An obvious question is why ancient writers would call the salt-water Gulf of Aqaba yam suph , meaning Sea of Reeds, when reeds only grow in fresh water? Although salt-tolerant reeds and rushes can grow in slightly salty lakes, marshes and estuaries, they cannot and do not grow in the Red Sea and its two gulfs Suez and Aqaba because they are too salty. This is true today, and we can reasonably expect it to have been true at the times when the Old Testament was written and when the events recorded occurred. I believe the answer to the above question lies in the unusual geography of the head of the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Czech explorer Alois Musil, in The Northern Hegaz , written in , describes an extremely unusual feature of the northern seashore at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba: it contains fresh water. What is the origin of the water in these freshwater springs at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba? It comes from rain water falling on the mountains bordering the Arabah. The water is then funnelled along and under the sand of the Arabah down towards the Gulf of Aqaba, where it breaks out on the seashore as freshwater springs.
The head of the Gulf of Aqaba thus has an extremely unusual physical geography. The seashore is a boundary between the salt waters of the gulf to the south and the freshwater coming down to the seashore from the north. In addition, Edward Robinson Biblical Researches in Palestine , describes a marsh at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba when he visited it in , which would have been a fresh water marsh fed by freshwater funnelled down the Arabah. It is conceivable that also affected the depth of the marshes they crossed. Hoffmeier is a great resource. It was indeed called the sea of reeds and there we see something of the almighty strength and power of our great God.
My thinking exactly. Take the bible for what it says and believe in a supernatural God that does mighty works! Hi Sandra. Thanks for your response. In certain parts of the wetlands in the ancient Egyptian Delta, the marshes were large and deep enough for people to drown in — think in terms of lakes with lots of reeds in them, rather than muddy swamps that one could walk through. They would have had to cross at a different location of the sea than the marsh where Moses was put as a baby.
Another example of the blind leading the blind. As the tide is coming in waters rising from low- to high-tide , a steady wind holds back the waters until their weight overcomes it and they rush in to shore. Exactly, this kind of insinuation irritates the daylights out of me.
The Deliverance At The Suph Sea
Hi Annamarie. Right on Sandra! Does this mean that the version that the water separated and left a dry lad was false. Could this also mean that the miracle of separation of the water never happened? Hi, John. The miracle of the water separating is not in question. The only question is: Which body of water did God separate? Sandra, hi. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg here. Schaser later decided to include his later response to the comments below into the body of the post, so kindly reread it and see if it would not make more sense to you now.
- English Made Easy Volume Two: Learning English through Pictures: 2?
- The Bible and Archaeology: The Red Sea or the Reed Sea?.
- Giochi di desiderio (Italian Edition);
- The Deliverance at the Suph Sea.
Just curious…assuming it was the Sea of Reeds rather than the much larger Red Sea, which is the greater miracle: 1 The entire Israelite nation crossing it on dry land, or; 2 the entire Egyptian Army being covered and drowned in it? Thanks and make it a great day in The Lord! In Exodus it describes a wall of water on the right and left as the Israelites passed through. For the Red sea or even the Gulf of Aqaba to be the location I will admit that a wind that could part feet of water would also be too blustery to walk through.
Thanks for your question, Bill. This will leave the readers more confused.
He is always true and we are wrong. I agree, Sandra. The Israelites escaping through the Red Sea as the waters part? Or the entire Egyptian army plus horses drowning in a pond of knee-to-waist deep water? Both pretty impressive miracles, but I still go with the first one.
Or the entire Egyptian army, plus horses, drowning in a pond of knee-to-waist deep water. Both rather impressive miracles, but I still go with the first one. This is the first article here on IBC that I disagree with.
The Arabian peninsula, during the time of the Exodus, was still part of Egypt. I agree with Sidney!!!
By using a literal Jewish translation to change the course of History? The Gulf of Aqaba… where history have records… research on it… it may enlighten us…. If the Israelites were to cross the Red Sea which was divided by two sea walls, to cross over onto the other side, the road through would need to be solid to allow for one million people and their possessions to travel on not muddy.
Besides the Bible speaks of the sea before them and mountains all around with no way to escape. Besides how can the mighty army of Egypt drown in swallow muddy water and what about the remains of their chariots. Thanks, Sidney. Yes, the Gulf of Aqaba has been one of a handful of options according to biblical scholars.
Red Sea or Reed Sea?
Dear Dr. Schaser, As you are well aware the Hebrew language has no vowels. Perhaps the Gulf of Aqaba? That would make the exodus crossing fit the Biblical narrative much more realistic? Hi Dr. Thanks for your question. This suggests a significant depth of the waters. Actually, a more plausable explanation which follows the Biblical account better is that Moses led the Israelites across to the Syrian peninsula and down through the Wadi Watir, ending up on Nuweiba beach; where they crossed on a gently sloping natural land bridge that goes 8 miles due east to a wide area in Arabia.
There is also archaeological evidence of odd coral formations in the area that resemble chariot hubs and wheels. One Smith to another! You are quite right. I the research on this subject for myself. Have you Bible handy so you can follow the references to reed, marsh, etc. Fritz also tells us what was going on geographically thousands of years ago — important. Actually, the more plausible explanation is that Moses took the Israelites down through the Syrian peninsula, through the Wadi Watir, and onto Nuweiba beach on the Gulf of Aquaba.
At this point, there rises a gently sloping natual land bridge that runs 8 miles due east to a flat land area on the Arabian side. The floor is made of silt.
The are is devoid of corral except for odd-shaped formations that resemble the remains of chariot wheels and hubs. Also at that place there is an area of melted stones which would be consistent with the pillar of fire. How else is to be explained the remnants of the Egyptian army under the Red Sea at that place? Why is there even any dispute over it; the evidence is quite strong. The land bridge you mention is an underwater land bridge that is only about feet deep there rather that the much deeper water north and south of that point.
Thanks, Mark. The Gulf of Aqaba certainly has been an option within the biblical scholarly discussion. I agree with Mark. There is an excellent book called The Exodus Case by Moller that contains many details Mark highlights. It includes photos that seem clearly, not resembles, chariot wheels, parts of horse skeletons. It also notes that on the Saudi Arabian side the mountain that fits the description of Mt. Sinai which the Bedouins call Moses Mountain. I agree with Sandra. And a sea of reeds would be quite the challenge to cross, even if dried out for the passage — and there were over 2 million Hebrews and their cattle and sheep and treasures.
But then how do they cross the Red Sea in a few hours?
And why would Almighty do something as underwhelming as drying a marsh after all the signs and wonders He performed for all to see — inexplicable plagues on the enemy, manna from heaven, water from rocks, cloud by day for shade, fire by night for warmth, shoes and clothing that never wore out in 40 years of daily use and so on…. Hi Tami. Thanks for your comments. Thank you for taking time to respond. Healthy debate it good; it helps me grow. Maybe it does make sense. Flocks and pedestrians can get through wet ground by exercising caution.
Armored chariots and war horses, not so much.
Yam Suph etymology of
I am a single man in his mid 40s. In the specialized world of archaeology the attacks have increased dramatically in the past 50 years. Once a specialization filled with Bible believing individuals, the field of archaeology is now overrun with atheists and skeptics, agnostics and those committed to the destruction of the Bible as a source of true historical information. These attacks on the Bible are a part of a sweeping movement in western culture.
Spearheaded by academic elitists in the university and the public educational system, the news and popular media, and the entertainment industry, these revisionists cloak themselves with supposed objectivity, purity of motives, and the superiority of science over the "uninformed", "unscientific", religious community. They regularly mock those who question their world-view and their conclusions by name-calling and the worst forms of anti-Bible and anti-Christian propaganda.
They have powerfully infected the church by turning Bible believing Christians against the very Scripture which is the foundation of truth and life in this world.