British Museum

“The Lord drove the sea away with a strong east wind,” and Israel crossed the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21–22). Modern historians believe that miracle stories, such as the parting of the Red Sea, impeach the historical value of the Biblical text. Millard suggests, however, that miracles are how ancient narrators understood events they could not control and which benefited them. The Red Sea parted for the Israelites; therefore God had intervened on their behalf. Lightning struck the camp of the enemy forces attacking the kingdom of Ashurbanipal (668–627 B.C.), causing the attackers to withdraw; therefore the gods had intervened on behalf of Ashurbanipal (shown fighting a lion). The inclusion of miraculous details in ancient accounts, Millard concludes, need not impugn their basic reliability.