Monday, June 22, 2009

Crossing the Red Sea

Moses Crossing the Red Sea
The pictures for our children's Bible are finally finished! So, I am now moving onto the Bible pictures for NTM. This is an exciting project and one that I've been looking forward to starting.

The last picture needed to finish our children's Bible was the 'Parting of the Red Sea', (shown left). While doing some research for this picture I came across a scholarly article which stated that there was a full moon during this event which would have provided enough light for the children of Israel to see while crossing over the seabed. However, the biblical text clearly points out that it was the pillar of fire, not the moon, that lit the path for the Israelites. I made the mistake in the past of stating on the blog that only the pillar of fire was present at this event because the pillar of cloud guided the Israelites during the day and the pillar of fire guided them at night. However, on a closer inspection of the text it appears that both the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud were there at this event. The pillar of fire provided the light, as we've already said, and the pillar of cloud was there to confuse the pursuing Egyptians.

Anyone who grew up in the UK during the late sixties-early seventies will remember the awful fogs!
During the daytime, when the fog was really bad, you could literally not see anything! Other people, buildings, cars, street signs etc, only became visible when they were just a couple of feet away! As you can imagine, it was much quicker and safer to walk than it was to drive a car in these conditions. At night the fog was orange because of the street lights. I never experienced fog in complete darkness, but I imagine it was very disorientating! This must have been the experience of the pursuing Egyptian army. In these conditions it was very likely that the Egyptian chariots drove straight into the walls of water on each side thus toppling the chariots and causing an eventual pileup!

Although I have shown the full moon, the more dominating light source is coming from behind the viewer, from the pillar of fire. The shadow of Moses is being cast onto the dividing waters. I originally did a yellow glow coming from the pillar of fire but, the more I thought about this, the more I thought that the pure fire of the Shekinah Glory would give off a pure white light. What are your thoughts on this?
As always, your comments are welcome.

Update: 4th July 2009
Just had an interesting comment from 'Patrick' in Japan who points out that Exodus 14:21-22 says that:
"Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and YHWH drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea into dry ground, and the water was split. And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on dry ground, and the waters were for them a wall on their right hand and on their left."
Patrick concludes that "if God drove the sea by an eastern wind surely the sea should have started to part from the opposite direction (contrary to Cecil B. DeMille's idea of it), since the Israelites are going from the west eastward?
This is a very good point. Fortunately, as I'm working digitally now, this is an easy thing to change. Many thanks for pointing this out Patrick. When I come to illustrating the full story for the 'Bible picture website' I will make the necessary changes.