The Exodus in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

I. The Route. 1. The Starting-Point: On the 14th Abib (early in April) the Hebrews were gathered at Rameses (Ex 111:37; Nu 33:5) where apparently the hostile Pharaoh was also living (Ex 12:31). From Ps 78:12,43 it appears that the wonders preceding the Exodus occurred in the "field of Zoan," where the starting-point may be placed (see RAAMSES; ZOAN). Dr. Naville has suggested that the court was at Bubastis, not at Zoan, and that the route lay from near Zagazig down Wady Tumeilat--a line well fitted for a people driving flocks and herds. On the other hand, in favor of the starting-point having been at Zoan, we read that the "way of the land of the Philistines" was "near" (Ex 13:17). This route, which was not taken lest the people should be discouraged by defeat at Gaza where the Egyptians always had troops, reached Egypt at Migdol (see MIGDOL, 2), and ran thence to Daphnai--some 15 miles--and to Zoan by a second march of the same length. The route from Bubastis to Daphnai (some 50 miles) is less likely to have been described as "near." Although an Arab will march 30 miles in a day on foot, yet when moving camp with camels, who travel only about 2 miles an hour, with women and children and herds, he only covers about 12 or 15 miles a day. We cannot suppose the Hebrew cattle to have covered more than this distance without water on any single march. 2. Rameses to Succoth: We are not told how many days were occupied on the way from Rameses to SUCCOTH (which see), though the general impression is that the stages mentioned (Nu 33) represent a day's journey each. Measuring back from the first camp after crossing the Red Sea, we find that Succoth probably lay in the lower part of Wady Tumeilat, where there was plenty of water and herbage. The direct route from Zoan leads to Phakousa (Tell Faqus) by a march of 15 miles through well- watered lands. A second march, across the desert to Heroopolis and down the valley to Succoth, would be of the same length. The Hebrews departed "in haste," and no doubt made as long marches as they could. If the whole of the people were not in Rameses, but scattered over Goshen, it is possible that some came down the valley from near Bubastis, and that the whole force concentrated at Succoth...

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