Byline: Jan 29th, 3:30 PM
Let me tell you an anecdote about Napoleon Bonaparte’s narrow escape from the Suez. His adversary was not an army, but Mother Nature herself! At eight 8:00 AM, when the tide was low, Napoleon went to visit the legendary “Fountains of Moses.” After visiting the springs and speaking with some Arab sheiks, he started to return. Darkness had fallen; the tide was rapidly rising.
Local chiefs told him that it would be wise to camp along the shore until the morning, but Napoleon refused to listen to their practical advice. Gallantly, he called his Arab guide to lead the way. Nervously, the guide took the wrong road down the shore, wasting 15 minutes of precious time. When they were no more than half-way down the shore, the fast moving tide rushed forward with what seemed to be lightning speed. The little troop fell into disarray, as the riders scattered in different directions. Only Napoleon and his guide were left alone. As the waters began to rise, Napoleon’s horse panicked and refused to move.
One of Napoleon’s tall escorts rushed into the waters, and carried Napoleon upon his shoulders while holding on the tail of the Arab’s horse. In Dumas’ own words, the destiny of the world might have been altered by the death of a single man carried like a baby in the arms of a big fellow who happened to be his guard. Finally, the escort reached the other shore and gave a cry of relief. Only Napoleon’s horse had drowned. Napoleon was deeply shaken, he realized that he might have perished the same way Pharaoh did, in days of old.
At one point Napoleon remarked, “If the ministers of France would have seen this, they would have given one dandy sermon!”
After Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena some seventeen years, he told the story to Count Emanual De Las Cases, the French historian best known as the recorder of Napoleon’s last conversations on St. Helena, and wrote it in his Mémorial de Sainte-Hélene. The story suggests that if an experienced general like Napoleon could have had such trouble and barely escape with his life, all much more so it must have been for so many thousands of Israelites to cross the Sea of Reeds unharmed.
Of course this raises a much more serious question: How many Israelites actually crossed the Sea of Reeds? Inquiring minds want to know … stay tuned for more!