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    Destined to divide

    The people of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land with Pharaoh in pursuit. They got across before the waters came rolling back and the king and his chariots were caught up in the destruction (Ex. 14:26). The events are related poetically in Chapter 15 of Sh’mot.

    The drowning of Pharoah’s army at the Red Sea (Holman Bible, 1890)

    People who read the story wonder why the Israelites needed to go that way. A detour might have obviated the crossing of the water, so why did they go straight ahead?

    The Midrash says that it was God’s plan from the time of Creation that the sea should be there and the Israelites should cross it. The sea was destined to divide so that Israel could cross before the waters returned.

    The people had to experience the miracle of the splitting of the sea so they should never harbour any doubt that God wanted them to leave Egypt.

    They could have taken a different – easier – route, but then they might have simply thought in earthly terms. Their experience persuaded them that the plans were made by God and they were a miracle-people with a miracle-destiny.

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