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1xxviii. 14. It seems, I think, to be intimated, that they performed the journey from Succoth to Etham, though it was nearly sixty miles, at one time. In reply it may be said, that if this were the case, the old people and the children must have died by the way; the cattle must have been overdriven and killed; every leg, wearied, and every body exhausted with labour, Not in the least. Remember what is said by the great lawgiver to the people, when he was going to leave them, concerning the wonderful manner in which they had been conducted. I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot, Deut. xxix. 5. Again, Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell these forty years, chap. viii. 4. He that could preserve the raiment, must be able to sustain the man; and the same power that prevented the foot from swelling, could keep the leg from being weary.
The interposition of the Deity must be therefore uniformly admitted, or totally rejec
ted. To tl is alternative we must be brought, when we read the Mosaic history. It is idle to proceed by halves, and to halt between two opinions. Without this allowance, it would be impossible to account for the passage of the children of Israel through the channel of the Red-sea, even if the waters had retired by any natural means. For the bottom, towards the top of the Red-sea, abounds with beds of coral and madrapore, and is so full of sea-weed, that it from hence had the name in ancient times of Yam Suf, or the weedy sea. Niebuhr indeed says, that the sinus, or bay of Heroum, from the top as far down as Corondel, had a good sandy bottom. This might be true, as far as he had experience. But the bed of every shelving bay has in some degree weeds and soft ooze sufficient to make it impassable, though the water should recede. This shews how idly they reason who compare the transit of the Israelites with the passage of Alexander by the sea-coast in Pamphylia; for these two
Pocock, p. 135, 141.
2 Le rivage n'est que de pur sable depuis la point jusques à Girondel. Descript. d' Arabie, p. 356. See before, p. 355.
3 Diodorus calls it daraσo revayons. 1. 3. p. 173. He says further, that it was three fthoms deep.
operations were essentially different. Strabo has given us a short description of the pass in Pamphylia, by which Alexander led his army. ‘Εσι δ' ορος, Κλιμαξ καλεμενον· ἐπικειται Esi δε τῷ Παμφυλίῳ πελάγει, ξένην απολειπων παροδον Επι τῷ αιγιαλῳ, ταις μεν νην εμιαις γυμνωμένην, ώςε είναι βασιμον τοις όδεύεσι. πλημμυροντος δε τε πελαγες, υπο των κυμάτων καλυπτομένην επιπολυ. There is a mountain called Climax, or the ladder, which seems to hang over the Pamphylian sea, and affords at the bottom a narrow pass for travellers upon the shore. This in calm weather is quite bare of water, so that people can easily go over it. But when there is But when there is any swell of the sea, it is for the most part under water. Thus we see that the Grecian army was conducted over a shore, which is said in general to have been above water, and consequently dry and passable. Whereas, when Moses was ordered to conduct, his people, it was across a gulf with a descent, the bottom of which had been always covered with sea water, and could not possibly afford sure footing. How then were the children of Israel led over? certainly not by any natural means. The same power which divided the sea, and made
Strabo, 1. 14. p. 982.
it stand like a wall on each side, could at the same time remove all other obstacles, and make the bottom as hard as the firmest strand. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee: they were afraid; the depths also were troubled. Psalm lxxvii. 16. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known, ver. 19. Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Isa. xliii. 16, 17.So he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And the waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left. Psalm cvi. 9, 11.
If then there appears any thing extraordinary in these manoeuvres, and contrary to the usual mode of operation among men, we must not upon that account hesitate and be diffident; for it was the very purpose of the Deity. It was his will that difficulties should arise, that he might display his glory and power to the Israelites, and his judgments upon the Egyptians.. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the
land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. Exod. xiv. 3, 4. It is therefore impossible to make the purposes of Divine Wisdom accord with human sagacity; for they are far above it; as we learn from the apostle. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor! Epist. to the Romans, chap. xi. 33, 34.
When therefore the author says, that the Israelites would not have been thus blindly led, he should have farther considered, that neither would Moses have thus blindly led them. Nobody in his senses would have brought himself into these difficulties, unless under the influence of an higher power.---Hence this inference must necessarily follow, that such a power did lead and control them. The whole was brought about by the wisdom of God, that he might manifest his superiority in preserving his servants and confounding his enemies.
The author reasons equally wrong in re