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Where Was the Biblical Red Sea? Examining the Ancient Evidence

ISBN: 9781683594383

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Where was the Red Sea of Exodus?

Exodus records that the waters of the Red Sea (or Reed Sea) opened up to deliver Israel and plummeted down to destroy their Egyptian pursuers. But if the Red Sea cannot be located, can we trust the claims of the Bible? Some have suggested relocating the events. Others suggest they never happened at all.

In Where Was the Biblical Red Sea? Beitzel challenges popular alternatives and defends the traditional location: that the biblical Red Sea refers to a body of water lying between the eastern Nile Delta and Sinai. Beitzel rigorously reexamines the data—both typical and overlooked—ranging from biblical and classical sources to ancient and medieval maps. His comprehensive analysis answers objections to the traditional view and exposes the inadequacies of popular alternatives.

Ancient geography excavates the biblical world and its story. Readers will better understand and appreciate the biblical story as well as its historicity and reliability. Where Was the Biblical Red Sea? is a foundational reference work for any discussion of the Exodus event.

Praise for Where Was the Biblical Red Sea?

Barry Beitzel has produced an amazingly detailed evaluation of the possible and proposed geographical locations for the Red Sea

–Victor H. Matthews, Dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and Professor of Religious Studies, Missouri State University

This is now one of the foundational reference works for any discussion on the geography and context of the exodus event.

–Steven M. Ortiz, Professor of Archaeology and Biblical Studies and Director, Lanier Center for Archaeology, Lipscomb University

New proposals that challenge long-held traditions often grab headlines, and some may prove true, but the recent contention that the biblical exodus had to be related to the Gulf of Aqaba hundreds of miles from Egypt must now be rejected. With an avalanche of evidence, from a wide variety of sources, Dr. Beitzel demolishes that novel thesis. His comprehensive and compelling argument should put such speculation to rest.

–William L. Kynes, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, Annandale, VA

Top Highlights

“None of these seven texts manifests a context of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and in particular at the water of yam sûf.” (Page 8)

“Suph Word Family,’ and he apparently understands these nine entries in Strong’s Concordance” (Page 24)

Studies in Biblical Archaeology, Geography, and History

Studies in Biblical Archaeology, Geography, and History is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key issues, locations, and events in biblical archaeology, geography, and history.

  • Introduction
  • Evidence from Biblical Sources
  • Evidence for the Yam Sûf in Close Proximity to Egypt
  • Evidence from Classical Sources
  • Evidence from Early Cartographically Related Sources
  • Conclusion
  • Title: Where Was the Biblical Red Sea? Examining the Ancient Evidence
  • Author: Dr. Barry J. Beitzel
  • Series: Studies in Biblical Archaeology, Geography, and History
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Pages: 160
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 5.5x8.5
  • ISBN: 9781683594383

Barry J. Beitzel is professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical University in Deerfield, Illinois. His published mapwork appears in the NLT Study Bible, the ESV Study Bible, and the NIV Study Bible.


4 ratings

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  1. Sungyu Park

    Sungyu Park


    This book helps me a lot. Thank you very much.
  2. Michelle



    Mr. Beitzel challenges recent "scholarship" that claims to know the location of Israel's crossing the Red Sea. Not only is it full of wonderful and researched information (to include the footnotes...read the footnotes!) to refute the less-than-scholarly claims, it gives much insight into the powerful Word of God when looking at this specific Biblical narrative. Beitzel's read won't disappoint. For me, this read exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend this book.
  3. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones


  4. David Heinlen
    Dr. Beitzel is definitely a sharp guy and has put a lot into this work. However, with great respect, I need to say he's a bit behind the "latest" in research regarding a route and crossing point. Using terms that past scholars have incorrectly translated to uphold the liberal take on the Exodus doesn't make for good scholarship. We have to dig in and not rely on others to influence our translations, this way we can more correctly understand possible definitions that have been brought to the table. For example, Yam Suph has to touch the southern boundary of the Promised Land and no other body of water meets these criteria except for the Gulf of Aqaba, Exodus 23:31. Yam Suph in the original Hebrew text means "sea end" basically, and later, outside influenced definitions, are what brought 'reeds', etc., to the definition table by ignoring the full context of what was said or understood. The Yam Suph 'sea end' as a basic term can include the whole territory of the Red Sea proper to include the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba as a geographical starter to be refined with further study. There is no imagined swamp, or shallow lake, that can meet all the biblical criteria and correctly define Yam Suph. Also, many of the shallow waters envisioned weren't even around during this period in history, let alone find one that has even a speck of archaeological evidence of a buried army, which shouldn’t be too hard to find if so located. As we have been given geographical ideas to consider, we start with God's word, then proceed to geography, not fancy ideas that come in from the secular side before we start looking around. Basically, too much good information has to be ignored or passed over (intentionally or accidentally) to support these alternate, non-biblical ideas. Appeal to “consensus” and just parroting other misguided theologians resembles nothing new or indeed anything scholarly. I find this non-biblical position easy to refute and the correct one easy to understand just by using basic bible study and scientific principles.


Print list price: $25.99
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