14: Parting the Red Sea


God tells Moses to go camp near the sea near Pihahiroth. In the meantime, Pharaoh and the people of Egypt learn that the Hebrews hadn’t gone to the mountains to make sacrifice but that they were fleeing. So Pharaoh sends 600 chariots to chase the Hebrews. Pharoah easily overtakes them at the camp by the sea. The Hebrews start to panic – Why did you take us out of Egypt only to die? God tells Moses, don’t panic, just put out your rod over the sea and I will part it for you so you can cross on dry ground. In the meantime, an Angel of God appears as a cloud which surrounded the Isralites so that the Egyptians could not see them and they were not attacked all night. While this is happening, Moses stretches out his hand and a wind comes up from the east and pushed back the waters. The Israelites start to cross. The Egyptians follow, though God apparently makes this difficult by making the wheels of the chariots come off. Anyway, the Israelites get across, and the Egyptians try to follow. Moses stretches out his hand and the waters close and the Egyptians are covered with water and left for dead.

In other words:

Pharaoh chases the Israelites, who flee across a parted sea. The Egyptians are killed by the returning sea.

What I think may have happened:

It sounds like there was an active volcano erupting and if this happened, there may have been an earthquake that causes a tsunami – because the length of time described for the waters to recede and then the force of their return is consistent with that. Happy coincidence (or miracle) this occurred just when the Israelites needed it.

Favorite bit:

Exodus 14:29 – The imagery of the children of Israel walking upon dry land in the midst of the sea with a wall of water on both sides of them.

Annoying bit:

Some of this chapter is out of order, specifically towards the end (Exodus 14:23-29). It’s a little confusing, but not too much. More annoying than anything.

Most interesting bit:

(Exodus 14:19,20) This is where the Angel of God and the pillar of cloud surround the Israelites to hide them from the Egyptians. It is oddly worded but still great imagery.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Good timing is everything (Exodus 14)