G-d, however, wanted to drown the Egyptians in the sea, as a fitting punishment for their having drowned the Hebrew infants.G-d therefore directed the Benei Yisrael through the desert toward the Reed Sea.

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(Mechilta) As it were, G-d personally escorted the Benei Yisrael into the desert.

This was the merit of Avraham, who escorted the angels when they were leaving his house, as the Torah relates, (Shemot Rabbah, p.

The other four-fifths had died during the days of darkness.

(Rashi; Zohar) According to one opinion, only one out of 500,000 Benei Yisrael actually left Egypt.

As we shall see later, an arm of the Reed Sea (the Gulf of Aqaba) is to the east of the Holy Land, while the Pelishtim Sea is to its west ().

Since the road through the land of the Pelishtim was so close, the Egyptians would not have bothered to pursue the Benei Yisrael.

He wanted all nations to respect and honor His children.

He therefore carried the "torch" before them, the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.

(Rashi) The first leg of the Benei Yisrael's journey was from Rameses to Sukkot ().

Now the Torah tells us that the second leg of their journey was from Sukkot to Etam.

This was bait for the Egyptians, tempting them to pursue the Benei Yisrael, setting the state for the miracle of the parting of the Reed Sea.