Monday, January 25, 2010

Race to the Red Sea

It was an awe inspiring sight, galloping across the sandy peninsula at sunset, but Joshua had no time to reflect. The dust cloud of Pharaoh's mighty army rose ominously in the sky above the narrow ravine that wound its way along an ancient riverbed towards the ocean.

A mile in front, two million Hebrew slaves were trapped along the shores of the Red Sea. Joshua marveled at the wet sand between them, its pale luminescence clung to the last rays of sunlight. Such a shame, he thought, the beach would be red with blood by morning.

But whose blood?

Pharaoh led six hundred of his finest chariots in hot pursuit - his steely eyes blazed with unbridled rage. The gold rimmed wheels of his magnificently crafted vehicle barely touched the ground as he mercilessly whipped his horse to breakneck speeds. Further behind, fifty thousand horseman armed with spears heralded the true might of Egypt’s army; two hundred thousand foot soldiers jogging in tight formation through the canyon walls.

Pharaoh’s apocalyptic force amounted to well over a quarter of a million, some fifty men abreast stretching back for miles.

All that separated the Egyptians from the Hebrews was a narrow pass between two steep rocky hills some thousand feet high. The pass led out to a flat wide peninsula, semi circle in shape and three miles in diameter, jutting out in to the Red Sea. It was a flat broad area, with steep mountains jutting down to the water in the south. A narrow coastal road to the north was fiercely guarded by a garrison of Egyptian soldiers, permanently stationed to protect the trade routes.

After six days pursuing the Hebrews across the barren wilderness, Pharaoh finally had them cornered, or so it seemed.

Joshua turned back round and spotted another rider coming into to view a quarter mile in front. The other Hebrew signalman struggled to hold his speed on an older horse. Joshua smiled and raced ahead to catch up with him.

“Caleb,” Joshua laughed, “I feel sorry for your horse.”

“I’m all muscle,” he shouted. “You should be grateful I let you have the fast one.”

“Fast ‘cause my work’s dangerous,” Joshua replied overtaking him.

Caleb grunted in friendly rivalry and slapped his horses’ reins. “Well at least I know how to use a sword.”

Caleb glanced back at the sight of Pharaoh’s army flooding out of the narrow pass onto the peninsula. Archers in the chariots were drawing their bows to attack.

“Good Lord!” shouted Caleb. “Are we ready for this?”

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1 comment:

  1. I believe the Hebrews crossed near Nuweiba at the Gulf of Aqaba. Its not the "traditional" site (since Constantine's days) but the geography closely matches the description in Exodus. The local name for the place in Arabic means "Place where Moses parted the Red Sea" - so that's kind of a big clue. Its been called that for thousands of years. Its also the only beach on the Red Sea where you could "trap" 2 million people.