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Arabs. It formerly extended some miles inward towards Egypt, passing through a mouth or opening between the mountains; which mouth or opening is very justly supposed to have been the Phi-Hiroth of the scriptures. It is some miles in length, and still retains marks of the sea, as we learn from ' Monconys, and others who have passed it. For, instead of going round by the mountain of Arabia, in a direction to the north or the east, travellers often pass towards the south-east through this hollow way, and so arrive at Bedea, where it terminates at the Red-sea. From thence they turn to the left northward, and in about ten hours arrive at Suez. This road is called now Derb al Touriac. The history given by Monconys is remarkable, where he describes his passage through the length of this opening.
Après diner nous passâmes pendant deux heures entre des montagnes, qui sont de côté et d'autre fort droites, et fort hautes, et laissent un grand chémin au milieu de trente ou qua
1 Of the different roads to the Red-sea, and Etham, see Shaw's Travels, p. 433. and Niebuhr's Arabie, p. 352. Of the four roads mentioned by Pocock, Derb Ejenef is the most northern, and by this he supposes the Israelites to have passed, as it led more directly to Etham, p. 155.
2 Voyages de Mons. de Monconys, vol. 1. p. 409.
rante pas de large; qui ne semble pas mal a l'endroit, dans lequel l' Ecriture dit, que Pharaon pretendoit attraper le peuple Hebreu enfermé. Aut bout de ces montagnes il y a une vaste campagne, qui va jusque a la mer. Le 18. nous fimes une heure de chémin à pie toûjours dans cette plaine, qui se rétressit entre de hautes montagnes, qui vont jusques a la mer, et font paroître cette plaine un canal artificiel, excepté șa largeur, qui n'a guere moins de deux lieus. Nous arrivâmes à onze heures au bord de la Mer Rouge, ou nos dinámes. Puis la cotoiant toujours jusques au soir nous marchames vers le nord, et laissant les montagnes au couchant, et la mer du coté du Levant ---Le 19. nous partîmes au point du jour, et arrivâmes a neuf heures au devant de Suez. At the embouchure of this valley, between the mountains, was the Clysma of the Greeks, and the Colsum of the Arabs, from whence the sinus took its name. Here was also a tower and garrison described by Ptolemy as--Κλυσμα Φρέριον, and Κλυσμα καςρον by a Hierozasgov cles, the encampment at Clysma; which was perhaps the Migdol of the Egyptians. When
' L. iv. p. 116.
* See Appendix to Antonini Itin. p. 728.
the author turned to the left hand towards the north, he went over the very ground where the Israelites encamped before their passage through the sea, but in a contrary direction.
I have supposed, that the children of Israel were stopped and entangled at the bottom of this pass at Clysma, rather than, as some people have thought, at the top and entrance, which was nearer to the modern Suez. My reason is, because, when a mountain terminates in a high cliff towards the sea, as the Arabian mountain does, though it leaves sufficient room below, yet this passage cannot be stiled soμa, a mouth; or as the Latins would express it, fauces montis. There must be a valley or aperture, each way bounded by hills, to constitute such an opening. In the next place, if the Israelites had been at this place within sight of the Egyptians, they would not have stopped here, but entered the defile; as people, when hard pressed, always retire as far as they can, however they may ultimately despair. They never unnecessarily stop. For let the enemy be ever so numerous, or so well provided, a small body in a narrow pass has a chance for a time to make some stand against them. Father Sicard thinks that this passage,
which extends along that part of the Arabian mountain called now Gibel Attake, is not sufficiently capacious to receive such numbers as were concerned in this march. But this objection seems to be of no weight. For, as it is well known, that caravans consisting of many thousands of people, with their horses, camels, and carriages, came every year this way to and from Upper Egypt, I do not see how any number of persons can be excluded, A large army as well as a small may in time. pass over the same bridge. I have called it a defile, but in the maps of Niebuhr and in other maps it appears of sufficient breadth for every purpose required. In some places it seems to have been two or three miles wide, though gradually contracted towards the bottom. Bishop Pocock supposes the passage to have been here, and Dr Shaw places it in the same part of the sinus. But he makes the Israelites pass directly from Egypt to it by the nearest road, not considering that they went first to Etham at the top of the sinus, and then by an alteration in their route came to their situation below.
! See Monconys, vol. 1. p. 410.
Of the Transit being at Clysma,
I am therefore obliged to accede to Eusebius, and those writers who place the trajectus Israelitarum at the Clysma of Ptolemy and Antoninus. Josephus tells us, that the Israelites before their transit were hemmed in on every side by the sea and mountains, and by the enemy in their rear. This situation can no where be found but at Clyşma. This opinion would be attended with little difficulty, were it not for the town called by the Arabs Colsum, and Al Kolsum, which name is supposed to be only a variation of Clysma. This place they have farther imagined to have been the same as the ancient Arsinoe, the same also as the modern Suez. Hence they have maintained, that near this city Suez was the place of passage where the children of Israel were miraculously conducted over.
It will therefore be proper to consider the situation of the places with which we are principally concerned; for this will lead us to discover the grounds of the mistake into which writers have been led in treating of Clysma, It has originated from their confounding different objects which they have taken for one