MemberDecember 30, 2020 at 4:44 am
In the Exodus narrative, the stations from Rameses in Goshen to the Red Sea crossing are three: Succoth, Etham, and Pi-hahiroth:
Exo 12:37 JPS And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, beside children.
Exo 13:20 JPS And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
Exo 14:1-2 JPS And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: (2) ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal- zephon, over against it shall ye encamp by the sea.
In the Numbers itinerary, the regular form “they journeyed” and “they pitched” suggests daily stages and hence a three-day journey:
Num 33:5-7 JPS And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth. (6) And they journeyed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. (7) And they journeyed from Etham, and turned back unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baal-zephon; and they pitched before Migdol.
The question of the number of days’ journey from Rameses to the Red Sea crossing is somewhat dependent on the impression gained from the whole itinerary. If the other stations appear to be daily stages in both the narrative and itinerary, the case may be strengthened that there were only three days’ journey to the crossing. If the demonstrable ‘gaps’ in the rest of the itinerary (and there are some) cannot be explained and seem to be ‘selective’, the case may be strengthened that there were more than three days journey to the crossing.