Dark Doctrines in Ancient Jewish Thought

From the Jewish Encyclopedia (this is not the Encyclopedia Judaica); 1901, 1912; Funk and Wagnalls Company, NY and London; prepared by more than four hundred scholars and specialists. For a completely thorough explanation, with copious notes from Isaac Meyer on the switching of the numerical order of Sephiroth, and much other extensive Esoteric Ideas, see our article (for sale) on Dark Kaballa.


Collective name for several Gnostic sects which regarded the Serpent (Greek Ophis; Hebrew Nahash; hence called also Naasseni) as the image of creative wisdom. Such sects existed with Judaism before the rise of Christianity; and as there were Ophites who rejected the Gospels it would be proper to make a distinction between Jewish, Christian, and anti-Christian Ophites were not the sources.

Irenaeus, who, toward the end of the second century, wrote a history of heresy, did not know the Gnostics under the name of Ophites; but Clement (Stromata, vii 17, 108) mentions beside the Cainists the Ophians (Ophianoi), saying that their name is derived from the object of their worship. Philaster, an author of the forth century, places the Ophites, the Cainites, and the Sethites at the head of all heresies (ch.1-3) because he holds that they owed their origin to the Serpent (to him, the Devil). The Ophites, Cainites, Sethites, Naasseni, etc., declared the serpent of paradise to be wisdom itself (Sophia), since wisdom had come to the earth through the knowledge of good and evil which the serpent had brought. Hence they exalted Cain and Seth, who they held were endowed wit this knowledge, as the heroes of the human race; other Gnostics regarded Esau, Korah, the Sodomites and even Judas as tools of Sophia; whereas Jacob and Moses, for instance, who were the instruments of the creator (Demiurgus) were regarded as being inferior (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies, 1, 31, 2). All Ophistic circles believed in a demonic Hebdomad (i.e., seven spirits under the dominion of the Serpent) side by side with the holy hebdomad under Jaldabaoth. The last mentioned is the son of the fallen wisdom (Yalda Bahut means son of chaos), and from him proceeded, in successive generations, Jao, Sabaot, Adoneus, Eloeus, Oreus, and Astaphaeus, which are said to be manifestations of the God of the Old Testament. The Ophites claimed that Moses himself had exalted Ophis by setting up the serpent, and that Jesus also had recognized it (comp. John iii. 14).

The Naasseni went even further, and the retention of the Hebrew name shows that their belief represents the oldest stage of the heresy. "Whoever says that the All proceeded from the One, errs; but whoever says, from Three, speaks truth and can explain the All. The first of these three is the blessed nature of the sainted higher man, Adamas (explained as "diamond"); the second is the death below; the third is the unruled race that had its origin above, and to which belong Mariam, 'the sought one;' Jothar (Jethro), the great sage; Sepphora, the seeing one and Moses." The three words "Kavlakav," "Savlasav," and "Zeer Sham" (taken from Isa, xxviii 10), they declare, indicate Adamas above, death below, and the Jordan flowing upward (Hippolytus, "Philosophumena," v. 8) and present the threefold division of the realm of blessedness or immortality which forms a part of all Gnostic heresies - the world of spirits, the corporeal world, and the redemption. The "Naas" is the primal being and the source of all beauty (ib. v.9) - the spiritual principle. Side by side with it exists chaos, or matter.

The mysterious diagram of the Ophites is famous. Celsus and his opponent Origen ("Contra Celsum", vi, 24-38) both describe it though not in the same way. Celsus maintains that there were circles above circles; but Origin maintains that there were two concentric circles, across the diameter of which were inscribed the words "father" and "son;" a smaller circle hung from the larger one, with the words "love." A wall divides the realm of light from the middle realm. Two other concentric circles, one light and one dark, represent light and shadow. Hanging from this double circle was a circle with the inscription "life," and this enclosed two other circles which intersected each other and formed a rhomboid. In the common field were the words "the nature of wisdom," above "cognition," and below "knowledge;" in the rhomboid was "the providence of wisdom." There were altogether seven circles, with the names of the seven Archons: Michael, in the form of a lion; Suriel, of a bull; Raphael, of a dragon; Gabriel, of an eagle; Tohu wa-Bohu (or Thauthabaoth), of a bear's head; Erataoth, of a dog's head; and Onoel or Thartharaoth, of an ass's head. The Archons are perhaps identical with the above mentioned seven generations of Jaldabaoth. They signify the corporeal world, which follows the middle realm, and with which the dominion of Sophia ends. The hexagram (Shield of David) of the Jews, whose through was not always foreign to Gnosis, may be in some way connected with this diagram. But the serpent as symbol is found likewise in connection with the mysteries of Egypt, Greece, Phoenicia, Syria and even Babylonia and India.

Ophites believed in what others proscribed as Seven Demons under the Serpent's dominion (makes 8). Dualists later made this into a doctrine of these "evil seven," and reflected it in a "holy seven" under the dominion of Jaldabaoth (from Yalda bahut). The Naasseni retained an old form of Ophite belief. The Hebrew term for Ophites was always Nahash. All of these groups, Ophites, Naasseni, et. al., have come to be collectively referred to as "Gnostics." The archons of the various Gnostic sects are the seven of the Ophites. Orthodox Jews after Moses believed that worship of this serpent, also called Nehushtan, resulted in physical and spiritual death. The assumption that the tradition about Nehushtan is not older than the time of Hezekiah, is incorrect.


Usage first appears as "a satan," lower case letters, "an adversary." (Any adversary). This gradually evolved into a particular angel names Satan in the Old Testament who acted like a prosecuting attorney, accusing men before the judge (God) of their sins. At this point, Satan (capital "S") is still one of a number of "sons of God" or angels.

From this idea of Satan as an accuser, there developed the idea of him as an oppressor and eventually as the bringer of evil and death into the world. This evolution occurred in Jewish (as well as later Christian) literature and thinking. It seems to have been a common or popular idea or evolution, eventually absorbed by more serious divinity people such as Talmudic scholars.

The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, page 653, published in 1904, "The fact, therefore, now generally accepted by critical scholars, is that in the last days of the kingdom, human sacrifices were offered to Yhwh (Yahu, or Jehovah), as King of Counsellor of the Nation, and that the Prophets disapproved of it."

Yahu also is interchangeable with Satan, who is thought to have been a minor god of the Jews, and an instrument of Baal."

His ultimate development is as the arch-enemy of the Messiah: the Anti-Christ.

By the time of the medieval Kabalists (The Zohar), his earthy (human) hosts became known as Kelippa (husks, rinds, peelings, scales, shells). All doers of misdeeds in the Old Testament were identified as such.

(See our article on Kaballa - [for sale]). The Satan one can find in the Esoteric Kaballa (Dark Kaballa) is identical to Nehushtan.)

KABALLA (spelled CABALA in Jewish Encyclopedia)

References to the most ancient writings on Cabala had SEVEN as the "holy number" rather than the TEN (Sephiroth) as emphasized by medieval Cabalists (Classical Cabala). The #10 seemed to achieve significance due to Pythagorean influences on Cabalistic speculation.

There are (were) two trends in Cabala. The speculative one, i.e. concerned with understanding the natural world, tended to be pantheistic and mystical, whereas a parallel trend tended to be deistic and moralizing, concerned with man's salvation and redemption. The latter trend tended toward dualism and was concerned with the attempt to liberate the soul from evil and unite with God, a central concern also of Gnosticism.

The mystical forms of Cabala sometimes emphasized that the highest degree of love by man for God was a sensuous kind of love, not spiritual at all, but rather like marital love of man and wife.

For a thorough explanation of Pythagorean Kaballa (the "3 which are like 1" are fully explained) see Dark Kaballa, (sold by satan2000 and by us - see ad at dd-ad.html).

For more on the even more ancient Hebrews, read "The Hebrew Goddess" by Patai

For more on exactly who Moses was, see Hebrew Goddess by Patai, and Moses and Monotheism by Sigmund Freud. Many theorize that Moses was Thut-Mose, the priest of Akhenaton since a prayer he wrote to Aton is considered the same as a later prayer the Hebrews have. Here is an English translation of this "Hymn to Aton", which is nearly identical to the later biblical Psalm 107.

The Hymn to Aton

You appear beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
The living Aton, the beginning of life!
When you have risen on the eastern horizon,
You have filled every land with your beauty.
You are gracious, great, glistening, and high over every land;
Your rays encompass the lands to the limit of all that you have made:
As you are Ra, you reach to the end of them;
You subdue them for your beloved son.
Though you are far away, your rays are on earth;
Though you are in their faces, no one knows your going.
When you set in the western horizon,
The land is in darkness, in the manner of death.
While the true Nile comes from the underworld for Egypt.
Your rays suckle every meadow.
When you rise, they live, they grow for you.
You make the seasons in order to rear all that you have made,
The winter to cool them,
And the heat that they may taste you.
You have made the distant sky in order to rise therein,
In order to see all that you do make.
While you were alone,
Rising in your form as the living Aton,
Appearing, shining, withdrawing or approaching,
You made millions of forms of yourself alone.
Cities, towns, fields, roads, and river-
Every eye beholds you over against them,
For you are the Aton of the day over the earth
You are in my heart, And there is no other that knows you,
Save only your son Nefer-xeperu-Ra Wa-en-Ra,
For you have made him well-versed in your plans and in your strength.
The world came into being by your hand,
According as you have made them.
When you have risen they live,
When you set they die.
You are lifetime your own self,
For one lives only through you.
Eyes are fixed on beauty until you set.
All work is laid aside when you set in the west.
But when you rise again,
Everything is made to flourish for the king,
Since you did found the earth
And raise them up for your son,
Who came forth from your body:
the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Akhenaton,
and the Chief Wife of the King, Nefertiti,
living and youthful forever and ever.

Aton was the sun disc one saw in the sky. Akhenaton proclaimed this the One and Only God. He was extremely persecutorial which earned him the hatred and wrath of the rest of Egypt. Adonai in Hebrew means Lord.


Here's also is an interesting scholoarly article that argues that the Jews of the Exodus were Baal worshippers. Keep in mind, that was during the rule of the Seti Pharaohs.

The entire article was published in AEON IV:6 (May 1997), pp. 85-105, complete with 124 references.

Two items concerning the route of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt have bothered me ever since I was a young man. It is told in the Book of Exodus that, after leaving Egypt, the Israelites, under Moses, traveled a certain distance toward the wilderness, stopped, and then turned back toward Egypt to a place called Pi-ha-hiroth which is described as having been before Baal-zephon. If the Israelites were really trying to escape from Egypt, why did they turn back?

When the Israelites traveled that "certain distance," they did not cross any seas, lakes, or marshes. Neither did they cross any seas, lakes, or marshes when they turned back toward Egypt to stop at Pi-ha-hiroth. And yet, when they left Pi-ha-hiroth to continue on their way, their route was blocked by a "sea" which they had to cross under strange and catastrophic circumstances. If they did not have to cross this "sea" going out of Egypt, and did not have to cross it coming back toward Egypt, why did they have to cross this "sea" the third time. As described in Exodus and elsewhere in the Old Testament, these events do not seem to make geographical sense. What really did transpire? Where was this place called Pi-ha-hiroth?


Before I attempt to answer those questions, I must first put to rest two basic misconceptions that have crept into the story of the Exodus. The first of these was actually fed by the scenario of Worlds in Collision as proffered by Immanuel Velikovsky. And here I am as much to blame as the next man. Thus, in 1978, I wrote that:

The Exodus was not an organized march across the land into the Sinai Peninsula. Rather, it was a helter-skelter dash for life across a quaking land, amid crumbling buildings and flying debris, in an effort to reach the relative safety of the desert.

More recently, this sentiment was echoed by Dick Atkinson who offered the opinion that "there is little hint of military precision in the organization of the Exodus," which event he succinctly described as a tale of refugees fleeing a disaster

"Military precision" there might not have been. And why should there have been? The Israelites leaving Egypt did not constitute an army. Nor were they intent on immediate invasion, as we shall see below. A closer study of the subject, however, indicates that Atkinson is as much in error as I had previously been, since there seems to be no doubt that, regardless of whether Egypt had just been shattered by an earthquake or not, the Exodus was a pre-planned organized march that was executed without panic. In this much, at least, Cecil B. DeMille got it right.

The second misconception I wish to correct is more widespread. It is one that has been fed by many a Bible lesson at Sunday Schools and other Bible classes, not to mention such Hollywood fare as Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Even among ardent readers of the Old Testament, it has always surprised me how many adhere to the belief that, when Moses accosted Pharaoh with the famous words "let my people go," he was actually demanding that his people should be allowed to leave Egypt for good. It is, in fact, doubtful that, plagues or no plagues, Pharaoh would have bowed to such a demand. As it is stressed several times in the Book of Exodus itself, the reason given for the requested departure, regardless of Moses' real intent, was not re-emigration into Canaan but temporary leave of absence.

"Let my people go" Elohim is reported to have told Moses to tell Pharaoh that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And again: "Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.

Moses himself told Pharaoh: "Let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto Yahweh Elohim."

This request to journey three days' distance into the wilderness in order to pay homage to their tribal god would not, of itself, have been unusual. This form of ritual, known to us today as a pilgrimage, has its roots in deepest antiquity. Such religious expeditions to sacred places were practiced by various ancient races which included not only the Israelites (or Jews) but the Egyptians themselves. The Pharaoh of Egypt would have been quite familiar with the rite and would not, under normal circumstances, have seen anything strange in Moses' request.

Since the Israelites formed a foreign contingent in Egypt, and more so since they were actually held in bondage, Pharaoh's permission would have been required. There is therefore nothing unlikely about his repeated meetings with Moses. As king of Egypt, Pharaoh would have given audiences to various potentates on an almost daily basis. Moses, having been accepted by the Israelites as their leader, would have encountered no difficulty in obtaining such audiences. Besides, Pharaoh might have been all the more inclined to indulge the Israelite leader since Moses had once been a member of the royal court.

Pharaoh's reluctance to let the Israelites go originally stemmed from an unwillingness to lose, even if only temporarily, what was then the major labor force in the Delta. Because of the multitude of Israelite serfs, their leave-of-absence would have caused a tremendous setback in whatever work projects they would have been involved in. The Book of Exodus is quite specific about this. One has to remember that the Israelite bondsmen would have been absent from their work for well over a week- three days' journey to their destination; an approximate three days for camping, preparation, and the actual rite which would have involved a mulltiple, sacrifice; and three days' journey back.

When royal permission was granted, the following words were put into Pharaoh's mouth: "I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto Yahweh." -which, again, indicates the real nature of Moses' request.

It can be surmised that the overseers who had control over the Israelites, as well as those engineers and architects who would have been caught short of labor, would have voiced their complaint. Pharaoh, like all ancient monarchs, had his advisors; and these would also have registered their disapproval. It is therefore not surprising that Pharaoh is reported to have had a change of mind. He therefore asked Moses to compromise. "Go ye," he is reported as saying, "sacrifice to your Elohim [but] in the land." In other words: "Perform all the religious ceremonies that you want, but do so within the boundaries of Egypt."

Moses shrewdly replied that were the Israelites to hold their religious rites in Goshen, they might offend Egyptian sentiment and even cause a riot. And there is, again, nothing unbelievable about this, especially since the Israelites were not exactly popular during that time. So again Moses told Pharaoh: "We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh Elohim, as he shall command us."

And Pharaoh finally replied: "I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to Yahweh Elohim in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away."

I shall not here review the many times that Pharaoh supposedly changed his mind, nor shall I pretend that the recorded dialogue between him and Moses is a historical verity beyond a dim recollection preserved by oral tradition to account for the course of events; but the Book of Exodus makes it quite clear that the royal court was becoming progressively apprehensive about allowing the Israelites to go on their extended pilgrimage.

On one occasion Pharaoh asked: "But who are they [among you] that shall go?" To which Moses replied with those now famous words: "We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto Yahweh."

To Pharaoh, this new request by the Israelite leader would have seemed an unreasonable one since Moses meant to take with him not only the entire Israelite population but also their entire livestock. Is it any wonder that Pharaoh became suspicious?

"Not so," Pharaoh told Moses. "Go now ye [only] that are men."

This passage is clarified in an extra-Biblical source which has Pharaoh uttering these words:

"I know it to be customary for young men and old men to take part in sacrifices, but surely not little children, and when you demand their presence, too, you betray your evil purpose. It is but a pretense, your saying that you will go a three days' journey into the wilderness, and then return. You mean to escape and never come back. I will have nothing more to do with the matter."

Again, it is not that these words are to be stamped with the seal of historicity, any more than any other conversation recorded in the Old Testament. But we can accept such dialogue as an indication of what transpired.

When Moses persisted, Pharaoh gave in at least in allowing the children and the women to join the men in the pilgrimage. But he remained adamant about disallowing the taking of the livestock. "Let your little ones also go with you," he told Moses. "Only let your flocks and your herds be stayed."

The wily Moses, however, had another shrewd reply ready. He told Pharaoh that the livestock would be required for "sacrifices and burnt offerings" which, presumably, every family was expected to conduct and offer on its own behalf.

To this, also, Pharaoh finally acceded and, as we all know, in the end he let the Israelites go. But here a question comes to mind. Suspicious as he seems to have been of Moses' real intent, would Pharaoh have let the serfs leave Egypt unattended? In fact, it is said that when Pharaoh did eventually let the Israelites go, he dispatched a detachment of officers with them whose duty it was to ensure that the pilgrims did return to Egypt once their religious ceremonies had been completed. Although this additional information comes from extra-Biblical sources rather than the Scriptural narrative itself, it merits credence since, under the circumstances, it would have been the logical thing for Pharaoh to have done.


Now the Book of Exodus tells us that when the Israelites left Egypt, they did not travel "through the way of the land of the Philistines," even though this would have been the shortest route to their destination.

"The Way of the Land of the Philistines," known to the Egyptians as "the Way of Horus," later the Via Maris, was a much-traveled highway on the coast of the Mediterranean, along the northern shores of the Sinai Peninsula. It has long been argued by Biblical scholars that since this was the principal highway from Egypt to Canaan, Moses would have avoided it because of the Egyptian garrisons, some of which have since been discovered, that guarded it along the way. But since Moses left Egypt with the blessings of Pharaoh and even with Egyptian officers among his own people, if we are to believe the extra-Biblical sources mentioned above, why would he have feared passing these Egyptian garrisons?

On the other hand, the inland route that Moses seems to have attempted should have aroused the suspicion of the Egyptian officers. Here we can only speculate but Moses might have argued that he did not wish to hinder the traffic on the high road by the passage of such a vast multitude and its herd of livestock. But when the pilgrims reached Etham, some sort of crisis seems to have taken place.

Wherever Etham was has never been discovered; the site remains unknown. All that is told about this place in the Old Testament is that it was situated "in the edge of the wilderness." One thing that we should, however, note is that the Israelites were not said to have crossed any seas, lakes, or marshes on their way from Egypt to Etham. Let us keep this in mind.


It was while they were encamped here, at Etham, that the order to turn back was given: "Speak unto the children of Israel [Yahweh is reported as having said to Moses], that they turn and encamp before Phi-ha-hiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea."

The telling of this event is repeated, and stressed, in the Book of Numbers: "And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pi-ha-hiroth, which is before Baal-zephon: and they pitched before Migdol."

The Old Testament itself is silent concerning the motive for this turning back, or what William Heidel termed "a curious countermarch," and, for that reason, it has long puzzled Old Testament commentators- so that, as a young man, I was not unique in being piqued by this event. Extra-Biblical sources, however, are far from silent. Drawing on these other works, Louis Ginzberg expounded on the event in the following manner: "Accordingly, [the Israelites] retraced their steps to Pi-ha-hiroth, where two rectangular rocks form an opening, within which the great sanctuary of Baal-zephon was situated."

Not having had to cross a body of water on their way to Etham, neither did the Israelites have to cross any water on retracing their steps back to Pi-ha-hiroth. Why, then, did they have to cross a sea once they left Pi-ha-hiroth to head back to Etham?

"And they departed from before Pi-ha-hiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham."

Where did this sea come from?

Of greater importance, why did Moses turn back with the Israelites, seemingly endangering their flight from Egypt, to encamp at the sanctuary of this infamous god?

It is, once again, to extra-Biblical sources that we must turn for an answer to this tantalizing question. And here, in these sources, we find it stated that it was not Yahweh, but the Egyptian officers accompanying the Israelites, who ordered the pilgrims to turn back. According to these sources, however, the Israelites insisted that Pharaoh had dismissed them for good. While the officers, who had their strict orders, were attempting to enforce their authority, a skirmish ensued. The Israelites fell upon the officers, "slaying some and wounding others." Those who were not killed managed to escape back to Egypt.

This turn of events must have alarmed Moses who knew that the escaped officers would soon bring Pharaoh's army thundering on their heels. It was then that he, "who did not [yet] desire the departure of his people to have the appearance of flight," gave the order to turn back to Pi-ha-hiroth, thus hoping to allay Pharaoh's anger.

The question, however, must still be asked: why would Moses have hastened to a locality on the coast in which, according to all sources, he only managed to entrap himself? Logic tells us that once the Egyptian officers had been killed, the die was cast. The masquerade was over. This was now open rebellion. No turning back, other than a return to Egypt, was about to pacify Pharaoh- unless it was to Pi-ha-hiroth that the Israelites were supposed to have pilgrimaged in the first place. Moses' move would then have placed him where he should have been and Pharaoh, although angered, might have been appeased.

Some sort of excuse would of course have had to have been concocted to account for the incident at Etham. Here, again, we can only surmise, but Moses could have said that, by traveling the inland route, they had accidentally bypassed their destination; that a misunderstanding with the officers had led to an argument which got out of hand; and that some hot-headed Israelites had taken matters into their own hands. He might have had to finger those individuals who had actually attacked the officers, sacrificing the few to save the many, although, one would think, some form of retribution would still have followed. We shall never know for, as we are all aware, events took a different turn.

What indications are there that Pi-ha-hiroth had been the stated- that is requested- destination of the Israelite pilgrimage?

In order to answer, or, at least, attempt to answer, that question we will have to temporarily leave the Israelites encamped at Pi-ha-hiroth while we take a little excursion of our own.


It has long been surmised, and often stated, that the Israelites adopted the worship of Baal after their infiltration into Canaan- that is following their exodus from Egypt. Since Baal was, primarily, a Canaanite god, this supposition seemed reasonable. What should not, however, be overlooked is that, since the days of Abraham, the Hebrews had led a semi-nomadic life in that very Canaan which can rightly be called the land of the Baalim. The Scriptural narrative contains no intimation of Baal worship by the Hebrews prior to their migration into, and prolonged sojourn in, Egypt. Extra-Biblical sources, on the other hand, intimate otherwise.

Like other Semitic deities, Baal had also found his way into Egypt where he was worshipped at Tanis and Memphis. Ramesses II, known to us as the Great, Pharaoh of Egypt's Nineteenth Dynasty, had such respect for the imported deity that he considered himself a warrior like Baal. Called Bar, or Pa-Bar, by the Egyptians, Baal was accepted by them as the god of their enemies and, as such, regarded with a certain amount of reverence and awe.

While in Egypt, the Israelites had occupied what the Old Testament refers to as the Land of Goshen. Although not readily identified with any modern locality, Scriptural clues indicate that Goshen was situated somewhere in the delta region of Lower (i.e. Northern) Egypt in which Tanis, one of the very centers of Egyptian Baal worship, was also located. Israelite contact with Baal in Egypt is therefore a possibility that needs considering.

The above holds regardless of whether or not Tanis and Memphis existed during the Israelite sojourn in Egypt since the Egyptian cults of Baal actually antedate the building of these cities. According to Budge, Baal was introduced into Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty but may actually have antedated even that period. This is emphasized here because of the controversy which has long surrounded the date of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. In fact, if the Old Testament narrative is to be believed, the above probability becomes a virtual certainty since, as we have already seen, a site bearing the name of Baal is thrice there reported to have played an important role in the Exodus.

The name "Baal"- more properly "Ba-al"- simply meant "Lord." There was, however, more than one Baal venerated in the ancient Near East. The place-name connected with the Exodus tale with which we are concerned singles out one of these Baalim, and that is Baal-zephon. Is there any evidence that this particular Baal was also venerated in Egypt?

Baal-zephon was the patron god of ancient Ugarit, the present Ras Shamra, on the Syrian coast, far from the borders of Egypt. Even so, there is evidence which suggests that the Egyptians would have named a site in his honor. As we have seen, Baal was not unknown in Egypt. Neither, it seems, was a female counterpart of him. I quote E. A. Wallis Budge:

Here for the sake of convenience may be mentioned the goddess Bairtha Ba'alath, or Beltis, of Tchapuna in full Bairtha Tchapuna or Ba'alath-Sephon, who may be regarded as the female counterpart of the Ba'al-Sephon [the same as Baal-zephon] of the Hebrew Scriptures. The city here referred to [i.e. in the Hebrew Scriptures] is on the borders of Egypt. Another city or district of the same name was situated in Northern Phoenicia, [or Canaan], and is mentioned in an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser II under the form Ba-'-li Sa-pu-na.

Ba'alath, Baalath, or Baalat sometimes also Belit, Belith, and/or Beltis, is merely the feminine of Baal. While the latter meant "Lord," the former simply stood for "Lady." The Egyptian form "Bairtha Tchapuna" seems to hint at the existence of a "Bar Tchapuna," or Baal-zephon.

That Baal-zephon was known and worshipped in Egypt has now been verified by a cylinder seal depicting this deity that was discovered in the palace remains of Stratum G4 at Tell ed-Daba. This site has been identified by Manfred Bietak, its excavator, as ancient Avaris. First called Rowarty in Egyptian, and later Hatwaret, Avaris was the Asiatic settlement and center of Hyksos rule, which harbored Canaanites among its population. Moreover, David Rohl has more recently presented ample evidence which indicates that Avaris was "the major population centre of the Israelites throughout their long sojourn in Egypt." Bietak has also argued that Pharaoh Nehesy gave to Baal-zephon the name of the Egyptian deity Set (or Sutekh). This is not an entirely new supposition since, as early as 1904, Budge had also come to a similar conclusion when he stated that: "Of [the Egyptianized Baal's] form and worship we know nothing, but the Egyptians placed after their transliterations of his name a figure of the fabulous animal in which the god Set became incarnate, and it is clear that they must have believed Bar [i.e. Baal] and Set to have qualities and attributes in common."

The worship of this particular Baal in Egypt makes the existence of a place named after him in that land all the more probable. In fact, it is known that at least one fortified tower, or fortress, in Egypt was named after the god Mekter pef Bratchapnu, that is the Migdol, or Tower, of Baal-zephon. Extra-Biblical sources vouch for this. They do not, however, refer to this place as a "city" but, as we have already seen, as an actual sanctuary of Baal-zephon, known by that name, and situated at Pi-ha-hiroth. This explains the Biblical reference to "Pi-ha-hiroth, over against Baal-zephon" and "Pi-ha-hiroth [which] is before Baal-zephon."

Despite their respect and reverence for this deity, did not the Egyptians consider Baal a god of foreigners, even of their enemies? Were not the Israelites foreigners in Egypt? Moreover, was not Baal originally a Canaanite god and had not the Israelites come to Egypt from Canaan?

Pharaoh would have better tended to trust Moses had he been told it was to Baal-zephon's shrine that he intended to take the Israelites. And he might have believed him all the more because there already was a precedent connecting this shrine to the Israelites.

Midrashic tradition has it that when the Hebrew patriarch Joseph had held office in Egypt, he hid a cache of riches in this very sanctuary of Baal-zephon. One cannot, however, visualize a government official secretly hiding a treasure in a public shrine without being detected. And for what purpose would he have done so? If there is any truth to this tale, the riches in question would more probably have been donated by Joseph.

What this would mean, of course, is that Joseph had owed some sort of allegiance to Baal-zephon. He could not have looked upon this deity as a "false" god. Later Jewish sentiment would have tried to eliminate what would by then have been seen as Joseph's apostasy. It would probably have been for this reason that JosephÕs donation was later said to have been a secretly hidden cache. Present religious objections aside, there would have been nothing strange in JosephÕs approbation of Baal. Although Hebrew by blood, he too had once been a native of Canaan. Baal would not have been a stranger to him. After all, even Abraham had once paid his homage to a Canaanite deity. In fact, let us be more honest than that.

The Book of Genesis does not hide the fact that the Hebrews were prone to idol worship. Just before the tribe of Jacob, who was JosephÕs father, went up to Bethel, Jacob found it necessary to confiscate "the strange gods" of his own household and bury them beneath an oak tree near Shechem. Jewish sources go even further in proclaiming that the children of Israel were idol worshippers up until the time of their deliverance from Egypt. That the Israelites worshipped idols while in Egypt is also stated.

Israelite partiality toward Baal-zephon is further borne by the following data: it was, for instance, believed that the two rocks which stood before the sanctuary of this deity were shaped one in the form of a man, the other a woman by god's own hand. This bespeaks an affinity, real or imagined, between the Israelite god and Baal-zephon. This is further confirmed by another Jewish belief which has it that when God destroyed the idols of the Egyptians, just before the Israelites left Egypt, that of Baal-zephon alone was spared. That the Israelites continued to honor Baal-zephon even later in Israel is evidenced by a city of Ephraim that was named in his honor. Even Israelite individuals continued to perpetuate this deityÕs fame by adopting the theophoric name of Elzaphan and Elizaphan, which means "El of Zephon."

And while on the matter of names, it behooves us to remember that Joseph himself was given a new name by Pharaoh, and that name was Zaph(e)nath-paaneah. Jewish tradition has interpreted this name to mean "he who can reveal secret things with ease," an obvious allusion to Joseph's fame as an interpreter of dreams, although other traditional Jewish explanations have also been given for the name. Nahum Sarna, on the other hand, informs us that ÒJosephÕs new name is good Egyptian and means, "the god has spoken and he (the bearer of the name) shall live." Not only was Zaph(e)nath-paaneah a "good Egyptian" name, it actually appears in Egyptian sources from at least the twelfth century B.C. The theophoric element of Zephon in the name is more than obvious as Tom Chetwynd noted in 1987. Thus, if the translation of the name as "god has spoken and he shall live" is correct, the god in question has to be Baal-zephon. Whether Pharaoh gave his new Israelite vizier this name because Joseph was a devout worshipper of the deity (as would be probable if, in fact, he did donate a treasure to the god's shrine) or whether he did so for some other reason remains a moot question. But the connection between Joseph and Baal-zephon is nevertheless strengthened by this datum.

All this seems to indicate that Pharaoh might have understood, and perhaps even sympathized with, Moses and the Israelites' desire to visit the shrine of Baal-zephon and there conduct their sacrifices. In fact, it is reported in an old Jewish legend that, when Moses persisted in taking the Israelites out of Egypt, Pharaoh told him: "My god Baal-zephon will oppose you in the way, and hinder you on your journey."

Which brings us to the question: where was this shrine located? Where was Pi-ha-hiroth?


The route the Israelites followed during the Exodus has never been determined with any certainty mainly because the places mentioned along the way in the Old Testament have defied all attempts at geographical identification. For that reason four different routes have been proposed, each of which includes details that seem to match some of the Scriptural narrative but none of which entirely satisfies the Exodus scenario. The one thing that can be said for certain is that, eventually, the Israelites entered a wilderness called Sinai.

As far as we know, there are no sacred shrines to pilgrimage to in the Sinai heartland within a three-day journey on foot. Although the Israelites might have visited the temple of Hathor/Baalath at present-day Serabit el-Khadim along their route, recognized as a Semitic shrine since the days of Flinders Petrie, the place is much too far away to be the shrine we seek.

As we know from the Book of Exodus, after leaving the land of Goshen, the Israelites first stopped at a place called Succoth from where they journeyed to Etham before turning back to Pi-ha-hiroth.

According to Petrie, Succoth, which word is said to mean "booths," "huts," or "lairs," the plural of sucah, was the Egyptian Thuku (variant, Theku) or, as it is now more usually rendered, Tjeku. Werner Keller locates the place in Wadi Tumilat, slightly east of the Nile delta. Others have been more precise in suggesting Tell el-Maskhuta(h) in the same general district. In fact, the name has been found mentioned in a Ramesside ostracon unearthed at this very place. As Kenneth Kitchen stated: "there is definitely a place called Succoth."

Etham, the other extremity of the geographical area with which we are concerned, has been placed in eastern Egypt, which is not saying much. Petrie was a little more specific in locating it somewhere Òabout the modern NefishehÓ (now rendered Nifisha), west of Lake Timsah and, therefore, south of Succoth. He did so, however, on no particular evidence other than that he was, like others before him and since, seeking a southern route into the Sinai peninsula.

The name Etham has no meaning in Hebrew and so might be of Egyptian derivation. Budge has suggested Khetem which means "fortress." One such fortress, the Khetem en Merenptah, was to be found at Theku, the very Succoth from which the Israelites started on their march. Another of these fortresses was known as Khetem ur en-Uatch-ur, that is "The Mediterranean Fortress," Two other fortresses bearing the name Khetem were Khetem enti em Thar, The Fortress of Tanis, and Khetem Gebti, the Fortress of Coptos. Only the last one is away from the northern shore, it being some 25 miles north-east of Thebes. Perhaps of more importance is the fact that one of these fortresses is found mentioned in Egyptian documents without an identifying suffix, thus indicating that it was well known for the name "Fortress" to stand alone. It is this place, simply called Khetem, that Budge has suggested might be the Etham of the Old Testament. Unfortunately, the locality of this Khetem is not specified. For reasons that should become clear in a while, I personally favor Ostracine which is the present Filusiat, or El Arish.

Which brings us to Pi-ha-hiroth, the locality of which had to have been somewhere between Etham and Succoth. But, as Kitchen asked: "where do we locate it? There is a canal with that name recorded in Ramesside documents but we can't place it so it doesn't help a lot." Petrie tells us that, in Egyptian, Pi-ha-hiroth is rendered Pa-qaheret where, he informs us, "there was a shrine of Osiris, the Serapeum of later times." The Serapeum had been discovered at Sakkara by Auguste Mariette in 1850 but, again, Petrie seems to have chosen this locality merely because it was on the southern route to Sinai. Besides, his acceptance of Etham at present-day Nifisha, which is north of Sakkara, indicates that he believed the Israelites to have continued on their journey from Etham to Pi-ha-hiroth, which is contrary to the Scriptural narrative. He did not take into consideration the fact that the Israelites turned back from Etham in order to reach Pi-ha-hiroth.

As we have already learned, Pi-ha-hiroth is said to have been located "between Migdol and the sea." Migdol is the Hebrew bastardization of the Egyptian m'ktal (sometimes transcribed as miktol) which means "tower." But, again, as Kitchen stated, the name "applies to any old Migdol."

Another form of miktol was mek-ter, and here we might be on a better track since there was a mekter known as Mekter pef Bratchapnu, which translates as the Migdol of Baal-zephon. But, without locating Baal-zephon itself, we are still lost.

There is one thing that can be stated for certain at this point and that is that the Israelites stopped at a place called Etham which, if Budge is correct, means "fortress," and traveled back to a place that was between Migdol, which place means "tower," and the sea. The evidence is therefore against those who claim that the Israelites shunned the Way of the Philistines in order to avoid the Egyptian garrisons. And, as already asked above, why should they have attempted to avoid any Egyptian fortresses since they had PharaohÕs permission to leave?

This being the case, the reason why the Israelites did not travel along the Way of the Land of the Philistines had nothing to do with an attempt to avoid such garrisons. And, letÕs face it, had the Israelites struck south from Succoth towards the Sinai, why would they have traveled by the Way of the Land of the Philistines? In fact, why even mention the Way of the Land of the Philistines unless the place they had meant to go to could also have been reached by the Way of the Land of the Philistines? To me this is crystal clear and the impression I have always been under is that the road the Israelites chose actually paralleled the Way of the Land of the Philistines. It therefore stands to reason that, after leaving Succoth, the Israelites traveled east and not south. And this, in turn, would mean that the journey from Succoth to Etham and back to Pi-ha-hiroth was along the northern shore of the Sinai peninsula. Thus, when it is said that Pi-ha-hiroth lay between Migdol and the sea, the sea meant has to be the Mediterranean. Pi-ha-hiroth, therefore, would have been somewhere along the very Way of the land of the Philistines that Moses had at first avoided. When he returned to Pi-ha-hiroth, he would have merely repaired to the actual route he would have been expected to have followed.

Can this much, at least, be verified?


The Way of the Land of the Philistines also passed along the shores of Lake Serbon (Serbonis and/or Sirbonis), which was the ancient Greek name of the present Sabkhat al Bardawil. This is a salt-water lagoon which is separated from the Mediterranean by the very narrow causeway of the Bardawil Peninsula upon which modern Cape Burun is located. At one point, this peninsula rises into a moderate hill, 97 feet high, which the later Romans called Mons (that is Mount) Casius. Until now, this mount's only claim to fame has been as the site at which Pompey, fleeing from Julius Caesar, was assassinated by the order of Ptolemy XIII.

Not far from Ras Shamra/Ugarit, whose patron deity, as we have seen, was Baal-zephon, there occurs another mountain to which the Romans referred as Mons Casius. This was ancient Mount Khazzi, from which the Romans obtained the name Casius, the present Jebel el-Akra. The Hebrews referred to this same mountain as Tsaphon, which is merely a different transliteration of Zephon (sometimes rendered Zaphon, Saphon, Sephon, and/or Safon). We also know, from an Ugaritic myth, that Mount Tsaphon was directly connected with the Syrian Baal. In fact "Baal-zephon" can be translated as "the Baal of Tsaphon." i.e. "the Lord of Tsaphon." And, since tsaphon meant "north," the name could also be said to have meant "the Lord of the North."

Mount Casius on the Mediterranean, or the Serbonian Mount Casius, with which we are more directly concerned, seems to have been known to the Egyptians as Khasau, which is obviously a transliteration of the Syrian "Khazzi." There is therefore reason to suppose that the Serbonian Mount Casius would also have been known to the Israelites as Mount Zephon. If Bronson Feldman is right, Baal-zephon, which he renders as Baal-tzefon, the Lord of the North, "was the Hebrew name of Mount Kasios." The names are so interconnected that their relation to each other and to Baal-zephon need hardly be stressed further. And yet, there is more.

As we have already seen, Budge and, more recently, Bietak have both noted that the Egyptians identified Baal-zephon with their own god Set. This becomes all the more interesting when we learn that the Serbonian Mount Casius, which we have just seen connected to Baal-zephon, was by the Egyptians held as being sacred to Set. More than that, the Egyptians referred to Lake Serbonis as the Exhalation of Typhon- Typhon being the name the Greeks gave to the Egyptian Set.

What all this indicates is that the sanctuary of Baal-zephon to which the Israelites retreated was at, or near, Serbonian Mount Casius (which is a theory that has already been proposed by others) and that the sea which the Israelites had to cross in order to flee from Pharaoh's army was Lake Serbon (which has also been suggested by other scholars before me). If this double hypothesis is correct, it would then follow that the long-sought-for Pi-ha-hiroth was either situated on the same Bardawil Peninsula or somewhere on the opposite shore of Sabkhat al Bardawil. Feldman himself has suggested "the town beside Lake Serbon that Greek geography called Gerrha" and gives some linguistic evidence to uphold it.


Most scholars, however, have not been able to accept this supposition (among them Bob Porter, John Bimson, and David Slade). Slade, for instance, has come up with two objections, the first being that "the distance in excess of 100 km from [Pi] Rameses is too far for men and cattle to walk in the three days' march" described in the Book of Exodus. If, however, Pi-Rameses is to be located at modern Fakus, as Rohl has cogently argued, the distance to Mount Casius is not "in excess of 100 km" but closer to 80. Thus the distance traveled per day would only be about 26.5 km. A Roman legion could travel 14 miles (i.e. approximately 22.5 kilometers) per day.

At that time, however, the Israelites were far less capable than Roman legions. They were not even yet expert herdsmen and one can only envision them as bumbling their way with their cattle when they first started on their journey. On the other hand, it is not stated in the Book of Exodus that it only took the Israelites three days to reach Pi-ha-hiroth. What is stated is that they asked for permission to travel three daysÕ journey. The distance concerned can easily be traveled by one person on foot or on a beast of burden. Moses, who probably knew this, might not have realized that a greater mass of people burdened with old men and young children, to say nothing of unruly cattle, would take longer than three days to reach their stated destination. Besides, since he originally seems to have had no intention of stopping at Pi-ha-hiroth, none of this would have mattered to him.

Slade's second objection is that "the Lake Bardawil sand-spit (the Via Maris) was only usable as a practical route to the East between 2700 and 500 BP when it was elevated above sea level by tectonic processes." This, however, is a somewhat confused notion of the facts, although I must hasten to add that the confusion is not entirely Slade's.

Slade is here referring to an article by David Neev and G. M. Friedman who, unfortunately, made the mistake of having the Via Maris (or Way of the Land of the Philistines) proceed along the Bardawil sand-spit, whereas, in fact, the route of the Via Maris proceeded, as it still does to this day, along the southern shore of the Bardawil lagoon. In one of their maps, Neev and Friedman show what they call the "older coastal route" across the northern Sinai, but it is precisely this older coastal route that was, and is, the Via Maris.

Even so, since it is my belief that it was across the sand-spit that the Israelites were eventually able to escape (the details of which I must defer to a future article), the existence or not of this sand-spit at the time of the Exodus is of crucial importance to the hypothesis being presented here. In other words, if the sand-spit was only "usable as a practical route to the East between 2700 and 500 BP," that is between 700 B.C. and 1478 A.D., it would not have been "usable" at the time of the Exodus.

But what Neev and Friedman really state is that "the Sinai subplate was affected by tectonic movements some 2700 to 3000 years before the present, (that is between 700 B.C. and 1000 B.C.) which, although it moves the event closer to our time-frame, is still too late for the Exodus. Neev and Friedman continue with:

"The evidence on the western border of the subplate comes from the vicinity of the Bardawil Lagoon. This ridge appears to be of tectonic origin as indicated by its straight and sharply lineated morphology and also by the elevated position of a few segments along it. One of these is the structural dome of Mount Casius. Hence, it is assumed that this structural ridge was elevated to above the post-Flandrian sea level sometime prior to Persian times (that is, 2700 to 3000 years B. P.)Ó

Elsewhere in the same article, however, Neev and Friedman state:

"The data presented above from the western and eastern margins of the Sinai subplate indicate two phases of tectonic activity that probably occurred at roughly the same time: the first phase sometime between 2700 and 3500 years B. P. and the second in Roman times (after the end of the first century A. D.)

Personally, I am a little confused. How can two phases of tectonic activity dated to two different dates, one between 2700 and 3500 years B. P., the other after the end of the first century A.D., be said to have Òoccurred at roughly the same timeÓ? Even so, we do notice that, here, the first phase has been stretched from "2700 to 3000 years B.P." to Òbetween 2700 and 3500 years B.P.Ó 3500 years B.P. bring us to 1500 B.C. and, in my belief that these rounded figures are approximations, as they usually are, well within the time-frame of this hypothesis.

Now it is true that Neev and Friedman claim that the "more northern route," that is the sand-spit they mistook for the Via Maris, "was used only between Persian and Mamluk times," which is where Slade obtained his "between 2700 and 500 BP." I do not, however, understand why a ridge that had been elevated somewhere between 2700 and 3500 B. P. could not have been used earlier that 2700 B.P.

Neev and Friedman also state that the "oldest traces of human activity, which were found on top of [the] soil at Mount Casius, are pottery shards from the Persian period." The source for this statement is however given as a "personal communication" from E. Oren. This is not very helpful. One is immediately led to ask whether anything else will ever be discovered beneath the soil in question.

Even so, if Mount Casius, together with the sand-spit, was elevated no earlier than 3500 years B.P., an older shrine to Baal-zephon could not have existed there during the time of Joseph. On the other hand, it is not said that the shrine was constructed on Mount Casius, and the Mount could have become sacred to the god in later times due to its proximity to the shrine which could have been in the vicinity.


Those who favor this northern route for the Exodus have offered some logical points to back up their argument:

For instance, everyone who is acquainted with the tale of the Exodus knows that, when the Israelites were in the wilderness and grumbled for food, Yahweh sent them manna to eat- "a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground." It was described as "like white coriander seed" and tasted "like wafers made with honey." "When the sun waxed hot, it melted."

Despite Velikovsky and his hypothesis that this manna was actually carbohydrates that fell from the tail of cometary Venus, manna is actually "the sweet, small, whitish deposit left on the ground after certain scale insects feed on the tamarisk tree." Occurring Òin the form of small, roundish, hard, dry tears, varying from the size of a mustard seed to that of a coriander, of a light-brown colour, sweet taste and senna-like odour," the secretion is "caused by the puncture of an insect, Coccus manniparus." According to Friedrich Bodenheimer, a botanical expert from the Hebrew University at Jerusalem, the resinous secretion is about the same shape and size as a coriander seed, just as described in the Book of Exodus. "When it falls to the ground it is white in colour, but after lying for some time it becomes yellowish-brown."

"The taste of these crystallised grains of manna is peculiarly sweet. It is most of all like honey when it has been left for a long time to solidify."

The Bedouins of North Sinai still refer to this excretion as man, which, incidentally, is the very word used for it in the Hebrew version of Exodus. To this day, these Bedouins continue to use it as a sweetener. To which, Werner Keller adds:

"anyone who is interested in manna will find it on the list of exports from the Sinai peninsula. Further, its supplier is registered in every botanical index of the Middle East, it is the Tamarix Mannifera, Ehr."

What is of interest here is that this secretion, this man, is much more plentiful in the north than it is in South Sinai. The reason is simple: the tamarisk grows best in salt-deserts or by the seashore, the very nature of the north Sinai coast.

Manna was not the only food that Yahweh was said to have provided for the Israelites. He also sent them quails: "And there went forth a wind from Yahweh, and it brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the campÉand they gathered the quails" and ate them.

We notice here that the wind brought the quails from the sea, which means that the Israelites could not have been that far from the sea. And, in fact, to this day, migrating quail continue to fall from exhaustion on that very strand near the Bardawil lagoon after having crossed the Mediterranean on their way from Europe to Africa. These fat, oily birds, which seem to be "divinely delivered," are easily captured by the Bedouins in their nets, which birds are then sold as delicacies. While some of these migrating quail do fall in the southern reaches of the Sinai, they do not do so in large enough quantities to feed a population. When they fall at all, it is in ones and twos, here and there.

As David Neev and K. Emery have deduced on the basis of climatic changes in the Biblical world, increased precipitation during the Late Bronze age in the northern part of the Sinai desert "may have extended long enough to enable the wandering of fugitive tribes of Israelites together with their flocks across the Sinai and along the fringe of the Edom, Moab, and Ammon deserts." They make no such claim for the southern regions of the Sinai.


What can be said for certain is that local tradition does connect the Bardawil Lagoon with the Sea of Passage. Thus, as Burton Bernstein narrates:

"Another plentiful fish [caught in the Bardawil Lagoon] is a species of flounder which, like its cousins, seems to be only half a fish; the Bedouins call it samak Musa, in honor of the holy man [i.e. Moses] who parted the local waters and, inadvertently, they believe, some of the fish, in the process."


Our hypothesis, then, is as follows:

(1) The IsraelitesÕ destination undoubtedly seems to have been Canaan. (2) Their stated destination, however, seems to have been the sanctuary, or shrine, of Baal-zephon on the shores of the Serbonian lake. (3) The road from Egypt to Canaan actually passed by Lake Serbon. (4) Moses did not take this road because he did not want the Egyptian officers who went with them to realize that they had meant to bypass the shrine of Baal-zephon. (5) He therefore chose a parallel route in the hope that he might be able to deceive the Egyptian officers. (6) Once they had reached Etham, his ruse was discovered by the Egyptian officers when it was realized that the shrine of Baal-zephon had been bypassed. (7) A skirmish ensued in which some of the officers were killed and others wounded. (8) The wounded officers managed to escape back to Egypt. (9) Fearing PharaohÕs displeasure, Moses ordered his people to retreat to the sanctuary of Baal-zephon to which they were supposed to have gone in t he first place. (10) It was there, as we all know, that PharaohÕs army cornered the Israelites with their backs to the sea.

Very little of this hypothesis is conjectural. Mainly, it is based on Biblical, extra-Biblical, and one or two non-Biblical sources- none of which contradicts the others.

When the news of the Israelite rebellion was brought to Pharaoh, he is reported to have said: "Moses is leading them, but he himself knows not whither." And yet, according to all extant sources, he knew exactly where to find him.

"But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-ha-hiroth, before Baal-zephon."

Pharaoh had proven right: Baal-zephon did oppose the Israelites "in the way and hinder them on their journey."

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