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the same tract is called the desert of Etham.* It hence follows, that Etham probably lay on the edge of this eastern desert, perhaps not far from the present head of the Gulf, and on the eastern side of the line of the Gulf or canal. May it not have stood upon or near the strip of land between the Gulf and the basin of the bitter Lakes ?t At any rate, it would seem to have been the point from which the direct course of the Israelites to Sinai would have led them around the present head of the Gulf and along its eastern side. From Etham they “turned” more to the right ; and instead of passing along the eastern side, they marched down the western side of the arm of the Gulf, to the vicinity of Suez. This movernent, apparently so directly out of their course, might well give Pharaoh occasion to say, “they are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in ;" and lead him to pursue them with his horsemen and chariots, in the hope of speedily overtaking and forcing them to return. I

The position of Migdol, Pi-haheroth, and Baal-Zephon, cannot of course be determined, except that they probably were on or near the great plain back of Suez. if ihe wells of ’Ajrûd and Bîr Suez were then in existence, they would naturally mark the sites of towns ; but there is no direct evidence either for or against such an hypothesis. That this point, so important for the navigation of the Red Sea, was already occupied by a town, perhaps Baal-Zephon, is not improbable. A few centuries later several cities lay in the vicinity ; and these must have had wells, or there were more fountains than at present. In the plain, the Israelites would bave abundant space for their encampment.

PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA. The question here has respect to the part of the sea where the passage took place, which many writers and travellers have assumed to be the point at the mouth of Wady Tawarik, south of Râs ’Atâkah, principally perhaps because it was

* Ex. xv. 22 ; Num. xxxiii. 8.

+ This view would be supported by the Egyptian etymology which Jablonski assigns to the name Etam, viz. ATIOM, bor. der of the sea.

| Ex. xiv. 2, 3, sq.

supposed that the Israelites passed down that valley. But according to the preceding views, this could not well have taken place; and therefore, if they crossed at that point, they must first have passed down around Râs 'Atâkah and encamped in the plain at the mouth of the valley.

The discussion of this question has often been embarrassed, by not sufficiently attending to the circumstances narrated by the sacred historian ; which are, in the main points, the following. The Israelites, hemmed in on all sides, on their left and in front the sea, on their right Jebel 'Atâkah, and behind them the Egyptians, -began to despair of escape, and to murmur against Moses. The Lord now directed Moses to stretch out his rod over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to flow (Heb.go) by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry, and the waters were divided. 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. The Egyptians pursued and went in after them; and in the morning watch, ihe Lord troubled the host of the Egyptians. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared, and the Egyptians fled against it ; and the waters returned and covered all the host of Pharaoh.*

In this narration there are two main points, on which the whole question may be said to turn. The first is, the means or instrument with which the miracle was wrought. The Lord, it is said, caused the sea to go (or flow out) by a strong east wind. The miracle therefore is represented as mediate ; not a direct suspension or interference with the laws of nature; but a miraculous adaptation of those laws to produce a required result. It was wrought by natural means supernaturally applied. For this

For this reason, we are here entitled to look only for the natural effects arising from the operation of such a cause. In the somewhat indefinite phraseology of the Hebrew, an east wind means any wind from the eastern quarter; and would include the N. E, wind, which often prevails in this region. Now it will be obvious, from the inspection of any good map of the Gulft that a strong N. E. wind,

* Ex. xiv. 11, 12, 21–28. + Especially Neibuhr's Tab. xxiv. in his Reschr. von Arabien. acting here upon the ebb-tide, would necessarily have the effect to drive out the waters from the small arm of the sea which runs up by Suez, and also from the end of the Gulf itself, leaving the shallower portions dry; while the more northern part of the arm, which was anciently broader and deeper than at present, would still remain covered with water. Thus the waters would be divided, and be a wall (or defence) to the Israelites on the right hand and on the left. Nor will it be less obvious from a similar inspection, that in no other part of the whole Gulf, would a N. E. wind act in the same manner to drive out the waters. On this ground, then, the hypothesis of a passage through the sea opposite to Wady Tawârik, would be untenable.

The second main point has respect to the interval of time during which the passage was effected. It was night; for the Lord caused the sea to go (out) all night ; and when the morning appeared, it had already returned in its strength; for the Egyptians were overwhelmed in the morning watch. If, then, as is most probable, the wind thus miraculously sent acted upon the ebb-tide to drive out the waters during the night to a far greater extent than usual, we still cannot assume that this extraordinary ebb, thus brought about by natural means, would continue more than three or four hours at the most. The Israelites were probably on the alert, and entered upon the passage as soon as the way was practicable; but as the wind must have acted for some time before the required effect would be produced, we cannot well assume that they set off before the middle watch, or towards midnight. Before the morning watch, or two o'clock, they had probably completed the passage ; for the Egyptians entered after them, and were destroyed before the morning appeared. As the Israelites numbered more than two millions of persons, besides flocks and herds, they would of course be able to pass but slowly. If the part left dry were broad enough to enable them to cross in a body one thousand abreast, which would require a space of more than half a mile in breadth, and is perhaps the largest supposition admissible,) still the column would be more than two thousand persons in depth; and in all probability could not have extended less than two miles. It would then have occupied at least an hour in passing over its own length, or in entering the sea; and deducting this from the largest time intervening

before the Egyptians must also have entered the sea, there will remain only time enough, under the circumstances, for the body of the Israelites to have passed at the most over a space of three or four miles.

This circumstance is fatal to the hypothesis of their having crossed from Wady Tawârik ; since the breadth of the sea at that point, according to Niebuhr's measurement, is three German or twelve geogr. miles, equal to a whole day's journey.*

All the preceding considerations tend conclusively to limit the place of passage to the neighborhood of Suez. The part left dry might have been within the arm which sets up from the gulf, which is now two thirds of a mile wide in its narrowest part, and was probably once wider; or it might have been to the southward of this arm, where the broad shoals are still left bare at the ebb, and the channel is sometimes forded. If similar shoals might be supposed to have anciently existed in this part, the latter supposition would be the most probable. The Israelites would then naturally have crossed from the shore west of Suez in an oblique direction, a distance of three or four miles from shore to shore. In this case there is room for all the conditions of the miracle to be amply satisfied.

To the, former supposition, that the passage took place through the arm of the gulf above Suez, it is sometimes objected, that there could not be in that part space and depth enough of water, to cause the destruction of the Egyptians in the manner related. It must however be remembered, that this arm was anciently both wider and deeper; and also, that the sea in its reflux would not only return with the usual power of the flood-tide, but with a far greater force and depth, in consequence of having been thus extraordinarily driven out by a N. E. wind. It would seem moreover to be implied in the triumphal song of Moses on this occasion, that on the return of the sea, the wind was also changed, and acted to drive in the flood upon the Egyptians. Even now caravans never cross the ford above Suez; and it is considered dangerous, except at quite low water. I

* Neibuhr's Reisebeschr. I.


251. + Ex. xv. 10; comp. verse 8.

# In 1799, Gen. Bonaparte in returning from Ayûn Mûsa attempted the ford. It was already late and grew dark; the Our own observation on the spot led both my companion and myself to incline to the other supposition, viz. that the passage took place across shoals adjacent to Suez on the south. But among the many changes which have taken place here in the lapse of ages, it is of course impossible to decide with certainty as to the precise spot; nor is this necessary. Either of the above suppositions satisfies the conditions of the case; on either, the deliverance of the Israelites was equally great, and the arm of Jehovah alike gloriously revealed.




By Charles A. Lee, M. D. Late Prof. of Mat. Med. and Medical Jurisprudence in the Uni

versity of New York.

To the Editor of the Biblical Repository:


I was much interested in the article of Prof. Robinson, in the last No. of the Biblical Repository, “ On the Dead Sea, and the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah." The facts therein detailed, serving as they do, to throw addi. tional light both on Scripture history, and the geological features of the most interesting country on the face of the globe, must be considered' as of the highest importance, and cannot fail to arrest the attention, not only of the naturalist and philosopher, but also of the Biblical student. It is a legitimate object of inquiry, what were the means employed by the Almighty in the destruction of the guilty cities of the plain ; and since this catastrophe is represented in Scripture, tide rose, and flowed with greater rapidity than had been expected; so that the general and his suite were exposed to the greatest danger; although they had guides well acquainted with the ground. See Note of Du Bois-Aymé, Descr. de l’Egypte, Antiq. Mem. I. p. 127, sq.

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