Moses and the elders of Israel were to go to Pharaoh and say “the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met us. So now, please, let us go a three days journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.” We have two scenarios. Moses tells the elders that they are going to Canaan, but to Pharaoh he tells him “let us go a three days journey into the wilderness.” We have mentioned this before. This time period (three days) will narrow down where they crossed the Red Sea. Both of these statements are given by the Lord, so both must be true. The key idea here is the three days. We will see this concept of “three days” over and over again in the Scriptures.
Exo 3.19-22 tells us that God will strike Egypt with all his miracles because Pharaoh will not let them go for three days. After the miracles, he will let them go, but only for three days (Exo 12.31). Later on in Tanak Foundations, we are going to deal with the plagues a little deeper and see what was really going on. It will examine just what Pharaoh and Moses were saying to each other and why. These verses also tell us what the word “natzal” means. This is important because it is the biblical term for the “rapture.”
What we will see in Exo 12.31 is that Pharaoh is not relinquishing his hold or ownership. He is giving them permission to go into the wilderness on a three days journey only. In Exo 10.28 Moses appeared before Pharaoh, and Moses was told to get away from Pharaoh and not “see my face again, for in the day you see my face, you shall die.” Moses says, “You are right, I shall never see your face again.” How do we explain Exo 12.31 where Pharaoh tells Moses they can go into the wilderness? Pharaoh sent Moses a message, it was not face to face. This is also after the ten plagues, so we know that this Pharaoh was not the first born.
Israel obtained from the Egyptians articles of gold, silver and clothing. They were given favor with the Egyptians. We have also discussed what the phrase “they plundered the Egyptians” meant, so we will not go over that again. However, the word “natzaltem” is used there and it means “to save or deliver.” They “saved the Egyptians” from feelings of hatred and revenge.
Israel left to go into the wilderness 430 years “to the very day” (Exo 12.41) after the Covenant between the Halves in Gen 15.14-16. This covenant happened on Mount Hermon. We know Israel left on Nisan 15, so we know this covenant happened on Nisan 15. God would lead them by way of the Yom Suf in the wilderness (Exo 13.17-22). They retrieved the bones of Joseph and again in Exo 13.19 we have the term “pakod yifkod” in Hebrew and it means “visit, visit.” This alludes to the Two Redemption’s, two fulfillment’s (Luke 19.44).
Throughout the story of the Exodus, we will see that there is going to be a greater Exodus that will be brought about by Yeshua called the Messianic Redemption. But we don’t want to have the messianic redemption overpower us so that we don’t see what is going on in this story. That is why we are going to spend a lot of time examining this. There has been so much left out by what we have been taught, or by what we have seen in movies, that we have gotten the wrong idea about all this. As a result, we get the wrong idea about the messianic redemption as well.
In Exo 13.19-20, we see that Israel sets out from Sukkot with the bones of Joseph, which is ancient “Succos”, another name for the Faiyum. They then continue and camp at Etham. Then they travel to the next day and camp at Pi-Hahirot, opposite of Baal-zephon by the sea. Pharaoh will think they are wandering and his heart will be “strengthened” to come after them. This action will break his agreement of three days, and the Lord will be honored because of Pharaoh and his army. We know that Pharaoh is told to go after Israel within the three day window (Exo 14.5). They tell Pharaoh that Israel has fled. They knew what Joseph’s request was, and the fact that his bones were taken got back to Pharaoh. Had he waited the three days as agreed, Moses would have had to return back because God cannot lie.
We started the journey at Sukkot, where the body of Joseph was. We have already shown that this area is the Faiyum, and he was entombed in what is called the Labyrinth, which was one of the wonders of the ancient world (Herodotus). It was a mortuary/tomb and a granary that was used during the years of famine. By taking the casket and the sarcophagus, it was evident that they were leaving.
So, they camp at Etham, and Pharaoh overtakes them at Pi-Hahirot by the sea. That means the people journeyed from Sukkot in the Faiyum to the Yom Suf (Red Sea). They will come to the widest part of the sea it is believed, and on the other side was a road that connected to the Derek Seir trade route. This is where they crossed. This ran to the northeast and connected to the Way to Seir, an “interstate” highway.
Now, how do we know that they didn’t cross the Gulf of Aqaba, like many believe today? Because you can’t get to the Gulf of Aqaba in less than three days. That journey would take weeks, not two days. That would mean that God did lie when he told Moses to say three days, because it would take much longer than that to get to where these people say they crossed and Pharaoh had a right to go after them. But Pharaoh died within that three day period, and that eliminates the site many have believed. That is an important point. Three days plays an important role in the Scriptures, so let’s look at a few examples. Abraham is going to Mount Moriah to offer Isaac, and on the third day he sees the place “afar off” where he is to go. He sees the “shin” of God. In Esther 3.12 to 7.10 we havea three day drama being played out, with Haman being hung on the third day (17th of Nisan). Hos 6.1-3 says that Israel will be raised up on the third day, a definite allusion to the resurrection of Yeshua. It also alludes to Jonah and Yeshua, the seven thousand year plan of God. The third day in Hosea is the third day after the fourth day of the plan.
This picture is seen in the days from John 1.19 to John 2.1. Yeshua appears for four days, then is hidden for two days, and then appears on the third day at a wedding. The seven children of Leah in Gen 29.32 to 30.21 teach the seven thousand year plan of God. In Jewish eschatology, we have a six thousand year period called the Olam Ha Zeh (this present world), followed by a thousand year period called the Atid Lavo (coming/future age). This six thousand year period is broken down into three, two thousand year periods. The first two thousand years is called “Tohu” or “Desolation.” The second two thousand year period is called “Torah” or “Instruction”, and the third is called “Yomot Mashiach” or “Days of the Messiah. Yeshua came at year four thousand, and since that we have been in the Yomot Mashiach. This eschatology does not come from believers in Yeshua, but it is how it is referenced in Jewish eschatology and Jewish writings. The children of Leah are pictures of Israel, and the children of Rachel will be pictures of the Messiah.
Rabbi David Fohrman has some great teachings and we refer to them many times. He has several books available that we would recommend. We will be quoting from his book on the Exodus later. Fohrman talks about the “Lullaby Effect” and this is when we get so familiar with something we don’t think about what we are saying or doing. We do the same thing with the Scriptures and the things of God. When you want to share the story of the Exodus with someone, where do we do? Most go to the book of Exodus. But, when you go through a Passover Haggadah, it goes to the book of Devarim (Deut.) because it is the second telling of the story and it comes from a different aspect. In Christianity, the Covenant between the Halves in Gen 15 is a nice story, but in Hebrew thought it is a foundational teaching and it is pivotal in understanding the Tanak.
In Part 11, we will pick up here and start to develop this concept out.