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One would think the aforementioned calamities the Macedonians call it Xanthicus. And that he might have been sufficient for one that was only should carry away the Hebrews, with all they had. foolish, without wickedness, to make him sensible Accordingly Moses having got the Hebrews ready what was for his advantage. But Pharaoh, led for their departure, and having gathered the peonot so much by his folly, as by his wickedness, ple into tribes, kept them together in one place. even when he saw the cause of his miseries, still But when the fourteenth day was come, and all contested with God, and wilfully deserted the were ready to depart, they offered sacrifice, and cause of virtue. So he bid Moses to take the purified their houses with the blood; using bunches Hebrews away, with their wives and children ; of hyssop for that purpose : and when they had but to leave their cattle behind, since their own supped, they burnt the remainder of the flesh as cattle were destroyed. But when Moses said, just ready to depart. Whence it is, that we do that what he desired was unjust, since they were still offer this sacrifice in like manner, and call this obliged to offer sacrifice to God of those cattle, festival Pasch; which signifies the feast of the Passand the time being prolonged on this account, a over: because on that day God passed us over, thick darkness,* without the least light, spread and sent the plague upon the Egyptians. For itself over the Egyptians; whereby their sight the destruction of the first-born came upon the being obstructed, and their breathing hindered by Egyptians that night; so that many of the Egypthe thickness of the air, they died miserably; and tians who lived near the king's palace, persuaded under a terror lest they should be swallowed up Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Accordingly he by the dark cloud. Besides this, when the dark- called for Moses, and bid them begone: as supponess, after three days, and as many nights, was sing that if once the Hebrews were gone out of dispatched; and when Pharaoh did not still repent, the country, Egypt should be freed from its miseand let the Hebrews go, Moses came to him, and ries. They also honoured the Hebrews with gifts,t said, " How long wilt thou be disobedient to the some in order to get them to depart quickly, and command of God? for he enjoins thee to let the others on account of their neighbourhood, and Hebrews go; nor is there any other way of being the friendship they had with them. freed from the calamities you are under, unless you do so.” But the king was angry at what he
CHAP. XV. said, and threatened to strike off his head, if he came any more to trouble him about these matters. Hereupon Moses said, he would not speak Thus the Hebrews went out of Egypt, while to him about them ;t but that he himself, together the Egyptians wept, and repented they had treatwith the principal men among the Egyptians, ed them so hardly. Now they took their journey should desire the Hebrews to go away. So when by Letopolis, a place at that time deserted, but Moses had said this, he went his way.
where Babylon was built afterward, when CamWhen God had signified, that with one more byses ravaged Egypt. But as they went away plague he would compel the Egyptians to let the hastily, on the third day they came to a place Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to tell the called Baalzephon, on the Red Sea; and when people, that they should have a sacrifice ready; they had no food out of the land, because it was and that they should prepare themselves on the a desert, they eat of loaves kneaded of flour, only tenth day of the month Xanthicus, against the warmed by a gentle heat; and this food they fourteenth; which month is called by the Egyp- made use of thirty days: for what they brought tians Pharmuthi, and Nisan by the Hebrews; but with them out of Egypt, would not suffice them
OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE HEBREWS FROM EGYPT, UNDER THE
CONDUCT OF MOSES.
locust(as Aristotle and Pliny have described it) was an animal so + Exod. viii. 7. fierce and formidable, that one single one would kill a serpent, | These large presents made to the Israelites, of vessels of by taking it fast by the jaws, and biting it to death. Arist. silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, were, as Josephus truly Hist. Animal. 1. 5, c. 23. Pliny's Nat. Hist. 1. 11, c. 9, and calls them, gifts, really given them; not lent them, as our Eng. Le Clerc's Commentary. B.
lish falsely renders them. They were spoils required, not bor* The Septuagint, and most translations, render it a darkness rowed of them; Gen. xv. 14, Exod. iii. 29, xi. 2, Ps. cv. 37, as which might be felt, e. consisting of black vapours and exha- the same version falsely renders the Hebrew word here used. lations, so condensed, that they might be perceived by the Exod. xii. 35, 36. God had ordered the Jews to demand these organs of touch.
But some commentators think, that this is as their pay and reward, during their long and bitter slavery in carrying the sense too far; since, in such a medium as this, Egypt; as atonements for the lives of the Egyptians; and as the mankind could not live an hour, much less for the space of condition of the Jews' departure, and the Egyptian deliverance three days, as the Egyptians are said to have done : and there from these terrible judgments; which, had they not now ceased, fore they imagine, that instead of a darkness that may be felt, they had soon been all dead men, as they themselves confess, the Hebrew phrase may signify a darkness wherein men were xii. 23. Nor was there any sense in borrowing or lending, groping and feeling about for every thing they wanted. B. when the Israelites were finally departing out of the land.
any longer time; and this only while they dis- | ment of their wickedness, and of the breach of pensed it to each person to use so much only as those promises they had made to them: he also would serve for necessity, but not for satiety. | chose this route on account of the Philistines, who Whence it is, that in memory of the want we had quarrelled with them, and hated them of old ; were then in, we keep a feast for eight days, that by all means they might not know of their which is called the feast of Unleavened-bread. departure, for their country is near that of Egypt : Now the entire multitude of those that went out, and thence it was that Moses led them not along including the women and children, was not easy the road that tended to the land of the Philistines, to be numbered; but those that were of an age but he was desirous that they should go through fit for war, were six hundred thousand.
the desert; and so, after a long journey, and after They left Egypt in the month of Xanthicus, on many afflictions, they might enter upon the land the fifteenth day of the lunar month: four hun- of Canaan. Another reason was, that God had dred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham commanded him to bring the people to mount came into Canaan. But two hundred and fifteen Sinai; that there they might offer him sacrifices. years* only after Jacob removed into Egypt; it Now, when the Egyptians had overtaken the was the eightieth year of the age of Moses, and Hebrews, they prepared to fight them, and by their of that of Aaron three more. They also carried multitude they drove them into a narrow place: out the bones of Joseph with them, as he charged for the number that pursued after them was six his sons to do.
hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, The Egyptians, however, soon repented that and two hundred thousand footmen, all armed. the Hebrews were gone ;t and the king also was They also seized on the passages, by which they greatly concerned that this had been procured by imagined the Hebrews might fiy, shutting them the magical arts of Moses; so they resolved to go up between inaccessible mountains and the sea, after them. Accordingly they took their weapons, for there was on each side a ridge of mountains and other warlike furniture, and pursued after them, that terminated at the sea, which was impassable in order to bring them back, if once they overtook by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their them; because they would have no pretence to flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hepray to God against them, since they had already brews, with their army, where the ridges of the been permitted to go out. And they thought they mountains were close with the sea, which army should easily overcome them, as they had no ar- they placed at the defiles of the mountains, that mour, and would be weary with their journey. So so they might deprive them of any passage into they made haste in their pursuit, and inquired of the plain. every one they met, which way they were gone? When the Hebrews, therefore, were neither able And indeed that land was difficult to be travelled to bear up, being thus, as it were, besieged, beover, not only by armies, but single persons. Now cause they wanted provisions, nor saw any possiMoses led the Hebrews this way, that in case the ble way of escaping; and if they should have Egyptians should repent, and be desirous to pur- thought of fighting, they had no weapons; they sue after them, they might undergo the punish- expected an universal destruction, unless they de
Why our Mazorete copy so groundlessly abridges this ac manded by God to return back, (see Exod. xiv. 2,) and to pitch count in Exod. xii. 40, as to ascribe four hundred and thirty their camp between Migdol and the sea; and that when they years to the sole peregrination of the Israelites in Egypt; when were not able to fly, unless by sea, they were in the place here it is clear, even by that Mazorete chronology elsewhere; as well denoted by the letter B, where they were shut in on each side as from the express text itself in the Samaritan, Septuagint, and by mountains, and that on the part where stands D was the army Josephus, that they sojourned in Egypt but half that time, and of Pharaoh. He also thought we might evidently learn hence that by consequence the other half of their peregrination was in how it might be said that the Israelites were in Etham before the land of Canaan, before they came into Egypt, is hard to say they crossed the sea, and yet might be said to have come into † Exod. xiv. 5.
Etham, after they had passed over the sea. Besides, he gave me * Take the main part of Reland's excellent note here, which an account how he passed over the river in a boat near the city greatly illustrates Josephus and the Scriptures in this history, Suez, which he said must needs be the Heroopolis of the anwith the small map thereunto belonging, as follows :-“ A trav- cients, since that city could not be situated anywhere else in eller,” says Reland, “whose name was Eneman, when he re that neighbourhood." turned out of Egypt, told me, that he went the same way from As to the famous passage produced here by Dr. Bernard, out Egypt to mount Sinai
, which he supposed the Israelites of old of Herodotus, as the most ancient heathen testimony of the Istravelled, and that he found several mountainous tracts that ran raelites coming from the Red Sea into Palestine, Bishop Curndown towards the Red Sea, as he delineated them to me. See | berland has shown that it belongs to the old Canaanite or A, B, C. He thought the Israelites had proceeded as far as the Phænician shepherds, and their retiring out of Egypt into Cadesert of Etham, (see Exod. xiii. 20,) when they were com naan, or Phænicia, long before the days of Moses.
OF THE MIRACULOUS DIVISION OF THE SEA FOR THE HEBREWS
livered themselves up voluntarily to the Egyptians: || as is able to make small things great, and to show so they laid the blame on Moses, and * forgot all that this mighty force against you is nothing but the signs that had been wrought by God for the weakness; and be not affrighted at the Egyptian recovery of their freedom, and this so far, that army; nor do you despair of being preserved, betheir incredulity prompted them to throw stones cause the sea before, and the mountains behind, at the prophet, while he encouraged them, and afford you no opportunity of flying; for even these promised them deliverance, and they resolved mountains, if God so please, may be made plain that they would deliver themselves up to the ground for you, and the sea become dry land.”+ Egyptians; so there was sorrow and lamentation among the women and children, who had nothing
CHAP. XVI. but destruction before their eyes, while they were encompassed with mountains, the sea, and the enemies, and discerned no way of flying from them.
WHEN Moses had said this, he led them to the But Moses, though the multitude looked fiercely sea, while the Egyptians looked on, for they were at him, did not relinquish the care of them, but within sight. Now these were so distressed by the despised all dangers, out of his trust in God, who, toil of their pursuit, that they thought proper to put as he had afforded them the several steps already off fighting till the next day: but when Moses was taken for the recovery of their liberty, which he come to the sea-shore, he took his rod, and made had foretold, he would not now suffer them to be the supplications to God, and called upon him to be subdued by their enemies ; to be either made their helper and assistant: and said, " Thou art not slaves, or be slain by them; and standing in the ignorant, O Lord, that it is beyond human strength, midst of them, he said, “ It is not just for us to and human contrivance, to avoid the difficulties we distrust even men, when they have hitherto well are now under ; but it must be thy work altogether managed our affairs, as if they would not be the to procure deliverance to this army, which has left same men hereafter; but it is no better than mad- Egypt at thy appointment. We despair of any other ness, at this time, to despair of the providence of assistance or contrivance, and have recourse only God, by whose power all has been performed to that hope we have in thee: and if there be any which he promised, when you expected no such method that can promise us an escape by thy provithings: I mean all that I have been concerned in dence, we look up to thee for it; and let it come for your deliverance, and escape from slavery quickly, and manifest thy power to us, and do thou Nay, when we are in the utmost distress, as you raise up this people unto good courage, and hope of see
we now are, we ought the rather to hope that deliverance, who are deeply sunk into a disconsolate God will succour us, by whose operation it is, that state of mind. We are in a helpless place; but still we are now encompassed within that narrow place, it is a place that thou possessest, for the sea is thine, that he
deliver us out of such difficulties as and the mountains that inclose us are thine: so that are otherwise insurmountable, and out of which these mountains will open themselves if thou comneither you nor your enemies expect you can be mandest them; and the sea also, if thou commanddelivered, and may at once demonstrate his own est it, will become dry land: nay, we might escape power, and his providence over us; nor does God by a flight through the air, if thou shouldest deteruse to give his help in small difficulties to those mine we should have that way of salvation.” whom he favours, but in such cases where no one When Moses had thus addressed himself to God, can see how any hope in man can better their con- he smote with his rod upon the sea, which parted dition. Depend, therefore, upon such a Protector asunder at the stroke, and, receiving those waters
* Exod. xiv. 11.
Mare Rubrum, and we, the Red Sea. The Hebrews call it the † This speech is very short in our copies. Exod. xiv. 13, 14. Sea of Suph, or Flags, by reason of the great abundance of that
| The Red Sea, called by the ancients Sinus Arabicus, and kind of weed, which grows at the bottom of it; and the Arabs now Gulfo de Mecca, is that part or branch of the southern sea at this day name it Bubr el Chaisem, i. e. the sea of Clysona, which interposes itself between Egypt on the west ; Arabia- from a town situate on its western coast, much about that place Felix, and some parts of Petræa, on the east; while the north where the Israelites passed over from the Egyptian to the Ara. ern bounds of it touch upon Idumea, or the coast of Edom. || bian shore. But as the word Clysona may denote a drowning Edom, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies Red, and was the nick or overflowing with water, it is not improbable that the town name given Esau for selling his birthright for a mess of pottage. built in this place, as well as this part of the sea, might have The country which his posterity possessed was called after his such a name given it, in memory of the fate of the Egyptians, name, and so was the sea which adjoined to it; but the Greeks, who were drowned herein. Well'8 Geography of the Old Tes. not understanding the reason of the appellation, translated it tament, vol. ii. B. into their tongue, and called it sguapa fanarsa, thence the Latin,
into itself, left the ground dry as a road,* and a | as the whole Egyptian army was within it, the sea place of flight for the Hebrews.t Now when Moses flowed to its own place, and came down with a torsaw this appearance of God, and that the sea went rent raised by storms of wind, and encompassed out of its own place, and left dry land, he went first the Egyptians. Showers of rain also came down of all into it, and bid the Hebrews follow him along from the sky, and dreadful thunder and lightning, that divine road, and to rejoice at the danger their with flashes of fire. Thunderbolts also were darted enemies, that followed them, were in; and gave upon them: nor was there any thing which God thanks to God for this surprising deliverance which sends upon men as indications of his wrath, which appeared from him.
did not happen at this time; for a dark and dismal Now while the Hebrews made no stay, but went night oppressed them, and thus did all these men on earnestly, as led by God's presence, the Egyp- perish, so that there was not one man left to be a tians supposed, at first, that they were distracted, messenger of this calamity to the rest of the Egypand were going rashly upon manifest destruction; tians. but when they saw that they were gone a great way The Hebrews were not able to contain themselves without any harm, and that no obstacle or difficulty for joy at their wonderful deliverance, and destrucfell in their journey, they made haste to pursue them; tion of their enemies : now indeed, supposing themand, hoping that the sea would be calm for them also, selves firmly delivered, when those that would have they put their cavalry foremost, and went down into forced them into slavery were destroyed, and when
Now the Hebrews, while these were put- they found they had God so evidently for their proting on their armour, were beforehand with them, tector: and how having escaped the danger they and got first over to the land on the other side, with- were in, after this manner, and seeing their enemies out any hurt, whence the others were encouraged, punished in such a way as is never recorded of any and more courageously pursued them, as hoping no other men, they were all the night employed in singharm would come to them neither: but the Egyp- ing of hymns, and in mirth. Moses|| also composed tians were not aware that they went into a road a song unto God, containing his praises, and a made for the Hebrews, and not for others; that this thanksgiving for his kindness, in hexameter verse. road was made for the deliverance of those in dan As for myself, I have delivered every part of this ger, but not for those that were earnest to make use history as I found it in the sacred books; nor let of it for the others' destruction. As soon, therefore, any one I wonder at the strangeness of the narration,
* Exod. xiv. 29. “ The waters were a wall unto them on according to De Lisle’s map, which is made from the best their right hand and on their left.” Diodorus Siculus relates authorities. that the Ichthyophagi, who live near the Red Sea, had a tradi What has been farther objected against this passage of the tion handed down to them through a long line of ancestors, that Israelites, and drowning of the Egyptians, being miraculous also, the whole bay was once laid bare to the very bottom, the waters viz. That Moses might carry the Israelites over at a low tide, retiring to the opposite shore, and that they afterwards returned without any miracle; while yet the Egyptians, not knowing the to their accustomed channel with a most tremendous revulsion.tide so well as he, might be drowned upon the return of the tide, (Bib. Hist. lib. iii. p. 174.) Even to this day the inhabitants is truly absurd. Yet does Artapanus, an ancient heathen histoof the neighbourhood of Corondel preserve the remembrance rian, inform us, that this was what the more ignorant Memphof a mighty army having been once drowned in the bay, which ites, who lived at a great distance, pretended, though he conPtolemy calls Clysma. (Shaw's Travels, p. 349.) The very fesses, that the more learned Heliopolitans, who lived much country where the event is said to have happened, in some nearer, owned the destruction of the Egyptians, and the deliverdegree bears testimony to the accuracy of the Mosaical narra ance of the Israelites, to have been miraculous. And De Castro, tive. The scriptural Etham is still called Etti; the wilderness a mathematician, who surveyed this sea with great exactness, of Shur, the mountain of Sinai, and the country of Paran, are informs us, that there is no great Aux or reflux in this part of still known by the same names. (Niebuhr's Travels, vol. i. p. the Red Sea, to give a colour to the hypothesis; nay, that the 189, 191.) Marah’s Elath, and Midian, are still familiar to the elevation of the tide there is little above half the height of a ears of the Arabs. The grove of Elim yet remains, and its So vain and groundless are these and the like evasions twelve fountains have neither increased nor diminished in num. and subterfuges of our modern sceptics and unbelievers ! and ber since the days of Moses. B.
so certainly do thorough inquiries, and authentic evidence, dis† Exod. xiv. 21.
prove and confute such evasions and subterfuges upon
all occa# These storms of wind, thunder, and lightning, at this drown- sions ! ing of Pharaoh's army, are almost wanting in our copies of Exo. 1 Take here the original passages of the four old authors that dus, but fully extant in that of David, Ps. lxxvii. 16, 17, 18. still remain, as to the transit of Alexander the Great over the Exod. xiv. 28.
Pamphylian Sea, (for most of the oldest authors, seen by Jose. What some have here objected against this passage of the phus, are entirely lost,) I mean of Callisthenes, Strabo, Arrian, Israelites over the Red Sea, in this one night, from the common
and Appian. As to Callisthenes, who himself accompanied maps, viz. that this sea being bere about thirty miles broad, so Alexander in this expedition, Eustatitis, in his notes upon the great an army could not pass over it in so short a time, is a great third Iliad of Homer, tells us, that “this Callisthenes wrote how mistake. Mons. Thevenot, an eyewitness, informs us, that this the Pamphylian Sea did not only open a passage for Alexander, sea, for about five days' journey, is nowhere more than eight or but by rising and elevating its waters did pay him homage as nine miles across; and in one place but four or five miles, its king.” Strabo's account is this, Geog. XIV. page 666, “ Now
if a way were discovered to those men of old time, || to these events let every one determine as he pleases. who were free from the wickedness of the modern On the next day Moses gathered together the ages, whether it happened by the will of God, or weapons of the Egyptians, which were brought to whether it happened of its own accord; while, for the camp of the Hebrews by the current of the sea, the sake of those that accompanied Alexander, king || and the force of the winds assisting it; and he conof Macedonia, who yet lived comparatively but a || jectured that this also happened by divine provilittle while ago, the Pamphylian Sea retired, and dence, that so they might not be destitute of afforded them a passage through itself, when they weapons. So when he had ordered the Hebrews to had no other way to go; I mean, when it was the arm themselves with them, he led them to Mount will of God to destroy the monarchy of the Per- || Sinai, in order to offer sacrifice to God, and to sians; and this is confessed to be true by all that render oblations for the salvation of the multitude, have written about the actions of Alexander ; but as as he had been previously commanded.
about Phaselis is that narrow passage by the sea-side, through || in the heat of summer, to the Oracle of Jupiter Ammon; and which Alexander led his army. There is a mountain called | quickly passed over the bay of Pamphylia, when by divine Climax, which adjoins to the sea of Pamphylia, leaving a narrow providence the sea was cut off'; this providence restraining the passage on the shore ; which in calm weather is bare, so as to sea on his account, as it had sent him rain when he travelled be passable by travellers ; but when the sea overflows, it is over the desert.” covered to a great degree by the waves. Now the ascent by N. B. Since, in the days of Josephus, as he here assures us, the mountains being round about, and steep, in still weather all the more numerous original historians of Alexander gave they make use of the road along the coast. But Alexander fell the account he has here set down, as to the providential going into the winter season, and committing inimself chiefly to for back of the waters of the Pamphylian Sea, when he was going tune, he marched on before the waves retired; and so it hap- || with his army to destroy the Persian monarchy, which the afore. pened that they were a whole day journeying over it, and were named authors now remaining fully confirm; it is without any under water up to the navel.” Arrian's account is this, I. page foundation that Josephus is here blamed, by some late writers, 72, 73: “ When Alexander removed from Phaselis, he sent for quoting those ancient authors upon the present occasion. some part of his army over the mountains to Perga, which road Nor can the reflections of Plutarch, or any other author later the Thracians showed him. A difficult way it was, but short. | than Josephus, be in the least here alleged to contradict him. However, he himself conducted those that were with him by Josephus went by all the evidence he then had, and that evi. the sea-shore. The road is impassable at any other time than dence of the most authentic sort. So that whatever the moderns when the north wind blows; but if the south wind prevail, there may think of the thing itself, there is hence not the least colour is no passing by the shore. Now at this time, after strong south for finding fault with Josephus. He had rather been to blame winds, a north wind blew, and that not without the divine provi- || had he omitted these quotations. However, since the pretended dence, as both he and they that were with him supposed, and epistles of Alexander omitted what all the ancient historians * afforded him an easy and quick passage.” Appian, when he asserted about this matter, and which I know no sufficient compares Caesar and Alexander together, (De Bell
. Civil. II. grounds to contradict, as Plutarch informs us, De Vit. Alexand. page 522,) says, “ That they both depended on their boldness page 674 ; there will be reason to question those Epistles, and fortune, as much as on their skill in war. As an instance whether they were genuine, or at least to think they were an of which, Alexander journeyed over a country without water, imperfect collection of them.