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Red Sea, parting of the

An action of God at the time of the Exodus that rescued the Israelites from the pursuing forces of Egypt (see also Egypt). According to the Book of Exodus, God divided the waters so that they could walk across the dry seabed. Once they were safely across, God closed the passage and drowned the Egyptians. Most scholars agree that the “Red Sea” spoken of in this account is not the deep-water Red Sea of today, but the marshy Sea of Reeds farther north, and that the opening and closing of the seabed took place through violent storms, as mentioned in the Book of Exodus.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.