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Home Forums The Red Sea Miracle The Science of Wind Setdown

  • Historical Faith Society

    April 29, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Do you believe “wind setdown” is a credible argument? Why or why not?

  • Deborah Hurn

    April 29, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Well, all the scientists in the video agree that wind setdown (and the corresponding storm surge) occurs naturally and can displace a lot of water. We have seen this in a micro form when driving in the rain. The wind caused by our fast movement can drive the raindrops up and off the windscreen, but can also hold them there, trembling on the glass, when the forces of wind and gravity are balanced. Because of water’s natural viscosity, the drops tend to consolidate and ‘stand up’ a little (there must be a proper verb for this), the same force that stop-motion photography has shown causes falling raindrops to become perfectly spherical before they hit the ground.

    Robert Carter (from 12:20 min in the video) is correct when he says that normally water that has been blown back by the wind is ‘flat’ on the windward side. Water that is blown away forms a ramp from 0 elevation at the front to whatever elevation the storm surge reaches at the back. But, if the water is being blown *up* a slight incline (too slight to prevent the water from rushing back) the water will keep ‘trying’ to run downhill towards the oncoming wind but will continue to be blown away. This will cause a rolling edge as the water runs downhill from underneath the displaced body of water, but is blown up and back from the action of the strong wind on the surface. Because of water’s natural viscosity (as above) this will cause a trembling edge to the water, just as we see with the raindrops being held in place on the windscreen of the vehicle. This is the ‘wall’ on the N side.

    What about the ‘wall’ on the S side? Well, the water overtops the Great Bitter Lake for hours and is driven NW up the isthmus (the Hamsin wind is from the SE) until the point comes when no more water can be removed from the lake. At that point the water is still ‘trying’ to leave the lake, but gravity keeps pulling it back into the lake basin. So we get another rolling edge at the shoreline. This would probably be more choppy than ‘trembling’, but still a ‘wall’. The isthmus in this region just to the north side of the Great Bitter Lake opens wider to the NW than the N. Perfectly designed to hold all the water from the storm surge. The Egyptian soldiers had to run back to higher ground on the W side whence they came, but the bore-wave (the scientists didn’t talk about this) was coming from the NW. So yes, it is like running towards a closing door, hoping to get through before the wave hits them.

  • Thomas Donlon

    April 29, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Deborah Hurn’s reply is appearing to be the most cogent of the offered explanations but with evidence pointing in a number of descriptions I’m giving the most cogent viewpoint a 3% likelihood of being true and the other explanations an even less chance. Deborah is starting to get to close to David Rohl’s skill in putting a narrative together.

    However still unexplained in this narrative is what was going on with the Chariot wheels? English translations seem to be going over all place. “Jammed” and wheels coming off and wheels swerving. And my Hebrew skills are minimal.

    Yet Deborah was right about the text indicating that the Egyptians were fleeing back towards to the sea. Yet, the Bible description isn’t making any case (that I can see) of them trying to outrace the returning water.

    We could still have a spectacular supernatural miracle in any of the proposed locations.

    I’m as ignorant as they come in this discussion. I did as a kid really like walking in really windy conditons. But what has that to do with anything? Tim Mahoney had a day he hired actors and a windstorm made a bit of a mess of the film shoot. Whether Tim’s experience with the film shoot would add anything to our understanding of the Israelites crossing the Yam Suph, I’m not sure. But I did just read the Bible account again. “a strong east wind” (Exod. 14:21 NIV) is described in scripture.

    Back to my Sargent Schultz (from Hogan’s Heroes) view. “I know NOOOTTHIIINGGG!”

    • Deborah Hurn

      April 30, 2021 at 4:19 am

      So, you reckon the soldiers weren’t in a race for their lives, Thomas? That they just ran towards the oncoming wave for the exercise? 😉

      Here is the key text with the Strong’s numbers for those who may not have ready access to a reference. I have picked out the key verbs (and one verbal noun) and copied their entries below:

      Exo 14:27-28 KJV+ And MosesH4872 stretched forthH5186 (H853) his handH3027 overH5921 the sea,H3220 and the seaH3220 returnedH7725 to his strengthH386 when the morningH1242 appeared;H6437 and the EgyptiansH4714 fledH5127 againstH7125 it; and the LORDH3068 overthrewH5287 (H853) the EgyptiansH4714 in the midstH8432 of the sea.H3220 (28) And the watersH4325 returned,H7725 and coveredH3680 (H853) the chariots,H7393 and the horsemen,H6571 and allH3605 the hostH2428 of PharaohH6547 that cameH935 into the seaH3220 afterH310 them; there remainedH7604 notH3808 so much asH5704 oneH259 of them.


      H7725 שׁוּב shûb

      A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point)… Total KJV occurrences: 1058

      H5127 נוּס nûs

      A primitive root; to flit, that is, vanish away (subside, escape; causatively chase, impel, deliver):…Total KJV occurrences: 160

      H7125 קִרְאָה qir’âh

      From H7122; an encountering, accidental, friendly or hostile (also adverbially opposite): – X against (he come), help, meet, seek, X to, X in the way. Total KJV occurrences: 99

      H7122 קָרָא qârâ’ [see H7125 above]

      A primitive root; to encounter, whether accidentally or in a hostile manner: – befall, (by) chance, (cause to) come (upon), fall out, happen, meet.

      Total KJV occurrences: 34

      H5287 נָעַר nâ‛ar

      A primitive root (probably identical with H5286, through the idea of the rustling of mane, which usually accompanies the lion’s roar); to tumble about: – shake (off, out, self), overthrow, toss up and down. Total KJV occurrences: 11

      H3680 כָּסָה kâsâh

      A primitive root; properly to plump, that is, fill up hollows; by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy): – clad self, close, clothe, conceal, cover (self), (flee to) hide, overwhelm. Compare H3780 [means “to grow fat”]. Total KJV occurrences: 152


      I find the last verb interesting. What has the verb ‘to plump’ or ‘fill up hollows’ got to do with submerging the army in the water? It is just translated “covered” in nearly every Bible version. Well, if we think about a wave that has already broken and is now surging towards bathers in the shallows, the turbulent water ‘fills’ all the spaces between and around them. It ‘plumps’ up around them until they are submerged, and also sweeps them along.

    • Deborah Hurn

      April 30, 2021 at 11:01 am

      The chariot wheels are a puzzle no matter where they crossed, Thomas, because the Israelites also had wheeled vehicles, ox-wagons, not mentioned before Sinai, but probably from Egypt (Num 7:3, 6, 7, 8). These wagons must have had no problem with the crossing because none is mentioned. I would think wagons would be a lot heavier, though they would have had wider wheels.

      Exo 14:24-25 NRSV At the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.

      (25) He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD is fighting for them against Egypt."

      The text specifically says that God acted on the chariot wheels (unlike the wind, there is no natural agent specified). God could have used a natural agent to slow the chariots, but the text does allow for direct (causeless) divine action. Otherwise, how about this for an agent? The Hamsin (strong SE wind) was starting to weaken by the time the Israelites were nearing the far shore, and the storm surge (the displaced water) was starting to advance back down the isthmus. Note the previous verse says that the Egyptians began to panic, whether before their chariot wheels started to seize up or after is not clear. Did they panic because they could detect the changing conditions? Could they see that the water was starting to come back? Perhaps the groundwater under the northern shore of the Great Bitter Lake, not being affected by the wind, began to well up with the pressure of the displaced water uphill, and the thin chariot wheels cut into it, got bogged, and couldn’t turn. All that, and the weak light, the wind, the noise, the shouting… it must have been a chaotic scene.

      • Thomas Donlon

        May 1, 2021 at 1:19 pm

        Ok Deborah,

        Somehow I got the under impression that you thought the Egyptians were afraid of the water and hence were racing back to it. (A quick cut of something you said in the video may have caused me to think that.) It didn’t really make a lot of sense to me.

        Also depending on the dynamics of the whole situation I’m not sure at what point the Egyptians would have realized the wall of water returning.

        That was what I was thinking Deborah.

        • Deborah Hurn

          May 1, 2021 at 11:24 pm

          I expect the Egyptians were very afraid of the water, Thomas. I wonder if anyone learned to swim in ancient Egypt with all the crocodiles in the Nile and its branches! Lake Timsah in the isthmus means “crocodile”. The horses drowned as well, which indicates more than a dunking in the Ballah Lakes up in the north of the isthmus… what, is that 1200 horses?! or was there only one per chariot?

        • Deborah Hurn

          May 1, 2021 at 11:46 pm

          So yes they were afraid of the water but ran towards it nonetheless because they had to. Now, if there were two vertical walls of water some 100s of metres deep suddenly collapsing on the army, 1. there would be little warning, 2. there would be nowhere to run because it would collapse at once along the full length of the ‘corridor’, and 3. they wouldn’t be running to ‘meet’ the water because there is water on both sides. So the phrase:

          וּמִצְרַיִם נָסִים לִקְרָאתוֹ וַיְנַעֵר יְהוָה אֶת־מִצְרַיִם בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם

          lit. “and [the] Egyptians fled to meet it and YHWH tossed [the] Egyptians into [the midst of] the sea” (NIV)

          is a strong indication that the water was coming from one direction, and swept them into the Bitter Lake, the ‘deep’ of Moses’ song in Ex 15:5, 8. And it kept coming because so much water had been displaced overnight, so the soldiers and horses could not regain the shore.

  • Dolores Testerman

    April 29, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    YAAA! Rob! Great explanation!

    • Deborah Hurn

      April 29, 2021 at 11:15 pm

      So, Dolores, was “Rob” for Robert Carter in the video?

      Either that or someone called “Rob” has blocked me, because I can’t see a post by anyone called Rob 🙁

  • The H Family

    May 1, 2021 at 7:03 am

    In the April focus videos about wind setdown and the locusts, @stevelaw , @tim , @robert.carter-1918 , @dr_fritz , and @dr_derouchie showed very well the inconsistencies of the wind setdown model for the Red Sea crossing in the shallow lakes near Egypt.

    • Thomas Donlon

      May 1, 2021 at 3:29 pm

      Robert Carter was trying to look at all angles of the matter.

      “And if God stopped the wind, miraculously, and kept the water back, well then, why did he need the wind in the first place to separate the water?” 13 minutes 28 seconds ff.

      Neither should we overlook this scripture.

      KJV Exodus 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. 

      And God can direct wind where he wants when he wants as strong as he wants.

      KJV 1 Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: 

      I like Robert Carter’s thought that some archaeological evidence would be nice. But we at the HFS society were unable to contribute enough to manage to pay the necessary amount towards a dig at Qumran.

      Lord have mercy.

      • Deborah Hurn

        May 2, 2021 at 7:08 am
        KJV Exodus 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. 

        This is important, Thomas. Imagine if the verse just said this (no mention of the wind):

        KJV Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 

        Think how much stronger the case would be for a spectacular ‘vertical’ parting of the water if the word “wind” did not appear here or in ch. 15 (vv. 8, 10).

        H Family, there is no evil in noting where the biblical narrative specifies a natural agent by which God worked His will. This is so common in biblical history as to be normal… plagues, disease, lightning, storm, wind, earthquake, drought, famine, war.

  • The H Family

    May 2, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    It’s a clever literary and academic manipulation of the laws of logic (called the fallacy of equivocation) to subtly change the meaning of the argument. The debate was never over whether or not God can use naturalistic means to fulfill His will. We’re sorry, we think we’ve said this three or four times before on this site. So for those who have been here listening to this debate before, we apologize for starting to sound like a broken record. The question is not over whether God can or does use naturalistic means to fulfill His will. Usually, He does. However, the Biblical text doesn’t support this explanation for supernatural miracles. So why is there such hostility towards the thought of God using supernatural mechanisms?

    Charles Darwin did everything he could to erase God from science. His goal was to explain all science by natural laws alone, and to eradicate the Bible. Professing Christians are supposed to learn from the mistakes of foolish men. So why is there such a willingness for a dog to return to its own vomit (2 Peter 2:22) and do the same thing with history? By taking this position, one is not fighting against the armies of Israel, but against the God of Israel.

    • Thomas Donlon

      May 3, 2021 at 7:49 pm

      <div>In the code of Conduct for the HFS forums we read:</div>


      Add sources. State when you are summarizing someone else’s work and include a reference.



      The H Family wrote: “Charles Darwin did everything he could to erase God from science. His
      goal was to explain all science by natural laws alone, and to eradicate
      the Bible.”

      Any chance your family can pull up some quotes from Darwin to substantiate your statements?

      Anyone else familiar enough with Darwin’s writings to explain why and how Darwin came to his theory? Was it all due to enthusiasm to erase God and eradicate the Bible? Now it probably was the case with some of Darwin’s supporters.

      But isn’t there some fallacy you might be engaging in if you are asserting Darwin is wrong because of a particular motive of his? In any case please prove your attribution of Darwin’s motive. Also note that Alfred Russel Wallace came up with the same theory and they jointly presented their theory together. Also, in my research to respond to your post, I found evolutionary theories predated Darwin. Also Lamarck and others postulated evolution before Darwin.

      One source:

      Darwinism in some areas has proved false. He did not know about genetics. Yet he was often observant. In the book THE ART OF SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION by W. I. B. BEVERIDGE, which was highly recommended by the author of the blog The Ethical Skeptic, I read this. P103

      Writing of Charles Darwin, his son tells us that:

      "He wished to learn as much as possible from a single experiment as he did not confine himself to observing the single point to which the experiment was directed, and his power of seeing a number of things was wonderful. ... There was one quality of mind which seemed to be of special and extreme advantage in leading him to make discoveries. It was the power of never letting exceptions pass unnoticed." The book references (28) Darwin, F. (1888) Life and Letters of C. Darwin, John Murray, London.

      The H Family, you might remember that Charles Darwin in some version of his book lamented that the “eye” did not seem to fit in an evolutionary paradigm. That anecdote or report would lend credence to the statement of his son that Charles Darwin took notice of facts that did not support his theory. Now later people like Richard Dawkins have come up with adequate explanations for how the eye evolved.

      Did you bring up Darwin in your post to just make a quick point or are you trying to change the mission of HFS to discuss matters like this? And matters like “hell?’ And matters like which Christians who are scientists have good credentials? And your commentary about Catholics and their history.

      There are likely a number of Catholics, even Evangelical Catholics on this forum.

      Understand that some creationists have a reputation of not being solid thinkers. So if you do want to debate evolutionists you will need to better cite your sources, if you want them to respect you.

      Is there a reason you stick to one letter in your name? Is it really in your name? I have no problem with someone operating in the darkness if they need to do this for security reasons (like The Ethical Skeptic) but I’m awaiting you adding much to the discussion. One scholar got in a debate with everyone and then you criticized everyone here but him.

      I’m having trouble differentiating you from a troll. Granted you take a strong stand for the Bible but you poke at areas where there are differences and I’m wondering if you are trying to get controversy going … for some reason that I can’t fathom. Also, I am recollecting that you express sadness about this website and the forum comments.

      If you want to respond, this will be a good time for you… in that I might not have the opportunity to respond back to you right away. I just got Patterns of Evidence THE RED SEA MIRACLE II Collectors Edition with over 8 hours of Extended Interviews and Bonus Features. 🙂


  • Deborah Hurn

    May 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    The parting of the Red Sea is not the only miracle of the wilderness era that was effected by the action of the wind. There are three. Everything in the wilderness narratives is arranged in sets of three. And that’s another miracle, this time a literary one.

    Here is the first provision of the wind in the Spring of the year. The locusts were brought into Egypt by the SE wind, the Hamsin from the Arabian desert, and driven out by the prevailing NW wind off the Mediterranean Sea. The Desert Wind alternates with the Sea Wind in the transitional seasons.

    Exo 10:13-19 NRSV  So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night; when morning came, the east wind had brought the locusts....  (19)  The LORD changed the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt.

    And here is the third provision of the wind, also in the Spring season (of the next year).

    Num 11:31 NRSV  Then a wind went out from the LORD, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground.

    Are these miracles? Clearly they are… with natural causes. Those locusts and quails were hatched from eggs some months before in the usual way! They ate, they grew, they swarmed, they migrated. This is what quail and locusts do. They were delivered to their target by the winds that God had already long established as natural features of the region. They arrived at exactly the right time and in the required quantities.

    So here is the second provision of the wind, also in the Spring season.

    Exo 14:21 NRSV  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.

    All three of these miracles were effected by the natural action of the normal winds of the region. The strong SE wind, the Hamsin, drove floodwater ahead of it up a long shallow incline through a wide shallow valley (the Suez Isthmus) and held it there. This is what wind and water do in such circumstances. Then, as with the plague of locusts, the SE Hamsin suddenly switched with the NW wind off the Med Sea, and all that water came rolling back.

    • Deborah Hurn

      May 2, 2021 at 10:16 pm

      [42] The area is frequently swept by the dominant N and NW winds, but on some occasions fierce SEs may blow for 3 days and nights [Bar-Deroma, H. Y. The Negev [Hbw]. Jerusalem: B. E. R., 1935]. These winds are hot and dry and blow during the transitional seasons.

      Har-El, Menashe. The Sinai Journeys: The Route of the Exodus. New (English) and Revised Edition. San Diego, CA: Ridgefield, 1983.

      Menashe Har-el was Professor of Historical Geography at Hebrew University and a member of the Israel Names Commission for most of his long professional life. The Commission decides the names of sites in the land from biblical and extra-biblical data. His 1968 (1983) book (Sinai Journeys) is a masterful survey of the main theories regarding the Israelite journeys in the wilderness. This was before Anati proposed Har Karkom. But the Arabian candidates were already known, so he examines them from a geographical point of view.

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