The Red Sea Crossing
By Stephen M Golden
Copyright © 1 May 2007, 5 May 2012, 14 February 2023
Also see Searching for Moses
Where did Moses and the children of
Forty years before the exodus, when Moses first left Egypt,
he fled to Midian.
Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and
went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters,
and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s
He was hiding from Pharaoh and Midian would have been well
suited for this. The Sinai Peninsula
would not have been suitable because Egyptian soldiers were stationed
Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian,
and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him
in flames of fire from within a bush.
Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.
That’s where God tells Moses He wants him to free His
people. God told Moses to bring the
Israelites back to worship Him on this mountain.
God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I
who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’”
Amplified Bible: Exodus
said, ‘I will surely be with you; and this shall be the sign to you that I have
sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on
“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a
burning bush in the desert near Mount
“He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers;
and he received living words to pass on to us.”
So where is Mt Sinai?
Today, a mountain called
The traditional mountain that is called Sinai was
established by some Catholic priests in the 3rd century AD who had been run out
There is even an ancient Egyptian fortress at the north end
of the Nuweiba peninsula. This land was still considered
The real Mt.
Several pre-Christian Jewish documents place
Comparing the Old Testament passages with the New Testament
passages, we can see that Sinai and Horeb are the same mountain.
4:25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present
city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
The Greek geographer Ptolemy identified
“Madian” as being in the Arabian Peninsula, near the
modern city of Al Baad. The real Mt. Sinai is called Jabal al Lawz today.
Many have the impression that Rameses was the name of
Pharaoh at the time Moses demanded the release of the Children of Israel. For many people this may be due to the movie
“The Ten Commandments,” in which Pharaoh’s name was Rameses. However, Rameses of Moses’ time was not a
“So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and
gave them property in the best part of
the land, the district of Rameses,
as Pharaoh directed.”
“So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with
forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as
store cities for Pharaoh.”
Rameses is a location.
The name Rameses is associated with a word that means “door of two
roads.” From Rameses, travelers either
went southeast to the desert passage toward Arabia, or northeast to
Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.”
Israelites left Rameses and camped at Succoth.
They left Succoth and camped at Etham, on the
edge of the desert.”
Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the
Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war,
they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’”
the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread.
The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did
not have time to prepare food for themselves.” (ESV)
“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread,
and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread
shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you,
and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory.” (ESV)
the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the
way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” (ESV)
“and Jehovah is going before them by day in a pillar of a
cloud, to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give light
to them, to go by day and by night;” (YLT)
There is also reason to believe God assisted their
yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’
wings and brought you to myself…”
the LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth,
between Migdol and the sea.’”
The Bible indicates Moses was to take the Children of Israel
off the normal path around the desert through an unexpected path so that God might
be glorified. It also served the purpose
of punishing the arrogant Pharaoh and his army.
I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the
Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.’ So the
Israelites did this.”
will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’”
Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides
women and children.”
…trapped at the shore
33:7 They left Etham, turned back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east
of (?) Baal-Zephon, and camped near Migdol.
“To the east of” is an incorrect translation in the NIV.
A better translation would be “to the east is…”.
Other translations are more correct.
33:7 They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces
Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.
33:7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again
unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched
33:7 They left Etham and turned back toward Pi-hahiroth,
opposite Baal-zephon, and camped near Migdol.
33:7 and they journey from Etham, and turn back on
Pi-Hahiroth, which is on the front of Baal-Zephon, and they
encamp before Migdol.
the LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the
sea. They are to encamp by the sea,
directly opposite Baal-Zephon’”
Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the
Israelites and overtook them as they camped
by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal-Zephon.”
left Pi Hahiroth and passed through the sea into the
desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert of Etham, they camped at Marah.”
Baal-Zephon is on the east side of
the Gulf of Aqaba, directly across from the
The children of Israel
back toward Pi Hahiroth, and
across from Baal-Zephon between Migdol
(the mountains on the Sinai Peninsula) and the sea.
To meet the scriptural description of the crossing site,
we’ve got to find a place where…
1. Pharaoh would think the Children of Israel were lost in the
2. Where the Children of Israel were hemmed in by the sea.
3. A place that could trap 2-3 million people.
4. A place a minimum of 7 days travel from the starting
5. A place where the crossing would be opposite a known site
of worshippers of Baal (not an Egyptian god).
6. A place where Pharaoh and his entire army could be
The Nuweiba peninsula meets those
criteria precisely, as no other place does.
When the Children of Israel turned back to Pi Hahiroth, they had to travel the Wadi Watir
in order to be opposite Baal-Zephon.
The Wadi Watir
The path the Children of Israel had to take.
Looking out from the Wadi Watir toward the Nuweiba
Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba.
a high walled canyon, 18 miles long that opens out at Nuweiba
against the Red Sea.
“But the Gulf of Aqaba is very deep, almost 5000 feet for
most of its length.”
“Even if there were no water, crossing it would be extremely
Yes, that’s true, but at just this point in the gulf…
There is an underwater land bridge with a depth of around
It consists of sand so fine, once water is removed, it dries
quickly, and is easy to walk upon.
the sand was there before God divided the water, or God built it up as part of
the same miraculous work, we do not know.
Either way, eleven miles wide and 200 feet deep is enough to drown
Pharaoh and his army.
Baal-zephon - Eastern side of the crossing of the
Red Sea (
Etham - the area around the north and to the
east of the
Jebel al Lawz - Blackened mountain, likely Horeb, the real Mt.
Nuweiba - Large sandy peninsula on the western
side of the
Solomon’s columns @ Nuweiba and Baal-zephon (Saudi Arabia), supposedly installed by King Solomon
to memorialize the crossing. The one on
the Saudi side has been removed and a marker put in its place.
- Probably Tharu (also spelled T’aru, or Takut) southeast of Rameses (or
- A high-walled canyon
Wadi Watir -The high-walled canyon, 18 miles long
that opens out at Nuweiba against the Red Sea (Gulf
Yam Suph - Red Sea, not
NIV: 1Kings 9:26
King Solomon also built ships at Ezion
Geber, which is near Elath in
YLT: 1Kings 9:26
And a navy hath king Solomon made in Ezion-Geber,
that is beside Eloth, on the edge of the Sea of Suph, in the land of Edom.
(The same Hebrew words Yam
Suph are used in this
passage as in Exodus.)
•Aerial photo of Wadi Watir (Watir means
“entangled”) and Nuweiba
•Aerial photo of Nuweiba
•Photos of chariot wheels
•Aerial photo of Jebel al Lawz
•Clearer Aerial photo of Nuweiba
•Photos from Wadi Watir looking
out to the Red Sea
•Satellite photo of Wadi Watir and
•Matching pillars on each side supposedly installed by King
Solomon. The one on the Saudi side has
been removed and a marker put in its place.
•Inscriptions on the cliffs in Wadi Sidra describing the
miraculous events of the crossing. — The
Signature of God, Grant R. Jefrey
DVD: The Exodus
A video production by Discovery Media Productions
Distributed by Questar, Inc.
Searching for Moses: by David Down, Creation Ex Nihilo-Technical
Journal (TJ) 15(1) 2001 p.63