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Still Waters

The Science of the Red Sea's Parting

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Still Waters

Non-believers typically dismiss the miracles described in the Bible as fiction or metaphor. But according to research, at least one of those supposed impossibilities - the parting of the Red Sea to make way for Moses and the fleeing Israelites - perhaps could have happened.

http://www.smithsoni...ting-180953553/

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Sir Wearer of Hats

IF it happened, then it happened because Deus tu volt - God Willed It. There needn't be "a solid scientific proof" for it because it's LITERALLY an Act of God.

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White Crane Feather

Moses was on of the first recorded survivalists bridging the gap between a tribal culture and established city-states. I have no doubt he knew the lay of the land... How to cross specific bodies of water and how to find "mama" In the desert. ;) He spent a portion of his life wandering. Of course he knew what to do.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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Imaginarynumber1

This, of course, ignores the fact that the book of exodus is a work of fiction.

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Stubbly_Dooright

I would think that there might be some incident or situation may have occurred to begat the stories that come from it. Don't some people believe that the ark is somewhere in the indies or something? And that some people have photos of it? To me, it almost sounds plausible.

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A rather obscure Bassoon

Non-believers typically dismiss the miracles described in the Bible as fiction or metaphor.

Well, it is the world's oldest book of fairy tales...

Edited by shaddow134
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Paranoid Android

Well, it is the world's oldest book of fairy tales...

Older than the Vedas?
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A rather obscure Bassoon

Older than the Vedas?

Probably not...

but still a work of fiction.

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Paranoid Android

Probably not...

but still a work of fiction.

Yeah, I didn't want to begin an argument and so ignored that part of your statement. For the record, the Vedas are much older. Perhaps some of the oldest of the biblical books are close to contemporary but large parts of the Bible didn't happen for over a thousand years later than the Vedic scriptures.

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danielost

it isn't important if you can explain how a miracle took place. the miracle is in the timing.

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White Crane Feather

This, of course, ignores the fact that the book of exodus is a work of fiction.

And how would you know that?

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danielost

And how would you know that?

because he said it was.

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Imaginarynumber1

And how would you know that?

Because moses never existed historically, the Jews were never slaves of Egypt, nobody wandered the desert for 40 years, not one piece of verifiable evidence ever found...

*snip - keep it civil, please*

Edited by Paranoid Android

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danielost

Moses was on of the first recorded survivalists bridging the gap between a tribal culture and established city-states. I have no doubt he knew the lay of the land... How to cross specific bodies of water and how to find "mama" In the desert. ;) He spent a portion of his life wandering. Of course he knew what to do.

how do you just find enough manna to feed 144,000 people everyday, except the Sabbath. even if he knew where to find it, all deserts have one thing in common, a shortage of everything. and don't forgot for their evening meal they ate bird.

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Doug1029

IF it happened, then it happened because Deus tu volt - God Willed It. There needn't be "a solid scientific proof" for it because it's LITERALLY an Act of God.

Too many things about the Exodus coincide with history and geography. The Exodus' organization was the same as an Egyptian work crew with military/command structures, skilled artisans (Kenites) and common laborers to do the scut work. The Exodus followed established caravan trails, ones used to carry grain on pack animals from Bubastis (Zagazig) a distance of 85 miles to Suez. The actual trail started at Bubastis, but the Bible has it starting at Piramesse (Ramses). That's not a big issue because it's only five miles or so different and both trails went through irrigated farmland as far as Lake Kemuera (now defunct), an abandoned channel of the Nile on the east end of which was Pithom (House of Atum). From there it followed the Canal of the Pharaoh fourteen miles east to Succoth (Tell Maskutah) where there was a spring (Pilgrim's Pool). Succoth means an enclosure in Hebrew, but the Egyptian equivalent (Tseku) means "canal." It was once the eastern terminus of the Canal of the Pharaoh when sea water topped the Shallufa Sill in 1825 to about 1750 BC.

From here the trail went south to a large oasis about ten miles away then south along the west side of Great Bitter Lake, but the Exodus continued eastward through Shur (irrigated with canal water at the time) and across the dry salt pan of Lake Timsah (Lake Crocodile). On the edge of the Wilderness of Etham (the dry salt pan) is a spring, Bir Ferrara (sp?), about a 20 minute walk east of "the edge of the wilderness." This is where they made "the turn." We can only guess the reason they suddenly almost-reversed direction to head for Great Bitter Lake. Maybe intelligence arrived that Seti, or more likely, a general, was coming after them from the fort at Tjel (El Qantara), but we'll never really know.

There are springs along the west side of Great Bitter Lake, but only one on the east side. I couldn't find out for sure, but I think it is salt. There was an Egyptian fort at Gebel Geneifa that depended for water on two small farms that also supplied the caravans. Whether the fort was manned, we don't know. At any rate, the Exodus continued south along the west shore to the ford at El Kubrit. There is plenty of room on the west side and it would make a great campsite (There's an airfield there now.). From this site the channel between the Bitter Lakes opens to the north (Pihahiroth means "mouth of the channel."). If you turn and face west, you can see Gebel Geneifa six miles away; it is shaped like an ancient watchtower (Migdol mean "fortress" or "watchtower."). About 4.5 miles to the southeast is a low hill that once had a temple to Ball on it. The Bible calls it Balzephon - the aalist god of weather. The "east wind" blew from this hill to the ford.

Moses' people had been using Egyptian military signaling poles carried at the head of the column to "lead the people." A smokebox (pillar of cloud) by day and a torch (pillar of fire) by night. Seen from a distance at night, a bright torch obscures vision behind it. By keeping the torch burning, Moses could sneak his people across the ford before the Egyptians knew what happened. Read that story again - the Exodus crossed at night.

The ford was around 4 to 5 feet deep at normal water level (The level was raised when the area was flooded for the Suez Canal.). There was a small island there (Named The Bollards on navigation maps of the canal.) - Moses' people "walked on dry land in the midst of the sea" - literally.

Cyclonic storms in the Indian Ocean raise storm surges in the Red Sea. Normal tides in the Red Sea at Suez aren't much (only 6.4 feet between high and low tide), but a storm surge of 10.9 feet was recorded at Suez in 1910. With high tide and a ten-foot storm surge water levels at Suez have been recorded as much as 14.2 feet above normal. This wave was being pushed by the "east" (actually southeast) wind up the old channel of the Nile (Tiah beni-Israel), now mostly occupied by the Suez Canal. At Shallufa there was a sandstone ledge that worked as a two-way valve in the channel, admitting sea water when sea levels were high and retaining fresh tail water from the Canal of the Pharaoh (dry at the time). It was about 4.5 feet high and would have allowed a little less than ten feet of water over its top (De Lesseps blew it to Kingdom Come in building the Suez Canal.). Lesser Bitter Lake's natural; surface was six feet below mean sea level, so the wave would be travelling downhill when it hit Lesser Bitter Lake. The channel is seven miles away across the lake and there is another four miles before the ford. The lake narrows northward, acting as a funnel. A wave somewhere in the neighborhood of three or four feet would be approaching the ford from the southeast.

At the same time, the same wind is pushing water against the northwest shore of Great Bitter Lake (Seiche waves 39 inches high have been recorded here.). IF the wind died suddenly about the time the surge wave passed Suez, the surge wave would continue on under its own momentum while the seiche wave, no longer held in place by the wind, would begin its trip southeastward across Great Bitter Lake. At the ford, there would be a "wall of water" approaching from the left and another one approaching from the right. This still happens and it is the only place on earth where it has been observed. El Kubrit is the site of the "Red Sea Crossing."

After making the crossing, the Exodus spent "three days in the desert without water." Sheep travel about six to seven miles a day (They're slow because they have to graze and there isn't much energy in grass.). The spring Moses purified with a stick (Ayn Musa) is about 22 miles. We know the Canal of the Pharaoh was dry because if it had water in it, they could have followed it all the way to Suez and had good water the whole time.

Ramses III built a fort at Suez. Its water supply was Ayn Musa, four miles from the fort. To get past it, Moses would have had to walk in and shake hands with the commander - there's a bit of a problem with the Bible story here. Of course, if the Exodus occurred during the reign of Seti I or Ramses II, the fort wouldn't have been there yet.

Moses Spring has been there and in use for over 3100 years. The Exodus used it. Josephus went there and said it only had wet sand. Napoleon went there (and nearly drowned when he mistimed the tides on the return trip) - he said it made terrible coffee, but he thought his army could live on it. In 1921 two geologists (Spacek and Moon) tested the water by placing the bitter water in clay vessels and allowing it to stand over night. In the morning, it was potable. Hence, Moses' magic trick: the Bible didn't give all the details. I even found a picture of it online. And it still has a bunch of palm trees around it; though, there is now a little house over the spring.

I am running out of time. I'll continue this tomorrow. But I just wanted to say that the geography matches the biblical account. I'll also talk about who Moses really was (or might have been). Daniel asks how those desert springs could accommodate 144,000 (or two million) people. They can't and they couldn't. The springs at Al Qaddus (Kadesh) couldn't supply a dozen families, even in a wetter climate and there are only 42 tent sites at Hazeroth. There might have been 3000 people coming from Egypt and supported by grain-laden ships travelling down the coast. But there isn't enough water for more than a few hundred.

Doug

Edited by Doug1029
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White Crane Feather

how do you just find enough manna to feed 144,000 people everyday, except the Sabbath. even if he knew where to find it, all deserts have one thing in common, a shortage of everything. and don't forgot for their evening meal they ate bird.

The story came from oral tradition right? Lots of things are exaggerated and changed, but the base of the tradition usually has a basis in reality. For example: there are small island populations in Malaysia that anthropologists where concerned might have been wiped out after the tsunamis. Upon visiting them they discovered no one had been hurt. Why? They had a complicated oral tradition with detailed instructions about the battle between the earth and the sea. it contained all the information needed for survival. Exodus Very much reads like a survival story. Mana probably isn't some magical food. It's probably a method to survive and sustain yourself in the area. if Mosas spent any time living in the desert, he could have taught them how to survive there. I'm not sure but the climate may have been different that far back in time.

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White Crane Feather

Because moses never existed historically, the Jews were never slaves of Egypt, nobody wandered the desert for 40 years, not one piece of verifiable evidence ever found...

*snip - keep it civil, please*

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. :( unless you have a reason it's illogical to write off the whole story. Using the fantastic parts as a straw man for the validity of the jist of the narrative is also illogical. Stories are embellished and "William Wallace is seven feet tall, Shoots fireballs from his eyes and lightening bongs from his ass." :D

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danielost

The story came from oral tradition right? Lots of things are exaggerated and changed, but the base of the tradition usually has a basis in reality. For example: there are small island populations in Malaysia that anthropologists where concerned might have been wiped out after the tsunamis. Upon visiting them they discovered no one had been hurt. Why? They had a complicated oral tradition with detailed instructions about the battle between the earth and the sea. it contained all the information needed for survival. Exodus Very much reads like a survival story. Mana probably isn't some magical food. It's probably a method to survive and sustain yourself in the area. if Mosas spent any time living in the desert, he could have taught them how to survive there. I'm not sure but the climate may have been different that far back in time.

i was just saying, the only way for that large of a group of people to gewt enough manna and birds for food. it had to be supplied to them somehow.

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fullywired

... How to cross specific bodies of water and how to find "mama" In the desert. ;) .

I assume he found her in time

Sorry I couldn't resist it :innocent: :innocent:

fullywired

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Doug1029

Manna is an interesting topic. There are several things it could be, but none exactly match all the biblical requirements, the first of which is that it has to be found in Sinai.

That would narrow the field to just three: the camel thorn produces an edible exudate. And aphids produce honey-dew from the tamarisk bush. One could live on either. There is also a type of lichen that had been claimed as a possible stand-in for manna. But none of these are exact matches for the biblical description.

But there is something that matches the biblical description to a tee. A small fungus produces sweet-tasting fruiting bodies about the size of coriander seed. It is very perishable and what is not used in the morning doesn't last to the next day. Ants love it and quickly clean it up. There is one problem, though. It grows in the lakes region of Africa, not Sinai.

The word "manna" is a pun. Exodus 16:15: "And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna, for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." In ancient Hebrew, "Man hu?" meant "What is it?" Moses' answer "manna" is an Egyptian bread made from malted, unleaven wheat. And therein lies a clue to the Exodus. Where in Sinai did they get wheat?

The Egyptians supplied the copper mines in Sinai with grain. The mines operated from Thutmose I (c. 1500 BC) to Ramses VI (c. 1187 BC), thus enclosing the most-likely years of the Exodus. Grain was packed on pack animals from Bubastis to Suez, loaded on boats and shipped to el Merkha where it was again loaded on pack animals for the 25-mile trip to Rephidim (Serabit al Khaddim). An alternate route was to ship the grain on boats to Quft, pack it on animals and take it through Wadi Hammamt to the coast, load it on boats and sail across the Red Sea to el Merkha. The Exodus followed the coast from Ayn Musa to el Merkha, so it could be supplied with grain for most of the trip.

By now, you probably get the idea that I don't think the Exodus story is about a bunch leperous Egyptian ex-slaves. And I don't. It was an Egyptian work crew sent to work the mines at Serabit al Khaddim. It got caught by the waves while trying to ford at el Kubrit. Apparently, it was the military wing that suffered the heaviest damage, leading to the story of Pharaoh's defeat by the waves.

There's a lot more and I'll continue when I have some time, but right now, I have to go get something with which to pay the bills.

Doug

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Leonardo

If the cause of something is scientifically explainable, then that something cannot be considered a 'miracle'.

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third_eye

If the cause of something is scientifically explainable, then that something cannot be considered a 'miracle'.

Okay , now how about those that are not scientifically explainable ? Or they do not exist until Science finds ways to render them explainable ? :yes:

~

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Leonardo

Okay , now how about those that are not scientifically explainable ? Or they do not exist until Science finds ways to render them explainable ? :yes:

~

According to the generally accepted definition of 'miracle', something that can be explained by natural causes cannot be 'miraculous'. Of course, that applies in the here-and-now and does not take into account guesses about what may be known as 'natural causes' in some future.

Anyway, the suggestion by the author of the article in the OP is rather ridiculous as an attempt to 'explain' what the bible states regarding the Israelites crossing of the Red Sea. As the article notes, the wind-based phenomenon claimed as a possible cause for the 'parting of the sea' would last for - at most - around 4 hours. But if we consider the number of people the bible states were in the column crossing the Red Sea, 4 hours is pitifully short a time to allow this crossing to have taken place. Rather, it would have required 3 or 4 days for the number of people assumed to be in the Israelite group, to have made such a crossing.

Thus, what the bible describes could truly be said to be 'miraculous' and the 'wind-setdown phenomenon' could not possibly have been the cause of the sea's parting.

Edited by Leonardo
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seeder

Erm..is the red sea silty? If so, ever crossed silt that hasnt dried out? You tend to sink a lot

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freetoroam

Something very similar has already been explained:

A Good Wind and Good Timing

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=99580

And here in 2010:

As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in.

The study is based on a reconstruction of the likely locations and depths of Nile delta waterways, which have shifted considerably over time.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11383620

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