The Apple Of God's Eye

March 23, 2009

Is The Red Sea Crossing A Myth?

Filed under: Miracles — melchia @ 9:28 pm

Is the Red Sea crossing a mere myth? Some doubters, without faith, say what happened is an impossibility. They suggest that the Israelites actually crossed a reedy marsh at the northern end of the Red Sea. The Bible itself, however, proves that this is not what happened.

The expanse of water which at first stopped the Israelites in their trek out of Egypt was the same body of water in which Solomon later based a “navy of ships.” See I Kings 9:26-28. The name of this sea in the original Hebrew text is “yam suph” (verse 26). The same name is found in the Hebrew in Exodus 15:4 and 22. Was “yam suph” a marsh or a shallow lake? Did the translators make a mistake in identifying this place as the Red Sea?

The evidence proves that the answer to both of these questions is no. Solomon’s ships brought back great treasures from distant ports. The cargo of gold alone weighed about 22 tons (I Kings 9:28). The language and meaning is clear; Solomon’s men did not merely pole their way across a lake and return with a few ounces of the precious metal. Solomon’s ships were seagoing vessels and were manned by those who were thoroughly experienced in sailing the oceans (verse 27).

But there is stronger evidence yet. The biblical descriptions of the crossing of “yam suph” could hardly be applied to wading across a reed-filled, marshy bog. Notice: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were DIVIDED. So the children of Israel went into the MIDST of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a WALL TO THEM ON THEIR RIGHT HAND AND ON THEIR LEFT” (Ex. 14:21-22, NKJV; compare verse 29).

Notice also verses 28 and 30: “Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained …. So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” Elsewhere it is shown that Pharaoh’s army DROWNED in the water as it OVERFLOWED them (Ex. 15:4; Heb. 11:29; Deut. 11:4). The water returned with such great force that not one Egyptian was able to save himself by wading to shore, by swimming
to shore, or by clinging to a horse or a piece of a chariot until he could reach safety. No doubt these were Egypt’s finest young men. There were 600 chariots alone (Ex. 14:7, 9). Was there not at least one strong swimmer among Pharaoh’s army?

And consider, even though they walked on dry ground, the Psalmist tells us that the children of Israel passed through the DEPTHS of “yam suph” (Ps. 106:9). Notice Moses’ song: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath which consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods STOOD UPRIGHT like a heap; and the DEPTHS CONGEALED in the heart of the sea” (Ex. 15:4-8, NKJV).

In the New Testament, the crossing of the Red Sea is referred to as a “baptism” of the Israelites (I Cor. 10:1-2). True baptism is accomplished only by total immersion in water. With a wall of water standing on each side of the fleeing Israelites and the cloud covering them, the entire nation, in effect, was buried in water. The picture is striking. Walking across a dried-up marsh, on the other hand, could hardly be taken to represent baptism.

The term “yam suph” does not refer to any supposed “Reed Sea.” The Bible record clearly refers to what we know of today as the Red Sea, the same Red Sea which is several miles wide and about 200 feet deep in the spot where the Israelites must have crossed! The crossing of the Red Sea was a spectacular miracle which carries great meaning for Christians today.

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