Red Sea Or Reed Sea Revisited

Q. I question your statement that “scholars have looked for centuries for a fresh water lake the Israelites could have crossed and of course none exists.” I believe that you are mistaken.

The “Red Sea” by which Moses led Israelites on their exodus from Egypt was not the body of water now called the Red Sea. The Hebrew word is Yam Suph [soof], meaning “Sea of Reeds.” It is now believed that the Sea of Reeds “was perhaps located at the Southern extension of the present Lake Mensaleh.” (The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 4, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962, page 21)

G. Ernest Wright (Biblical Archaeology, Abridged Edition, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960, page 38) writes, “They chose ‘the way of the wilderness by the Reed Sea’ (Ex.13.18) This, and not ‘Red Sea’, is the correct rendering of the Hebrew Yam Suph, and it is highly improbable that we should identify it with the northern arm of the Red Sea known today as the Gulf of Suez.”

I feel sure that in the light of this information you will amend your previous answer to the Reed or Red Sea question, so as not to mislead your readers. What matters is not the location of the miracle of God’s providence, but the fact of it occurring. That the scene was most likely – from the available evidence – to have been the lake and not the sea does not diminish God’s power, not his care for his people.

A. Sorry, I don’t buy it. The explanations you excerpted are far from proven fact. I know all about the controversy surrounding “Yam Suph” which can also be rendered “Yam Soph” or Sea of Land’s End. And as you are likely aware, 1 Kings 9:26 places Ezion Geber, where Solomon had his fleet of sea going ships, on the shores of Yam Suph. Ezion Geber was known to be near Elath, which is today’s Eilat, a famous resort on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, the eastern wing of the Red Sea.

It’s sad but true that most efforts to locate Israel’s Red Sea crossing have begun at the place Helena, mother of Constantine, claimed was Mt. Sinai, and worked backwards, even though not one shred of evidence has ever been discovered to substantiate her claim. The real Mt. Sinai is in Midian (Saudi Arabia) as are the springs of Elim with their 70 palms, the split rock that gushed forth water, the burial place of Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, and other land marks. Much evidence has been uncovered at the foot of the Arabian location to support it’s claim as the Mountain of Moses, as it’s called in Arabic. And if you connect the dots, it seems logical that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea at Land’s End, walking over the land bridge at the southern end of the Gulf of Aqaba that’s called Jackson Reef today, walked up the eastern coast to Mt Sinai and then on to Kadesh Barnea.

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