The Exodus Route:

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Baal Zephon

"Lord of the North"
(Mt. Tiran was cult mountain of worship)

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Goshen

Succoth

Migdol

Etham

Pi Hahiroth

Baal Zephon

Straits of Tiran

Introduction:

  1. Baal-zephon is located at Mt. Tiran, which is 501 meters high. Mt. Tiran is located on Tiran Island, Saudi Arabia.
  2. "Baal-zephon" means literally: "lord of the north". (Baal = lord + zephon = north.)
  3. "The god Baal-zephon is mentioned in Ugaritic, Egyptian, and Phoenician writings as a sea and storm god." (Tyndale Bible dictionary)
  4. It is clear that Baal-zephon was a clearly visible marker across the Red Sea.
  5. The language of the Bible makes it clear that it was on the opposite shore of the Red Sea: "camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it". (Ex 14:2)

A. Bible Texts:

  1. ""Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea." Exodus 14:2
  2. "Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon." Exodus 14:9
  3. "They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol." Numbers 33:7

B. The positioning of the camp of Israel:

  1. Scripture says that Israel came to a dead end at Etham, then God told them to turn back and retrace their steps and camp directly beside the "Migdol" in order for pharaoh to say, "Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. "For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.' "Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." And they did so." Exodus 14:1-4
  2. Pi-hahiroth means a "mouth of water" in Hebrew. Notice that "Pi-hahiroth faces Baal-zephon" in Num 33:7. If you look at the "mouth" it indeed faces Baal-zephon!
  3. Exodus 14:2 :"Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.
  4. Numbers 33:7: They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.

Geographic reference

Israelite Camp: Exodus 14:2,9

Israelite Camp: Num 33:7

Pi-hahiroth "mouth of water"

before Pi-hahiroth

turn back to Pi-hahiroth

Migdol "watchtower"

between Migdol and the sea

camped before between Migdol

Baal-zephon (idol Baal)

camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it

Pi-hahiroth faces Baal-zephon

C. The "mouth" faces Baal-Zephon: Num 33:7

  1. The second geographic marker about Baal-Zephon is that "Pi-Hahiroth faces Baal-Zephon". Pi-Hahiroth was the mouth of water which faces Mt. Tiran which is Baal-Zephon.
  2. We are given rather precise geographical information that Pi-hahiroth "faces" Baal-Zephon: "They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol." Num 33:7.
  3. The names of the exodus routes are often given by Israel as they came there for the first time. It would not be unusual for them to name this rather prominent geographic marker for its appearance.

D. Photos:

Aerial view

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Tiran Island

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This is how Baal-Zephon looked to the Hebrews as they were in the Red Sea camp for 8 days.

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Here is a view of Baal-Zephon from the hills in front of the camp.

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Pi-Hahiroth looked like a mouth to the Hebrews, so they named it Pi-Hahiroth.

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The "mouth" faces Baal-Zephon: Num 33:7

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Standing on the shore where they crossed to the wilderness of Shur.

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E. How the traditional choice for Baal-Zephon fails:

Click to ViewExcluded Exodus Routes: Nuweiba Beech, Bitter lakes, Gulf of Suez, Mt. Musa, Mt. Karkom, Ein el-Qudeirat.

  1. Consider the popular Gulf of Suez as a choice for the crossing of the Red Sea. In the traditional exodus route, Baal-Zephon would be at or near the exit point where they came to land, after crossing through the "mouth of water" (Pi-hahiroth) of the north most bay of the Gulf of Suez. Such an important center for Baal worship should leave archeological traces. Of course there is nothing in history or archeology to confirm any such pagan cult worship center existed at the Port of Suez. Not that we would not expect to find one at such an important shipping port.
  2. Why would a major cult center for Baal, be located in Egypt? The Egyptians didn't even worship Baal. Their gods included: Re, Isis, Osirus, Horus, On, etc. But a center for Baal worship on Tiran Island makes perfect sense!
  3. It is important to remember that they went past the Pi-Hahiroth and Migdol to Etham, then back tracked to camp at the Red Sea. Scripture gives a detailed geographic triangulation relationship between Migdol, Pi-hahiroth and Baal-Zephon. They were to camp between the Migdol (watchtower) and Pi-hahiroth (mouth of water), directly across from Baal-Zephon (cult worship site) on the opposite shore. Problem is, the other shore is just a wide flat plain. While it is possible such a site existed, none has ever been found, even though many have looked for it. In the port of Suez crossing, they would exit the Red sea at Baal-Zephon, or very near it.

 

 

 

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

 

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