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Home Forums The Red Sea Miracle The Border Lakes of Egypt Reply To: The Border Lakes of Egypt

  • Deborah Hurn

    May 4, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Here is a concession re the suitability of the Bitter Lakes by Graham Davies who otherwise speaks of the biblical texts as late compilations of ‘traditions’. I will maintain that it is impossible for so much geographical detail to have survived hundreds of years as ‘tradition’ and written up by people who had never been to these regions and still be accurate across the books and match the terrain.

    [73] Another possibility which deserves renewed consideration is that… the Bitter Lakes, where many scholars would locate [the crossing] on the basis of features other than the reference to ‘Yam Suf’, were continuous with the Gulf of Suez and so naturally known by the same name. Subsequently the land rose and the lakes were separated from the Gulf, and then it was more appropriate to refer to the place of the crossing as ha-yam (which could mean ‘the lake’); while the tradition of a crossing of Yam Suf, which was not completely suppressed, led to a new location of the event on the Gulf of Suez. The geological events assumed by this theory can be shown to have occurred by the evidence of rock-formations near Suez and around the Bitter Lakes* but it has never been shown conclusively that the Bitter Lakes were joined to the open sea in the historical period…. But the discoveries that have been made are compatible with a lowering of the shore-level of up to 2 metres in the [74] historical period, and this seems to be all that the proponents of the northerly extension of the Gulf of Suez envisage.** Moreover, both Glueck and Rothenberg hold that there has been such a change in the shore-level at the north end of the Gulf of Aqaba.***

    Davies, Graham I. The Way of the Wilderness: A Geographical Study of the Wilderness Itineraries in the Old Testament. SOTS: Monograph Series 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2009.
    * Albright, William F. “Exploring in the Sinai with the University of California African Expedition.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 109 (1948): 5–20: 15; Har-El, Menashe. The Sinai Journeys: The Route of the Exodus. [Hbw], Tel Aviv, 1968: 97.
    ** Bourdon, Claude. “La route de l’Exode de la terre de Gessé à Mara.” Revue Biblique (1892-1940) 61 (1932): 370–92: 381.
    *** Glueck, Nelson. The Other Side of the Jordan. New Haven, CT: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1940: 107; Rothenberg, Beno. “König Salomons Hafen Im Roten Meer New Entdeckt.” Das Heilige Land 97 (1965): 18–28: 27; The age of the 'sill of Shalluf' is not necessarily an obstacle to the theory (cf. Simons, Jan J. The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament: A Concise Commentary in XXXII Chapters. Leiden: Brill, 1959: 248 n. 213).