Mother Earth could have parted the Red Sea, hatching the great escape described in the biblical book of Exodus, a new study finds.
A strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have swept water off a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea, said study team member Carl Drews of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. While archaeologists and Egyptologists have found little evidence that any events described in Exodus actually happened, the study outlines a perfect storm that could have led to the 3,000-year-old escape.
“People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts,” Drews said. “What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws.”
Drew and his colleagues used models that showed that a wind of 63 mph (101 kph), lasting for 12 hours, would have pushed back waters estimated to be 6 feet (1.8 meters) deep. This would have exposed mud flats for four hours, creating a dry passage about 2 to 2.5 miles (3.2 to 4 kilometers) long and 3 miles (4.8 km) wide.
To match the account in the Bible, the water would have to be pushed back into both the lake and the channel of the river, creating barriers of water on both sides of newly exposed mud flats, which is exactly what the models show could have happened.
Yes, but who made the wind blow exactly when the Hebrews needed to catch a break?