Where Did Moses Part the Red Sea?

Many scholars question where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the location of Mt Sinai, suggesting that they crossed at Nuweiba. The evidence for the crossing at Nuweiba can be taken from clues in the Book of Exodus. There is much detail to support the Scriptures. Any other theory is not Biblical. Here is what the Bible says about the route they took:

“Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children”(Exodus 12:37).

“Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness.” (Exodus 13:20).

“Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.”(Exodus 14:2-3).

Rameses is located in the Goshen region of the Nile delta. Succoth is on the western edge of the Sinai Peninsula. From Succoth they headed east along the Wadi Watir, a natural road through the wide mountain gorge, a distance of approximately 200 miles. They were hemmed in by mountains on both sides and could only go forward. Etham is the region around the mid-northern edge of the Gulf of Aqaba.

They were far enough north that they would not have to cross water, but Moses followed God’s orders and turned them back toward the ruins of an ancient Egyptian fortress at the north end of Nuweiba beach, which  could be Pi-hahiroth. Migdol means a watchtower, and the Egyptian army was known to watch the ships on the Gulf of Aqaba from the mountains. In Saudi Arabia, on the opposite shore of the gulf, is a Midianite fortress dedicated to Baal, most likely the Baal-zephon. Following this route, their only option was through the narrow passage that formed the entrance to Nuweiba Beach.

Here, they were “shut in” by the wilderness with mountains behind them and the sea before them. There was no escape along the coast, as the mountains terminated at the water’s edge. For this beach to be a candidate for the crossing site it would have to be large enough for a camp of over 2 million people and their herds, and it is one of only a few spots that would fit the criteria.The distance from Nuweiba to Baal-zephon in Arabia is 11 miles. A land bridge has been formed by the accumulation of sediments washed from the mountains during floods.

 “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left”(Exodus 14:21, 22)

Crossing here, the wall of water on either side of them would have been 1,000 feet to 1 mile high. “At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, the flowing waters stood up like a heap; the deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea”(Exodus 15:8 NASB).  Not only did the waters pile up to the left and to the right, but they also congealed. This suggests that they may have frozen or become slushy. God caused a strong cold east wind to blow on both sides creating this channel over the underwater land bridge.

“For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea”(Exodus 15:19)

 

As a matter of interest, there is no mummy for the Pharoah Neferhotep I, whose timeline fits that of the Exodus. Neferehotep I was succeeded by his brother Sobekhotep IV, because Neferhotep’s firstborn son, Haankhef, was killed in the last of the ten plagues.

At one time it was assumed that Mt Sinai was on the Sinai Peninsula. However, in those days the Sinai Peninsula was part of Egypt (known as the Wilderness of Egypt) and the Bible specifically states that they moved out of Egypt. The evidence is strongly in favor of Jebel al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia. Ancient historian Josephus, wrote that Mt Sinai “was the highest of mountains in Midian.” Jebel el Lawz is the highest mountain in the upper two thirds of the country.

We read in the Bible of how Moses killed an Egyptian and “…fled and became an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush”(Acts 7:29,30). Mt Horeb and Mt Sinai are considered to be the same, as we gather from Exodus 3:1, which reads “Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the [a]west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” Jethro lived in the area near Mount Sinai and Midian was the area east of the Gulf of Aqaba in the northwestern regions of the Arabian Desert.

To this day we can see the blackened rock at the summit of Mt. Horeb where Moses met with God and received the Ten Commandments. “Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently”(Exodus 19:18).

We also have New Testament evidence as Paul writes “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children” (Galatians 4:25)

On the western side of the mountain is where they first camped before reaching Mt Sinai.  Moses struck the rock, which gushed water.  The giant rock shows water erosion, but is located in a desert region. This is also where they also discovered 12 ancient Egyptian petroglyphsof bulls, not found anywhere else in Saudi Arabia. Exodus 32:5 tells of Aaron building an altar to the golden calf. It has been suggested that the golden calf was placed upon these rocks. Also at the foot of the mountain are the remnants of the uncut stone altar where the priests sacrificed animals to God.

In the 1970s the late Ron Wyatt organized a series of dives that revealed coral-encrusted objects on the floor of the Gulf of Aqaba. Most notable were the chariot wheels. The coral structures did indeed resemble the four-spoke wheels shown in Egyptian wall art of that time. There are several videos on YouTube if you would like to see his findings. I’m sure you will find them fascinating.