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[320] But the Egyptians soon repented that the Hebrews were gone; and the king also was mightily concerned that this had been procured by the magic arts of Moses; so they resolved to go after them. Accordingly they took their weapons, and other warlike furniture, and pursued after them, in order to bring them back, if once they overtook them, because they would now have no pretense to pray to God against them, since they had already been permitted to go out; and they thought they should easily overcome them, as they had no armor, and would be weary with their journey; so they made haste in their pursuit, and asked of every one they met which way they were gone. And indeed that land was difficult to be traveled over, not only by armies, but by single persons. Now Moses led the Hebrews this way, that in case the Egyptians should repent and be desirous to pursue after them, they might undergo the punishment of their wickedness, and of the breach of those promises they had made to them. As also he led them this way on account of the Philistines, who had quarreled with them, and hated them of old, that by all means they might not know of their departure, for their country is near to that of Egypt; and thence it was that Moses led them not along the road that tended to the land of the Philistines, but he was desirous that they should go through the desert, that so after a long journey, and after many afflictions, they might enter upon the land of Canaan. Another reason of this was, that God commanded him to bring the people to Mount Sinai, that there they might offer him sacrifices. Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews, they prepared to fight them, and by their multitude they drove them into a narrow place; for the number that pursued after them was six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and two hundred thousand foot-men, all armed. They also seized on the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up 1 between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was [on each side] a [ridge of] mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hebrews with their army, where [the ridges of] the mountains were closed with the sea; which army they placed at the chops of the mountains, that so they might deprive them of any passage into the plain.

1 Take the main part of Reland's excellent note here, which greatly illustrates Josephus, and the Scripture, in this history, as follows: "[A traveller, says Reland, whose name was] Eneman, when he returned out of Egypt, told me that he went the same way from Egypt to Mount Sinai, which he supposed the Israelites of old traveled; and that he found several mountainous tracts, that ran down towards the Red Sea. He thought the Israelites had proceeded as far as the desert of Etham, Exodus 13:20, when they were commanded by God to return back, Exodus 14:2, and to pitch their camp between Migdol and the sea; and that when they were not able to fly, unless by sea, they were shut in on each side by mountains. He also thought we might evidently learn hence, how it might be said that the Israelites were in Etham before they went over the sea, and yet might be said to have come into Etham after they had passed over the sea also. Besides, he gave me an account how he passed over a river in a boat near the city Suez, which he says must needs be the Heroopolia of the ancients, since that city could not be situate any where else in that neighborhood."

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