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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Red Sea

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Red Sea. The Greeks meant by the Erythraean or Red Sea not only the Arabian Gulf but also the ocean between the Indian and Arabian peninsulas. Some suppose it was so named from the red color of the mountains on the western shores, some from the red coral, or the red appearance of the water occasioned by certain zoophytes; others think that, as the Edomitish territory reached down to this gulf, it might be the Sea of Edom, Edom meaning red. The Red Sea, from the straits of Bab el-Mandeb to its most northerly point at Suez, is about 1400 miles in length, its greatest width being about 200 miles; it is divided by the Sinaitic peninsula into two large arms or gulfs, the eastern extending northeast or northerly about 100 miles, with an average width of 15 miles, while the western extends northwest near 180 miles, with an average width of 20 miles. The great event associated with the Red Sea is the passage of the Israelites and the overthrow of the Egyptians. Ex. chaps. 14, 15. This miraculous event is frequently referred to in the Scriptures. Numbers 33:8; Deuteronomy 11:4; Joshua 2:10; Judges 11:16; 2 Samuel 22:16; Nehemiah 9:9-11; Psalms 66:6; Isaiah 10:26; Acts 7:36; 1 Corinthians 10:1-2; Hebrews 11:29, etc. The place of the crossing has been a matter of much controversy. The head of the gulf is probably at least 50 miles farther south than it was at the time of the Exodus. If the Red Sea then included the Bitter Lakes of Suez, the crossing may have been farther north than would now appear possible. Thus the predictions of Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 19:5, "The Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian Sea," "The waters shall fail from the sea," are fulfilled. After crossing, the Israelites marched down and encamped on the east side of the Red Sea (Gulf of Suez). Numbers 33:10. From the way of the Red Sea came locusts, Exodus 10:12-19, and the quails which supplied them with food came from the same source. Numbers 11:31. They journeyed by the way of the Red Sea (the eastern arm or Gulf of Akabah) to compass Edom. Numbers 21:4. In the prosperous reign of Solomon he "made a navy of ships" at Ezion-geber and Elath, which were ports at the head of the Gulf of Akabah. 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 8:17-18.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Red Sea'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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