"pillar of a cloud"
The pillar of cloud
Public DomainThe pillar of cloud

The pillar of cloud was the beacon by which God led the Israelites through the desert in the Old Testament.

After fleeing slavery in Egypt, escaping through the parted Red Sea, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, waiting for God to bring them to the promised land.  As the distance between Egypt and Palestine is only around 200 miles, one wonders about the route taken by the pillar of cloud.

At night, the pillar of cloud was replaced by a pillar of fire.