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type or prophecy, but actually, the same place as is occupied in the New Dispensation by the highest events of the Gospel History. It was the birthday of the people and of the religion ; it was the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, of Africa, of gigantic oppression and strange worship. It was a deliverance not by the force of man, but by the hand of God. It was the basis of that long succession of imagery, which through the sacred poetry of Israel has penetrated to all nations—the
waves and storms of affliction,"—in them the more remarkable as an inland people; and thus affording a testimony of enduring value to the deep impression left by the one great scene which ushered in their history. The spray of the Red Sea is found, as it were, on the inmost hills of Palestine; and, from them, it has been wafted throughout the world.
It was the greatest event which ancient history records; its effects are still felt. What then was its scene? We cannot say here, as in the sacred events of the New Testament, that the narrative withdraws us from all local considerations. On the contrary, the localities, both on the march and before the passage, are described with a precision which indicates that at the time when the narrative was written, they were known with the utmost exactness'. Unhappily, it is an exactness which to us now is only tantalising. It is for the most part only by conjecture that any places mentioned can be in any way identified. Still there are indications in the history, combined with a few vestiges of authentic tradition, and a few natural features, which may help us to approximation.
The event has been extended, as already observed, by the Arab traditions down the whole Gulf of Suez, and even to the Gulf of ’Akaba? But it may, for all practical purposes, be confined to two quarters — the Wâdy Tawârik, opposite the. Wells of Moses; or the neighbourhood of the Isthmus of Suez. In favour of the former locality, besides the usual Arab tradition, there is the statement of Josephus', that the start was made from Latopolis, which he identifies with the Egyptian Babylon,
1 Numb. xxxiii, 5-8.
2 The best representation of the condicting theories is given in the map of Laborde's Commentary on Exodus and
Numbers. For the general scene, see
3 Josephus, Ant. II. xv. 1.
that is, Old Cairo. If they started from this city, standing almost at the entrancc of the valley which opens on the southern point of passage, the great probability is, that they would have followed that course throughout. This, perhaps, is the chief argument in favour of the theory of the southern passage. But the traditions of Josephus can hardly weigh against those of the Alexandrine translators, who make Rameses, the point of departure, to be in the north-east of the Delta in the neighbourhood of Heroopolis'. From this point they marched a day's journey to “Succoth,” a halt which left an indelible trace in their subsequent institutions, as it was from the leafy booths in which they then, probably for the last time, rested, that the Festival of the Tabernacles took its rise. These
coverts indicate that they were still on the pasture-land of the Delta. It was not till the next day's encampment that they reached Etham, “ in the edge of the wilderness." Unless therefore the limits of the wilderness, which on the southern route now reach up to the very gates of Cairo, have been completely altered, it is clear that this first part of the march, even irrespectively of the position of “Rameses," must have been to the north of the head of the gulf-north, even of the present overland route to Cairo. At Etham their course changed. Instead of the route by Pelusium to “the land of the Philistines,” they were here commanded to turn” and encamp “before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon.” I have said that this precise enumeration fails us, from our ignorance of almost every place named; but the narrative itself in part supplies the deficiency.
First, we are expressly told that the agency by which the sea was dried up was “a strong east wind' or, according to the Septuagint, "a strong south wind." This compels us to select a portion of the sea where the depth is not too great to forbid the agency of wind; and this is only at the northern end, where the shoals are, and must always have been, sufficient to render a shallower passage possible. And it may be added that
Compare Exod. xii. 37,"they departed from Rameses,"
"-with Gen. xlvi. 28,-“ to leroopolis in the land of Rameses” (LXX). See also the almost con
clusive arguments by which Lepsius decides the identity of Abu-Kesheb with Rameses. (Letters, p. 438. Bohn's Ed.) 2 Numb. xxxiii. 6. See Appendix.
the actual description accords with this, better than with the hypothesis which would lead the army through the more southern part of the gulf, where they would have passed not between “walls,” but between “mountains ” of water, such as no faithful narrative could have failed to notice. Secondly, we are told that the host, to the number of 600,000 armed men, passed over within the limits of a single night. If so, the passage must have occurred in the narrower end of the gulf, and not in the wide interval of eight or ten miles between the Wady Tawârik and the Wells of Moses! Indeed, it should be remembered that the notion of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea at its broader part is comparatively modern. By earlier Christian commentators, and by almost all the Rabbinical writers who selected the wider road as the scene of the event, the passage was explained to be not a transit-which, as Chytræus of Rostock calculated, would have required at least three days—but a short circuit, returning again to the Egyptian shore, and then pursuing their way round the head of the gulf. Such an interpretation, faithfully represented on the old maps, and defended at great length by Quaresmius', is worth preserving, as a curious instance of the sacrifice of the whole moral grandeur of a miracle, to which men are often (and in this case necessarily) driven by a mistaken desire of exag. gerating its physical magnitude. These reasons oblige us to look for the scene of the passage at the northern end of the gulf; whether at the present fords of Suez, or at some point higher up the gulf, which then probably extended at least as far as the Bitter Lakes, depends on arguments which have not yet been thoroughly explored. On the one hand, the exclamation of Pharaoh " They are entangled in the land; the wilderness hath shut them in," is best explained by the supposition that they were hemmed in on the south by mountains; and this was the view of Josephus, who repeatedly speaks of the “precipitous mountain descending on the sea.” This could be no other than the Jebel Atakah, which borders the north-west side of the gulf, and which terminates the mountain range. Farther north, there are no eminences higher than sand-hills. The subse. quent route also agrees best with the passage at Suez. On the other hand, the previous route will best agree with some spot nearer to “the edge” of the cultivated land, that is, farther, north; and the names, so far as they can be traced, point in the same direction. "Pi-hahiroth"" is probably an Egyptian word—“the grassy places”-and, if so, can only be sought northwards, not in the naked desert either of 'Ajrûd, where it. has been sometimes found, or of the Wâdy Tawârik. “Migdol” may indeed be only the “watch-tower” of the fords; but it may also be the ancient " Magdolum,” twelve miles south of Pelusium, and undoubtedly described as "Migdol" by Jeremiah and Ezekiel'.
1 This is the width according to the survey of the Red Sea by Commander Moresby and Lieutenant Careless. A remarkabie instance of the effect of wind
even on deep water occurs constantly in the Fritzsler Hof on the shores of tbe Baltic between Memel and Konigsberg.
? Elucidatio Terre Sanctæ, ii. 955, &c 1 Exod. xiv, 2, 9. Numb. xxxiii. 7, 8. “Pi-hahiroth” may be either-(1) in Hebrew, “mouth of caverns,
Meanwhile, we must be content with the general scene placed before us on that memorable night-the Paschal moon, the darkness, the storm:-" The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; ... the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound:... the voice of thy thunder was in the heaven : the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook,”—and then rest satisfied in the conclusion of the Psalmist (in this local question, as in so much of which it is the likeness),“Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known'."
2. There can be no dispute as to the general track of the Israelites after the passage. If they were to enter the Marah and mountains at all, they must continue in the route of Elim. all travellers, between the sea and the table-land of the Tih, till they entered the low hills of Ghůrŭndel. According to the view taken of the scene of the passage, Marah may either be at “the Springs of Moses” or else at Hawâraah* or Ghèrèndel. Elim must be Ghůrundel, Useit, or Taiyibeh.
as in the Vatican MS. of the LXX, Numb. xxxiii. 7, το στόμα Ειρώθ ; Or much more probably, (2) in Egyptian, “the grassy places,” “Pi" being the Egyptian article ; as in Alex. MS. of the LXX, επαύλεις. .
? Jer. xliv. 1 ; xlvi. 14. Ezek. xxix, 10; xxx. 6. It may be hoped that in the investigation connected with the pro
ject of the Suez Canal some light may be thrown on this interesting question.
3 Psalm lxxvii. 16—19.
4 Dr. Graul, however, was told that Tuweileb (the well-known Sheykh of the Tuwârah tribe) knew of a spring near Tih el-'Amara, right (i. e. south) of Huwara, so bitter that neither men nor camels could drink of it. From hence the road goes straight to Wady Ghŭrúrr del. (Vol. ii. p. 254.)
5 See Part II. p. 68.
3. The "encampment by the Red Sea" (Numbers xxxiii. 10)
must almost certainly be at the descent of the Wâdy Encampment by the Taiyibeh on the sea, or in some portion of the plain of "Red Sea.
Múrkhâh, before they again turned up into the mountains; the cliffs forbidding any continuous line of march' along the shore between the Wâdy Ghŭrůndel and the Wâdy Taiyibeh. It is indeed just possible that, like Pococke and Bartlett, they may have descended to the mouth of the Wady Ghůrŭndel, by the warm springs (“ of Pharaoh ”), and then returned to the Wâdy Useit. Such a détour is not likely: yet it must be borne in mind as possible. For if the “encampment by the Red Sea” was at the mouth of the Wâdy Ghůrŭndel, it must have been before the bifurcation of the two routes to Jebel Mûsa —that namely to the north by Surâbît el Khâdim, and that to the south by Wady Taiyibeh—and would thus open the alternative of their having gone by the former of these two roads, and so avoided altogether the Wady Feirân. This is a material point in favour of all views which exclude Mount Serbal from the history. If, on the other hand, they proceeded, as travellers usually do, by Ghủrŭndel, Useit, and Taiyibeh, (and if Taiyibeh or Useit be Elim, they must have done so,) and thus descended on the sea, here two other alternatives open upon us.
4. For when arrived at the plain of Mărkhâh, they may have Wilderness gone, according to the route of the older travellers,
Shaw, Pococke, and the Prefect of the Franciscan Convent,—to Tôr, and thence by the Wâdy Hibrân, and the Nŭkb Hâwy, to Jebel Mûsa ; or they may have gone, according to the route of all recent travellers, by the Wády Shellâl, the Nŭkb Badera, and the Wâdys Mukatteb, Feirân, and es-Sheykh, to the same point. The former route is improbable, both because of its détour, and also because the Wady Hibrân is said to be, and the Nŭkb Hâwy certainly is, as difficult if not more difficult than any pass on the route of the Wüdy Feirân. If it might seem to be in its favour that it was the habitual route of the early travellers, before the newly awakened love of scenery had induced any one to visit the Wâdy Feirûn, yet it must be remembered that all early travellers went and returned from Cairo to Sinai, and consequently took