Exodus 13:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

New Living Translation
So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.

English Standard Version
But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.

New American Standard Bible
Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.

King James Bible
But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So He led the people around toward the Red Sea along the road of the wilderness. And the Israelites left the land of Egypt in battle formation.

International Standard Version
So God led the people the roundabout way of the desert toward the Reed Sea. The Israelis went up from the land of Egypt in military formation.

NET Bible
So God brought the people around by the way of the desert to the Red Sea, and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt prepared for battle.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So God led the people around the other way, on the road through the desert toward the Red Sea. The Israelites were ready for battle when they left Egypt.

Jubilee Bible 2000
but God led the people round about through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea. And the sons of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

King James 2000 Bible
But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up equipped for battle out of the land of Egypt.

American King James Version
But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

American Standard Version
but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But he led them about by the way of the desert, which is by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

Darby Bible Translation
And God led the people about, the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went arrayed out of the land of Egypt.

English Revised Version
but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

Webster's Bible Translation
But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up harnassed from the land of Egypt.

World English Bible
but God led the people around by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

Young's Literal Translation
and God turneth round the people the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea, and by fifties have the sons of Israel gone up from the land of Egypt.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

13:17-20 There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was only a few days' journey; the other was much further about, through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel. The Egyptians were to be drowned in the Red sea; the Israelites were to be humbled and proved in the wilderness. God's way is the right way, though it seems about. If we think he leads not his people the nearest way, yet we may be sure he leads them the best way, and so it will appear when we come to our journey's end. The Philistines were powerful enemies; it was needful that the Israelites should be prepared for the wars of Canaan, by passing through the difficulties of the wilderness. Thus God proportions his people's trials to their strength, 1Co 10:13. They went up in good order. They went up in five in a rank, some; in five bands, so others, which it seems rather to their faith and hope, that God would bring them to Canaan, in expectation of which they carried these bones with them while in the desert.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 18. - God led the people about. Or "led the people a circuit," i.e., made them take a circuitous route to Canaan, the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea - i.e., by the southern wilderness, or what is now called "the wilderness of Sinai." Kalisch shows the wisdom of this course - how it gave time for the nation to be "gradually accustomed to fatigues and hardships by a long and tiresome march in the desert" - to learn obedience to their chief - and finally to be "trained to military discipline and martial, virtue by occasional expeditions against the weaker tribes of the desert." He errs, however, in ascribing the wisdom of the course taken to Moses, since Moses expressly declares that the conception was not his, but God's. And the children of Israel went up harnessed. The word here translated "harnessed," is generally thought to mean either "with their loins girded" (Onkelos, Kimchi, Kalisch) or "in military order" (Gesenius, Lee, Knobel). Ewald, who inclines to the latter of these two senses, suggests that, strictly, it means "in five divisions" - viz., van, centre, two wings, and rearguard. The word is, apparently, a derivative from khamesh, "five."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But God led the people about,.... Instead of their going to the west, or northwest, towards Gaza, &c. and the Mediterranean sea, the Lord going before them in a pillar of cloud and fire, as after related, directed them to turn off to the right, between the east and south, to the southeast:

through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: the wilderness of Etham, by the Red sea:

and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt or "girt" (m) about the loins under the fifth rib; not with armour, as some (n) understand it, for it is not likely that they could, or that Pharaoh would suffer them to be furnished with armour, but their garments were girt about them, and so fit for travelling; or they went up "by fives" (o), as it may be rendered, either by five in a rank, or rather in five bodies or squadrons, and so marched out, not in a disorderly and confused way, but in great order and regularity. The latter is much more reasonable to suppose, for five in a rank is too small a number for an army of 600,000 men to march in; since allowing the ranks to be but three feet asunder, and a mile to consist of about two thousand yards, the front and rear of the army would be sixty miles distant from each other (p).

(m) "accincti", Fagninus, Vatablus, Cartwright; so Onkelos, Aben Ezra. (n) Kimchi & Pen Melech. (o) "Quintati", Montanus: "quini", Piscater, Rivet. (p) See the Bishop of Clogher's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 272.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

18. God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea, &c.—This wondrous expanse of water is a gulf of the Indian ocean. It was called in Hebrew "the weedy sea," from the forest of marine plants with which it abounds. But the name of the Red Sea is not so easily traced. Some think it was given from its contiguity to the countries of Edom ("red"); others derive it from its coral rocks; while a third class ascribe the origin of the name to an extremely red appearance of the water in some parts, caused by a numberless multitude of very small mollusca. This sea, at its northern extremity, separates into two smaller inlets—the eastern called anciently the Elanitic gulf, now the gulf of Akaba; and the western the Heroopolite gulf, now the gulf of Suez, which, there can be no doubt, extended much more to the north anciently than it does now. It was toward the latter the Israelites marched.

went up harnessed—that is, girded, equipped for a long journey. (See Ps 105:37). The Margin renders it "five in a rank," meaning obviously five large divisions, under five presiding officers, according to the usages of all caravans; and a spectacle of such a mighty and motley multitude must have presented an imposing appearance, and its orderly progress could have been effected only by the superintending influence of God.

Exodus 13:18 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Pillars of Cloud and Fire
17Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, "The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." 18Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. 19Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you."…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 17:16
The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, "You are not to go back that way again."

Joshua 1:14
Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them

Joshua 4:12
The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them.

Joshua 4:13
About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho for war.

Psalm 136:16
to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever.
Treasury of Scripture

But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

led the

Exodus 14:2 Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before …

Numbers 33:6-8 And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in …

Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; …

Psalm 107:7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city …

harnessed. or, by five in a rank

Exodus 12:51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the …

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