Pillars of Cloud and Fire

Exodus 13:17–22

Works of art by Francis Alÿs and Julien Devaux, Tacita Dean, and Regina Galindo
Commentaries by Lucy Newman Cleeve

Exodus 13:17–22

Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest the people repent when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18But God led the people round by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. 19And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for Joseph had solemnly sworn the people of Israel, saying, “God will visit you; then you must carry my bones with you from here.” 20And they moved on from Succoth, and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night; 22the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.