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Exodus - Red Sea Crossing

5: What if… the Bible reveals a discoverable path?

The traditional Exodus story says Moses and the Israelites ran away from the Egyptians and escaped by crossing the Red Sea. But where did they cross, and to what purpose? And where did they go next? What does the Bible really say about the journey?

Compare Numbers 33:1-8, and Exodus 12:37a, 13:17, 13:20-14:2, 15:22-23

The accounts don’t agree precisely so they’re probably not copies. But they agree most of the time, so they’re probably not fiction. The points of agreement and difference can be used to shed light on the geography of the journey.

Where is Rameses? Numbers 33:1-3
Historians have found evidence of huge storage chambers built at Pi-Rameses (house of Rameses) during the Egyptian “New Kingdom” period (1540-1069BC). The city was probably at Qantir on the Nile Delta (though it was once thought to be Tamis).

Where is Succoth? Exodus 12:37, Numbers 33:5
Succoth is probably Egyptian Tjeku, Arabic Maskuta (place of Skuta – the name could…

Exodus - Road to the Red Sea

4: What if… God’s really acts in our world?

Would finding a “natural” explanation for an event stop it’s being miraculous? When Jesus calmed the waves, the disciples cried out “Who is he, that even the wind and waves obey him?” When Moses stretched his hand over the water, the Hebrews might have said the same. But what if the storm was just about to abate, and the water just about to turn red. Would that stop it from being a miracle?

Egyptian magicians could make the tide turn red. That’s magic, unless we understand how it’s done. But they couldn’t part the sea and neither, in general, can we. We might guess when seas will run dry, but God, who created nature, makes the timing exactly right for His people to escape.

When too many “natural” coincidences pile on top of each other, perhaps that’s when it’s fair to say there’s a God and He’s performing miracles. It might even be the “simplest” explanation.

What if… God designed our instincts?
There is something very natural about placing impor…

Exodus - Let My People Go

3: What if… God uses nature to perform miracles?

How much do you know all about Moses and the burning bush? Try these questions:
Was Moses always the obedient servant of God? See Exodus 4:25. He didn’t circumcise his sons.
Why does God have such a cryptic name? See Exodus 3:6,14-16. Sinai is God’s mountain, but if Jethro called it that, it was probably the mountain of a different god. God introduces himself to Moses through the history of his relationship with his people.
Why is Moses afraid? He’s been living among people of a different religion, and probably following different traditions. He may have assumed God had forgotten about him.
What does God ask? In Exodus 3:18 God tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh, but not to day “Let my people go forever.” Instead God asks, through Moses, “Let them travel 3 days journey.” Three days out, plus one to worship, plus three days back is seven days, just long enough to for them to cross the peninsula into Midian where Pharaoh can’t chase them. (Nine d…

Exodus - Moses leaves and returns

2: What if… there’s a mountain in Arabia…?

What if… Egypt was a good place for the Israelites?
1. Why did the Egyptians let the Israelites stay?Genesis 46:31-34 says the Israelites were herdsmen – a despised occupation in Egypt; they presented no threat to Egyptian jobs.
2. Where did the Israelites live in Egypt? Goshen was probably hill-country – fine for animals but not particularly fertile, quite likely near the Nile delta where Rameses would later be built.
3. Did the Israelites mix with Egyptians? There probably weren’t any Egyptians near Goshen till work started on Rameses. At that point Israelite men were probably enslaved to work on the palace. Their wives may well have become servants in Egyptian houses.
4. How long did the Israelites stay in Egypt?Exodus 12:40 says they stayed 430 years. This could mean a little under 10 generations. (40 for a generation, 10 for a countable number.)
5. What did they do while they were there? Until they were enslaved, the Israelites probably enjoy…

Exodus - Introduction

What if… science and the Bible are both true?
What if… the ten plagues of Egypt might have been real events?
What if… the Israelites really did cross the Red Sea, and
What if… we learn to value God’s word more than our own interpretation?

What is the aim of this study:

• To keep the emphasis on the Bible. To remember God’s word is more important than my interpretation.
• To be ready to encourage people to read the Bible and hear God’s word, rather than risk them rejecting what God says because of man’s word.
• To know what the Bible says, even if it’s not what I think it ought to say.

a WHAT IF...STUDY based on the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Joshua, and on Colin J Humphreys research in his excellent book The Miracles of Exodus.



1: What if… science helps us interpret the Bible?

What if… we study ancient languages?
Studying ancient languages and how they changed helps us find out where things happened.
See Joshua 1:10-11, 2:1 and 3:1-6,14-17.
The River Jordan flows south from the …