Crossing the Red Sea |

TBC Staff

Our friend [Benjamin Wisner] Bacon [a late 19th century “higher critic”], who in his attempt to get rid of the jaw-bone with which Samson slew a thousand Philistines, made him use the hill of Lehigh as his weapon, tries his hand on many of the miracles of the Old Testament. Here is his attempt on the miracle at the Red Sea:

“The strong wind drives back the shallow water till Israel is able to ford the narrow gulf. On the farther shore the battle takes place between them and their pursuers, who are embarrassed by the returning tide and finally turn to "flee against it," leaving their dead upon the seashore.--Genesis of Genesis, 18n.”

We are astonished that after the lapse of more than three thousand years this gentleman, living near Boston, should know so much more about this remarkable event than the man who wrote Exodus. He knows that instead of going through the sea on "dry ground," as that author says, the Israelites forded the gulf; and he has learned that at that place it was a "narrow gulf." He has learned, what that author did not know, that a battle was fought between Israel and the Egyptians, and that it was fought after both armies had safely forded the sea. He agrees with Exodus, that the Egyptians were "embarrassed" (slightly so, we suppose) by the returning tide, and finally turned to "flee against it;" but he claims that the only dead they left were those killed in a battle on the farther shore--the rest, notwithstanding the slight "embarrassment" caused by the returning tide, got back in safety to their own side of the narrow gulf. This is about the way in which infidels rewrote sacred history in the days of Voltaire. It is the way in which reverend critics, with D. D. at the end of their names, rewrite it now.

J. W. McGarvey
Short Essays in Biblical Criticism (1910)