A place in the wilderness where the Israelites encamped when they turned back from Etham. It lay between Migdol and the sea "before Baal-zephon" (Ex. xiv. 2, 9; Num. xxxiii. 7, 8). The etymology of the name, which is apparently Egyptian, was the subject of much speculation by the ancient commentators. The Septuagint, while treating the word as a proper name in Numbers (Εἰρόϑ; translating, however, by στόμα), translates it in Exodus by τῆς ἐπαύλεως (="sheepfold" or" farm-building"), thus reading in the Hebrew text . The Mekilta (Beshallaḥ, Wayeḥi, 1) identifies the place with Pithom, which was called Pi-hahiroth (= "the mouth of freedom") after the Israelites had been freed from bondage, the place itself being specified as a valley between two high rocks. The Targum of pseudo-Jonathan (ad loc.), while following the Mekilta in the interpretation of "Pi-hahiroth," identifies the place with Tanis.

The theory of an Egyptian etymology was advanced by Jablonsky, who compared it to the Coptic "pi-akhirot" = "the place where sedge grows," and by Naville, who explained the name as "the house of the goddess Ḳerhet." On the basis of this latter explanation, Fulgence Fresnel identified Pihahiroth with the modern Ghuwaibat al-Bus (="the bed of reeds"), near Ras Atakah.

  • Selbie, in Hastings, Dict. Bible.
E. G. H. M. Sel.
Images of pages