17 After the king[a] had finally let the people go, the Lord did not lead them through Philistine territory, though that was the shortest way. God had said, “If they are attacked, they may decide to return to Egypt.” 18 So he led them around through the desert and toward the Red Sea.[b]
The Israelites left Egypt, prepared for battle.
13.17Philistine territory: The shortest land route from the Nile Delta to Canaan; it was the southern section of the major road that led to Megiddo and then on to Mesopotamia by way of Asia Minor.
13.18Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph “Sea of Reeds,” one of the marshes or fresh water lakes, near the eastern part of the Nile Delta. This identification is based on Exodus 13.17—14.9, which lists the towns on the route of the Israelites before crossing the sea. In the Greek translation of the Scriptures made about 200 B.C., the “Sea of Reeds” was named “Red Sea.”
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