Sea of Reeds vs. Red Sea

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by wil, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I've read that their is no reference in the Hebrew to the Red Sea during Exodus. That that translation came later into the Latin and then the KJV.

    And that there is quite a bit of discussion as to the direction the trek took and where the crossing occurred.

    Anyone have any insight they can provide?
     
  2. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi wil...

    I've read some analyses that the trek was actually referring to a passage through marshlands where there were hidden land bridges which allowed the passage of small groups through the swampy areas, but would not allow the passage of chariots and other methods of transport that are needed to support armed forces which would become bogged down and swamped..

    The speculations I've come across seemed to point to the reed lands in the south of ancient Shinar (Sumer/Iraq) and that the escape and Red Sea episode were actually based upon folk stories regarding Hebrew bands that were escaping the diaspora in Babylon by traversing the swamps in the Basra region. But the time scales don't jibe with that interpretation, so it would have had to have been an episode(s) earlier than that has been lost to history. But hey...the Red Sea story works, and that's what the best mythologies require. The good guys escape and the bad guys perish.

    There is also the possibility that this recollects something far older and more hidden. The name "Hebrew" derives from the Chaldean (Sumerian) root word "hibaru" which when translated roughly means, "those who cross over". So evidently somewhere in the mists of past events the early bands of the Judaic tribal nation "crossed over" somewhere for some purpose. It's my opinion that storytellers have been speculating as to the truth of the matter for millenia, but it is also clear that this remembered event is key to understanding a part of the origins of the Hebrew tribes.

    flow....:)
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Wil –

    The New Jerome Biblical Commentary traces the route of Exodus, and archeology suggests that rather than flee the direct northern route, along the Road of the Philistines following the coast and passed the Egyptian fortress at Zilu, the Hebrews took a secondary inland and southern route, down towards the swampy lake region beyond the northern tip of the Red Sea. The 'best bet' location of the Sea of Reeds (mistranslated in the Septuagint as Red Sea) is the swampy area around one of the major lakes, Lake Bahah.

    Here it gets even more interesting. Following the route, it would appear that the Hebrews swung further south yet, and one suggestion is that this was a tactical move, which forced the pursuing Egyptians into a last-chance and long-shot desperate attempt to 'head them off' by advancing directly on them through the Reed Sea, rather than following around it. This is not so far-fetched. We know, from Scripture itself, that the Hebrews panicked at the Egyptian approach and their apparent flight into an ever deeper wasteland. Many doubted Moses and wanted to turn back, to return to Egypt. The Egyptians, informed by their scouts, would sense victory in their grasp, and risk the inevitable disorder of a marsh attack, banking on the inability of a demoralised and panicy bunch of civilians to stand against them.

    It was a bold, and had it succeeded, a brilliant move, but it did not, it failed, at some considerable cost, and the Hebrews made away.

    The question then, is what kind of reversal did the Egyptians suffer?

    According to the P account, Moses parts the Sea with his rod, the people walk through on dry land, the Egyptians follow and are drowned in a Noah-like deluge. According to the J account, the LORD sends a wind which opens a path through the sea during the night, the people cross, and the wind subsides and the sea returns with the morning, but remains severe enough to cause the Egyptians, pursuing by boat, to founder, the fleet sunk. (Echoes of the kami-kaze, the Divine Wind that saved Japan from the Mongol invasion?)

    Whatever the extent of the reversal, it was significant enough to stop the pursuit. It must have been more than simply becoming bogged down, as one cannot envisage a mud-stuck soldier waving his fist at a peasant running over a distant hill. It took 10 plagues to get Israel free, it would take more than getting wet to stop Pharoah's pursuit. One might resonably assume that a marsh crossing proved impossible for the army, and that they suffered considerable losses in men and material in trying it. One might, by extension, suppose that rather than continual attrition (rarely morale-boosting for the observer), the Egyptians suffered a single and catastrophic reversal at a single crossing place, which would have convinced the Hebrews that God was on their side, and nothing could stop them now.

    One might also reasonably allow the victor to make, perhaps, something more of the event than might be historically accurate. Whatever happened, the Hebrews entered the Sea of Reeds as an uncertain people in full flight, and emerged a victorious army, convined that their God was the God of all, and they swept all Canaan before the implacable tide of their advance.

    The LORD in the J account can be counter-pointed to the Baal of the Ugaritic texts, a god who deploys the elements according to his purpose and his will, to lead his people and destroy his enemies. God is a Great Wind, an Earthquake, a passing Leviathon, a Pillar of cloud by Day and Fire by Night, a Storm, Thunder and Lightning that shrouds the peak of his Sacred Mountain.

    Only later, on the tongues of the Prophets, in the Psalms and Israel's Wisdom literature would God reveal Himself as parent and spouse, His Wrath and Vengence tempered by His Mercy and Love.

    Thomas
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Oh, sorry Flow... you'd posted while I was composing mine. Didn't mean to step on your toes.

    Thomas
     
  5. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Thomas...Not to worry. My feet have been abused in so many ways that it matters not these days. Now...I guess I must order some steel toed versions. I'm sure that others here aren't surprised that our versions would differ. Different strokes...different folks.

    flow....;)
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Flow –

    I'm not sure our versions differ that much, certainly not in essence, and that is what counts.

    You're idea of the recollection of a 'crossing' having such a profound impact on the psyche of a people is more important than the material fact. Such ideas might exagerate the detail, might even relocate events in time and space, but I think there would have to be some founding event ... I don't think there is a culture whose self-identity is entirely fabricated, although certainly all tend to embellish.

    Now if we found an ancient manuscript that said, 'there was an Egyptian, an Israelite and a Canaanite, drinking in a bar ...' then I'd really be in trouble!

    Thomas
     
  7. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Thomas...Yeah, probably not much writing being done as far back as I'm thinking. I don't believe that the proto-Hebrew alphabet was even invented until around 1,200 bce, which is the time that the Hebrews were supposedly first noticed (archaeologically) in the hills of Judea. The proto alphabet was discovered by Sir Flinders Petrie ( U. of Chicago) in the Arabian penninsula near copper workings around 100 years ago and it seemed to be a pictographic adaptation of Phoenecian writing.

    You are of course correct. This passage or crossing-over, whatever and whenever it was, was probably related as oral history for millenia before it was ever written down, and may even date back to when modern versions of homo sapiens trekked out of Africa over the Palestinian land bridge which became Palestine. I told you I thought it goes back a long way. Tribal peoples always are concentrated upon remembering their ancestors' travails in order to gain perspectives on their present and possible futures. It's the way that our brains and our memories work to make futures possible.

    By the way, that classic film, The Ten Commandments from the 50's was on the TV here on Christmas night. Always one of my faves, and the Red Sea scene is stupendous. It's very difficult to beat a good story line and superbly produced images to continue important legends.

    flow....:)
     
  8. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    At the point of the parting of the Red "Reed sea", is a known fact that it happens often. A ten knot wind blowing from the north down can in fact part a finger of the sea to the point of the lake bed being nearly dry. It pushes the water apart. It is a documented fact.

    Now question is, is it the point of crossing for the exodus? And could it kill an entire army? Or is this the place that the exodus miracle occured in the first place?

    Big part of the sea or small fingerling of the lake, does it matter? a man caught in quagmire will drown just as fast as a man caught in full waves...

    As soon as a horse gets a hoove stuck, he tends to panic. A man locked into wet mud tends to do the same. Desert warriors, with desert horses, suddenly finding themsleves knee deep in lake mud?...
     
  9. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    This is where when in doubt, we should bring to bare those more educated than us on the matter of the exodus...namely Dauer and Bannanabrain...

    Let us ask them of the "Exodus".

    v/r

    Joshua
     
  10. kiwimac

    kiwimac God is NOT about Fear

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    The following is interesting;

    Source

    From a Jewish question and answer site the following:

    Source
     
  11. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Some say that it was like an inlet to the red sea? Such as the river Abraham traveled ? Not sure where, but I can remember someone saying something along the lines of; "the tongue of the Reed Sea, goes forth from the Red Sea."
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Namaste all, thanx for the responses. The contemplation continues...
    hence my judicious placement of the thread.
    I'd like to learn more about them breaking into song at the other side...it was supposed to be a new song...and thousands suddenly singing... not to long ago we'd attempt that by xeroxing and trying to distribute the words...today maybe putting up big screens and projecting the tune...I'm still wondering how it was accomplished then...

    At one time I contemplated the crossing symbolizing a birth..the metaphor seemed pretty strong...leaving bondage to freedom...parting of the red sea...singing out at the other side....
     
  13. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hmmmmm...no music where they escaped from, but there was music on the other side after they "crossed over"...hmmmmm ! A spontaneous expression of joy...or some real change in their environmental circumstances ?

    flow....:cool:
     
  14. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Greensong (the song of nature in harmony with heaven).
     
  15. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    umph -

    well, i guess i don't really know what i'm being asked here. you know what the traditional explanation is, which is that we were there, there was a miracle, we crossed etc. you also know what the people who don't believe in miracles or the sacred nature of the Torah say, which is that there are conflicting accounts, the whole thing's based on some guy getting his feet wet in ur and, really hebrew didn't even happen till later.

    suffice it to say that it's not really all that simple. as for hebrew not being around until 1200 BCE, abraham is generally agreed to be around 1800 BCE and the exodus not till around 1400-1200 BCE so that's probably about right as far as the traditional chronology has it.

    the word "hebrew" is from abraham's title "Ha-'IBhRI" which means, alternatively "the crosser" or, as some would have it "the contrarian" - or even "the transgressor". that title goes back to his departure from ur to haran, where he "crossed the river", as it says of his family the Torah "your ancestors lived beyond the river" (meaning the euphrates). but i guess the whole of the children of israel really became "ivrim" at the crossing of the "reed sea" or whatever you want to call it. where it is isn't all that important, if you ask me.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I agree with the where it is not that important....but my question is really in relation to the translation...ie does the original hebrew as you know it state Red Sea, or was that added or a mistranslation?
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    no, the original hebrew says, as the response above says, "YaM SUPh", suph meaning "reed". i don't know how the original mistake came about but given that the red sea is in the same area maybe it was an obvious mistake to make during the orthographic cataclysms of the middle ages. or maybe the red sea's even a misnomer and it should really be called the reed sea, although i've never seen anything reedy in that area and it seems to me that the gulf of suez is a bit more likely considering it is a delta and as such is a bit more marshy.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  18. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    hmmmm .... most interesting bb, in the south pacific on one of the islands the traditional title for one of the high chiefs is "didel" which means "to bridge" .... or "to cross" .... if one crosses over into the promise land (metaphorically) then this interpretation would be very insightful .... in Greek mythology, to "cross over the River Styx" is to be able to overcome the power human emotions that prevent us from reaching a more spiritual level of being (metaphorically the river is in a rage with storms and even fire and one must calm the three headed beast on the other side which actually is very easy because it only takes honey and poppyseed cake .... also metaphors) .... but back to "crossing" .... crossing over is a strong metaphor for moving up and beyond the earth emotions to a more spiritual and wonderous space .... and as to "reeds" the metaphor is in the reed boat itself (don't know about a Sea of Reeds except that is where one would gather reeds for the boat) .... reed boats were used to cross the ancient sea and traditionally (in the tradition of the South Pacific) it takes 12 bundles of reeds to carry the weight of one man, and each boat carries 12 men .... thus, 12 X 12 or 144 relating to the number of 144,000..... would be interesting to know the kaballist interpretation of both the word for "reed" and the number "144,000" .... just a few random thoughts to share .... me ke aloha pumehana, poh
     
  19. Ben-DeNoon

    Ben-DeNoon New Member

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    It is a privilege to get this oppertunity for me to comment on this topic of the The Red Sea. It is a fact that Moses calls this place Yam Suph - Sea of Reeds or ים סוף as it is written in Hebrew. I notice a post that said that the Hebrew text did not contain the term Yam Suph. Perhaps I misunderstood the post but indeed it is written in Exodus 15 as Yam Suph. I don't really have the space here to resolve this question but I recently discovered why Moses calls this place which actually was the Gulf of Aqaba a sea of reeds. My latest book called Yam Suph comes out in late April my findings have shocked the World. Christianity Today wants to do a book review Dr. Dobson supports my findings etc. Finding what I wrote in part is easy just google Israel Returns it's the third post called Yam Suph. Later I will post the short version here
     
  20. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    That was an excellent post flow. It indicates Some of the ideas of what happened in the Exodus can be explained by plausible scientific information, plate tectonics.

    Exodus has been debated, but one argument against it was the story that Jews were working on a City of Rameses in the Nile Delta. No city was found...until last year. Archaeologists digging in the silt deposits of the Nile have found a large ruin of a city that was incomplete. It apparently had some identification as the City of Rameses. This make one important item of the Exodus story, verified. Egyptian records show a pharaoh Tutmoses? who reigned 90 years followed by his son (Pepi or some say Amenhotep) who had a short reign after which Egypt was in a state of disarray, without defences. Upper Egypt was in defiant rebellion. Egypt's Canaanite protectorates were left defenceless as the troops returned to Egypt. This explains why they were so easily conquered later on by the Hebrew Army after 40 years of battle hardening experience.

    All of this would be compatible with the loss of the Pharaoh and his army. I would like to see more divers looking for remnants of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds (more likely a direct route from the city of Rameses site.)

    The Book of Exodus describes Moses following a cloud of smoke by day and a column of fire by night. In 1625 BC, the island of Santorini's volcano Thera erupted in a massive volcanic event. The area contains the convergence point between 4 tectonic plates with subducting zones. One major fault line is the Dead Sea fault that may have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

    This huge eruption destroyed Santorini in the Aegean Sea, quakes extended for hundreds of miles in what geologists call an Earthquake storm. One quake causes another, and another, etc. Huge subduction zones may cause giant waves or Tsunamis, and they can cause Mt. St. Helens type volcanic eruptions. This could have manifested as a wave of water emptying the Sea of Reeds or Suez Lakes and lowering the water temporarily. Then the Tsunami would come with perhaps a wave 50-100 metres high.

    Thera had erupted giving off a column of smoke and fire. If the Hebrews were following the column of Fire from the volcano, they crossed the Sea of Reeds or Sinai Lakes. The water would recede emptying the Sea of Reeds and lowering the lakes temporarily. Then the Tsunami would come with perhaps a wave 50 metres high. To the Hebrews this was a miracle allowing their crossing to Sinai and higher ground. They reached the other side safely. If Pharaoh’s chariot army pursued them across the mud flats, possibly getting bogged down, they then saw that 50+ metre wall of water rushing fast over them.

    There are several conflicting dates for Thera and the Exodus. I think the differences could be a simple error in calculating the actual dates.

    Amergin
     

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