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Splitting the Sea

Israel's Departure from Egypt: A Liberation or an Escape?

The oldest layer E has the Israelites pushed out by the Egyptian people under the king of Egypt’s nose during the plague of darkness and Moses splitting the sea on his own. J then revised this account to create a story of an all-powerful God smiting the firstborn sons, forcing Pharaoh to give in, and then drowning Pharaoh and his army in the sea when Pharaoh changes his mind. Finally, the Priestly redactor adds details, expands the numbers of both the Egyptians and the Israelites, and puts in his signature theological innovation: God changes Pharaoh’s mind for him and forces him to give chase.

Dr. Rabbi

Tzemah Yoreh



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