« PreviousContinue »
A. M. 2512. A. C. 1491; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xiii-xxxiv. 24. Let us flee, cried they, “from the face of Israel, for security by it, is evident from the nature of its motion. the Lord fighteth for them.'
Every one knows, that in the flux of the sea, its waters It is not to be questioned, but that Moses was a per- come on gradually, and for the space of six hours, swell son of excellent judgment : by his being so long a higher and higher upon the banks ; and then continuing general of an army, he could not but know the proper in this state for about a quarter of an hour, they sink by advantages that might be made in marches and retreats; degrees for six hours more, and retreating from the and yet he seems to give no great specimen of his skill, shores, which is called the reflux, they remain at their by declining the mountains, which possibly were inac- lowest ebb, as long as they had done at their highest cessible to the chariots and horsemen, and marching his flux, and then begin to change their course, and creep men along the sea coasts, where Pharaoh's army might in towards the shore again ; and in this revolution they make after him, as we find they did, had not God com- always go on, with the variation only of three quarters manded him to take this route, and foretold him the of an hour, and some minutes, in each tide. event. Upon the approach of the Egyptian army, That the Red Sea does ebb and flow like other seas Moses has sufficiently described the consternation which that have communication with the main ocean, we readily the Israelites were in; and can any one suppose, that grant; but then we are told by those who have made the such a situation of things was matter of their own choice, exactest observations, that the greatest distance that it or that their leader would of his own head have brought falls from the place of high water, is not above three them into a place where there was no possibility of hundred yards, and that these three hundred yards, which escaping the fury of their enemies, without crossing the the sea leaves uncovered at the time of low water, cansea ? Had Pharaoh laid hold of this advantage, and not continue so above half an hour at most; because, nothing but a miraculous interposition could have hin- during the first six hours, the sea does only retire by dered bim, how could Moses, with all his sweet words, degrees, and in less than half an hour, it begins to flow and address, have prevailed with his people to run into again towards the shore ; so that upon a moderate comthe sea? Or, supposing that he trusted to the tide at putation, the most that can be allowed, both of time and ebb, how could he know for certainty, that this ebb space of passable ground, is but about two hundred would begin precisely at the close of the day, and that yards, during six hours, and an hundred and fifty during the Egyptians would allow him time to decamp, without eight. But now it is plain, that a multitude of above their guards giving them intelligence, or their forces two millions of men, women, and children, encumbered pursuing him in his retreat; which had they done, to with great quantities of cattle and household stuff, could what dismal extremities must he and his people have never be able to cross, even though we suppose it to be been reduced ? If we suppose that this was an hasty that arm or point of the sea, which is not far distant resolution, which the difficulties he found himself in from the port of Suez, and allow them withal a double compelled him to take ; yet we shall still be at a loss to portion of time, and a double space of ground to perform know, how he could possibly answer for the event, or it in; whereas the general tradition is, that the place with what face he could promise the people, that ? " the where the Israelites entered the Red Sea on the EgypLord would fight for them; that they should stand still tian side, is two or three leagues below this northern and see the salvation which he would show them;' point, at a place called Kolsum; and the place where and that the Egyptians, who had given them so much they came out of it, on the Arabian side, is at present molestation, they should see them again no more for called * Corondal, where the sea is about eight or nine ever?'
miles in breadth. He might not be ignorant perhaps of the course of the From the breadth of the sea, and the Israelites coming tide, and might easily discern the favourable disposition out of it at a place of the same name with that of of the wind; but was there never a man in all the great their entrance, some have imagined, that they did not army which Pharaoh brought with him, of equal observa-cross from shore to shore, but only took a short compass tion and skill? It is incongruous to think, that the along the strand that was left dry at low water, and so Egyptians, who excelled at that time all other nations in
came out a little farther in the bay, which the Egyptians their knowledge and observation of celestial bodies, attempting to do, by the unexpected return of the tide, should be ignorant of the Auxes and refluxes of the sea, were all lost. Now, besides the incongruity, as we said in their own country, in their own coast, and in their before, of supposing the Israelites better judges of the own most trading and frequented ports and havens, and tide than the Egyptians were, we do not find, that the if they were not ignorant of the time of the reflux, it is Scriptures any where determine the length of time which hardly to be imagined, that any eagerness of pursuit the former employed in passing this sea.
• In the mornwould have made them venture into the gulf, when they ing watch,' which continued from two to six in the could not but be sensible, that in case they miscomputed, morning, it is said indeed, that the Lord troubled the the returning waves would devour, and swallow them up. host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels ;'
Eut the truth is, their taking the tide at the ebb would but how long the Israelites night have entered the serve the purposes, neither of the Israelites escaping, channel, before the Egyptians met with this obstruction, nor the Egyptians pursuing them. That it badly answer- is nowhere said ; so that the computation of time will ed the design of the Egyptians is plain from the event; depend upon the supposed breadth of the sea. and that the Israelites could promise themselves no Supposing then, as we said before, that the breadth of
* Calmet's Dissert, ibid. * Thevenot's Voyage de Levant. Compare Exod. xiii. 20. with Num, xxxxiii, 6, S.
Calmet's Dissertation on the Passage of the Red Sea.
6 Exod. xiv, 21, 35.
* Exod. xiv, 13, 14.
A. M, 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764, A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM. xviii. the sea, was about eight miles in all, we cannot but footsteps are not known. Thou art a God that doest imagine, that a people, “ full of strength and vigour,' as wonders, and hast declared thy power among the people.' the Psalmist represents them, pursued by so dreadful and enraged an enemy, would make the best of their way; nor can we see any absurdity, in an event so abounding with miracles, to suppose one more. Now, if God CHAP. VI.- On the passage of the Red Sea, and interposed his power to disable the chariots of Pharaoh,
journeyings of the Israelites. lest the return of the waters should excite the Egyptians' fears, and their fears, by improving their diligence,
SUPPLEMENTAL save them from destruction, why might not God interpose the same power, if there was occasion, to quicken and The following very satisfactory article on the geography accelerate the Israelites, and make them perform their of the Israelites' route from Egypt to Canaan, is taken passage in due time ? Nay, if we will allow his own from Mansford's Scripture Gazetteer, the best recent words to be a good comment upon his actions, we cannot work on Scripture geography that we have met with. but suppose that he did so, when we find him, after all “The Almighty having punished the Egyptians for was over, recounting his kindness to them thus : 5«Ye their blindness and obduracy by the plagues which they have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I did had suffered, and prepared his people, by their mirabear you on eagle's wings,' where the expression cer- culous preservation during these scenes of terror, to tainly denotes some extraordinary assistance given them place an unlimited confidence in their leader, moved in their passage,' and brought you unto myself.' It can- the hardened mind of Pharaoh that he should order their not be denied, indeed, but that some ambiguity may arise departure in the middle of the night. “And Pharaok as to the place where the Israelites came on shore, since rose up in the night, he and all his servants; and he they were at Etham but two days before, and now landed called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise in a wilderness of the same name ; yet if we will but sup-up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye pose that there were two Ethams, the one a town where and the children of Israel, and go, serve the Lord as they encamped on the Egyptian side, and the other, on ye have said. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the the Arabian side, a wilderness ; or if we will needs have people, that they might send them out of the land in the wilderness of Etham denominated from the town, haste: for they said, We be all dead men. And the supposing that the town was situated near the upper part children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.'' of the Red Sea, and gave denomination to a great Rameses was a city built by the Israelites in the land of desert, which surrounded the head of the bay, and reached Goshen, a little to the south of the Babylon of the Perdown a considerable space on both sides of it, we may sians, the Grecian Letopolis, and about six or eight easily perceive that though the Israelites, in the evening, miles above the modern Cairo. Here they assembled, marched from the wilderness of Etham cross the gulf
, and from hence they took their departure ; making their yet, upon their landing in the morning, they would but first march towards the east, or to Succoth, which is be in another part of the wilderness of Etham still. estimated to bave been about thirty miles. Upon the whole, therefore, it appears, that the Israelites In this first part of their route, they were obliged to coasting it along the Egyptian shore, in a kind of semi- incline a little to the north, to round the mountain called circle, is both a needless and groundless supposition. the mountain of Arabia, which shuts in the valley of For had this been all, upon the return of the tide the Egypt on the eastern side through its whole length, and drowned Egyptians must have been brought back upon which sinks into the plain towards the north at a line their own shore ; whereas the scripture account of this nearly parallel with the point of the Delta. Succoth matter is, that, as soon as *« Moses stretched out his implies nothing more than a place of pens or booths ; hand over the sea, it returned to its strength, and the and was probably either a halting-station in the route waters returned, and covered the Egyptians who fled towards the Desert, or an enclosure for cattle during the against them ;' which certainly can denote no less, than inundation of the Nile. Their stay here appears to have that the mountains of waters were first dissolved where been short. And they took their journey from Sucthey were first congealed, that is, on the Egyptian side, coth, and encamped in Etham, on the edge of the Wiland that there beginning to reunite, in order to stop the derness. This was a long march of not less than sixty Egyptians' return, they came rushing upon them in vast miles, according to the present computed distance ; inundations, and of course swept them away to the which, as no intervening place of halt is mentioned, contrary, that is, the Arabian shore, where all the host must be considered as having been performed at once. of Israel was safely arrived.
But it must be remembered, that they were flying from Thus we have endeavoured to evince the reality of a treacherous and inexorable enemy, whose pursuit they this miraculous event, and to examine the pretences of had reason to fear; and that they were besides experithose who have either compared it with others recorded encing the particular protection and support of that in profane story, or ascribed it to natural causes, or power which could as easily prevent their being wearied espied some seeming contradictions in it; and have in a forced march of sixty miles, as he could save their nothing now more to do, but, with the grateful Psalmist, shoes from being worn out, or find them a passage to acknowledge upon this occasion, 5. Thy way, O Lord, through the Red Sea. But the real distance was probably is in the sea, and thy paths in the great waters, and thy not then so much by twelve or fifteen miles as at the
Ps. cv. 37. * Saurin's Dissert. * Exod. xix, 4. • Exod. xiv, 27, 28. 5 Ps. lxxvii. 14, 19.
6 Exod. xii.
A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv, 24-NUM. xviii. present day; as, according to the concurrent reports of the God of Israel, ventured to pursue, and were quickly travellers, there are undoubted marks of the gulf having overwhelmed in the water. extended several miles in a north-west, or N.N.W. The precise site of this miracle has much engaged the direction beyond its present limits. This was precisely attention of travellers and of the learned ; who have in the route of the Israelites, and was just so much differed more or less according to their respective views taken from their day's march, reckoning to where Suez and prejudices. The first step in our inquiry for the now stands; the traveller having now to bend consi- situation of this place, must obviously be to fix that of derably to the south-east, to arrive at that place, after the previous encampment. Before taking up this enrounding the Arabian mountain, or Djibel Atakka. campment, it will be recollected that the last position
Etham is said to have been in, or upon, the edge of was at Etham, at the bottom of the gull, which will be the wilderness. But it must not be imagined from found in the map twelve miles north-west of its present hence that the wilderness began here. It is probable termination at Suez; and which carries up that position that the whole way from Succoth to this place was, as it to meet the road towards Caanan, and makes the subseis at this day, the same kind of parched and stony quent 'turn' completely retrograde. This turn was to desert: but here, at the northern extremity of the Red bring them by another day's march beside Pi-hahiroth, Sea, it first assumed the name of Etham ; which it bore before Migdol, and over against Baal-Zephon. The for some distance to the north, east and south. Arrived Hebrew word Pi answers to the modern Fum of the at this place, the Israelites may be said to have been Arabic, and implies an opening in the mountains. Pisafe from all fear of the Egyptians, as another such a hahiroth, then, means an opening or cleft in the mounmarch as that from Succoth would carry them into the tain leading into the valley of that name. If, then, such heart of a desert, where no army, without a miracle, an opening at a proper distance from Etham can be could subsist. They were now on the high road to found, the situation of Pi-hahiroth may be considered as Canaan, with nothing to interrupt their progress: but fixed. Just such an opening, and no other, presents in the midst of their hopes and rejoicings, an order itself about twenty miles to the south of Suez, and thirtycomes to turn. This must have been a grievous disap- two or thirty-five from the ancient position of Etham : pointment : such an order, indeed, as no body of people which answers exactly to the required distance ; and in their senses, unless convinced of the Divine appoint- being the only one of the kind, leaves little doubt of its ment and supernatural power of their leader, would ever identity. Into this opening, which runs quite through the have complied with. Just congratulating one another mountains to the valley of Egypt, an inlet of the Red on their escape, they were directed to return in the very Sea, now dry, extended itself; closing up all possibility face of their enemy; and not only so, but to place them- of advance in that direction. The situation of Migdol selves in a situation where they would be rendered inca- and Baal-Zephon are not so clear ; but from the precipable either of resistance or of flight. “And the Lord sion with which that of Pi-hahiroth can be fixed, their spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of exact recognition is not so material. Migdol implies a Israel, that they turn, and encamp before Pi-hahiroth fortress ; and nothing can be more likely than that the (or Phi-Hiroth), between Migdol and the sea, over Egyptians should station a garrison at this important against Baal-Zephon ; before it shall ye encamp by the entrance into their country. Such might be inferred sea.' The situation into which their obedience to this from strong probability ; but there are, in fact, distinct decree brought them, was a narrow defile, shut in by the historical traces of such a fortress in this situation. Mr mountains on the west, the sea on the east
, and closed Bryant, in his learned Dissertation on the Egyptian up on the south by a small bay or inlet of the latter : Plagues, cites a passage from Harduin's Notes on Pliny they were, indeed, “ entangled in the land.” Some of to the following purpose : “ At this present time, in the them, at least, must have been acquainted with the posi- cosmography which was made during the consulships of tion they were about to occupy; but they entered, and Julius Cæsar and Mark Antony, I find it written, that a gave vent to no murmur until they saw themselves all at part of the river Nile flows into the Red Sea, near the once in the power of their enemy, who stood before them city Ovila and the Camp of Monseus (Monser):' the last in the only opening by which, without a miracle, it was word is evidently a misprint for Mousei. This document possible to escape. At this sight their faith and courage is invaluable from the traditional evidence it bears of failed; and they said unto Moses, Because there were the situation of the miracle being at this place : and the no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in “ Camp of Moses ” must imply either the place of enthe wilderness ?? But the God who brought them there, campment of the Israelites, or the fortress which always was about to show his power by again interposing in existed at the embouchure of the valley, to which the their behalf. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak natives might probably enough have given the name of anto the children of Israel that they go forward: but Moses. Mr Bryant thinks the former : but here, too, on lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the the same spot, were the Dougrow, or Præsidiun Clysmatis sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go of Ptolemy, and the Castrum Clysmatis of Hierocles ; on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And Moses both undoubtedly referring to the same fortress, or Mig-. stretched out his hand over the sea ; and the Lord caused dol of the Egyptians. the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, Of Baal-Zephon we have no traces. The name implies and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. the god of the watch-tower; and it was probably a And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea beacon for mariners on the opposite coast, over against upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto which the camp was to be pitched. The position of this them on their right hand and on their left.' While the camp is now determined. It was in front of Pi-hahiroth, Egyptians, hardened as usual, and blind to the power of or the gorge in the mountains opening into the valley of
A. M 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM. xviii. Hiroth ; which extended through the mountains all the / of Kolsum at Suez, would thus be obriated. But with way to the valley of the Nile. It was also in front of deference to the learned authorities who have espoused Migdol, which we have the strongest reasons to believe this opinion, the grounds on which it is formed are not was a fortress at the opening of the valley, at the north- to be depended upon; and new and equal difficulties ern angle of the mountains, to defend it on the side of the will be found to attach to them. Mr Bryant, confiding Arabian Desert, for from the south there was no approach. in the astronomical observations of Ptolemy and Ulug
Something remains yet to be said in illustration of Beg, makes a distance of seventy miles from Heroum the topography of this interesting spot. Thus far the to Clysma, but of only twenty-two or twenty-three to Israelites had advanced without meeting with any ob- Kolsum; thus separating them by nearly fifty miles of stacle ; but how came they to be stopped at this precise latitude. According to Ptolemy, the latitude of Heroum spot, without the possibility of proceeding another mile ? was 29° 50', and that of Clysma 28° 50'. According to How came they just here to be so “ entangled in the Ulug Beg, the latitude of Kolsum was 29• 30ʻ. Now if land” that, without a miracle, they must have fallen an the reader will take the trouble to consult a map, he will immediate prey to their enemies ? for neither in the perceive that these positions are impossible; that of maps, nor in the general accounts given of this miracle, Heroum would be south of the present head of the is there any explanation of this difficulty. After quitting gulf at Suez, while that of Clysma would be far down Etham, they entered a lengthened defile, in which they the gulf, where no town and no communication with the advanced about thirty miles, having the mountains on interior ever existed. These observations of Ptolemy their right hand and the sea on their left—both impas- then must be erroneous, and permit no well-founded sable. Arrived thus far, their further progress southward argument to be derived from them. But the position was arrested, either by the impracticable nature of the assigned to Kolsum by Ulug Beg is, in fact, within a country beyond, or by an estuary of the Red Sea, which few minutes of a degree of that of Clysma, and the difran up into the valley of Hiroth ; from which inlet, it ference is on the south instead of the north. Whether appears by the above cited passage from Harduin, a Heroum ever stood on the gulf, as Mr Bryant infers, or, canal of communication was, in the time of the Ptole in other words, whether the gulf ever extended up to mies, carried on to the Nile. The latter opinion the that city, is not here of consequence. The canal of reader will find ably maintained by Mr Bryant, in the Ptolemy Philadelphus passed by it in its way to the Red work already referred to. This estuary probably came Sea; but it cannot be shown that it ever stood on its so close to the foot of the mountains, as to admit only shores. Whether it did or not, does not, in fact, affect of a difficult passage in that direction; which was the calculations in question ; the latitudes are evidently guarded by the fortress of Migdol. Besides, if it had erroneous, and all conclusions derived from them must been free of access, the Israelites could have had no be erroneous also. The actual distance, however, given inclination to take such a course, which would only have by Ptolemy, between Heroum and Clysma, may be corled them back again into the heart of Egypt. They were rect, though not on the meridian. This distance is, in accordingly hemmed in, in a kind of cul de sac, which fact, corroborated by Antoninus, who makes it sixty-eight rendered the subsequent miracle for their deliverance as miles; but then it is not in a direct line from north to necessary as it was signal.
south, but in a south-eastern one, which diminishes the The place of this estuary is now dry; having been, amount in point of latitude one-half, or to thirty-four in the course of ages, partly filled up by the fallen miles, equal as near as may be to half a degree. materials of the mountains, and partly left dry by the D'Anville has placed Clysma in 29° 40' north latitude, retreat of the sea itself: it is called Bedea by the Arabs and Heroum, or Heroopolis, in 30° 17'; difference 37', -a name which may be referred to the same origin with equal to about forty-three English, or forty-seven Roman the Phrygian word Beòv, water. The inlet itself, some miles; to which, if half of the amount, or 232 miles be remnant of which perhaps existed in the time of the added for the easting, it comes as near the distance of Greeks, was by them denominated Clysma ; which like-Antoninus as can be expected. wise signifies water, or an inundation, and might refer Nothing, then, in these calculations affects the true either to the place or the miracle. From the inlet, the position of either Clysma or Kolsum, or the arguments name was transferred to a town and fortress on its founded on their identity. One thing, indeed, is clear : borders ; which was probably in the same situation as that no measurement from Heroum, on the Trajanus the Migdol of the Egyptians, and was subsequently the Amnis, to Kolsum at Suez, will give the required disKolsum of the Arabs, a word denoting drowning, and tance between the former and Clysma ; and as to the which gave its name to the adjoining sea, which is still difficulties which have been supposed to have arisen out called Bayer-al-Colsum.
of the identity of the two places, they may, it is hoped, The position and agreement of these places are, how- be shown to be far from formidable. These difficulties ever, not so clear, but that some authors of eminence have chiefly arisen from the frivolous and sceptical have entertained a different opinion. Mr Bryant, and arguments of the celebrated traveller Niebuhr ; which more recently Mr Horne, adopting the arguments of the are altogether founded in misconception, and in a culformer, contend that Clysma and Kolsum were not the pable inattention to the scope and letter of the sacred same place; and that the mistakes of former writers history; and which from a writer of less repute would from confounding the two, and thereby embarrassing be totally undeserving of notice. the attempts to fix the precise place of passage, may by In the first place, then, this author, overlooking the this means be rectified. It is possible, indeed, that they obvious route of the Israelites round by Etham, which might not have been the same place; and the difficulties he himself places at the head of the gulf, makes them arising out of their supposed identity, and the situation | pass through the valley of Bedea to the sea ; and then A. M. 2514. A. C, 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM. xvii. wonders how they could be said to be entangled in the sceptical queries proposed by the celebrated critic Miland, and shut in by the wilderness,' with the way open chaelis; namely, “ Whether there were not some ridges before them straight up to Suez. This obvious difficulty of rocks where the water was shallow, so that an army at is sufficient alone to show that this was not their route. particular times may pass over ? Secondly, Whether Yet the intelligent Bruce has fallen into the same error. the Etesian winds, which blow strongly from the northNiebuhr reasons on the march of the Israelites as on that west, could not blow so violently against the sea, as to of a modern caravan ; and intimates, that as no mention keep it back on a heap, so that the Israelites might have is made of their being apprized that a miracle would be passed without a miracle ?” How different to those of wrought for their deliverance, it is not likely that they Niebuhr are the observations of the sensible Bruce, to would suffer themselves to be led blindfold into such a whom the same queries were proposed! These observashare.“ Amongst so many thousand persons,” says tions are indeed inimitable ; and the author quotes them he, “ some would be well acquainted with the way, and at length with the greater pleasure as he has more than would surely have opposed the design of Moses, if he once, in the course of the present work, found occasion had made them take a route which plainly led to their to dissent from his opinions. destruction. One need only travel with a caravan which “I must confess,” says Mr Bruce,“ however learned weets with the least obstacle, a small torrent for instance, the gentlemen were who proposed these doubts, I did to be convinced that the Orientals are not deficient in not think they merited any attention to solve them. This intelligence, and that they do not suffer themselves to passage is told us by Scripture to be a miraculous one ; be led like fools by their Caravan-Baschi,” or leader. and if so, we have nothing to do with natural causes. If After indulging in this style of reasoning, our author, we do not believe Moses, we need not believe the transwishing to diminish the force of the miracle, though not action at all, seeing that it is from his authority alone entirely to destroy it, contends for a higher passage we derive it. If we believe in God that he made the near Suez, where the channel is narrower, and the pas- sea, we must believe he could divide it when he sees sage itself may be supposed to have come more within proper reason; and of that he must be the only judge. the reach of natural causes; and here, to give some It is no greater miracle to divide the Red Sea, than to countenance to his argument, are the ruins of a town divide the river Jordan. called Kolsum. And as the Arabic tradition has always “ If the Etesian wind, blowing from the north-west in placed the site of the miracle near that town; as the summer, could keep up the sea as a wall on the right, or name of this town is also supposed to be only a variation to the south, of fifty feet high, still the difficulty would of Clysma ; and has, further, been taken by travellers to remain of building the wall on the left, or to the north. be the same with Arsinoe, or Suez; Mr Bryant took the Besides, water standing in that position for a day, must above-mentioned mode of proving that they were not have lost the nature of fluid. Whence came that cohesion the same : in doing which he proved too much. But if of particles which hindered that wall to escape at the the ruins in question be indeed those of a town called sides? This is as great a miracle as that of Moses. If Kolsum, there is nothing conclusive to be drawn from the Etesian winds had done this once, they must have thence. The original town of this name was very pro- repeated it many a time before and since, from the same bably built on the true site of Clysma ; from whence, in
Yet Diodorus Siculus, - says, the Troglodytes, course of time, for greater convenience of trade, or to the indigenous inhabitants, of that very spot, had a tradibe nearer water, or for many purposes with which we tion from father to son from their very earliest ages, that may be unacquainted, it was removed to the site of the once this division of the sea did happen there ; and that present ruins, carrying its name along with it. This is after leaving its bottom some time dry, the sea again nothing more than what is perfectly analogous to what came back, and covered it with great fury. The words has happened in every country. Or if these ruins be of this author are of the most remarkable kind ; we canthose of the first and only town of Kolsum, what is there not think this heathen is writing in favour of revelation : improbable in the supposition that this name should have he knew not Moses, nor says a word about Pharaoh and been given to it? The distance from Clysma is com- his host; but records the miracle of the division of the paratively insignificant : the event which the name re- sea in words nearly as strong as those of Moses, from cords was too stupendous to be forgotten ; while the the mouths of unbiassed, undesigning pagans. precise spot in which it occurred, might, to the unlettered “Were all these difficulties surmounted, what could we Arabs, though known to be near, be totally lost. do with the pillar of fire? The answer is, -We should
We again, then, come to the conclusion, that the posi- not believe it. Why then believe the passage at all ? tion of this town, and its being or not the same as We have no authority for the one ; but what is for the Clysma, cannot mislead us. Niebuhr, then, stands inex- other : it is altogether contrary to the ordinary nature of cused, even upon this principle, in endeavouring to fritter things ; and if not a miracle it must be a fable.” the miracle down to nothing, by placing it in a narrow The instrument employed by the Almighty for the and shallow part of the channel; and the following division of the sea, is said to be a strong east wind.' argument, like most of his others on this subject, admits But it is remarkable that there is no such thing as a naas little of palliation : “Pharaoh," says he,“ would not tural east wind in all this country; the monsoon blows appear to me to have been inconsiderate in attempt invariably half the year from the north, or north-northing to pass the sea at Suez, where it is not above half a west, and the other half from the opposite points. league over ; but he must have lost all prudence, if, after Some authors have supposed, that Moses having lived seeing such prodigies in Egypt, he ventured to enter the long in the neighbourhood of the Red Sea, had become sea where it was more than three leagues in breadth." These remarks of Niebuhr were called forth by some
'B. 3. p. 122.