1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 34,  Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Patriarchal Migrations and Wanderings, The Route of the Exodus


After the solemn Passover ceremony the Israelites, directed by Moses, left their homes in Goshen and headed eastward.


The city of Rameses, rebuilt by a Pharaoh of that name and named Per-Rameses, “house of Rameses”, was the starting point of the Exodus.


From Rameses the Israelites moved southeastward to Succoth (“booths), the first encampment after leaving Egypt. 


Here Israel halted to organize before moving eastward toward Sinai. 


From Succoth they continued to Etham, “on the edge of the wilderness”. 


An Egyptian fortress north of the Bitter Lakes was known as Hetem (fort). 


This may be the Etham of the Exodus. 


Exodus 12:37,  And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.


Exodus 13:20, And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.


Of all those sites, it is the location of Ra’amses and Succoth that is established beyond reasonable doubt. 


Ra’amses was also the location of the Hysos capital, known in that period as Avaris.


This site has been shown by archeologists to be a large habitational site in the Hysos period due to the artifacts that have been dug up conforming to what is found in contemporary layers in Palestine.


Numbers 33:5-8, And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth (booths). And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth (mouth of the gourges), which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol. And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.


God in Exodus 13:17,18, directed the children of Israel to not take that route known as the “Way to the land of the Philistines”.


Exodus 13:17-22,  And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent (change of mind) when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed (like able bodied soldiers) out of the land of Egypt.    And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.  And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:   He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.


The transportation artery to Philistia surely would have been blocked to Israelite passage, as it was the preeminent Egyptian military route. 


It is known that there were a series of fortresses protecting that highway, showing that the Egyptians could readily have stemmed an Israelite movement in that direction.


In God’s providence then, He led Israel instead “by the Way of the Wilderness towards the Red Sea” which takes the children a more southerly route away from the fortresses of Egypt. 


It is the Way to Shur, although they did not fully go that way but they exited that way; the way which joins Egypt and central Palestine via Beersheba and Hebron.


So most likely this is the way the Israelites exited Egypt.


Rameses, and pitched in Succoth

departed from Succoth,

and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. d they removed from Etham,

turned again unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon:

they pitched before Migdol.

departed from before Pihahiroth,

passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham,

pitched in Marah.


Pictured on the map is the vestige of an ancient , sections of which have been only recently discovered. canal (the Suez Canal is in this area but to the west)


This canal was operational in the time of the Israelite Exodus and appears to have run to the south of Succoth. 


Most people who study such things conclude that this canal was used as a wall of defense. 


Portions of this ancient canal measure nearly 230 feet wide at ground level and about 65 feet in width at the bottom.  


So this canal would have clearly have represented an impenetrable defense against foreign armies and it would have determined that only a parallel route be taken away from Ra’asmes.


After passing through these intermediate towns, Israel eventually pitched its camp beside what in the Hebrew is Yam Suph (Sea of Reeds/papyrus) or translated in the King James, Red Sea.   

Red Sea


In modern geography, a narrow sea that divides ne Africa from Arabia, and extends Sse about 1300 miles (2100 km), from Suez to the Gulf of Aden. It forms part of the great rift valley that runs along the Jordan and Lebanon valleys. The two n branches of the Red Sea are known as the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqabah, to the w and e of the Sinai Peninsula, respectively.


In the OT, the term {Language:TransHebrew}yam suph{Language:English} is translated Red Sea, but it is now generally recognized by scholars to be a derivation of the Egyptian word for papyrus, and should be translated as the “sea of reeds.” As such the term is applicable to any body of water producing the papyrus reeds common to the Egyptian delta region. Accepting the traditional route of the Exodus, {Language:TransHebrew}yam suph{Language:English} indicates the Bitter Lakes region between the Gulf of Suez and the Nile Delta. Lake Timsah, Menzaleh, and Sirbonis have also been proposed as the Reed Sea crossed by the Israelites during the Exodus. The latter is to be rejected since it lies along the way to the land of the Philistines (see Exodus 13:17-18). Its wider use extended to the gulfs of the Red Sea as well.


The exact place of the crossing is unknown. 


Many scholars suggest that the divine crossing of the Reed Sea took place at or near Lake Timsah, where the way of the Wilderness to Shur intersected this line of lakes and the Egyptian canal may have played a part in this.