Exegetical and Contextual Facets of Israel’s Red Sea Crossing

R. Larry Overstreet | May 21, 2010

If one accepts the inerrancy of the Bible, locating Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 14:15 any place other than the northwestern arm of the Red Sea (i.e., the Gulf of Suez) is practically impossible. Reasons for such a placement involve direct references to yam sûph in Num 33:10-11; Exod 10:19; 23:31; Num 21:4; Deut 1:40; 2:1; Judg 11:16; 1 Kgs 9:26; Jer 49:21 and an indirect reference to the body of water in Isa 11:15. The writings of Herodotus, Pindar, and Strabo furnish further evidence that ¦DL2D¬ 2V8″FF” (erythr‘ thalassa, “Red Sea”) was the name correctly applied to the place of Israel’s crossing. From writers involved with translating the LXX and The Genesis Apocryphon and from Josephus comes even more proof of that location. In two instances the NT verifies the “Red Sea” terminology as correct when referring to the exodus. Sûph means “end” or “termination” rather than “reeds.” Details of the Red Sea crossing require a supernatural intervention that created a substantial opening in the sea to allow so many Israelites to cross in such a short time.

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