MemberApril 29, 2021 at 6:10 am
I don’t know if I have posted on this before, and haven’t time to make a thorough case, but will sketch it briefly.
For my MA thesis, I studied Passover Week. Part of the investigation of the 1st Passover in Egypt was to compare it to the 1st Passover in Canaan, forty years later. The similarities have relevance to the number of days’ travel to the Red Sea crossing because there is a strong correspondence of events with the Jordan River crossing.
Basically, the events of the week after the first Passover in Egypt match those of the week before the first Passover in Canaan. A comparison of these weeks, the first and last of the wilderness era, reveals a parallel structure: a departure (Rameses, Abel-shittim), a water-crossing (Red Sea, Jordan River), and a destination (Marah, Gilgal), all within the space of 8 days. There are so many comparisons, I can only allude to the necessary few:
From Joshua chs. 3-5: The people left Shittim early a.m. and camped at the edge of the Jordan (this is the 1st day). At the end of the 3rd day (i.e. 2 more days), they receive instructions for the crossing. The officers tell them they will cross “tomorrow” (the 4th day). They come up out of the water on the 10th day of Abib (Josh 4:19), and camp at Gilgal until Passover. We know that Passover is on the 14th. So Passover is on the 8th day after they left Abel-Shittim (which we can work out was on the 7th), inclusive.
From Exodus chs. 12-15: The above sequence is in mirror image to the first Passover week which starts with Passover on the 14th Abib. They leave Rameses on the 15th (i.e. after midnight of the 14th) and camp at Succoth, leave Succoth on the 16th and camp at Etham, leave Etham on the 17th and camp at Pihahiroth (that’s three days). They leave Pihahorith and cross the Red Sea in the early hours of the 18th, seem to spend a day rejoicing on the shore (Ex 15), and then travel for 3 dry days to Marah (19th-20th-21st), which brings us to the 8th day after Passover, inclusive.
So we get this pattern for the 1st Passover in Egypt
Passover+3+crossing+3 = 8 days incl.
and the other way for the 1st Passover in Canaan
3+crossing+3+Passover = 8 days incl.
Yes, it is hard to track with the Hebrew day starting at sundown, e.g., took me ages with pen and paper. But the pattern is too good to suppose that there is nothing in it. For me, leaving all geographical considerations aside, this symmetry for the journeys at either end of the 40 yrs is the death blow for any Aqaba crossing theory. The Aqaba Gulf is some 250 km away across the Sinai Peninsula which journey would have taken about 2 weeks after Passover.
Thus (referencing my recent post on the Border Lakes thread) Israel crossed the Suez Isthmus N of the Great Bitter Lake, in a similar way to how Israel crossed the Arabah Isthmus N of the Dead Sea (a greater bitter lake). The two periods of 8-days are bookends to the exact 40 yrs of wilderness wanderings and they are in mirror image. This is a divine text with divine maths. Yet another meta-chiasmus across the books in the Bible. This is why source criticism is bankrupt. Also why it is best to call off the search for those mirage-y chariot wheels in the Aqaba Gulf.