This chapter is about the Great Day of Atonement. This holiday is celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month. The word atonement means “to cover up.”
What is going to take place in this chapter is a reinstatement of the covenant broken by Israel. The shattered tablets, which once testified to the reality of the covenant between Elohim and Israel, were to be reproduced.
Israel was leaving and they were on their way out of Egypt. Elohim told them to turn around. They were to camp at Pi-hahiroth. The precise location of this place is not known. They are to camp opposite of Baal-zephon, by the sea. This place is apparently connected to worship of the sun-god Baal. A Phoenician letter from the sixth century B.C. seems to identify this area to be approximately 27 miles south-Southwest of Port Said. It does seem strange that Elohim told them to go back after He told them to hurry and leave. But the purpose is to lure Pharaoh to go after Israel. Elohim wanted Pharaoh to think Israel was wandering aimlessly in the dessert. It would appear to Pharaoh that they do not know where they are going.