Now as an addition to the previous post on the possible location of the Red Sea close to the area or simply were ancient Lake Makgadikgadi used to be. Lets try and get the approximate locations closer to the actual route that the Hebrews may have taken. What we have to go on is 50 different locations listed in Exodus (and in Numbers) that would be between Egypt and The River Jordan. This is what we know, once they had crossed the Red Sea they went into the Land of Midian (parts of Namibia we believe), they headed for the coast and Mount Sinai (SoNiNis mountain) which we believe is Brandberg mountain in Namibia. Then they went further down towards the Promised Land. We see then that the Wilderness of Sinai, Wilderness of Etham and Wilderness of Shure could be considered one and the same. Lets dive now !
So, we are indeed missing some very important locations on our modern maps. Rest assured, we will find them again. For this mapping can use Midian and the Wilderness of Shur (Ishmaels territory) as our guide. If we use Mount Sinai as a set location, it is much easier to find the other ones, like Wilderness of Sinai, Kadesh Barnea, Wilderness of Zin and Wilderness of Paran. Places that seem to be independent of one another in our Scriptures.
Now in trying to located the actual crossing points of the Red Sea, we need to locate a large body of water (that obviously is not there any longer) and we must follow our Scriptures closely. We need a serious mass of water (sea or lake) because the Red Sea is described in ancient history as something that had several cities and ports around it. That is why we put forth the theory in the previous post about the Red Sea being Lake Makgadigkada, or another depression in the Kalahari that fits the bill. Remember must be close to Midian and SoNiNis burnt mountain there. Also it needs to be navigable at the bottom being fairly flat (unlike the Gulf of Aqaba or the Gulf of Suez which sometimes is a 60 degree slope straight down). All distances walked by foot, accompanied by women and children (and certainly the elderly also). We need perfect conditions for this to work. We need the right location.
Now before we dive deeper, lets get a few things straight for those researchers taking different routes into say West Africa (which makes little sense considering all the other locations that has been have pinpointed). We know it says from Scripture, they took the long southern route, not the short eastern route via the Philistines land, and eventually down to Moab (Exodus 13,17-18):
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, SoNiNi did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for SoNiNi thought, “If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 SoNiNi then led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea."
Now, we see here not by the way of the Philistines, which would have been most of SouthEast Africa and the coastal areas there, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania would be modern countries you find there today. SoNiNi did not have them walk that way, but they walked down and in towards His mountain.
Now on the right is an example, very roughly though, on where an eventual Red Sea could have been located seen as it would have to be close to Mount Sinai, Wilderness and The Promised Land to the south. Now another thing about the Red Sea, is simply it could have also been talking about a Sea of Reeds (yam suff) as the same reference is used for freshwater bulrushes in Exodus 2,3 and Isaiah 19,6 and for saltwater ocean plants in Jonah 2,5. Which fits the salt pans in those areas highlighted. Now in this line of thinking the Sea of Reeds could also have been a freshwater lake, being referred to the Sea of Plants, Sea of Weeds, Sea of Reeds. Or was it Sea of Seaweed? It gets pure semantics by now hey. And a great opportunity for biased people to theorise why its not an inland lake. But the actual ocean. We believe it would have said ocean or great sea then. Lets stick with Red Sea for now. Salt or no salt, it works either way. Lake Makgadikgadi and surrounding areas work very well as the now dried up lake.
Now guys who on earth said that they must have started way up by the Pyramids and the Nile Delta? The text does not suggest that, rather they would have started in the land that was set apart for them, mainly The Land of Goshen. We will post more on the Land of Goshen in the coming post.
Here is the first verses as they ventured out of Egypt (Exodus 13,17-22):
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, SoNiNi did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For SoNiNi said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So SoNiNi led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “SoNiNi will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”
20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day SoNiNi went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."
They camped at Etham at the edge of the then desert of Egypt, after leaving Sukkoth. So then Sukkoth must have been close to Land of Goshen, which was not central Egypt. It was on the fringes of Egyptian culture and life. We can only speculate for now where Desert of Etham was because now there is so much desert in Egypt. But it would have been close enough to Sukkoth. As we read on, more locations become clearer (Exodus 14,1-4):
14 Then SoNiNi said to Moses, 2 “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. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am SoNiNi.” So the Israelites did this."
We know this plan worked out to the T, and Pharaoh came with 600 of his absolute best War Chariots (horse and cart with bowmen or slingers), and they did actually overtake the Israelites as they had camped near Phi Hahiroth just opposite Baal Zephon (below we will discuss possibilities of these locations). And after they had camped, this is when the people uttered the famous words against Moses (Exodus 14,10-30):
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to SoNiNi. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance SoNiNi will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 SoNiNi will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then SoNiNi said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am SoNiNi naNiNi when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
19 Then the angel of SoNiNi, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night SoNiNi drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night SoNiNi looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25 He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! SoNiNi is fighting for them against Egypt.”
26 Then SoNiNi said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and SoNiNi swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day SoNiNi saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of SoNiNi displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared SoNiNi and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."
Just great stuff and such a wonderful read. We had to include the whole thing, the interaction between Moses and SoNiNi and the fact that when He looked down from the cloud, the Egyptians got confused and their chariots started breaking asunder. The Alpha was present that day !
Now the locations are named in Egyptian and Edomite vernacular, Phi Hahiroth (Egyptian name) which was just opposite Baal Zephon (Edomite god was Baal). Could this be as simple as the border between the outer and lowest parts of Egypt (Goshen) at the time and the border of Edom? We think so.
So after The People had sung Moses Song and exalted SoNiNi, they pressed on from the Red Sea, through the Desert of Shur, and towards the bitter waters of Marah (Exodus 15,22-27):
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
25 Then Moses cried out to SoNiNi, and SoNiNi showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There SoNiNi issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to SoNiNi naNiNi and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am SoNiNi naNiNi, who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water."
We see here that they came finally after they left Marah and came to Elim, where there was twelve springs and 70 palm trees. An oasis it sounds like, after the Red Sea and bitter waters of Marah (Keep this in mind my son. For it is on the map still). Perhaps it was in these areas that Myrrah was also grown, by the bitter waters (myrrah means bitter in ancient Hebrew, Marra has a slang meaning in Tswana, Sotho and Zulu, like a modern version of but or however).
Now then, lets do the last stop before they get to Mount Sinai (Brandberg Mountain in Namibia, in the ancient lands of Midian). We have now come to chapter 16 in Exodus (Exodus 16,1-2):
"The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt."
So then Elim was before the Wilderness of Sin and Mount Sinai. That means they are close, with a desert area in between them. Mentioned many times in the Bible and we think would be in the area of what we call today the Kalahari.
If we continue to read our Bibles, we can find even more references on the Red Sea, like these borders set in Exodus 23,31:
"31 I will set your borders from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will hand over to you the inhabitants of the land, and you shall drive them out before you."
You can literally draw a square or a circle with these 4 outer-points. If we read Book of Numbers we see descriptions on their way down from Egypt, and stopping by Mount Hor and set out towards the Red Sea which seemed to be another way that through Philistine lands and Moab (Numbers 21,4):
"4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way."
So the route might have been shaped also, by the impatience of The People. Now, another one is in I Kings, where Solomon would have been building a fleet of ships at the port of Ezion-geber (close to Eloth) which was on the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Edom. Which gives away the location (I Kings 9,26):
"26 King Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom."
And in Exodus we find references to SoNiNi changing the wind again, from the west it blew, causing locusts to end up the Red Sea leaving none of them in the land of Egypt (Exodus 10,19):
"19 SoNiNi changed the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20 But SoNiNi hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go."
Lets pretend the map in red on the left used to be water. And lets pretend they may have taken this route down, even though is very speculative. Coming down from Egypt, which was not that far north because they where in the Land of Goshen. Crossing the Red Sea and entering the Wilderness of Sin, before coming to Mount Sinai (Brandberg, which would be a little further up the Namibian Coast, we apologise for that). But we should be able to find traces of all the stops mentioned in Exodus, when we look for them and we will. When we get to travel that road in the not too distant future.
Now in these trains of thought, lets just continue going into Scripture, we do remember from (Exodus 14,21-22):
"21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night SoNiNi drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left."
A true miracle indeed. We recommend anyone to read the full chapter 14 (as we added it) as it brings much more clarity. Now going to the future, Apostle Paul takes this miracle of the crossing, a little further for his Hebrew kin. He argues the walls of water both sides and the cloud above was just a metaphor for the baptism under full immersion of water (1. Corinthians 10,1-2):
10 "I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, SoNiNi was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness."
You can argue this is how He baptised His people before Christ came, fully immersed and Baptised into Moses. Another topic for sure. But not any less interesting as it is for the Hebrews (Bantus - Black People in and out of South Africa, with ties to the 12 Tribes).
Now in The Book of Judges we can read more about their route towards the Promised Land (Judges 11,16):
"Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh."
There seems to be here a sort of equal distance measure between, Egypt, Red Sea and Kadesh Barnea. So Kadesh Barnea would not be far from the Red Sea nor Mount Sinai, hence Egypt could not have been that far away neither. We know Mount Sinai was in the Wilderness of Shur, where Ishmaelites lived with the Midianites. Just a point for later on. Remember, Land of Edom.
Furthermore, we find verses like this one in the Book of Isaiah we see that Babylon is likened to the region of the Negev (we also believe is in the same area and denoted the borders of the Lands of the 12 Tribes, also called the wilderness of the sea (Isaiah 21,1):
"21 The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negev sweep on, it comes from the desert, from a terrible land."
We see here mentions of the Negev, which would also have been in the area in question, the desert to the South (Negev means south). We see here mentions of the strong winds that would plague the area, coming from the wilderness, from a terrifying land. Now these winds does blow from the East, and out into the South African and Namibia coast. Wilderness of the Red Sea, when mentioned in Isaiah is a reference to Babylon or the coming destruction of Babel.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the Red Sea was said to be in the Land of Ham (Psalm 106,22). And we know Abraham would walk through the Land oh Ham and Egypt, we know the land given to Abraham (Genesis 15,18):
18 On that day SoNiNi made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
Now we must keep these borders in mind, and the Rivers. For the rivers as we find them on the maps are indeed some of the old borders. And off course we must factor into all this, all the nations of the black people still living there. And also new editions. Many tribes to consider.
We can read on in The Genesis stories to see that Abraham went straight from Egypt to the Negev, does not say how long or how far that was, only that he walked the distance with his wife and Lot (Genesis 13,1). Now if the Border of Egypt was the edge of the land of Goshen, we would expect the next set of lands to be Edom. But we know from Abraham that he left the Negev desert, and travelled in the wilderness then came to Egypt. Egypt could not have been that far, and rather close by these wilderness areas.
Now lets study some directions again, according to the Bible. Forget the North and South heavenly directions for a while. For it read in our Scriptures after Abraham took another wife, Keturah (Genensis 25,12-18):
"12 These are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave-girl, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 (This is the length of the life of Ishmael, one hundred thirty-seven years; he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.)
18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is east (opposite) of Egypt in the direction of Assyria; he settled down alongside of all his people."
Now if we look at the map, this works out very well. From Havilah to the East (place of gold, like Gauteng and the likes further up), to Shur and the desert areas of Namibia to the West. And all these lands are to the east (opposite) of Egypt. But look now how you must look at it, the land east of Egypt. Egypt is the starting point here, not Jerusalem (which was very coming in the Bible to use as the main compass). So Egypt is in the East and the lands are to the east. Again semantics get very confusing, and when translating any African (Bantu language) with their idioms and grammatical differences, to the limited English.
Now we know from the Bible that Havilah was southeast of the Dead Sea and Shur, in the land of Midian. The sons of Abraham, Ishmaelites and Midianites lived in the land of Midian and Shur. The text even says he settled opposite Egypt towards Assyria, in defiance of his relatives. And we have earlier discussed the fact that Assyria would be in parts of Angola and Botswana today. Again we mention that we could argue all day about the semantics of the text, because East of Egypt would put them on the other side right? How about opposite Egypt east. Could be a slang or old vernacular, as East never changes, and that was the direction they would give each other instructions by. We think the text is trying to say the lands, from the lands themselves that Egypt would appear if you continued walking towards the east, where the sun would rise. The only heavenly direction that would never change or man could not change. All the rest is up for interpretation really. However you read the instructions, SoNinis mountain has not moved, so at least, Midian should be around those parts, which means Goshen was not far.
Now there would have been a few selection of roads there, perhaps just one highway that ran from West to East, or north to south however you want to put it. We can find a reference to this in the Book of Samuel (I Samuel 15,7):
7 Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt.
Again the wording East of Egypt or opposite of Egypt. Now, were did Egypt end in these days? That is the questions. How far down did it truly go. Was it a world power back then, certainly seems so. Look at this from Pharaoh (Exodus 14,3):
3 Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, “They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.”
Wandering aimlessly in the land, can be a reference to his own land, which was Egypt. And we have an Egyptian embankment or settlement Phi Hahiroth that must have been very close to the Red Sea (a kind of dead end if you will). The People would be boxed in here, with only the sea in front of them. And we know what happened next, but what happened to Pharaohs men?
Its all here, in Exodus 15,4-10:
“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea; his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, O SoNiNi, glorious in power— your right hand, O SoNiNi, shattered the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries; you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
One can only imagine the size of the wave that came and swept Pharaoh (with all his best men) down into the depths of the sea. they sank like lead in the mighty waters (Nehemiah 9,11 also comes to mind).
Now that being said, here are comes the travel itinerary (with plenty more locations) from Book of Numbers - with all the location - where they went from Ramses (most likely the old Egyptian capitol) and to the Lands of Moab and the Jordan (Numbers 33,5-49):
"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."
16 They set out from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah. 17 They set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18 They set out from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19 They set out from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. 20 They set out from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. 21 They set out from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22 They set out from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. 23 They set out from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24 They set out from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25 They set out from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26 They set out from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27 They set out from Tahath and camped at Terah.
28 They set out from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29 They set out from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30 They set out from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31 They set out from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. 32 They set out from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. 33 They set out from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34 They set out from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35 They set out from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36 They set out from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh). 37 They set out from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.
38 Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of SoNiNi and died there in the fortieth year after the Israelites had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 Aaron was one hundred twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.
40 The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the Israelites.
41 They set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42 They set out from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43 They set out from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44 They set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the territory of Moab. 45 They set out from Iyim and camped at Dibon-gad. 46 They set out from Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. 47 They set out from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 They set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho; 49 they camped by the Jordan from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.