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the whole country. The region about Delta particularly appeared like a vast sea, and the principal towns and cities became so many islands; and all communication was carried on by ships and boats. Hence the river, as I have before mentioned, had the name of* Oceanus, or the sea, and was a sure guard to the whole region, which was hereby rendered impregnable. The seven streams were at all times a strong barrier, in which the people placed their chief security. And of all the cities, that at the point or tongue of Delta was particularly fortified, as commanding the passage by water between Upper and Lower Egypt. The prophet therefore says, that this tongue of the sea shall be ruined, however it may seem secured by the surrounding waters. For the Lord would with a mighty (southern) wind force these waters downwards; by which means the seven channels should become empty and dry; so that people should pass over without wetting their feet. Hence the king and people should be brought to ruin by being deprived of their chief defence, in which they blindly trusted. The prophet Ezekiel is accordingly ordered to set his face against Pha
* 'Herod. 1. 2. c. 97. p. 147.
Diodorus, 1. 1. p. 17.
raoh king of Egypt.---Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that bieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. Behold therefore, I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol even to Syene and the borders of Cush. This was accomplished; and the prophet foretells by whom it was to be effected. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, &c. chap. xxix. 2, 3, 10, 19. And they shall know that I am the Lord, because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. ver. 9. The same conquest is alluded to by the prophet Jeremiah, who mentions the like circumstances.---Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers: and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth. chap. xlvi. 8. Here the widely extended army is compared to the overflowing of the Nile. Such is the history of the sea of Egypt, which, according to the prophecy, was to be exhausted, and all the rivers to be bereft of water, to
facilitate the invasion of the Babylonish monarch, by whom the country was to be conquered. I will make the rivers dry. Ezekiel
Hence it seems, I think, manifest, that when Isaiah says---The Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea,and shall shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in its seven streams, &c. there is no reference to the Red-sea, but to the river of Egypt solely.
The Departure and Route of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
After that such repeated wonders had been displayed in Egypt, and such a superiority manifested by the Deity over all the gods of the country, to the confusion of their votaries, the children of Israel are at last permitted to depart. It was not however a bare permission; they were solicited to go by the very king and people who had before restrained them. As the history of their departure, and the course which they took, is very precisely described in scripture, it will be proper to place it at large before the reader, as he will
more readily see how the more modern ac counts correspond with, and how greatly it is illustrated by their evidence.
But before I proceed, I beg leave to lay down some principles, by which I must abide and these, I hope, will be allowed me, if I am obliged to controvert the opinions of any of our late travellers. In the first, I address my→ self only to such as allow the real interposition of the Deity in all these great operations, and consequently believe the history of the miracles recorded. In the next place, I admit of no objections which arise from a notion of that fitness, expedience, and method, which are expected to be found in what we call the common course of things. For these works were not of man, but of God. And the mode of procedure with the Deity bears no analogy to the mode of human operations, When therefore it may be said, that the great Lawgiver should have acted in this or that manner, and such means were most proper, and such measures most natural, I cannot agree about the necessity or fitness, as the whole is supernatural, and not to be determined by rules so foreign and inadequate. The reason for my introducing this caution will be seen in the course of my procedure.
The History, as given in Scripture.
Exodus, Ch. xii. V. 30. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants.—
V. 31. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from amongst my people, both ye and the children of Israel: and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said.
V. 33. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
V. 37. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth
Ch. xiii. ver. 17. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near.
V. 18. But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red-sea--
V. 20. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
V. 21. And the Lord went before them by
day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.