The Exodus Route:

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Migdol "Watchtower"

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Goshen

Succoth

Migdol

Etham

Pi Hahiroth

Baal Zephon

Straits of Tiran

Migdol "Watchtower"

Introduction:

  1. The word "Migdol" in Hebrew means "watchtower".
  2. It refers to one of many Egyptian military lookout posts scattered across Egypt.
  3. The existence of the Egyptian migdol's is confirmed by archeology.

A. Bible texts where Migdol's are mentioned in the Bible:

  1. Remember, there were many Migdol's and it is likely that the one's mentioned in Jeremiah and Ezekiel are not the same one as mentioned in the Exodus. On the other hand, given the importance of the Exodus Migdol, being at a three way intersection of ocean, all the references below may refer to the same Migdol.
  2. 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.
  3. Numbers 33:7: They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.
  4. Jeremiah 44:1 : The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt, those who were living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and the land of Pathros Jeremiah 44:1
  5. Jeremiah 46:14: "Declare in Egypt and proclaim in Migdol, Proclaim also in Memphis and Tahpanhes; Say, 'Take your stand and get yourself ready, For the sword has devoured those around you.'
  6. Ezek 29:10; 30:6: therefore, behold, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene and even to the border of Ethiopia.
  7. Ezekiel 30:6: 'Thus says the Lord, "Indeed, those who support Egypt will fall And the pride of her power will come down; From Migdol to Syene They will fall within her by the sword," Declares the Lord God.

B. The Migdol at the Straits of Tiran of Tiran:

  1. The elevation of the Migdol is 500 meters. The Migdol located at the three way intersection of the Red Sea, gulf of Suez and gulf of Aqaba was one of the most important. From the vantage point on the ridge of mountains near the sea, you could get a view for 30 miles each way. It was of huge military and defensive importance.
  2. Homing pigeons had been used for communications in Egypt since 2500 BC, a full 1000 years before the exodus. Large numbers of pigeons were taken to each Migdol and kept captive, until they were needed to fly back "home" to Pharaoh in Egypt. Homing pigeons fly at a cruising speed of 100 km per hour. It would take less than 5 hours for a pigeon to send a message back to Pharaoh.
  3. 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
  4. Israel spent 8 days camped beside the Red Sea waiting for Pharaoh to arrive. It would take only five hours for the message to get to Pharaoh that Israel was back tracking. Then it took the army only
  5. So God was deliberately baiting Pharaoh who knew the terrain. Etham was the end of the 200 mile long coastal plain. When Israel started back towards Egypt, Pharaoh chased towards them with his 600 chariots.
  6. Pharaoh's Migdol (one of many military watchtowers located on top of mountains) sent a homing pigeon to Egypt. The first known use of passenger pigeons in Egypt was 2400 BC. They fly at 60 miles per hour for up to 600 miles. It is 250 miles back to Egypt from the Migdol and a pigeon would have got there in 5 hours travelling at a casual 50 miles per hour. The army need only travel 35 miles per day on return. total time: 8 days. The sandy coastline would make travel easy and fast.

Trip

Distance

Total days

Daily rate of travel

Message from Pharaoh's military "Migdol" to Egypt by homing pigeon at 80 km/hour: "They are moving aimlessly and the wilderness at Etham has shut them in."

380 km

5 hours

80 km/hr

Pharaoh's army pursued Israel with horses and 600 chariots from Egypt to where the pillar of fire stopped them.

435 km

7

54 km/day

Click to ViewTravel times, distances, days of the week

C. The positioning of the camp of Israel:

  1. 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.
  2. Numbers 33:7: They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.
  3. 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!

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

D. Photos

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E. Prophecy against Egypt:

  1. Up to this time, Egypt was a dominant world power. They ruled from Migdol to Syene, down to the border of Ethiopia. If Migdol is the southern most military watchtower beside the Red Sea crossing point at the Straits of Tiran, then this verse makes a full sweep of Egyptian territory on both sides of the Suez Canal.
  2. "The land of Egypt will become a desolation and waste. Then they will know that I am the Lord. Because you said, 'The Nile is mine, and I have made it,' therefore, behold, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene and even to the border of Ethiopia. "A man's foot will not pass through it, and the foot of a beast will not pass through it, and it will not be inhabited for forty years. "So I will make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated lands. And her cities, in the midst of cities that are laid waste, will be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the lands." 'For thus says the Lord God, "At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. "I will turn the fortunes of Egypt and make them return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they will be a lowly kingdom. "It will be the lowest of the kingdoms, and it will never again lift itself up above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will not rule over the nations. " Ezekiel 29:9-15

F. How the traditional choice for Migdol fails:

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

  1. In the traditional exodus route, Migdol would be placed on the Egyptian side of the crossing. It is important to remember that they went past the Migdol to Etham, then back tracked to camp at the Red Sea. For the Bitter lakes, such is impossible.
  2. For the Port of Suez crossing, there is a nice mountain range that would work well for a Migdol watch post. In fact we believe it is likely one existed there, but the other serious problems with the Port of Suez disqualify it as a candidate for the Red Sea crossing. For example there is no logical place for Etham past the crossing point, since it opens up into a huge flat plain.

 

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

 

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