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Reed Sea

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The Reed Sea (or Sea of Reeds) , is a possible translation of the Hebrew phrase Yam Suph which occurs many times in the Bible. This may refer to a large lake close to the Red Sea, which has since dried up due to the Suez Canal. It was in Egypt, specifically in the Suez valley next to the Sinai Peninsula, and north of the Gulf of Suez. It can also be the Gulf of Eilat, to which is referred in the Bible (1 Kings 9 verse 26). Another suggestion is that the Reed Sea is Sabħat al Bardawīl, a large lagoon on the north coast of the Sinai Peninsula.


In the Biblical narrative of The Exodus the phrase Yam Suph refers to the body of water that the "children of Israel" crossed following their exodus from Egypt. One translation of Yam Suph is "Sea of Reeds", though it has been suggested that suph may be related to the Hebrew suphah ("storm") or soph ("end"), referring to the events of the Exodus:

The crossing of the sea signaled the end of the sojourn in Egypt and it certainly was the end of the Egyptian army that pursued the fleeing Hebrews (Ex 14:23-29; 15:4-5). After this event at yam suph, perhaps the verb soph, meaning "destroy" and "come to an end," originated (cf. Amos 3:15; Jer 8:13; Isa 66:17; Psa 73:19). Another possible development of this root is the word suphah, meaning "storm-wind"...The meanings "end" and "storm-wind" would have constituted nice puns on the event that took place at the yam suph.[1]

See also


  1. James K. Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel in Sinai, The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition. Oxford & New York. Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN 0-515546-7, p. 214


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