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FOES OF ISRAEL.
(exodus Xv. 20, 21.)
On the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, their house of bondage, Moses, their appointed leader, instead of taking them the nearest way to the promised land, led them along the skirts of the great wilderness which bounds Egypt and Petraea to "Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon," which probably means a strip of land along the western shore of the gulf, between the mountains which skirt the sea and the sea itself. The situation of this large host appeared alarming. On each hand were impassable mountains, while in the front lay a vast expanse of water, and in the rear they were exposed to the attacks of their enemy. The Almighty, however, had given this direction, and to manifest to the people that they marched under his guidance, he "went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud," and by night "in a pillar of fire."
The Almighty had given Moses a direct intimation that Pharaoh, when he heard they were "entangled in the land," and shut in by the wilderness, would follow after them, to his own destruction. Thus it happened. Although Pharaoh, in common with his people, appalled by the death of the first-born, had been urgent upon the children of Israel to depart, yet when it was told him that they had made a decisive move from Etham, and intended to escape altogether from his yoke, he regretted that he had conceded all the points which had been required by Moses, under the Divine direction. Such of his subjects, also, as had once possessed a profitable interest in the labour of the Israelites, and many, probably, who had given to the Hebrews their "jewels of silver, and jewels of gold," partook of this feeling of concern, and the result was, that Pharaoh collected his forces and marched after them, with a full determination to subdue or destroy them.
The sacred narrative says that Pharaoh mustered six hundred chosen chariots and all the war chariots of Egypt, on this occasion. This corresponds with the sculptures, which show that the Egyptians made great use of chariots in their warlike enterprises. A large body of infantry was also assembled, and their unencum