Questions From Readers
● By what means were the waters of the Red Sea held back when the Israelites marched through? Does Exodus 15:8, which says “the surging waters were congealed in the heart of the sea,” indicate that they were frozen?—J.H., U.S.A.
We do not know just how Jehovah kept the waters of the Red Sea standing like walls to the right and the left of the Israelites as they marched through. It was a miracle performed by God.
The verse in question, at Exodus 15:8, reads: “And by a breath from your nostrils waters were heaped up; they stood still like a dam of floods; the surging waters were congealed in the heart of the sea.” The same expression, “congealed,” is used in the American Standard Version, the Authorized Version, and translations by J. N. Darby, I. Leeser, R. Knox, and J. Rotherham.
The word “congeal,” as defined in Webster’s New International Dictionary, means “to change from a fluid to a solid by cold; to freeze”; “to make viscid or like jelly; to curdle; coagulate.” The Hebrew word here translated “congeal” means to shrink or thicken as with curdled milk or frozen water, or to congeal. At Job 10:10 the expression is used in regard to curdling cheese. Therefore, it does not of necessity mean that the walls of water were frozen solid, although Jehovah could do such a thing. The consistency of the congealed substance could be like jello or curds. Nothing visible was holding back the waters of the Red Sea on each side of the Israelites, so they had the appearance of being congealed, stiffened, curdled or thickened so as to remain standing like walls on each side and not collapsing in an inundation upon the Israelites to their destruction.
Had the wind been a blast cold enough to freeze the waters, the account no doubt would have made reference to the extreme cold. And such cold might well have resulted in a frozen sea bottom that would be precarious for travel. But Exodus 14:21 says that “Jehovah began making the sea go back by a strong east wind all night long and converting the sea basin into dry ground.” And Isaiah 51:10 similarly states: “Are you not the one that dried up the sea, the waters of the vast deep?”
Moses described the appearance of things to him. He was aware of the strong east wind and he could see the walls of apparently congealed water. The event, however, was a miracle from God, and Moses did not attempt to explain the mechanics by which the water was held up, nor will we.
Throughout November Jehovah’s witnesses will offer in their ministry a most helpful Bible-study book on a contribution of 50 cents. Return calls will be made on all interested persons and home Bible studies started wherever possible. For additional information as to how you can share in the ministry go to the nearby Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses or write this office.
FROM PARADISE LOST TO PARADISE REGAINED
New in every respect, From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained is a book for young and old. It is not just a story of the Bible, yet it will acquaint you with the people of the Bible and explain in simple language what the Bible tells us about God and his blessing for those who please him. Beautifully illustrated; hard bound, gold-embossed coral cover; size: 9 1/4” x 7” x 5/8”; 256 pages; complete scripture index. Postpaid, 75c.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
November 30: Why the Divine Will International Assembly Resolved, ¶1-4, and Why This Assembly Should Resolve, ¶5-21. Page 644.
December 7: Why This Assembly Should Resolve, ¶22-42. Page 649.
December 14: Resolution, ¶1-27. Page 654.