The Exodus | Pihahiroth Migdol Baalzephon and the sea | Red Sea crossing

The Exodus, Camp before Pihahiroth

Turn Camp before Pihahiroth
between Migdol and the sea
against Baalzephon

(Exo 14:2 KJV)

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.

(Num 33:7 KJV) And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol.

This stop is the critical one for placing the actual location of the Red Sea crossing. This third stop after leaving Rameses was identified by a major shift of direction for the Israelites. While at Etham, God tells the children of Israel to turn to Pihahiroth and camp between Migdol and the sea. The Hebrew term clearly means they “turned”

The word turn and turned again 
in Hebrew means to turn back

Wycliffe Bible Commentary

 Turn back (ASV); wheel around (Moffatt)

Geneva Bible

Exo 14:2  Speake to the children of Israel, that they returne and campe before Pi-hahiroth, betweene Migdol & the Sea, ouer against Baal-zephon: about it shal ye campe by the Sea.

turn  H7725. a prim. root; to turn back (hence, away) trans. or intrans., lit. or fig.

(not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point)

(Num 13:25 KJV)  And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.



Hebrew Lexicon

1) to return

2) to turn back

A turning back to a previous state or place


In Gen 24:49 turn H6437 = to turn, as left or right

( Exo 14:2 KJV )

 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.

This statement,provides a very specific
set of
reference points.

(Exo 14:2 KJV)  . . . encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.


Hebrew Lexicon


BAAL-ZEPHON  =  Baal Tsphon or Baal-zephon =" lord of the north"

PIHAHIROTH  =  Pi-hahiroth =" place where sedge grows"

    WD = sedge n. 1. any rushlike or grasslike plant of the genus Carex, growing in wet places.

MIGDOL  =   Migdol =" tower"


Holman Dictionary and Eaton’s Bible Dictionary


BAAL-ZEPHON = “lord of the north”  “Baal of the north.”  “Baal of winter”

PIHAHIROTH = “house of Hathor”  “mouth of canals.” “Place where the Reeds grow

“Holman”  Pihahiroth lay in the eastern Nile delta to the east of Baal-zephon.

MIGDOL =   “tower, watchtower, fortress.”

 A  town or a border fortress located in the northeast corner of Egypt.

 A  strongly-fortified place 12 miles from Pelusium, in the north of Egypt.


“migdol” becomes a significant term.    Not widely found in Egyptian texts in different  periods   (Hoffmeier 2004: 61; 2005:102–103; Scolnic 2004: 102–108),    the few references that we do have point to a location in Egypt’s northeastern frontier along the road to Canaan.     Reference to a Migdol in the Exodus account in the same region and at the same time period suggests a correlation between the two sites.  

That would make it possible to fix thelocation of the Migdol of the Exodus in a precise area just to the northeast of the Ballah Lakes.




The tower would looked something like this one.


MIGDOL (Mihg' dahl) Transliteration of Hebrew word meaning, “tower, watchtower, fortress.” A town or a border fortress located in the northeast corner of Egypt. The site is mentioned in reference to two events in biblical historythe Exodus and the Exile.

 One of the sites on or near the route of the Exodus, Migdol was located near the sites of Pi-hahiroth and Baal-Zephron, all of which were near the sea (Ex. 14:20).

Jewish refugees fled to Migdol during the Exile (Jer. 44:1). The coming doom of Egypt at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar was to be proclaimed there (Jer. 46:13-14).

 Ezekiel prophesied that the land of Egypt would be laid waste, “from Migdol to Aswan” (Ezek. 29:10; 30:6 NIV), that is from the northern extremity of the land, Migdol, to the southern extremity of the land, Aswan.

IVP Bible Background Commentary


Pi Hahiroth. = “mouth of the diggings,” possibly referring to canal work. It is known that a north-south canal was being constructed during this period (Seti I) and that it passed through the region near Qantara, a few miles west of Sile.


Migdol. Migdol means “tower” or “fort”      There were several locations so designated, and one is known near Succoth in this period.

Baal Zephon. Baal Zephon is connected to Tahpanhes in ; , in turn identified as Tell Dafana, about twenty miles west of Sile. If they camped near here, Lake Balah would be the closest sea.



      Wycliffe Bible Commentary


Baal-zephon . A Phoenician letter mentions "Baal-zephon and all the gods of Tahpanhes." Tahpanhes is Daphne, the modern Tel Dafneh, located near the southern extremity of lake Menzaleh, half way between Succoth and Rameses.


This explains the words "turn back." Instead of going directly east from Succoth, the Hebrews had turned north again and were now encamped by the marshy lake.






Search the Bible

Range Options: e.g.
Gen;Psa-Mal;Rom 3-9

For Books By Minister Mark Zimmerman D.D.  Book Store

PayPal - The safer, easier way to give