Noah's Ark
Red Sea Crossing
Mt. Sinai
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by Ron Wyatt

The first in-depth study we will present will be the events of the Exodus journey, beginning with the time the multitude leaves Egypt until they cross the Red Sea. A map is shown below for reference. We will systematically take a look at each step of their journey to Mount Sinai. 

FIRST, LOCATE MIDIAN   As I began to study the biblical account of the exodus in Exodus 3, Moses encounters the burning bush while he is in Midian, tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law. There, God tells Moses that he is to bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt. "And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain" Exodus 3:12.  Moses was told in this verse to bring them back to Midian, to the mountain where God had spoken to him. In my studies of ancient Egyptian history, it became clear to me that Midian was not in the Sinai peninsula -- that it was actually in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The Bible even tells us, "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children" Galatians 4:25. 

All through the Sinai peninsula there is tremendous evidence of the ancient Egyptians having control of this area.  The inscriptions tell of their mining operations there.  There are temples out there as well as fortresses.  Had Moses led the people across the Gulf of Suez, they would have still been in Egyptian-controlled territory.  But in Saudi Arabia, there is no evidence of Egyptian occupation. In fact, when I showed the archaeologist from Riyadh University the petroglyphs of cows and bulls on the golden calf altar, he was very excited -- he said this ancient Egyptian style of petroglyph was found nowhere else in Saudi that he knew of.  The horns of the cows and bulls were drawn in the Egyptian style which represented the gods, Hathor and Aphis. With this established, that Mt. Sinai lies in NW Saudi Arabia, and the crossing took place across the Gulf of Aqaba, let's look at their entire route to the sea.

WHERE WAS RAMESES? Unlike the commonly held thought, Rameses, was not a city -- it was the Delta region; the land given to Joseph's family to live in by the pharaoh. This was called "the land of Rameses" and "the land of Goshen." This was where the great population of the Israelites lived: "And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded" Genesis 47:11.  "And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly" Genesis 47:27.  Rameses could not be referring to a city for the simple reason that there just wasn't a city in ancient Egypt large enough to hold the 2-3 million people Moses led from Egypt, much less all of their flocks and herds.

THEY WERE "IN THEIR HOMES" PRIOR TO LEAVING.   Also, we know that just before the "angel of death" took the lives of all the first born of Egypt, and pharaoh told Moses to take the people and go, God tells Moses to have the Israelites cook a lamb and to place the blood of this lamb upon the doors of their houses, that the "angel of death" would pass over their house: "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb" Exodus 12:3-4. 

THEY LEAVE EGYPT THE SAME DAY   This clearly implies that they were in their homes when this event occurred. Then, He goes on to tell them to eat unleavened bread for seven days: "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever" Exodus 12:17.  God tells Moses in this verse that on that very day (selfsame day), while they are still in their homes, He will have brought them out of Egypt. This tells us that they left Egypt before sundown the day after the angel of death visited Egypt. * Note that a "day" to the Israelites was not as we think of a day - from midnight to midnight.  Instead, it was from evening to evening, "...from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath" Leviticus 23:32.  "And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children" Exodus 12:37.  In summary, when word came to the people that they were allowed to leave, just after the "angel of death" visited Egypt, they all left their homes in Rameses, or Goshen, and proceeded to leave Egypt "proper." How was this possible -- that they were able to be out of Egypt so quickly? On the map, you can see that Egypt is extremely long, but its east/west boundaries are very narrow. They left Rameses and assembled in Succoth, which was very near, but at the same time outside of the boundary of Egypt "proper".

WHERE WAS SUCCOTH? Succoth had to be a place large enough for this tremendous amount of people and their flocks to assemble. Long before I ever began my overseas field work, I had studied ancient Egyptian history.  I had read numerous accounts of inscriptions which spoke of a place called variably "Tharu", T'aru" and "Takut," which fit the description of Succoth perfectly.  The following are quoted from "Life in Ancient Egypt" by Adolf Erman: "The isthmus of Suez was of the greatest consequence also from a military point of view - it was doubtless fortified in very early times. Probably here stood the great fortress of T'aru, often spoken of as the starting-point for the expeditions into Syria,..."-p.28 "The line of fortifications which was intended to keep back these Beduins of the Delta, is met with as early as the time of the Middle Empire, and is still standing. It consisted of a wall strengthened by small towers...this formed an obstruction which the slaves who tried to escape from Egypt, and the Beduins who wanted to pasture their cattle on the fields of the Delta, found difficult to pass. At this time we also meet with a defensive work of another kind, namely a broad canal, which presumably connected the lakes of the isthmus together. At the point where a bridge crossed this canal were strong fortresses on both sides... The great fortress which defended this bridge was the fortress of T'aru', which is so often mentioned as the starting point of the military expeditions" - p.537.   To sum up what he has said, in ancient Egypt, there was a line of guarded fortifications along the canal which connected the Gulf of Suez with the Mediterranean Sea.  This canal is known to have existed anciently by satellite photos and infrared photos which still show its path. At the point where one would leave Egypt proper and go into the Sinai desert, there was a fortress and a bridge. Inscriptions tell us that this fortress was called Tharu (or one of the various spellings). This is also located near the Delta, or "Rameses," where the Israelites were living. "Tharu" was where the Egyptian army assembled in preparation for their military expeditions to the north. Armies consisted of a great deal of men, horses and chariots; and they required a large area to assemble properly. Moses well knew Tharu, called "Succoth" in the biblical account -- and it was here that he organized the people for their journey. They had left Egypt proper once they crossed this line of fortification, just as the Lord had promised. "...and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." Exodus 13:18

THEY LEFT "HARNESSED  We know of a surety that "harnessed" doesn't mean "armed with weapons" because they had no weapons until God provided them by washing the bodies of the dead Egyptian army upon the shore after the waters of the Red Sea closed back up. The chariot soldiers had to strap their weapons to their bodies, and when they were washed upon the shore, the multitude simply collected their weaponry. So what does it mean? The Hebrew word "chamushim," which is the Hebrew word translated "harnessed" in the above verse, is found only 4 times in the Hebrew text -- Exodus 13:18; Joshua 1:14; Joshua 4:12; and Judges 7:11. The word means "in ranks." Apply that definition to the above texts and see for yourself if it does not seem appropriate. Also of note, is the fact that in Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua, the Hebrew word "chalats" is used in denoting "armed soldiers." If we really study the biblical account, and use good, common sense -- we can learn much from what is implied, but not actually spelled out for us. Moses, as "the son of Pharaoh's daughter," was the heir to the throne of Egypt. As such, he was the "crown prince." If you study any Egyptian history, you learn that the person in line for the throne was given very exacting training -- the Pharaoh was considered the "earthly embodiment of the god," so the "pharaoh-in-training" spent a part of his training studying with the priesthood:  "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds" Acts 7:22.  The next stage of a crown prince's training was military. Moses was thoroughly trained in all aspects of military leadership and would have known well how to assemble large numbers of peoples for travel. While no specifics are given in the Bible as to Moses' life in Egypt, several ancient historians make reference to the fact that he was a general. And we admit that we do not accept all of what these people have to say as being totally accurate, but the fact that Moses was indeed a general in the Egyptian army seems to have been a well-known fact. Josephus writes about this in his "Antiquities of the Jews," Book II, Chapter X. As a military man, once again, Moses knew "Tharu", and it was here that he organized his largest "army" ever for travel. And from here, they travelled to Etham.

WHERE WAS ETHAM?  "And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness" Exodus 13:20.  Etham was in the "edge of the wilderness." What wilderness was this? The answer is in the Exodus account: "But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea..." Exodus 13:18.  It was the Wilderness of the Red Sea -- the mountainous land of the mid and southern Sinai Peninsula. This was along a route that was commonly taken in those days by both caravans and the army, and it was called "the southern route." This route was taken because it was safer than traveling along the coast, where the Philistines were. Etham was not a singular location, like a town - it was a designation of the land that lay around the mid-northern edge of the Gulf of Aqaba. We know this because once they cross the sea, they are still in an area called Etham:  "And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah" Numbers 33:8.  It was while they were at Etham on the western side of the sea that God told Moses: "Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in" Exodus 14:2-3.  In order for them to be "entangled in the land," they would have to be travelling through an area of wadis (canyons) with high mountains all around, which would seem to hem them in. This takes place prior to crossing the sea, so I looked for an area such as this which would terminate on a beach or shore of the sea which was large enough to hold perhaps 2 or 3 million people, as well as their flocks. I found a beach of tremendous size on the Gulf of Aqaba at Nuweiba, and the only passage to it is through an 18 mile long wadi system. From "Etham in the edge of the wilderness," they changed their direction of travel from a northerly direction, (which would have soon taken them around the northern tip of the sea,) and went south, through a wadi system that must have appeared like an endless maze to them. Hemmed in to the left and right, they could only travel in one direction -- and the only path through that wadi leads to the tremendous sized beach.

THE SITE OF THE CROSSING   As I mentioned, I found this tremendous beach on the Gulf of Aqaba which could easily have held the multitude, their flocks, and also pharaoh's army -- separating the two groups by several miles. But there's another interesting fact about this site...

At left is an arial photo of Nuweiba. Josephus gives an additional bit of information in his "Antiquities of the Jews" Book II, Chapter XV. Speaking of pharaoh's army pursuing the multitude, he states: "They also seized upon the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up between the inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was [on each side] a [ridge of] mountains that terminated at the sea, which was impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hebrews with their army, where [the ridges of] the mountains were closed with the sea..."  When I first visited the site of Nuweiba in 1978, these mountains could be seen on the south end of the beach area which terminated at the sea -- no passage would have been possible to the south. (See photo at left)  As I found the chariot parts when diving on the southern end of the beach, this implies that the multitude traveled to this section of the beach. Pharaoh's army entered from the same wadi, which is the only entrance onto the beach. This wadi is located midway of the beach, and once the army entered the area, the multitude's only means of escape would have been to the south. But the mountains to the south extend all the way to the sea -- they had no way of escape, or so it seemed. (Continued next page)

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