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Home Forums The route of the Exodus through the Red Sea The detour to a dead end – the different options Reply To: The detour to a dead end – the different options

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 16, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Hi Frederick.

    It is hard to know where to start with this topic: “The detour to a dead end – the different options.” This small section of the exodus journey has a large context of geographical and chronological markers which must all be held in mind at once. So any attempt to focus on just the section between Etham and Pi-hahiroth is liable to soon get off-topic.

    I guess the basic considerations in regard to a proposed crossing through the Elath-Aqaba Gulf or the southern Arabah (all the one Rift Valley) are the temporal and spatial indications in the texts. The exodus journey has so far proceeded in what appear to be daily stages, and continues with reference to daily stages thereafter. A daily stage for a pastoral company is unlikely to be more than 20 km per day, maybe less (I can provide references for this). So we must be looking at around two weeks of travel from Goshen to a Red Sea crossing site in the Rift Valley. This really does not seem to be the scenario depicted in both the Exodus narrative and the Numbers itinerary.

    A proposed frantic flight across the 250+-km-wide Sinai Peninsula to the Elath-Aqaba Gulf without details or stations is disconnected from the realia of the distance and conditions, cannot provide an ancient road, asks too much of the Hebrew slaves and Pharaoh’s army, does violence to the itinerary sequence of known regions and sites (i.e. Egypt’s border, the Wilderness of Shur, Shur, Etham), and defers and displaces all subsequent itinerary ‘action’ (Marah, 3 days in the Wilderness of Shur, Elim, the Wilderness of Sin, 3 more stations, and the Wilderness of Sinai) to the other side of the Aqaba Gulf over a much smaller area. Most of these issues belong in other threads. I really don’t know how to address this one without first an extensive discussion about the journey to this point and the journey beyond.