Exodus 14:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.

New Living Translation
"Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon.

English Standard Version
“Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea.

New American Standard Bible
"Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.

King James Bible
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you must camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea.

International Standard Version
"Tell the Israelis that they are to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. You are to camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it by the sea.

NET Bible
"Tell the Israelites that they must turn and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you are to camp by the sea before Baal Zephon opposite it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Tell the Israelites to go back and set up their camp facing Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Set up your camp facing north-by the sea.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Speak unto the sons of Israel that they turn and set up their camp before Pihahiroth between Migdol and the sea over against Baalzephon; before it shall ye set up camp by the sea.

King James 2000 Bible
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall you encamp by the sea.

American King James Version
Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall you encamp by the sea.

American Standard Version
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon: over against it shall ye encamp by the sea.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Speak to the children of Israel: Let them turn and encamp over against Phihahiroth which is between Magdal and the sea over against Beelsephon: you shall encamp before it upon the sea.

Darby Bible Translation
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea: before Baal-Zephon, opposite to it, shall ye encamp by the sea.

English Revised Version
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon: over against it shall ye encamp by the sea.

Webster's Bible Translation
Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

World English Bible
"Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal Zephon. You shall encamp opposite it by the sea.

Young's Literal Translation
'Speak unto the sons of Israel, and they turn back and encamp before Pi-Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-Zephon; over-against it ye do encamp by the sea,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

14:1-9 Pharaoh would think that all Israel was entangled in the wilderness, and so would become an easy prey. But God says, I will be honoured upon Pharaoh. All men being made for the honour of their Maker, those whom he is not honoured by, he will be honoured upon. What seems to tend to the church's ruin, is often overruled to the ruin of the church's enemies. While Pharaoh gratified his malice and revenge, he furthered the bringing to pass God's counsels concerning him. Though with the greatest reason he had let Israel go, yet now he was angry with himself for it. God makes the envy and rage of men against his people, a torment to themselves. Those who set their faces heavenward, and will live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect to be set upon by Satan's temptations and terrors. He will not tamely part with any out of his service.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - Speak unto the children of Israel that they turn. Kalisch translates "return" - i.e., "retrace their steps," and supposes that Etham lay far south of Pihahiroth, on the west coast of the Gulf of Suez. But the Hebrew word means either "turn back" or "turn aside," and is translated here ἀποστρέψαντες and not ἀναστρέψαντες by the LXX. Dr. Brugsch supposes that the turn made was to the north, and the "sea" reached the Mediterranean; but all other writers, regarding the sea spoken of as the Red Sea (compare Exodus 13:18), believe the divergence from the previous route to have been towards the south, and place Pihahiroth, Migdol, and Baal-Zephon in this quarter. Pihahiroth. The exact position is nnknown. Neither the Egyptian remains nor the writings of the Greeks or Romans present us with any similar geographic name. If Semitic, the word should mean "the entrance to the caves," but it is quite possible that it may be Egyptian. Migdol. There was undoubtedly a famous Migdol, or Maktal, on the eastern frontier of Egypt, which was a strong fortified post, and which is often mentioned. Hecataeus called it Magdolos (Fr. 282). In the Itinerary of Antonine it is said to be twelve Roman miles from Pelusium (p. 76). But this is too northern a position for the Migdol of the present passage; which must represent a "tower" or "fortified post" not very remote from the modern Suez. Over against Baal-Zephon. The accumulation of names, otherwise unknown to the sacred writers, is a strong indication of the familiarity possessed by the author of Exodus with the geography of the country. No late writer could have ventured on such local details. A name resembling "Baal-Zephon" is said to occur in the Egyptian monuments. Dr. Brugsch reads it as "Baal-Zapuna." He regards it as the designation of a Phoenician god, and compares "Baal-Zebub." Others have compared the "Zephon" with the Graeco-Egyptian form "Typhon," and have supposed "Baal-Zephon" to be equivalent to "Baal-Set" or "Baal. Sutech" - a personification of the principle of evil.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn,.... Not return to Egypt, or to the place, or towards the place from whence they came, but turn off, out of the road in which they were; for, as a late traveller says (a),"there were two roads, through which the Israelites might have been conducted from Cairo (which he supposes may be Rameses) to Pihahiroth. One of them lies through the valleys, as they are now called, of Jendily, Rumaleah, and Baideah, bounded on each side by the mountains of the lower Thebais; the other lies higher, having the northern range of these mountains (the mountains of Mocattee) running parallel with it on the right hand, and the desert of the Egyptian Arabia, which lies all the way open to the land of the Philistines, on the left, (see Exodus 13:17) about the middle of this range we may turn short on our right hand into the valley of Baideah, through a remarkable breach or discontinuation, in which we afterwards continued to the very banks of the Red sea; this road then, through the valley of Baideah, which is some hours longer than the other open road, which leads directly from Cairo to Suez, was in all probability the very road which the Israelites took to Pihahiroth, on the banks of the Red sea.''And again he says (b), this valley ends at the sea in a small bay, made by the eastern extremities of the mountains, and is called "Tiah beni Israel", i.e. the road of the Israelites, from a tradition of the Arabs, of their having passed through it; as it is also called Baideah from the new and unheard of miracle that was wrought near it, by dividing the Red sea, and destroying therein Pharaoh, his chariots and horsemen:

and encamp before Pihahiroth: which was sixteen miles from Etham (c), and by some (d) thought to be the same with the city of Heroes (or Heroopolis), on the extreme part of the Arabic gulf, or the Phagroriopolis, placed by Strabo (e) near the same place: according to the above traveller (f), Pihahiroth was the mouth, or the most advanced part of the valley of Baideah to the eastward toward the Red sea; with which Jarchi in some measure agrees, who says Pihahiroth is Pithom, now so called, because the Israelites became free: they (Hahiroth) are two rocks, and the valley between them is called (Pi) the mouth of the rocks: so Dr. Shaw observes (g); the word may be deduced from "a hole" or "gullet", and by a latitude common in those cases, be rendered a narrow "defile", road or passage, such as the valley of Baideah has been described: but as the Israelites were properly delivered at this place from their captivity and fear of the Egyptians, Exodus 14:13 we may rather suppose that Hhiroth denotes the place where they were restored to their liberty; as Hhorar and Hhiroth are words of the like sort in the Chaldee: but another very learned man (h) says, that in the Egyptian language Pihahiroth signifies a place where grew great plenty of grass and herbs, and was contiguous to the Red sea, and was like that on the other shore of the sea, the Arabian, which Diodorus Siculus (i) speaks of as a pleasant green field:

between Migdol and the sea; which signifies a tower, and might be one: there was a city of this name in Egypt, and in those parts, but whether the same with this is not certain, Jeremiah 44:1.

over against Baalzephon; which the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem take to be an "idol": and so does Jarchi, and say it was the only one left of the idols of Egypt; see Exodus 12:12 and so some Christian as well as Jewish writers suppose it to be; and that it was as a watch, or guard, or amulet, to keep fugitives from going out of the land: but by Ezekiel the tragedian (k) it is called a city; and so by Josephus (l), who says they came to Baalzephon the third day, a place situated by the Red sea; which is most likely, and it is highly probable that this and Migdol were two fortified places, which guarded the mouth of the valley, or the straits which led to the Red sea: Artapanus (m) the Heathen historian agrees with Josephus in saying it was the third day when they came to the Red sea:

before it shall ye encamp by the sea; and there wait till Pharaoh came up to them.

(a) Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 307. Ed. 2.((b) lb. p. 309. (c) Bunting's Travels, p. 82. (d) See the Universal History, vol. 3. p. 387. (e) Geograph. l. 17. p. 553. (f) Shaw, ib. p. 310. (g) Ut supra. (a)) (h) Jablonski de Terra Goshen, Dissert. 5. sect. 9. (i) Bibliothec. c. 3. p. 175. (k) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 29. p. 444. (l) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 15. sect. 1.((m) Apud Euseb. ib. c. 27. p. 436.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp—The Israelites had now completed their three days' journey, and at Etham the decisive step would have to be taken whether they would celebrate their intended feast and return, or march onwards by the head of the Red Sea into the desert, with a view to a final departure. They were already on the borders of the desert, and a short march would have placed them beyond the reach of pursuit, as the chariots of Egypt could have made little progress over dry and yielding sand. But at Etham, instead of pursuing their journey eastward with the sea on their right, they were suddenly commanded to diverge to the south, keeping the gulf on their left; a route which not only detained them lingering on the confines of Egypt, but, in adopting it, they actually turned their backs on the land of which they had set out to obtain the possession. A movement so unexpected, and of which the ultimate design was carefully concealed, could not but excite the astonishment of all, even of Moses himself, although, from his implicit faith in the wisdom and power of his heavenly Guide, he obeyed. The object was to entice Pharaoh to pursue, in order that the moral effect, which the judgments on Egypt had produced in releasing God's people from bondage, might be still further extended over the nations by the awful events transacted at the Red Sea.

Pi-hahiroth—the mouth of the defile, or pass—a description well suited to that of Bedea, which extended from the Nile and opens on the shore of the Red Sea.

Migdol—a fortress or citadel.

Baal-zephon—some marked site on the opposite or eastern coast.

Exodus 14:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
Pharaoh Pursues the Israelites
1Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2"Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. 3"For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'…
Cross References
Exodus 14:1
Then the LORD said to Moses,

Exodus 14:3
Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.'

Exodus 14:9
The Egyptians--all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops--pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.

Numbers 33:7
They left Etham, turned back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east of Baal Zephon, and camped near Migdol.

Joshua 24:6
When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen as far as the Red Sea.

Jeremiah 44:1
This word came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews living in Lower Egypt--in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis--and in Upper Egypt:
Treasury of Scripture

Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall you encamp by the sea.

that they

Exodus 14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots …

Exodus 13:17,18 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God …

Numbers 33:7,8 And they removed from Etham, and turned again to Pihahiroth, which …

Pi-hahiroth, 'the mouth of Chiroth,' as it is rendered by the Lxx. Dr. Shaw is of opinion, that Chiroth denotes the valley which extends from the wilderness of Etham to the Red Sea. 'This valley, ends at the sea in a small bay made by the eastern extremities of the mountains (of Gewoubee and Attackah, between which the valley lies) which I have been describing, and is called Tiah-Beni-Israel, the road of the Israelites, by a tradition that is still kept up by the Arabs, of their having passed through it; so it is also called Baideah, from the new and unheard of miracle that was wrought near it, by dividing the Red sea, and destroying therein Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.' Migdol. The word Migdol signifies a tower, and hence some have supposed that it was a fortress which served to defend the bay. But the Lxx, render it Magdolus, which is mentioned by Herodotus, and others, and is expressly said by Stephanus to be a city of Egypt. This Bochart conjectures to have been the same as Migdol.

Jeremiah 44:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell …

Jeremiah 46:14 Declare you in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph …

Ezekiel 29:10 Behold, therefore I am against you, and against your rivers, and …

Heb. Baal-zephon. This may have been the name of a town or city in which Baal was worshipped; and probably called zephon, from being situated on the north point of the Red sea, near the present Suez.

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