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The Red Sea vs. The Sea of Reeds


consiglieri

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Having grown up watching The Ten Commandments every year on TV, it was inculcated in me from an early age that the the Israelites crossed the Red Sea when it parted.

I have heard it bandied about that it was actually not the Red Sea, but the Sea of Reeds.

This sounded to me like some sort of rumor to make the event seem less miraculous and perhaps provide a more scientific explanation.

It was only recently while preparing for Gospel Doctrine class that I learned it is primarily, if not only, the Greek Septuagint that says, "Red Sea," whereas the Masoretic text (and pretty much all the other Hebrew sources) show yam suf, or "Reed Sea."

I am now starting to wonder whether it really makes any difference if the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea instead of the Red Sea.

If it is the Reed Sea, it makes a nice bookend to the story of the baby Moses was hidden in an ark among the reeds by his mother.

Any thoughts?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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We don't know the location of the sea, but it certainly was the Sea of Reeds, as the toponym Red Sea does not appear in the Bible, not once.

It doesn't make any difference to me, the BoM's use isn't an anachronism either, as by Nephi's time that southern body of water was identified as Yam Suf. See 1 Kings 9:26.

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In Middle English (Chaucer's time, during the 100 Years' War), the words "red" and "reed" are spelled with the same letters. You have to have context (or diacritical marks) to tell the difference. Easy to see how reed became red in modern translations

<Decided I'd better go back and look that up . . . wasn't Old English at all>

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Having grown up watching The Ten Commandments every year on TV, it was inculcated in me from an early age that the the Israelites crossed the Red Sea when it parted.

I have heard it bandied about that it was actually not the Red Sea, but the Sea of Reeds.

This sounded to me like some sort of rumor to make the event seem less miraculous and perhaps provide a more scientific explanation.

It was only recently while preparing for Gospel Doctrine class that I learned it is primarily, if not only, the Greek Septuagint that says, "Red Sea," whereas the Masoretic text (and pretty much all the other Hebrew sources) show yam suf, or "Reed Sea."

I am now starting to wonder whether it really makes any difference if the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea instead of the Red Sea.

If it is the Reed Sea, it makes a nice bookend to the story of the baby Moses was hidden in an ark among the reeds by his mother.

Any thoughts?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

It was the "Red Sea". Okay, the "Red Sea" does not mean that it was red! LOL! See the discussion on the other thread, especially the most recent posts.

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My only question is how did God drown the Egyptians in a sea of reeds?

My only answer is that you are confusing the two accounts of the Egyptians' demise preserved in Exodus.

The other account seems to indicate that the wheels of their chariots got stuck in the mud.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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We don't know the location of the sea, but it certainly was the Sea of Reeds, as the toponym Red Sea does not appear in the Bible, not once.

It doesn't make any difference to me, the BoM's use isn't an anachronism either, as by Nephi's time that southern body of water was identified as Yam Suf. See 1 Kings 9:26.

SO it is the Sea of Reeds? This one is new to me. And we don't know were it is? Is it possible that Sea of Reeds is the Red Sea, just called something different? I wonder.

You do bring up an interesting point about the 1st Kings reference.

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Let's consider the context a bit. How many people crossed the R.. Sea ? Flocks,herds, wagons, carts, etc.,etc. The story tells that the wind blew and pushed the sea. The Israelites crossed on dry land. Would the land dry out faster with or without reeds? Would the reeds make it easier or harder to cross? How are people in chariots pulled by fast horses to be drowned ? Apparently there were more than a couple of chariots involved. Was there a flash flood? A dam of logs or ice or mud which broke?

Is there or were there stone pillars marking the spot where the Israelites crossed? Is there an area where a very large group could be camped together while they waited to cross?

If we are dealing with a couple of thousand people that is one thing.A couple million is quite another.

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My only question is how did God drown the Egyptians in a sea of reeds?

The sea had water in it too.

:P

I'm not sure what the big deal is here. Why does it matter if the Hebrews actually called it the "Reed Sea" instead of the "Red Sea"? Why is that significant?

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The sea had water in it too.

:P

I'm not sure what the big deal is here. Why does it matter if the Hebrews actually called it the "Reed Sea" instead of the "Red Sea"? Why is that significant?

So you propose them to be the same sea regardless of name?

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I'm not sure what the big deal is here. Why does it matter if the Hebrews actually called it the "Reed Sea" instead of the "Red Sea"? Why is that significant?

From a geographic standpoint, it changes the route of the exodus of the Hebrews. Theoretically, if positions were determined in some respects from a narrow spot in the Red Sea vs. Reed Sea, we might think a lot of places are where they aren't. It could have a significant impact on OT Biblical geography.

It might also explain why we don't find gold chariots at the bottom of the Red Sea. edit -(that was a no brainer... sorry Joseph.)

If the Reed Sea is a shallower body of water, then recovery of such things by the Egyptians is certainly a viable explanation.

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1 Ne 17:26 Now ye know that Moses was commanded of the Lord to do that great work; and ye know that by his word the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither, and they passed through on dry ground.

27 But ye know that the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea, who were the armies of Pharaoh.

D&C 8:3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

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Well, I got used to the idea that there are two Cumorahs -- maybe there are two Red Seas!

It largely depends on where the real Mount Sinai is. As with Book of Mormon geography, distances can be formulated by time traveled to a degree. The thing about the Reed Sea is that it's generally regarded as being somewhat less miraculous to have been parted by a strong East wind and, therefore, somewhat more probable. The problem is that it becomes substantially more difficult to drown the pursuing Egyptian army and its chariots. We're only talking about 10-12 feet of water sweeping in on the Egyptian. This wouldn't necessarily be an army-destroying event unless the force of the water was multiplied.

In the scriptures, the Jews always regarded this as being an event of biblical proportions. And if Mount Sinai is indeed at the base of St. Catherine's, in the Sinai Peninsula, it certainly would be feasible. Paul, however, places Sinai in Arabia, and the only viable area of the Red Sea that could be parted if Sinai was Jebel el-Lawz, in Midian, also would be one of the most difficult for the Lord to accomplish.

The Lord talked about taking Moses out of the "land of Egypt," but much of the Reed Sea is still very much in Egypt, as is St. Catherine's.

I don't think it matters, though. I don't feel it necessary to make things easier for Christians and Jews to believe, nor do I feel compelled to make it more plausible for scholars. At the same time, however it happened and why I suspect would not disappoint us. Some of the theories I've heard range from the bizarre (the ancient island of Thera blowing) to more conventional (Anthrax and wind).

.

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So you propose them to be the same sea regardless of name?

That is what I've always supposed. Is there is a reason to believe that it wasn't referring to the Red Sea? If not the Red Sea, what body of water is the yam suph?

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SO it is the Sea of Reeds? This one is new to me. And we don't know were it is? Is it possible that Sea of Reeds is the Red Sea, just called something different? I wonder.

You do bring up an interesting point about the 1st Kings reference.

It is possible, we don't know the location, just the name. At least by the time Kings was finally redacted Yam Suf was identified with the body of water currently known as the Red Sea.

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I am uncertain why there is so much confusion about this subject. The Sea of Reeds has been known for centuries as a spot outside of the ancient location of Goshen known currently as Wadi Tumilat region in the eastern Delta, called Gesem or Kesem in the 1st millennium BC.

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I am uncertain why there is so much confusion about this subject. The Sea of Reeds has been known for centuries as a spot outside of the ancient location of Goshen known currently as Wadi Tumilat region in the eastern Delta, called Gesem or Kesem in the 1st millennium BC.

You just keep killing all our fun with facts.

Jeepers.

You are just no fun at all!

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From a geographic standpoint, it changes the route of the exodus of the Hebrews. Theoretically, if positions were determined in some respects from a narrow spot in the Red Sea vs. Reed Sea, we might think a lot of places are where they aren't. It could have a significant impact on OT Biblical geography.

It might also explain why we don't find gold chariots at the bottom of the Red Sea. edit -(that was a no brainer... sorry Joseph.)

If the Reed Sea is a shallower body of water, then recovery of such things by the Egyptians is certainly a viable explanation.

I am not a scholar but I play one on the internet.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=19382

Not exactly an impartial source- is there anything to this that's real?

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Exodus 14: 29

29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left

(Emphasis added)

So what do all you Hebrew scholars have to say about that?

Definitely a CB DeMille feel to it imo. Propaganda?

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Exodus 14: 29

(Emphasis added)

So what do all you Hebrew scholars have to say about that?

Definitely a CB DeMille feel to it imo. Propaganda?

You are right about the CBdM feel, the only uestion is how dramatic did it really look, was it like 60 feet high, or was it much smaller. We don't know.

It is worth noting though that 'dry land', yabasha, does not denote that everything was dry and there was no mud, but is an antonym for sea. I imagine the Israelites were very muddy and that it took a while to cross, the chariots got stuck because thousands of feet (human and animal) churned up the ground into an impassable morass.

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