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God himself led the children of Israel out of Egypt. He went concealed inside a moving pillar of smoke during the day, and at night this was seen as a pillar of fire which gave them light to see. He did not go straight to Canaan to show them the land of the Philistines, which he promised them, because he knew they would chicken out when the saw Philistine chariots, and scurry back to Egypt. As we’ll discover later in the book of Judges, even God shudders in the face of iron chariots.

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, to honor the oath the House of Israel swore to Joseph to take his bones with them when God delivered them from out of Egypt. The migration made its first stop at a water barrier.

The Red Sea separates Egypt from Saudi Arabia, and at the Sinai Peninsula it divides into two long fingers of water that resemble the eye stalks of a snail. In ancient times the left eye stalk terminated at what is now Lake Timsah, or Crocodile Lake.

Timsah Lake and the Bitter Lakes are in the ancient depression of this old seabed. Perhaps the land has risen a bit, or the sea level has fallen. But so nearly flush with sea level is this whole area that a simple ditch dug in the 1800s was sufficient to link these lakes with the Red Sea once more, and create another link to the Mediterranean Sea to create the Suez Canal. So Timsah Lake was the “Reed Sea” spoken of in Torah, confused in the popular imagination with the “Red Sea”. In those days the lake was an extension of the Gulf of Suez and so it really was part of the Red Sea back then.

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