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Parting the Sea

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Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground."
Book of Exodus (14:15-16)
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It's not known why it attracts such attention. It could be the phenomenon of water actually standing still in the air, being able to get an up close view of sea creatures within their home environment without getting wet, or perhaps just the thrill of being able to walk along the seabed. Whatever the case, ever since Moses, the concept of the ocean being parted has intrigued all forms of fiction.

Usually, the means by which this deed is accomplished varies. Most of the time, it's the cause of a magical spell, like from a mystical trident. It can also be done by someone who can control water. Other times, it can be caused by a machine that can manipulate gravity. Even more amazing, it can be a natural event that occurs every millennium or so. And of course, let's not forget the most notable cause, that of Divine Intervention.

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Of course, the biggest risk comes when whatever caused the parting ends, resulting in the sea collapsing and returning to its normal state...while there are still people in space between the parted waves! If one knows in advance that there is a set time to before the phenomenon wears off, that will drive them to hurry as fast they can. Of course, if one is being chased through the pathway, they may take steps to make sure their pursuer is still on it when the water returns to normal.

Naturally, the Book of Exodus is the Trope Codifier. For other ocean anomalies, see Mega Maelstrom.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 1990s animated adaptation of Journey to the West, had Zhu Bajie using his rake to spread the surface of the water out into two walls of wave so that he could flush Sha Wujing out of the water.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Lucoa is my xx: Lucoa does this in order to save a drowning student at the school pool. The rest of the class more or less ignores this display of magic due to her having cast a "fuzzy spell" on them.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, to get at a Destiny Stone that's underwater, BlackWarGreymon uses his Terra Destroyer to create a path to it through the water. The dub even has Davis lampshade it by asking if BlackWarGreymon thinks he's Moses.
  • In Beyblade Metal Fusion, Moses' parting of the Red Sea was accomplished with the help of a Beyblade.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1987): The opening giving the re-imagined backstory of the Amazons has Posideon splitting a sea to create a path for the Amazons to get to Themyscira.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the beginning of Moana, when Moana is still a toddler, the Ocean plays with her, opening up where she walks. It happens again in the finale, when Moana figures out Te Ka's true identity, and asks the ocean to let her walk to Te Ka and return the Heart of Te Fiti to her.
  • As a version of the story of Moses, The Prince of Egypt has this happen in its climax. For extra wonder, it outlines several sea creatures stuck on either side.
  • In the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Fantasia, when Mickey is in danger of drowning due to the excess water the brooms keep fetching, the sorcerer arrives and waves his hands to part the flood waters, until the whole castle is dry.
  • In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the Forty Thieves' hideout is a hidden cave in an offshore rock formation. The phrase "Open Sesame" creates a pathway across the bay to enter the cave.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Bruce Almighty, after receiving God's powers, Bruce tests it by causing a bowl of tomato soup to part.
  • The Ten Commandments has the biblical depiction of Moses parting the waters of the Jordan to led the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the island where Poseidon's Trident is hidden parts the waters when its missing gemstone is returned, allowing access to the Trident's home on the ocean floor. Shattering the Trident causes the magic to unravel, which causes a bit of difficulty.
  • X2: X-Men United: The X-Men have escaped from the enemy stronghold, they are in their ship, ready to depart; but the ship was broken when it landed. And the dam is breaking, and the river will soon flood the whole area. Jean Grey leaves the ship and uses her telekinesis to both raise the ship to the air and keep the flooding river at bay; but it's eventually too much and the river falls over her. And then, she died. Or did she?

    Literature 
  • An Egyptian papyrus features a story where a princess loses a pendant while on a boat and cannot get over the loss. The court magician then folds one half of a lake onto the other so as to look for the pendant and quickly finds it.
  • Pyramids: This happens briefly during the climax with the river Djel that runs through the kingdom. The inhabitants take advantage to wreak vengeance on the momentarily helpless crocodiles.

     Live Action TV 
  • On My Name Is Earl, Donny apparently got a tattoo of Moses parting the Red Sea on his buttocks after his Heel–Faith Turn in Prison (for a crime that Earl committed). He likes to show it off, and doesn't understand why Earl doesn't want to see it.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Book of Exodus: Moses parts the Red Sea to allow the Hebrews to flee Egyptian armies. Worth mentioning that when the sea returned to normal, the Egyptian army was still in the middle of it.
    • The miracle is repeated for Moses' successor Joshua, at the other end of the Hebrews' journey. This time it's the river Jordan that's parted, to allow them to enter the promised land.
    • And again in the book of 2 Kings. The prophet Elijah smacks the Jordan with his cloak and parts it. Then Elijah is taken up to Heaven, and his apprentice Elisha picks up Elijah's cloak and repeats the miracle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: part water is a cleric spell that causes a body of water to part and form a trough. It was inspired by the Biblical story of Moses.

    Video Games 
  • Sengoku Basara's Hideyoshi did this during his confrontation with Motochika. He didn't need magic powers or the power of God. Just one fist and the power of his badassery!
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: In order to gain access to the final room of Aqua Rock, placing the dungeon's MacGuffin jewel on a pedestal causes the water to pull back in a corridor. Inside the room is the Parch ability used by Piers, which allows him to drain huge amounts of water from certain areas.
  • Touhou: Sanae does this in her spell card Sea Opening "The Day the Sea Split" (or on higher difficulties, Sea Opening "Moses Miracle"), as part of her theme of recreating famous miracles. However, the "sea" in this case is just a mass of blue energy that's conjured as part of the attack.'
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: The majority of Chapter 8's Flight section occurs after Poseidon parts the sea to open a path for Pit to fly to the ocean's floor so that he can enter the Seafloor Palace and defeat Tanatos. Palutena initially takes credit for it in order to troll Pit, but relents after Poseidon reveals himself.

    Western Animation 

 
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Rugrats Passover

In this cartoon version of the Parting of the Red Sea, Tommy takes on the role of Moses, with Angelica as his enemy Pharaoh.

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