Pi-hahiroth (Hebrew: פִּי החִירֹת‎) is the fourth station of the Exodus. The fifth and sixth stations Marah and Elim (Bible) are located on the Red Sea. The biblical books Exodus and Numbers refer to Pi-hahiroth as the place where the Israelites encamped between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon, while awaiting an attack by Pharaoh, prior to crossing the Red Sea.[1] Reaching Pi-Hahiroth involved turning back from the direction they had been traveling and going south directly opposite of God's preferred proximate destination of Kadesh Barnea at the entrance to the Philistine territory whose capitol was Gaza west of the Abrahamic city Hebron, their ultimate destination, in order to gain time to boost their morale.[2]

Those positing a Hebrew name have speculated "Pi-hahiroth" might mean "mouth of the gorges", descriptive of its location as the end of a canal or river. In fact, part of the mystery may be resolved by understanding the initial syllable ′Pi,′ which corresponds to the Egyptian word Ipi or Ipu, as house of such as in ′Pithom′ or ′Pi-Ramesses′. The next literary fragment ′Ha′ would indicate the ′desert hills or mountains to the west′ normally associated with Libya, but a more ethereal rendering could possibly indicate the prominent mountainous range west of Nuweiba Beach on the West coast of the Gulf of Aqaba.

William Smith, in his Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, tentatively identifies Pi-hahiroth with Arsinoe, Egypt at the northern end of the Gulf of Suez. Strong's Concordance simply locates Pi-hahiroth as 'a place on the eastern border of Egypt'.[3]

However, some writers would locate Pi-Hahiroth along the Gulf of Aqaba,[4] at Nuweiba Beach, Egypt,[5] about 300 km to the east, or near the Straits of Tiran at the southern end of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba, which is about 400 km south-east of Suez.[6]

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See also


  1. Exodus 14:2 and Numbers 33:7
  2. Exodus 13:17-18, 1 Kings 2:11 and 1 Chronicles 29:27
  4. Colin J. Humphrey (2004). The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist's Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories. 
  5. "Pihahiroth, Migdol and Baalzephon". Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. 
  6. "Pi-Hahiroth". 
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