Parting of the Red Sea – Pharaoh Merneptah

Posted by Bibleistrue On December - 8 - 2011

Moses Parting the Red Sea

When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, the pharaoh held them in captivity. When he finally let them go following Moses’ many pleas, the Bible says that God hardened his heart again so that he would once again change his mind:

He chased after them until they got to the Red Sea. This is the scene where Moses parts the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross, and then the water crashed back down onto the Egyptians that were pursuing them:

The Pharaoh during this time that followed the Israelites into the Red Sea was named Merneptah. The mummy of Merneptah was discovered in 1898 in the tomb of Amenhotep II, but it was thought to originally be buried in the Valley of the Kings. Merneptah was unwrapped and identified in 1907 by Dr. G. Elliott Smith in Cairo, Egypt.(1) Medical examinations were done around 1975 and it was determined through examination of Merneptah’s tissues that he had been in water before his death. It was also discovered that Merneptah had severe injuries from blows that caused loss of tissue and bone. Most Egyptian pharaohs die peacefully so it is very odd that Merneptah had died during a violent event in a body of water. It is believed that Merneptah received these injuries from following the Israelites through the Red Sea. While the water rushed back down after Moses’ command, the horses probably would have started panicking and likely could have ran Merneptah over with a chariot. This could account for the massive injuries he suffered while he drowned in the sea. The discovery of Merneptah’s mummy has helped put some more pieces of the puzzle together regarding what happened when the Israelites tried to escape Egypt.

(1)”Mummy of Merneptah”. The center for online Judaic studies. Retrieved from,_1213_–_1203_BCE.


Categories: Archaeology, Featured

2 Responses

  1. With their southward movement inside the eastern canal system, Moses and the people would have ended up cornered against Lake Timsah. Literally, it was the southeastern corner of the north-south and east-west canal system. There they camped by the sea, one that certainly could be called a “Sea of Reeds” with its fresh water content, but likewise as a generic large body of water south of the Mediterranean. This lake being parted would have created the walls of water and the necessary volume to drown an entire army. The Israelites, having intentionally cornered themselves at this spot, would have certainly made Pharaoh think they were confused (i.e. Exodus 14:3). Remember, it was God who chose where they were to camp, for His purposes, and for His glory!

  2. The long, narrow water body between Egypt, on the west, and the Sinai Peninsula, on the east, is the Gulf of Suez. Perhaps in ancient times this water body was known by the name of the larger sea with which it was connected, in which case “Red Sea” might be appropriate. The Gulf of Suez is only about 25ñ30 kilometers wide, and up to two hundred meters deep (666 feet). If the terrain were not too rough, ten hours might be enough for the crossing. This appears to be conceptually possible, but probably not practical for a crowd of more than two million people on foot, including small children (Ex. 13:37). Two million people cannot travel down a given road on the same time schedule as twenty or two hundred people. A column ten persons wide, each separated from the persons ahead and behind by one meter respectively (not much room), walking at 5 km/hr, requires forty hours to pass a single fixed point. If the column is one hundred persons wide, the elapsed time is four hours, but this still does not include transit time, and does not permit any rest stops.

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