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Israel in EgyptThe Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130881.001.0001

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The Problem of the Re(e)d Sea

The Problem of the Re(e)d Sea

(p.199) 9 The Problem of the Re(e)d Sea
Israel in Egypt

James K. Hoffmeier

Oxford University Press

The exodus event reached its climax with the passage of the Hebrews through the sea on Egypt's border, where Pharaoh's forces that had pursued the escaping Israelites met their doom, according to the Bible. By this the Israelites' liberation from Egypt and the oppressive hand of Pharaoh was achieved, and they celebrated this triumph with song on the sea's shore in the Sinai. However, the question remains: Where is this “sea?” In a review of English translations of the Old Testament, one finds the body of water called “the sea,” “the Red Sea,” and the “Sea of Reeds,” revealing the uncertainty found in the Hebrew and Greek versions. The nature of the sea and its location are problems that can only be resolved with a careful examination of the biblical text and its various manuscript traditions.

Keywords:   exodus, Hebrews, sea, Egypt, Israelites, liberation, Pharaoh, Old Testament, Red Sea, Sea of Reeds

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