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How Did Moses Part the Red Sea in Exodus?

Updated on January 1, 2015

There are two movies on this religious event: the 1956, The Ten Commandments,where Moses separates the Red Sea long enough to allow the Israelis to escape and the 2014, Exodus, where a tsunami caused by an earthquake causes the water to recede long enough for the Israelis to escape.

If you are deeply religious in Old Testament, the miracle does occur. If you tend to doubt it, then most modern men would agree with the tsunami effect, which is totally reasonable, assuming the Bible mentions there was an earthquake during this epic event. However, the most plausible has seldom ever been mentioned: tides.

In 1798, Napoleon took his soldiers across the Red Sea on horseback. No miracles here, no earthquake, just knowledge of low tide times. In fact, during low tide, parts of the bottom of the Red Sea are dry enough in the Gulf of Suez. It is the northern part of the Red Sea that becomes dry and where Napoleon crossed. It is the SAME area where Moses was during this event. Moses could have known about low and high tides being a fisherman. Moses was fully aware of this since he had grown up nearby and knew caravans crossed the Red Sea at low tide. Moses would be able to determine low tide based upon the stars and moon. In contrast, the Egyptians along the Nile, most likely did not know when there was high or low tide. Knowing these details, Moses could have calculated when the next low tide was to afford a crossing from the west bank to the east bank of the Red Sea. The best time for a crossing would occur during full moon periods, that is when the low tide is the lowest and lasting much longer.

Of course, timing would have to be accurate. The Bible does mention a strong east wind was blowing that pushed back the water. This would be the case, especially with shallow water at low tide. The water would have been pushed back further allowing for more land to be exposed for the crossing. Perhaps the "wind" element was divine because the timing of when to cross the Red Sea based on low tides would have to be predicted or known.

When Napoleon crossed, he and his men barely made it safely. By the time they were nearly across, the tide had risen six feet from when they had started and a wind in the right direction could make the tide become 12 feet.

The "tidal theory" has been around long time and it is often forgotten today. But, the ancient author Eusebius in 263 A.D. cited this theory about crossing the Red Sea. But more directly, in 80-40 B.C., the historian Artapanus wrote about Moses and how he waited for the low tide in the Red Sea to take his people across what is now the Suez Canal!

There are many of God's miracles in this world, but the parting of the Red Sea may not be one of them.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      They say when investigating genealogy every family story has a shred of truth.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      Hmm, never heard of the Reed Sea. Well, maybe.

    • Artois52 profile image

      Artois52 3 years ago from England

      An alternative theory is that Moses crossed the Reed Sea and not the Red Sea. The Reed Sea is a shallow lake, to the North of the Red Sea, across which winds sometimes blow that dry out paths, for a short amount of time, in the mud.

    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 3 years ago from World Citizen

      Mythology is based on actual occurrences. Thanks for bunking one more mystery.

    • profile image

      Jon Mark 3 years ago

      It's a made up story. It never happened.