However, one thing seems certain. Whatever the route at this point, it would lead Pharaoh to believe that the Israelites were wandering about in confusion, hemmed in by the desert. Pharaoh's hardened heart will cause him to pursue the Israelites in an attempt to force them to come back to Egypt.
God had different goals. He would gain glory through what would happen, and the Egyptians would receive further evidence that the LORD was the only true God.
Further evidence?! How much did they need? The Egyptians had already seen the miracles which Moses and Aaron performed with the staff and Moses' hand. The ten plagues had laid waste to Egypt and discredited Egypt's 'gods', while exhibiting the LORD's sovereignty over nature and mankind. The final plague (death of the firstborn sons) on Egypt had been the means by which God broke Pharaoh's will and caused him to release the Israelites. Yet now Pharaoh is contemplating a pursuit of the Israelites.
Perhaps Pharaoh himself is the one who is hemmed in at this point.