The Israelites flee from Egypt

Ex 12:37-51    The Israelites set out from Avaris (Raamses) on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan in c.1447BC. As it was halfway through the lunar month, the night sky was lit by a full moon.

The Israelites set out towards Succoth (the ancient Egyptian town of Tjeku in the Wadi Tumilat). Succoth (the Hebrew word indicating a ‘shelter’) was located to the south of Avaris (Raamses) near Pithom (on the site of Tell al-Maskutah). The Israelites possibly came this way to meet up with other fellow Hebrews escaping from Pithom (see 1 on Map 44). 


From Egypt to Sinai

Map 44    The Journey from Egypt to Sinai


The Israelites had lived in Egypt and Canaan for 430 years – half of this time in Egypt (see Exodus 12:40 where footnotes usually indicate the inclusion of the words “and Canaan” in the earliest versions of the Bible). The Jewish historian Josephus explains that the Israelites left Egypt 430 years after Abraham travelled to Canaan, and 215 years after Joseph invited Jacob and his family to settle in Egypt.

The Israelites take their cattle and sheep – and their unleavened bread - with them.

Ex 13:1-16    The firstborn of every Israelite family, herd and flock are consecrated to God as a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt.

Ex 13:17-18    God leads the Israelites – but not by the direct road that goes up the coast to Philistia (The Way of the Sea). Instead, they follow the desert road "towards the Red Sea” (Exodus 13:18) (that is, when translated correctly, towards the Sea of ReedsHebrew, ‘Yam-suf’) (see 2 on Map 44).

Ex 13:19    In accordance with his request before he died (see Genesis 50:25), Joseph’s bones are removed from the small pyramid-shaped mausoleum in the garden of his palace at Avaris and are taken out of Egypt by the Israelites.


The Eastern Desert near Etham

The Eastern Desert of Egypt near Etham


Ex 13:20    The Israelites move further south and camp at Etham on the edge of the Eastern Desert (see 3 on Map 44).

Ex 13:21-22    The LORD goes ahead of the Israelites as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

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