After leaving Egypt, Israel headed toward Mt. Sinai and camped by the Red Sea on the way (Exodus 12:37; 13:17-14:4). The Egyptians thought Israel was trapped and attempted to annihilate them. However, G-d miraculously opened the Red Sea and Israel crossed on dry land with the Egyptians close behind them. When Israel reached the other side, the waters returned, destroying the entire Egyptian army (Exodus 14:5-31). God’s awesome victory over Egypt and His marvelous salvation of Israel remained forever etched in the memory of Israel and is cited frequently elsewhere in the Bible.
Scholars have long debated the Exodus route, the Red Sea crossing site and the location of Mt. Sinai. Some scholars believe Israel crossed a fresh water lake in Egypt not far from the Mediterranean Sea. Other scholars believe Israel crossed the Suez branch of the Red Sea before proceeding south to the traditional site of Mt. Sinai. This lesson presents Biblical and video evidence of the discovery of the true site of the Red Sea crossing on the Gulf of Aqaba.
To present convincing evidences that identify the likely site where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.
LESSON OBJECTIVES: You will . . .
- Examine the Biblical evidence of the route the Israelites took after leaving Egypt and traveling to the Red Sea.
- Consider historical and visual evidence which points to a precise location on the Gulf of Aqaba where Israel crossed the Red Sea.
- Study Biblical and linguistic evidence that the Hebrew words, YAM SUPH, translated the “Red Sea,” but written in foot notes as “the Sea of Reeds”, can refer to the salt water plants of the Gulf of Aqaba.
ROUTE OF MOSES TO MOUNT SINAI
- Moses Flight to the Land of Midian
- When Moses killed the Egyptian he fled to the land of Midian to escape the wrath of Pharaoh (Exodus 2:25).
- The fastest and safest route for Moses was to cross the desert to the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba and then to head south into Saudi Arabia, where the land of Midian is located on most Bible maps.
- Moses on Mt. Horeb (Sinai)
- While in Midian, Moses saw a burning bush on Mt. Horeb (Sinai).
- G-d spoke in the fire, commanding Moses to return to Egypt and lead Israel back to worship God on this same mountain. (Exodus 3:1-12).
- The Route Taken By Israel On Their Way Out of Egypt
- The shortest and fastest way to get out of Egypt was a road leading parallel to the Mediterranean from Goshen northeast to Canaan.
- Exodus 13:17-18: God rejected this route because it led directly into Philistine territory which would result in immediate war.
- G-d led them across the desert to the Red Sea – the Gulf of Aqaba.
- This route took longer to get out of Egypt, but was actually closer to and faster to get to Mt. Sinai in Midian.
- Israel departed from “Rameses,” either the store city or the district of Rameses in the land of Goshen (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:3,5).
- They traveled fast, at times going 3 days and nights without camping (Exodus 15:22; Numbers 33:8). Guided by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day (Exodus 13:21-22).
- Succoth was Israel’s first camping stop (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:5), midway across the desert toward the Gulf of Aqaba.
- After a day or two of rest Israel started another journey of 3 days and 3 nights, ending at Etham (Exodus 13:20).
ETHAM, A KEY CITY TO IDENTIFY THE “RED SEA” ISRAEL CROSSED
- Unexpected Instructions at Etham (Exodus 14:1-3). Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around in the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’
- Etham was located outside of Egypt on its eastern border.
- This means Israel left Egypt and then reentered Egypt.
- Proof Etham was East of Egypt’s Border
- When Israel later crossed the Red Sea, they entered the Desert of Etham in Numbers 33:6, 8. Etham is east of the Red Sea.
- But Exodus 15:22 says Israel entered the “the Desert of Shur” after crossing the Red Sea. Therefore the names Etham and Shur are interchangeable.
- The NIV Study Bible says Shur means “fortress wall” in Hebrew, and Etham means “fortress wall” in the Egyptian language.
- Etham and Shur are obviously the same city.
- Genesis 25:18 says that the descendants of Ishmael settled in the area “from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt.”
- Unger’s New Bible Dictionary identifies Havilah as “a district evidently north of Sheba in Arabia.” Thus, Havilah was the eastern border of Ishmael in Arabia and Shur was the western border in Arabia, near the eastern border of Egypt. Since Etham and Shur are the same city, Etham was also located just outside the eastern border of Egypt.
- Egypt’s ancient border ran north from the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba to the River or Wadi of Egypt, which runs into the Mediterranean.
- Shur, which is Etham, was east of the Gulf of Aqaba.
- Before Israel Arrived at Etham, They Crossed the Border of Egypt
- Then Israel Turned South Down the Western Coast of the Gulf of Aqaba
They reached a beach near Pi-Hahiroth, which was precisely located between Migdol on the west and the Red Sea or Gulf of Aqaba on the east.
RON WYATT’S DISCOVERY OF THE RED SEA CROSSING
- Research and Discovery
- Ron read in Josephus that the Israelites were “hemmed in” by mountains that came down along parallel to the western coast of the Gulf of Aqaba and then suddenly “closed with the sea” at the south end of the beach.[i]
- Wyatt saw on the map that rugged mountains run from north to south parallel to the western coast of the Gulf of Aqaba for 40 miles.
- Suddenly these mountains turn and jut into the Gulf, blocking off the pathway of anyone trying to go farther south on the coast.
- Ron found on the map the location where Josephus says Israel was “hemmed in” by mountains on the west and south, with the sea on the east and Pharaoh’s army coming from the north.
- The Israelite Camping Ground
- Wyatt found the Noweiba Beach next to the mountains, which jutted into the Gulf cutting off the Beach.
- The Noweiba Beach is about 6 miles long and a mile and a half to a quarter of a mile in width.
- Noweiba has sufficient space for three million Israelites and their livestock.
- At the northern end of the beach is an old Egyptian fortress still standing. Near the fortress is an oasis with beautiful palm trees and wells of fresh water. This site is likely the remains of Pi-hahiroth.
- Exodus 14:2 says Israel camped between Migdol and the sea. On top of the mountains to the west directly behind the beach is an old fortress tower that Egypt constructed, which must be Migdol, because it means “watchtower” in Hebrew.[ii]
- Across the Gulf to the west in Saudi Arabia is another enormous beach, about the same size as Noweiba and thus large enough for Israel to camp after crossing to the other side.
- At the south end of this Arabian beach is an ancient deserted city, no doubt “Baal Zephon” (Exodus 14:9), not an Egyptian name, but an Asiatic name.
- Wyatt found the Noweiba Beach next to the mountains, which jutted into the Gulf cutting off the Beach.
- Discovery of the Two Pillars of Solomon
- In 1977 Ron found a large stone pillar lying down on the Noweiba Beach.
- Several years later Ron went to the beach on the opposite side in Saudi Arabia and found an identical pillar still erect with inscriptions in Hebrew, worn but still readable: “Pharaoh, Egypt, Death, Israel, Yahweh (Jehovah) and Solomon.
- Ron believes Solomon erected the two Phoenician style columns in commemoration of the Exodus event. 1 Kings 6:1 says that Solomon celebrated the 480th anniversary of the Exodus in his fourth year. Solomon likely set up these pillars as part of that celebration.
- Ron later flew by helicopter with a Saudi prince and Saudi archaeologist and showed them this pillar.
- When Ron’s friends returned to the site in 1993, the pillar had been removed with only a concrete block and flag marking its location. Apparently the Saudi archaeologist had the pillar removed and transported it to some museum or store room elsewhere in Saudi Arabia
DISCOVERY OF PHARAOH’S CHARIOTS UNDER THE RED SEA
- A Natural Underwater Bridge
- Consulting nautical maps of the British Admiralty in London, Wyatt saw that a natural, underwater bridge about a mile wide and eight miles long led across the Gulf from the Nuweiba beach over to Saudi Arabia.
- The width and length of the crossing was sufficient for three million Israelites and their livestock to cross the Gulf in 5 to 7 hours.
- Wyatt said the maps of the British Admiralty showed this underwater bridge gradually declines at a 7-degree angle to a depth of about 1,000 feet in the middle and then gradually ascends at the same angle to the Saudi Arabian shore.
- Wyatt’s video also claims that deep gorges on each side of the bridge plunge to about 5,000 feet deep.
- The map shows the span is about 10 miles and the bridge about 1,000 feet deep 1/3 of the way out from shore. From there the depth increases to about 2,500 feet in the middle before ascending to the Saudi-Arabian side.
- The map shows gorges of about 3,370 feet on each side of the land bridge.
- However, this land bridge is the most shallow across the entire Gulf of Aqaba except at its mouth at the Strait of Tiran.
- How God Could Have Opened the Gulf At This Point
- Psalm 77:16-20 suggests an earthquake occurred simultaneously with a “whirlwind” that opened the path through the Red Sea: “The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, . . . the earth trembled and quaked. . . . your path led through the sea, . . . though your footprints were not seen. . . . you led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
- The earthquake may have lifted the land bridge higher, and deepened the gorges on the sides to lower the water level on the bridge.
- Exodus 14:21 says God drove the sea back and divided it with a strong east wind. The “whirlwind” in Psalm 77 could have been a tornado or hurricane that swept the waters away from the land bridge, as Israel walked through the eye of the storm.
- When the “whirlwind” lifted, Israel was safe on the Saudi Arabian side and the waters rushed over the Egyptian army. Not a single Egyptian survived, including Pharaoh (Exodus 14:28; Psalm 136:15).
NOTE: Scuba diving at Noweiba, Ron Wyatt found remains of Pharaoh’s army, horses and chariots. He video-taped what he found and now Ted wants you to look at the evidence he found.
- A Review of Some of The Evidence You Saw in The Video
- Two coral-covered chariot wheels still are on their axle in a vertical position with one wheel planted on the sea bottom and the other suspended above the sea floor.
- Ron Wyatt used a molecular frequency generator (metal detector) to find the smaller, four-spoked, gold-plated, chariot wheel, a third wheel.
- A fourth chariot wheel, 6-spoked, also coral-encrusted, is seen lying by itself on the sea bottom. All 6 spokes are visible, but some have partially disintegrated.
- Ron also found a rib-cage of a man and a hoof of a horse on the sea bottom.
- Exodus 14:29-31 says many Egyptians washed up on the Arabian side. Most of the remains of the Egyptians should be on the Arabian side; yet Wyatt only searched on the Egyptian side.
- Also, Wyatt was limited to scuba diving (maximum of 150-200 feet). Deep sea diving on the Arabian side should reap a harvest of artifacts.
CAN YAM SUPH REFER TO THE GULF OF AQABA?
- The Biblical Definition of the Term Yam Suph
- Yam Suph the Hebrew words for “the Red Sea,” are translated by most scholars as meaning, “the Sea of Reeds.”
- Since reeds grow only in fresh water, many scholars believe the Yam Suph must refer only to a fresh water lake.
- It is true that suph means fresh water reeds in the Nile River in Exodus 2:3.
- However, suph means seaweed in the Mediterranean in Jonah 2:5, proving suph refers to any water plants, whether they grow in fresh or salt water.
- Thus, Yam Suph can be translated the “Sea of Sea-Weed.”
- Sea weed is often red in color and the Gulf of Aqaba may have derived the latter name of “Red Sea” from the color of the suph (sea weed).
- The Gulf of Aqaba is Also Called the Sea of Edom (1 Kings 9:26; Jeremiah 49:19-22) Since Edom comes from Esau, which means “red” in Hebrew, [iii]the Sea of Edom can be translated as “The Red Sea,” which is the name translated in the Greek Septuagint and in the New Testament (Acts 7:36; Hebrews 11:29).
- Yam Suph Usually Refers to the Gulf of Aqaba in the Old Testament
- 1 Kings 9:26 says, “King Solomon also built ships at Ezion-geber, near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea” (NIV foot note = Yam Suph = Sea of Reeds = Gulf of Aqaba).
- Ezion-geber and Elath are on the Gulf of Aqaba, which is salt water.
- Numbers 33:8-11 reports that Israel returned to the Red Sea (“Yam Suph”) after walking in the desert of Etham 3 days. If the Red Sea were a fresh water lake close to the Mediterranean, then Israel would have returned to Egypt.
- Deuteronomy 1:40; 2:1; Numbers 21:4 say that Israel traveled toward the Red Sea (Yam Suph) to go from Kadesh Barnea around Edom. This road leads only south to the Gulf of Aqaba, not west toward the Suez branch of the Red Sea.
- Since Numbers 21:4 calls the Gulf of Aqaba the Red Sea when Israel headed south to go around Edom, then it is only logical that Numbers 33:8-11 is also referring to the Gulf of Aqaba when it says Israel crossed the Red Sea and later returned to the Red Sea after crossing it.
The Biblical evidence decisively points to the Gulf of Aqaba as the body of water Israel crossed to get out of Egypt. The under-water video reveals amazing remnants of Pharaoh’s chariots, horses and soldiers.
SELF EXAM FOR LESSON SEVENTEEN
- To what land did Moses flee and what was the likely route he took? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- In what land was Mount Horeb located? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What significant event occurred at this Mountain? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Where was the city of Ethan located and by what other name is it called in the Bible? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Show that “Yam Suph” does not have to be translated “Sea of Reeds.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Show from the Bible that “Yam Suph” usually refers to the Gulf of Aqaba. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Where are Ezion-geber and Elath located? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
[i] Josephus, Antiquities, II.15.3 (page 75).
[ii] NIV Study Bible, foot note on Exodus 14:2
[iii] Genesis 25:30; The New Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon, p. 10