The Exodus Route:
"block, stop the approach, shut off, cover" (TWOT: 1492 sākak)
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Located 120 km south of the Port of Suez, 160 km north of Red sea crossing (Straits of Tiran)
We have no idea exactly where Succoth is located, however we can get a clue based upon the name.
A. Bible Texts:
"Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children." Exodus 12:37
"Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness." Exodus 13:20
"Then the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses and camped in Succoth. They journeyed from Succoth and camped in Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness." Numbers 33:5-6
There is another town called Succoth in these passages that are not the related to the Exodus route: Genesis 33:17; Joshua 13:27; Judges 8:5-16; 1 Kings 7:46; 2 Kings 17:30; 2 Chronicles 4:17; Psalm 60:6; Psalm 108:7
B. Succoth means: "block, stop the approach, shut off"
In Hebrew, Succoth means: "block, stop the approach, shut off, cover" (TWOT, 1492)
Since most of the exodus names were given by the Israelites as they traveled, this name obviously refers to a place that would "block, stop the approach, shut off" easy access by the Egyptian army.
The 290 km coastal plain on the east side of the Gulf of Suez is flat and wide except for the 16 km section of medium difficulty, hilly terrain. Israel camped on the southern side of these low mountains on the coastal plain that continues to the crossing point. The Hebrews would feel protected from the Egyptians when they stopped here because the difficult terrain to the north would slow down the army.
This is why they called it Succoth: "block the army, stop the approach of the army, shut off from Egypt"
C. Photos and maps:
Below is the location of Succoth on the southern edge of the mountain range on the coastal flat:
Below is the coastal plain north of Succoth:
Below is the coastal plain south of Succoth at modern Al Tur:
D. How the traditional choice for Succoth fails:
Excluded Exodus Routes: Nuweiba Beech, Bitter lakes, Gulf of Suez, Mt. Musa, Mt. Karkom, Ein el-Qudeirat.
- In the traditional exodus route, Succoth is always placed west of the modern Suez Canal.
- For a crossing at the Bitter lakes, Succoth would be the first stop from Goshen. But since Goshen is only 30 km from the Bitter lakes it is doubtful that such a location could even exist, given the fact that the Israelites may have populated right up to the largest fresh water supply apart from the Nile. There just is not enough space.
- Given the fact that the land is flat and easy to travel over, there is no place that could be considered "block, stop the approach, shut off" from Egypt. Any location of Succoth, west of the Suez canal makes no sense as a place of temporary security form Egypt.
By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.
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