Continuing in our mapping of the crossing of the Red Sea and areas thereabout. To get closer to the truth, we need to locate more areas mentioned in our Bibles. Even vast stretches of land. Now the next natural step in the mapping of the Red Sea, you come to a place that was said to have been in ancient Egypt (a world-dominating power at the time) and is mentioned in our Bibles. It is synonymous with a place of both wisdom and confusion, fertility and, now it seems, parts of those ancient lands are as barren as Sarai's womb used to be. And in our Bibles, these lands in Egypt where SoNiNi had His servants wander, were sometimes called by the term or the name - Land of Goshen or Land of Ramses... That's quite the title. marked by Pharaoh's name. So fair question would be, where was Goshen and why did it flourish so? It must have been very fertile to have accumulated the numbers of people they did, by feeding them and trading with other nations - a place of large-scale cattle grazing, surviving and thriving the way they did. Ultimately deserving the descriptions Egypt got in the annals of ancient History. They were like Zimbabwe was at one point, the breadbasket of Africa. And then it went wrong all wrong. So did the Sahara and easterly winds swallow the Egyptians up right? If so, and Egypt would have been larger in ancient times, where then was Goshen located? Remember it is a long way up from Southern Africa to The Nile Deltas. Did Egypt stretch further down into central Africa, like down to Zambia or even other parts of Southern Africa? Let's find Goshen - let's dive !
Now along with Kanaan, Egypt is one of the most commonly mentioned locations in the whole Bible and its Mitsri, The Egyptian People. The people of Mitsri play a VERY important role in the story of His People. We see this from the first two Books in our Scriptures, Genesis and Exodus. These first two books describe a period of slavery (much like we are slaves today), and The People of SoNiNi did settle in Goshen until they escaped and journeyed through the 40 years in the wilderness to then come to Mount Sinai (Brandberg Mountain up to the right).
Now AFTER the destruction of Juda (Kingdom of Juda as the Bible says), we find there was a man hunt for Hebrew governors, and we see the likes of Gedaliah getting assassinated (II Kings 25,22-24):
And in Jeremia (40,6-8):
6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land. 7 When all the leaders of the forces in the open country and their troops heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, 8 they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, they and their troops.
Now on this appointment, we see many Hebrews fleeing to Moab, Ammon, Edom and, other countries surrounding Juda (Jeremia 40,11-12). Furthermore, we see that they settled in Egypt, places like Migdol, Tahpanes, Noph and, Pathros (Jeremia 44,1):
"The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Judeans living in the land of Egypt, at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Memphis, and in the land of Pathros, 2 Thus says SoNiNi naNiNi, the God of Israel: You yourselves have seen all the disaster that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah."
So here plenty of people originally came from Juda (in southern Africa), and they would be living closer to Egypt/central Africa and up, according to these Scriptures. And here comes the interesting bit for researchers like us: Goshen was a part of the ancient lower parts of Egypt that bordered the Promised Land that SoNiNi had given to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12,7). So if our mappings are to make sense, Egypt went deep down (perhaps even into Zambia) as did perhaps the River Nile back in the day. Remember from the Nile too Euphrates was given to Abraham. Basically mid Africa and all the way down, was given to Abrahams descendants.
Now we read on in Genesis, we find the first mention of Goshen when Joseph told his Brothers to bring their father and settle there (Genesis 45,10):
10 You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have.
Now Goshen was on the outer (lower) parts of Egypt, a distance from the capitol which was far enough away so that they would not be subjected to the daily Egyptian cultural events, still, it would have been a province of Egypt and under their control. We see this in Genesis 47,5-6:
5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”
Pharaoh himself consented (like having the President tend to your needs of housing), and Joseph got his place near their heritage. Now even in Goshen SoNiNi blessed His People exceedingly and they grew greatly in numbers, and it started with Joseph as we can read (Genesis 47,27-28):
"27 Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen; and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly. 28 Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years."
So much so that they increased in the earth that they became a threat to the rulers of Egypt. Just imagine the amounts of people needed to become a threat to such a vast empire. Look at the map and begin to think. Goshen did indeed take on a life on its own, and Pharaoh feared for his kingdom. Now in Goshen or close to Goshen would have been work camps for making stone-carved bricks and mud-made bricks for all the lavish structures that Egypt erected in the name of Pharaoh and ancestors (Exodus 1,8-11). Now even though Goshen was near the Promised Land, it was still under Egypt's control (and therefore hard to locate because Egypt also shrunk and grew several times). But this was not the place where SoNiNi wanted to have His People to establish the Nation that was to come. So His people were to experience slavery and harsh conditions under the Gentile rule of Egypt, only to motivate them for what was to come.
We can read more about things that were to come and the Wisdom that was in Egypt (Acts 7,17-22):
17 “But as the time drew near for the fulfilment of the promise that SoNiNi had made to Abraham, our people in Egypt increased and multiplied 18 until another king who had not known Joseph ruled over Egypt. 19 He dealt craftily with our race and forced our ancestors to abandon their infants so that they would die. 20 At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before SoNiNi. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house; 21 and when he was abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 So Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds."
Now when it was about time for The People to leave their lives and ways of slavery behind, SoNiNi raised up Moses to be their great leader. Now Pharaoh did harden his heart and refused to let his people go, there the Plagues of Egypt came raining down on the land. Now during these times it's interesting to read that SoNiNi made a distinction between Goshen and Egypt (Exodus 8,22-24):
22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I SoNiNi naNiNi am in this land. 23 Thus I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign shall appear tomorrow.’” 24 SoNiNi did so, and great swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh and into his officials’ houses; in all of Egypt the land was ruined because of the flies."
So we see Goshen, was indeed set apart from Egypt. And the rest of Egypt would participate in events and customs that were not pleasing to SoNiNi. Let's call it worldly behaviour, like going to a Beyonce concert. We all know that SoNiNi is far from such popular artists while they are in their heyday. They profess to know Christ, but are so very far from his commandments. Egypt would have been full of artists and people (popes and pharaohs) to worship. So Egypt represented the worldly, and Goshen things off the Spirit.
Now this can be taken as deep as you like, because well how many people today are not within the confines of the Promised Land, but perhaps somewhere else in Africa, or even the world. Being kept safe under the wings of SoNiNi until He takes them home to be with Him. So Goshen is a temporary thing, not where SoNiNi necessarily wants us to be, because He has way more in store for His people than Goshen. Goshen is motivation, Goshen is what is to come. And the Promised Land, which is here in South Africa, is also but a piece of Goshen for that which is to come. Now being in the actual Promised Land does also bring its fruits don't get us wrong. The Promised Land should be leading the world in good works and fruits, however, the ways of the people are not right so the land truly suffers. With invaders on every side. Perhaps for people to stay in Goshen, is a better way of life. And can will enable some to lead more people to Christ.
Anyways we tend to preach and get off-topic, lets go on. As we speculate we can read in Genesis about Abraham and Sarah with their relative Lot, who lived in Kanaan when the famine struck, therefore they had to travel to Egypt. It is here Pharaoh gets swept away with the Beauty of Sarah and promptly makes her his concubine. Now this was possible because Abraham did say it was his sister (kinda cover-up that had worked previously but had the opposite effect on Pharaoh). Pharaoh showers Abraham with gifts in exchange for Sarah, livestock and slaves (Hagar was among them) was given to Abraham for his sister... Now how long Sarah stayed in Pharaohs temple is unclear, but we see that SoNiNi strikes Pharaoh and his household with a plague. Pharaoh gets the omens read and figures out it is Sarah who is the cause. Once the truth gets out that she is married to Abraham, Sarah is released and Abraham gets to keep his cattle and slaves, and they leave Egypt without stopping the text said, with a great deal of wealth under the possession.
Later in Genesis, we find Abrahams's grandson Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob and the first son of his second wife, Rachel. Now Jacob favoured Joseph which caused envy among his brothers who sold him as a slave to a group of Midianites headed for Egypt. It was there at the slave market, that Potiphar purchased Joseph and made him a member of his household. Now we get many descriptions of Goshen from Josephs's time there.
Now from Joseph's stories (sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver, famines and interpreting of dreams), Pharaoh ends up gifting a part of the lower Nile, called Goshen, as a place for Joseph (and presumably his descendants) to live and raise their livestock. Pharaoh was so pleased with Joseph for his service (he became Vizer of Egypt) that he gave from his own royal livestock (Genesis 47,6). Joseph was also given Asenath, a woman we will discuss in more detail in a future post.
From the descriptions, Goshen was a piece of land on the EASTERN edge of Egypt, IN the direction of the land of Canaan from which the Israelites had come. So, this place would be close to the Red Sea (Magkadigkadi). Now shepherding was not an in-demand job (kinda looked down upon) back in the day, so they wanted the Hebrew sheepherders away from the Capitol cities and away from Pharaoh's obvious glory (Genesis 46,34). Either way, The Hebrews were protected here from all the plagues and famine. Until it became a symbol of slavery. Later in Scripture, the place of Goshen a place of sanctuary, was indeed a place where people would flee when times got tough. The Scriptures on this are numerous (Exodus 16,3 ; Numbers 11,4-6 ; 14,3-4 ; 21,4-5 ; Nehemiah 9,17 ; Isaiah 30,1-3 ; Jeremiah 2,17-18 ; 42,13-17 ; Acts 7,39).
Now these Scriptures seem to indicate that the Land of Goshen was a place that SoNiNi provided in times of distress. Later it became a symbol of leaving SoNiNi, turning from Him and returning to Goshen in Egypt (where life was in slavery, but not so bad right?). Now, and this is certainly another topic and a long article. Does that sound familiar children? Are we in Goshen when we should be headed out and towards The Promised Land? Its time we all left Egypt and Babylon, before they come crumbling down. Leave their teachings, leave their spiritual grip on your soul, leave their rituals and their people, customs and calendars. It is not for SoNiNis people. We are going a different route. The kingdom of heaven is calling.
Now we can find more references to Egypt (and its definite closeness in proximity to The Promised Land) in Book of Kings were Solomon is said to have married Pharaohs daughter, whose name is not given, and received the city of Gezer as part of the dowry. Given the fact that Solomon had 300 wives, this is highly possible and was most likely a political alliance with Egypt (that would have been a superpower also in his day). Now Solomons willingness to take foreign wives was against the intermarriage laws in Deuteronomy and may have been a part of Solomons willingness to build his wives Temples of worship for their gods. Now when Solomon passed away, relatively young for a ruler, the Tribes did not accept his heir Rehoboam (son of the Ammonite Naamah) as their king and ruler. So the united Tribes of Israel, began to fail. No longer united under one banner (1 Kings 1,1-3):
"3 Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of SoNiNi and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of SoNiNi naNiNi."
Another reference in the Book of Kings, we find the story of Jeroboam, who was a former servant of Solomon. And this fellow was on all accounts a clever one. He conspired against Solomon and when he was revealed he went to Egypt and teamed up with Shishak (then Pharaoh of Egypt) who protected him until Solomon died. In the Septuagint (Greek Bible), we see that Jeroboam married a relative to Shisak named Ano older sister of Tahpenes (1 Kings 11,40):
"40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death."
Now after Solomon died, mayhem ensued. We can read in Book of Chronicles that Rehoboam (son of Solomon) became the first King of Juda. Subsequently Rehoboam was attacked by Egypt (by the name of Shishak). And we can see that Rehoboam prepared for this attack, he fortified Bethlehem (which is deep into Free State, in South Africa) and Hebron. Shisak took control, however, with 1200 chariots and 60,000 soldiers, not only Egyptians but Lubims, Sukkites and Kushites. Now after this defeat, Juda became a state subordinate to Egypt. Now Shishaks takEover would show SoNiNIS wrath as His People again had gone away from His ways and laws. However, they did humble themselves to prevent further destruction (II Chronicles 12,2):
"After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of SoNiNi.2 Because they had been unfaithful to SoNiNi, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam.3 With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt,4 he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem."
We see here, again that the distance from Egypt to The Promised Land (The land of Juda), would have been much shorter then up to the now famously known Nile Delta. We can see more Scriptures confirming that the distance could not likely have been a travel of the length of Africa (Matthew 2,13):
13 When they had gone, an angel of SoNiNi appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
So, seems like a short enough trip not to include too many sleepovers, as we believe they would have mentioned them. There probably was, but this Egypt of the Bible was a world-dominating empire. And certainly seemed to control areas deep into the Promised Land (South Africa). Now there is another Scripture that is interesting, in Genesis 47,11:
"11 Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed."
We see here that The Land of Goshen and Land of Ramses, was used interchangeably. And it was nothing secondary about this area of land that Pharaoh had his name on. It would have been the best piece there was (Genesis 47,5), the best part of the land of Egypt.
If we do a short etymological trace of the Word GSM (Gosem / Goshen) or Gesem in Greek, we can find traces of the meaning of cultivation or agricultural. Which would fit the area nicely. According to Rigveda, Goshen meant cowherd or shepherd, one who tends to cattle, which fits even better.
So now all those historical tidbits from the Bible being mentioned, and are the most important ones. Where was this location of Goshen? We wanted to try a simple exercise, count the days of walking using the Red Sea (Magkadigkadi) as a backtracker to see how far up we get. We thought, to use the theory of one day = one encampment. The problem here is we have set a shoreline for the Lake, which may or may not be the right last encampment before the Red Sea crossing itself. Another problem is the amount of days that seem to transpire in these walks, meaning they may also have walked at night. And you would too, knowing Pharaoh was chasing.
Either way, we end up in Zambia and Zimbabwe rather quickly. A Likely place for all of the Lands of Ramses. With the Land of Punt (Tanzania) on the right. It could be. Now then let´s remember what it said in the Scriptures, The Edge of the Wilderness. This line we have drawn is simply following the relief line as the green areas are not necessarily more arable, but they are more mountainous. Which will affect travel. The lighter areas are certainly indicative of flatness and desert. We ask that people forget the known location of Egypt for now. Instead, remember Joseph took Mary and the newborn Immanuel as a baby to go to the Land of Egypt from Bethlehem, so it could not have been that far off a distance to travel. It is now going across Africa, from Bethlehem in the South ALL the way up to The Egypt Delta in the north - with a small baby, by donkey, camel or horse, Aybo ! No it would not go well. The distance was shorter, and the road was as well used and known (probably an old Roman road today) as the N3 and your N1 for your South Africans today. Remember traveling back then was not like now. Even Directions were different.
So keeping that in mind, lets put down some points on the map, and get a cursor and see where we end up. We start with Mount Sinai, in Namibia also known as Midian. This route goes from Sinai to the Red Sea (Backtrack).
Mount Sinai was said to be in the Desert of Sinai - first stop - Rephedim (on the first day of the third month after they left Egypt, also it was in this place that the Amalakites attacked them, renamed Meribah or Massah where Moses struck the rock). Then Desert of Sin (between Sinai and Elim, where they were given Manna to eat from Heaven, they came here on the fifteenth day of the second month after coming out of Egypt). Then Elim (a place of palm trees and good water - Marrah (In the Desert of Shur, no water here). Then lastly came the Red Sea. Which you can literally take a sharp left from Lake Makadikadi, then you go back towards Brandberg (Mount Sinai).
We can double check all these locations from Exodus, but there are more in the Book of Numbers that talks about some of the same events (Numbers 33,5-15):
"5 So the Israelites set out from Rameses, and camped at Succoth. 6 They set out from Succoth, and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7 They set out from Etham, and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon; and they camped before Migdol. 8 They set out from Pi-hahiroth, passed through the sea into the wilderness, went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah. 9 They set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. 10 They set out from Elim and camped by the Red Sea."
"11 They set out from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12 They set out from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13 They set out from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14 They set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 15 They set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai."