I've come to the conclusion what I have written in another answer is not true. I'm not sure whether to delete it or to leave it as an evidence of my own folly! There are a number of reasons for believing it is balony:
The Bible says that a strong east wind caused the sea to part. This can only happen in an enclosed sea, what we would call a "lake". In the open sea the wind cannot part the sea because of the huge pressure put upon the walls of water even if the depth of the sea at that point is only a few feet (such as at Nuweiba). Even if the depth of water is only 5 feet then there would be hundreds and thousands of miles on the southern side of the supposed wall of sea multiplied by 5 feet of water of pressure against the wall of water. It would be simply impossible for the wind to have parted the water against this pressure. If the Bible had not bothered to explain the parting by a strong wind then, all is fine, God could have done it without any wind, and a parting at Nuweiba in the open sea is fine... but God's word does speak of the wind as doing the parting.. so Nuweiba is out of the question, as are any and all other partings in the open sea.
It would have taken months to travel to Nuweiba. Babies, and lambs and sheep and two million people, and packing up tents before travelling each morning, and putting down tents at the end of a day's journey... some suppose that usually less than 10 miles could be covered (I cannot remember the estimates better), but certainly getting to Nuweiba would take months.
The Scripture does not give the slightest impression that there were months between the 10 plagues and the crossing. It sounds very much as if it all happened in one episode/time period.
All that we know of this Pharaoh tells us he would not have had patience to wait several months before trying to get the Israelites back into Egypt. After each plague he changed his mind almost immediately, often the day after the plague was removed. It surely didn't take long before he changed his mind again about allowing the Israelites to leave Egypt.
A similar event to the parting of the sea was witnessed at the time of surveying for the building of the Suez Canal. It was witnessed by an officer in the British Army:
Scientific literature from the 19th century contains a description of a wind setdown event that occurred in the eastern Nile delta. Major-General Alexander B. Tulloch of the British Army reported this event happening on Lake Manzala in January or February 1882:
One day, when so employed [surveying] between Port Said and Kantarah, a gale of wind from the eastward set in and became so strong that I had to cease work. Next morning on going out I found that Lake Menzaleh, which is situated on the west side of the [Suez] Canal, had totally disappeared, the effect of the high wind on the shallow water having actually driven it away beyond the horizon, and the natives were walking about on the mud where the day before the fishing-boats, now aground, had been floating. When noticing this extraordinary dynamical effect of wind on shallow water, it suddenly flashed across my mind that I was witnessing a similar event to what had taken place between three and four thousand years ago, at the time of the passage of the so-called Red Sea by the Israelites.
Mr. M. Rooke: I should like to ask the present depth of Lake Menzahleh [sic] near Port Said?
Tulloch: It is only about 5 feet or 6 feet.
Rooke: Where was the water driven to?
Tulloch: It was “packed up” to the north-west.
Rooke: Could you see it in any way?
Tulloch: It was seven miles off. It had absolutely disappeared.
(See Study 1.2 at
The best map I can find of the route of the Exodus is from "Associates of Biblical Research, biblearchaeology.org "New evidences from Egypt on the location of the xodus sea crossing Part II".
My only main disagreement with the map is the dotted red route of the Exodus in these particulars:
I believe the red dotted line crosses the "sea" of the El Ballah" Lake much too far to the north. Probably the crossing was about halfway between Lake Timsah and Tell Defenneh/Tahpanhes.
I am not sure but maybe the Israelites went first from Qantir/Peru Nefer /Avaris and later called Raamses to the lake west of Pithom in the region of Succoth to water themselves and their animals. Certainly the journey from Raamses to Succoth was a long one for a single day, but they set off in the night under a full moon.
What is important to realize about the whole of the Nile delta and surrounding region, including the eastern lakes is that they are constantly in a state of change. For instance, I think it usually said that Pelusium did not exist in Moses's day, it's location was still sea. Pelusium is only known from history starting about 1000 BC. The river flowing down Wadi Tumilat once flowed down to Lake Timsah and from there it may have flowed either north or south or both, silting up the area maybe between Timsah and the Bitter Lakes or even south of the Bitter Lakes or north of Timsah. Certainly the river down Wadi Tumilat silted up and finally stopped flowing.
Certainly Tahpanhes at Tell Defenneh was near the sea because it was a place the Greeks in Jeremiah's time (and who knows how much earlier?) worshipped Baal Zephon who was the god of seafaring sailors, the god who, by their worship, stopped the strong winds and the storms. The city later called Tahpanhes was virtually/effectively on The Way of the Philistines, the Way of Horus, so maybe the green line should pass through it not around it.
The map shows the green line as the coastal highway, otherwise known as The Way of Horus and The Way of the Philistines. The Lord told Moses not to take the Israelites out that way because they might rebel at the possibility of war. Its easy to think what is meant is war with the Philistines; more likely though is war with the Egyptians guarding this route into Egypt with many forts, such as Migdol and Tel Hebua (confirmed as ancient Tjaru). Tjaru was right on the Med. coast even later in Seti's time, and so also in Moses's time.
Pi-Raamses was the main sea port in Moses time. In Hyksos time it was called Avaris. In Moses time it was probably called Peru Nefer, and only in Ramesses time was it called Ramesses or Raamses. (It is believed the scribal prophets who maintained the copies of the Bible decided to change the name in Ramesses II time to "Raamses" because the previous name was becoming meaningless. The name is anachronistic.) About 1050 the Pelusiac branch on which Raamses stood silted up and the city had to be abandoned and much of the statues and stonework were moved to Tanis. Because of this Tanis was thought for many years to be Raamses until Manfred Bietak proved Raamses central had been a mile or so north of Tell El'Daba, at modern Qantir. Raamses was on the Way of Horus, the Way of the Philistines also.
A second route into Egypt on at least some portions of the route was called The King's Highway. It runs from Heliopolis almost directly East to the northern tip of the Red Sea proper, and then straight across Sinai to the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, where it turns north and then up the Eastern side of the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee.
A third route is the Way of the Wilderness of Shur which goes down the Wadi Tunilat and then straight across to Kadesh Barnea and eventually coming to Beersheba. It is this way that Hagar fled from the house of Abraham. (You can see what is probably the Way of Shur still in existence as a road on today's topographical map linked at the bottom of this answer.)
Tell El-Maskhuta is Succoth, you can still see the name Succoth in "skhuta". West of Succoth is Tell El-Retabeh which Kenneth Kitchen has convincingly shown is Pithom.
These were both on the route that is called the Way of the Wilderness of Shur.
West of Pithom in Moses' time was a great fresh water lake fed from the Nile (according to Manfred Bietak). "Succoth" was not just the name of a town, it was also the name of a large part of Wadi Tumilat, so Pithom was also called "Pithom in Succoth", i.e. in the region of Succoth. Raamses and Pithom were built as a store cities. The storage was food and weapons for the army. One was to help defend the Way of the Philistines, the other to help defend the Way of Shur. Or maybe to enable attacks out of Egypt by these two routes, especially up the Way of Horus/the Philistines. Manfred Bietak has discovered silos (for storage) built at Qantir/Raamses in the early 18th dynasty.
Etham must surely have been on the route of the Way of Shur at the edge of Egypt and the edge of the Wilderness. Being on this route would explain why the Egyptians called the wilderness beyond Etham as the Wilderness of Etham.
The map shows a canal running north from Lake Timsah and then another canal running to Pelusium. As has aready been said Pelusium didn't exist in Moses time. But there was a river or canal flowing into the Med. from the lake at Tell Hebua (where a bridge spanned the canal/river) in Seti's time and maybe in Moses's time. If there was a canal north of Lake Timsah in Moses's time then likely another bridge spanned the canal on the Way of Shur and maybe at Etham itself. The problem with these bridges is that it would take a very long time for 2 million people and their animals to cross them.
The shape and size of El Ballah Lakes was probably very different from that marked on the map. In fact, these lakes were fed by the innundation of the Nile each year as was seen in the surveys at the time the Suez Canal was being built.
It seems very likely there would have been a road from around Etham on Egyptian part of the Way of Shur up to Tahpanhes in order to help defend Egypt from attack. If the enemy the other side of the lakes chooses to move from the Way of the Philistines down to the Way of Shur then the Egyptian armies would thus be able to follow his movements and meet him head on. "Migdol" means "watchtower"; this area is extremely flat and probably Migdol was situated on a piece of higher ground. It would have been on the road itself. Pi-Hahiroth was probably off the main road nearer the Lakes.
In Exodus 14:2 the Lord Jehovah tells Moses to tell the Israelites to encamp before Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea "opposite Baal Zephon". I am told it should read "towards Baal Zephon". What is being said is that the Israelites should take the road from Etham to Baal Zephon. I think this was an earlier name for the Tahpanhes of Jeremiah's time. (I got some evidence that it should be "towards" from busy.org/@harlotscurse/pi-hahiroth-station-4-of-the-exodus which I cannot now access. Frustration!) In other words they are to go on the road from Etham towards Baal Zephon/Tahpanhes. Zephon is also Tsephon because there is no z in Hebrew. Tsephon to Tephon and so on until the Greeks add a suffix of -es or -os because that is what they do. As I said Baal-Zephon was worshipped at Tahpanhes at a later time and who knows at an earlier time also? So Migdol is on a piece of high ground on the road from Etham to Tahpanhes and the crossing the sea was near there.
But that is not sea you say! But then is the Sea of Galilee a sea? Or is the Dead Sea a sea? Would we not call them a lake today? Also in Egypt was El-Fayum, a large lake in Joseph's time but still only a lake not a sea. But what does "El-Fayum" actually mean?... "The Sea"!
In the ten plagues ten gods of Egypt were shown to be not gods at all and the God of Israel was shown to be the True God. But there was one of the gods who had not yet been shown to be as nothing.. Baal Zephon. He was shown to be nothing at the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. As I said Baal Zephon (or Tsephon) was worshipped to stop the strong winds and storms especially at sea. He was imported to Egypt from the Levant. But was he worshipped far and wide by sea-faring nations? English has a word that we got from the Far East, China, etc: "typhoon". China and South Korea and probably other far east nations still use the word today. Is it just a coincidence? It makes me think there was trade contact and sharing of gods even in the earliest times well before 1450 BC.
In this view Migdol is nothing to do with the Migdol on the Way of the Philistines, that Migdol is too far north and the wrong side of the lake El-Ballah.
During the crossing of the Sea of Reeds I think it most likely that the east wind caused (at least) three depressions of the lake and two ridges of water called walls in the Bible. The Israelites travelled
down the middle depression where it was entirely dry. The other two depressions might not have been completely dry. So the wind was pushing the water north against the northern wall from the middle (dry) depression where the Israelites walked and south from the northern depression onto the northern wall of the middle depression. How else could the northern wall of water been held there and not entirely blown away north? The same for the southern wall.
I give the locations for the various sites which you can enter into Google Maps, because locations are often so vague on many maps:
Raamses is at modern Qantir
Tell el Muskhuta –
Succoth 30.552892, 32.099321
Tell el Retaba –
Pithom 30.547712, 31.961734
Etham – 30.587865, 32.267195
Tell Defenneh -Tahpanhes –
Baal Zephon? 30.856329908 32.169499322
There is quite a good elevation map here to give the height of the land:
Finally, when the LORD answered Moses and finally stopped and brought the waters over the Egyptian chariots the waters came from the north and the south and the west where more water had doubtless been blown, rushing down upon the chariots and probably carrying a large number of them towards the eastern coast of the El Ballah lake, maybe in a great heap together... not on the coast but near it. Please can someone go and make themselves famous by finding it? There's gold and silver under them there sanddunes, or maybe even in the mud.
Of course, the clever people will say its nothing to do with the Exodus, but you will have found the evidence just the same. It would need a pretty big team under the supervision of professional archaeologists.