Echoes From The Past

by Joseph Hunting

Israel 's history has been inseparably linked with the narrow waterways separated by the Sinai peninsula. 3,500 years ago, the nation of Israel, possibly numbering two million souls, stood by the shores of the Red Sea somewhere in the vicinity where the Bitter Lakes form part of the Suez Canal waterway.

A mighty army from Egypt threatened Israel's newly-won freedom from slavery, and the water of the Red Sea barred their flight. It was in this impossibly situation that the Lord commanded Moses: "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward ... and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea." The way of escape for the Hebrews became the grave of the hosts of Egypt.

On the other side of the Peninsula King Solomon made a navy of ships at Ezion Geber adjacent to Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea. The exact location of the birth of Israel's first navy is not certain. Some Bible scholars place Ezion Geber on the small Island located only a few yards from the rugged Sinai coastline. Others believe that one of the small sheltered bays in the vicinity was the port from which Solomon's ships sailed.

The Red Sea, which has played such an intimate part in the history of Israel, featured again in a modern drama in 1967 when Egypt once more threatened to wipe out the children of Israel. On this occasion, the modern Pharaoh, Nasser, threatened to strangle Israel by blockading the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran. Israel's deliverance during the Six Day War that followed was just as miraculous as the parting of these waters centuries before, demonstrating to the world that "He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps".