptian watchtower on the mountains west of the sea, because this was the extreme border of Egypt.



That’s  a possibility too, but it conflicts with Josephus account.



7.  So…

  1. They camped at Etham.
  2. God orders them to turn and travel (18 miles south).
  3. They camp at a location described in Exo 14:2 and Num 33:7.
  4. The people spot the Egyptian army* in the distance.
  5. The people start moving, if not already.
  6. Egyptians close in but and drive them to the beach. (No fights)
  7. The people camp at the sea. The Egyptian camp around the only exit.
  8. God splits the sea during the night of camping.
  9. In (early) morning the actual crossing starts


*= According to Josephus, 600 chariots, 50,000 soldiers and 200,000 infantry troops.



8. Pharaoh’s revenge

When the people were camping on the beach they literally had no way to go then back the way they came. But that way was blocked by Pharaoh’s troops.

They were truly entangled in the wilderness.

So God had to make an new road…



Exod 14:3 Par`oh will say of the children of Yisra'el, 'They are entangled in the land. The wilderness has shut them in.'


Nuweiba Beach is the only place that fits both the Bible (sort of) and Josephus’ account.