Upate -- Temple Grandin on HCQ: On the phone on March 18th with renowned scientist Temple Grandin Bob Enyart and Temple were talking about the report just out in the Nature journal Cell Discovery. At rsr.org/hcq you can find out more about our call.
* Review of Patterns III: Red Sea Miracle: Real Science Radio hosts Bob Enyart and Fred Williams review Tim Mahoney's third installment in his Patterns of Evidence series, The Red Sea Miracle. The guys begin with audience favorite, CSU professor autism spokesperson and author of 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers on animal behavior Temple Grandin, who answers Mahoney's question about whether sheep could travel twenty miles a day for days on end. "If the people can do it the sheep can do it" she answered bluntly. Thus this woman, named by Time magazine as one of the hundred most influential people in the world, swiped away in a simple sentence a century of objection to the "Hebrew approach" on crossing the desert to the sea. That was one of various objections, both scholarly (like the location of yam suph) and colloquial (like sandals would wear out), addressed by the film's evaluation of the "Egyptian approach" of a nearby, smaller, and less miraculous crossing as compared to what Mahoney calls a "Hebrew approach" to a far greater and more miraculous Red Sea Crossing. (This RSR episode was recorded the day after the nationwide fathom event screening. And consider visiting the rsr.org/exodus landing page for our list of evidence!)
* Mahoney's Patterns:
Patterns of Evidence -- The Exodus: Arrival; Multiplication; Slavery; Judgment; Exodus; Conquest.
Patterns of Evidence -- Moses Controversy: Match the Look; Readable; Match the History.
Patterns of Evidence -- The Red Sea Miracle: Departure Point; Direction; Desert; Detour to a Dead End; Deep Sea; Destination to Mt. Sinai.
* The Reversal of Egyptologist Manfred Bietak: In the early 2000s after years leading Egyptian excavations Egyptologist Manfred Bietak on camera answers Mahoney's question about evidence for the Israelites in Egypt, bluntly stating, "So far, not." That wasn't the "so far" of a hopeful investigator but rather as a mainstream scholar he did not recognize the historicity of the Hebrew sojourn and added, "To connect this with the Israelites is a very weak affair." Fast forward more than a decade later and Mahoney again interviews him, asking about any knowledge gained in the intervening years, "Do you [now] see a place where the Israelites could have lived?" And in a dramatic reversal, "A very exciting evidence comes from the region of the Wadi Tumilat" Bietak says pointing to the Goshen region on a map. "I was able to prove that the western half of Wadi Tumilat was an enormous overflow lake, because it was a kind of enormous basin, fed by a branch of the Nile, eighteen kilometers long, 1.8 kilometers wide. What is most interesting, Sarah Groll [the late linquist Egyptologist toponyms expert] pointed it out, there is a lake in one of the Ramesside texts called Geshem, Gesem." This is one of the semitic place names Groll identified. "And indeed in the Septuagint version," Bietak continued, "Goshen is written as Gesem. … Gesem is a semitic lake tied to a big lake, and it can only be this lake" he says tapping on the map at Goshen. So Mahoney askms why semitic place names would appear in Egypt and Bietak answered. "Why did Egyptian scribes for heavens sake use semitic toponyms for an area that belongs to Egypt? It could only mean that the people living there, the majority, spoke a semitic language. Here we have the name Pithom tied to a Ramasside document" pointing again to the map. "I think that one should not mistrust the story of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt. I think there is packed inside, a story which may have an historic background." See also rsr.org/exodus#goshen.
* On Yam Suph / The Red Sea: BEL DRAFT NOTES. The last thing that the world needs is a new idea on the Red Sea. But, what if Yam Suph did not exist as a toponym (a geographic name) prior to the sea crossing, but rather, as Moses was saved in the suph of the Nile's waters, the water crossed took on that idiomatic name precisely because the Israelites were saved through its waters? Watching Tim Mahoney's Red Sea Miracle prompted the following idea. Scholars in the film state what has long been known, that the Hebrew yam means sea, and that suph does not mean red, but rather, reeds. Consider that the "names" of the pagan gods were not so much personal names as titles of (false) deity such as Baal, and likewise the words Abimelech, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes may not be names of individuals but titles of royalty. Similarly, what if yam suph was not the pre-existing name of a specific body of water but rather referred to a watery saving? Consider also that dramatic events often give rise to new figures of speech. The creation week led to the number seven meaning completion and likewise the flood's days of rain led to forty meaning a fully sufficient amount of time. After Moses was saved through the Nile's waters when his mother hid him in the suph, that is, in the reeds (twice stated in Exodus 2), perhaps an idiomatic expression arose regarding a saving involving water which became a suph saving?
Pondering the above proposal, consider the 28 uses of suph in the Bible:
- The suph of the Nile where Moses was saved (Ex. 2:3, 5)
- The suph sea where the wind blew the locusts (Ex. 10:19)
- The suph sea referencing where Israel was saved (22 times; though a couple of these need to be examined further)
- The suph sea of Solomon's ships (at the Gulf of Aqaba 1 Ki 9:26)
- Though the suph wrapped around his head Jonah was saved (2:5)
As the antithesis, Isaiah 49 provides the final reference stating that Egypt's "waters will fail from the sea and the river will be wasted... reeds and suph will wither" (Isa. 49:6) so that whereas God's people were saved, those arrayed against Him can expect no watery suph saving. Regarding Jonah in the Mediterranean, if this RSR idea is valid, then it is not the location that makes a body of water a "suph sea", but a salvation by that water. So the Jonah reference would then be an instance of typical word usage. A word that has a particular connotation is often used as a subtle figure of speech, where a shade of meaning imparts a tone to the text. The Holy Spirit knew what ancient men did not, that whales don't eat seaweed. But Jonah's head is wrapped in the suph subtly indicating, by the choice of that vocabulary word, that he will be saved.
Two Ways Suph as Idiom May Help: Studying the Exodus route, if suph as an idiom is true, there would be no need to search for a body of water previously identified as yam suph. When Israel was saved through the sea, it became the suph sea, such that the most significant use of this new figure of speech actually conferred a new name, for a time anyway, onto that body of water. (If the sea crossed had not been previously known by any distinctive name to the Israelites, that would make adoption of this idiom even more likely.) Second, a lack of reeds would not mitigate against the "Hebrew approach", as Tim Mahoney calls it, to locating the Red Sea miracle at the Gulf of Aqaba.