By: Ely Lagajino
The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. Exodus 7:5 (ESV)
The Red Sea is a long arm bay of the Indian Ocean connected by the narrow strait of Bal-el-Mandeb, which lies between Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.
The name Red Sea comes from the seasonal blossoms of the red algae near the water’s surface. When these red algae die, they appear to turn the blue-green sea to a reddish-brown, and the presence of red species of fishes like coral groupers contribute to the reddish color of the water.
On the 7th day of the exodus, the Israelites camp near the Red Sea. Suddenly they hear a thunderous noise in the desert as they see a cloud of dust coming from the chariots of Pharaoh’s forces. Screams of terror fill the camp as the Israelites find themselves trapped between Pharaoh’s charging chariots and the deep Red Sea. They quickly forget the power of God and blame Moses; some even try to push him into the sea. Moses assures them of God’s promise of protection; they only need to trust in God’s saving power.
As the enemy approaches the pillar of cloud comes down, separating the Egyptians and the Israelites. At night time, the cloud serves as daylight to the Israel camp while the Egyptian camp settles in total darkness.
Moses prays to God, and the Lord instructs him to raise his staff over the sea. Suddenly, a strong east wind blows, parting the waters of the Sea. The Israelites walk safely on the dry sea bed until they reach the shore on the other side.
When all the Israelites successfully cross, God removes the pillar of cloud. The Egyptian forces pursue the Israelites, but God slows them down by taking off the wheels of their heavy chariots.
At the right moment, the Lord tells Moses to once more stretch his staff over the Red Sea. The angry waters return to its original form drowning Pharaoh and his army.
Moses composes a victory song, as Miriam leads the Israelites in singing the song of Godly praise and deliverance. (Exodus 14 and 15)