We find ourselves at the end of Chapter 13, which is where this god isn’t going to send his people on the easy road, because “For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” We’re not sure who this god said this to. It doesn’t seem to be Moses. Now, since this god can change minds contantly, why not with these fussy little bastards? And where is the god that takes a personal hand in warfare in this bible? Oh yes, he hasn’t been made up yet. So, we have the arrangements made to send the Israelites into the sea.
At this point, Moses somehow has the bones of Joseph. This goes back to the rather odd story in Genesis (Genesis 49-50) where Jacob is supposedly mummified by the Egyptians and buried by Joseph, who has enjoyed living in Egypt for quite a long while. Joseph was supposedly mummified too. They are following a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. No one else notices this rather obvious event. I have seen some interesting claims that they were “following” a comet, but that fails like following “yonder star”.
We get one more claim that this god is mind controlling the pharaoh. It wants to destroy all of pharaoh’s army, which belies the claim of one Christian I debated, who was sure that not all of the army was supposedly destroyed when I mentioned it was rather strange that none of Egypt’s enemies took advantage of Egypt’s supposed weakness.
We even get names of locations where all of this is supposed to have occurred. And not one scrap of evidence of this at all. In this chapter, Y says to have the Israelites encamp. Then a few paragraphs later, Y is wondering why they are encamped. The sea is parted, at night, which seems to be ignored for good cinematography in most versions of the story. It requires an east wind which should be one of those instances where evidence can be found for these events. But there is none. The way this is described, it sounds most like that there was a blast of air coming from the east and somehow it blows a trough through the water.
The events of what happens here are curious. The water is driven back and the Egyptians follow. Then it seems that the Egyptians camp in the area that was once under water, since this god disrupts the last watch of what must be the camp. This god also either jams or removes the wheels of the chariots. This would indeed make it difficult to drive the chariots. The Egyptians decide to leave, but at daybreak the waters return. So, it’s not anything like the version everyone is taught in Sunday School or what Christians like Ron Wyatt who has claimed that he has found evidence for this nonsense and of course, when asked for it, can’t provide one scrap. So we have the entire Egyptian army destroyed and no one notices, not even Egypt’s enemies who would have taken advantage of this. But that’s not a problem since the entire story is made up.
All of these miracles and the Israelites go off into the wilderness. This is supposedly the Sinai peninsula, a fairly small piece of land for 600,000 to about 2.5 million people to wander around on for 4 decades and have no one notice them or them to have left any artifacts, latrines, etc. It’s about half the size of Pennsylvania, my home state. People have been looking for centuries and nada.
Moses and his sister sing a song that is shown to be wrong about as soon as they supposedly set foot on anyone else’s land. No other group is afraid as they claim.
All of these people wander around for three days and find no water. They find some bitter water (I’d guess this might be a claim of alkali water as are found in many deserts) and we get a miracle to make it not bitter. Then everyone finds an oasis with twelve springs and 70 palm trees. For hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people and animals for a month and a half. Uh-huh.
The Israelites then start complaining that they have no food. For a bunch of people who supposedly see miracles frequently, they do get techy. They do show that it wasn’t quite so bad as claimed in Egypt, with being to eat meat and as much as they wanted.
The manna and quail given. The manna rots and smells if it’s kept too long. Y can’t make manna or quails on the Sabbath. Some manna is saved so people can see it in generations to come and is put with the tablets of covenant law which haven’t appeared yet in the ark of the covenant which hasn’t appeared yet. The Israelites eat manna and quails for 40 years. No wonder they were cranky. 🙂
At the end of chapter 17, they finally make it to Horeb, where the Israelites have no water again. You’d think that this god might consider making sure they have water. Now, here is an interesting bit because it says that the Israelites were testing their god and it responded positively. This does not bode well for those believers who claim that one cannot test this god.
The Israelites finally meet some people, the Amalekites. Moses has to keep his hands in the air to make sure the Israelites win the battle. It seems that the whole idea is cheated on when two guys hold Moses’ hands up for him. Y claims that he will blot the name of Amalek from under heaven. Which is why we can read about it today?? Sigh.
Jethro, Moses’ father in law, comes to see him at Horeb. And it sounds like that he, and the elders sat down to eat with Y, or at least in his “presence”. We also get the beginnings of a justice system that doesn’t require only divine decisions but where humans can make some.
The last installments of this series will be the events at Mount Sinai, and the narrative in amongst the laws. I’ll not bother with commandments here, since those have been reviewed for their strangeness in other places (here for one). Deuteronomy and Leviticus have the really strange bits.