17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
K.J.V. Bible Text
When Pharaoh let the people go, Moses took the bones of Joseph with him as Joseph, before his death, had asked the children of Israel to do when the time came that the Lord led them out of Egypt.
When they departed Egypt, the Lord led them through the “wilderness of the Red sea” rather than by the nearer way through the land of the Philistines so the people would not repent when they ran into war.
(I confess myself ignorant once more of biblical history. It seems to me that the Philistines were a warlike people and going through their country might have invited a war. Then again, the vast multitude of Israelite people might have caused consternation in any inhabited country they passed through, so it is easy to understand why the Lord saw fit to have the Israelites leave Egypt to go to Canaan by a longer and seemingly more difficult route. )
As the people journeyed, they were guided by the Lord who went before them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
I wonder if the people were cognizant of the great miracle that the Lord himself was leading their way or if that miracle began to seem commonplace to them within a short time, just as today we often take for granted all the blessings we receive.
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