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  • The distance from Kadesh Barnea

  • Historical Faith Society

    December 18, 2020 at 4:47 am
  • Deborah Hurn

    December 30, 2020 at 12:03 am

    The concept of an 11-days’ journey between Horeb to Kadesh is found in:

    Deu 1:1-2 JPS These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. (2) It is eleven days journey from Horeb unto Kadesh-barnea by the way of mount Seir.

    This distance has been used to test and disqualify various candidates for Mount Sinai-Horeb in the Sinai Peninsula, Transjordan, and Arabian Peninsula. For over 100 years, Kadesh is securely identified at Ayn Qudayrat (Ein Qudeirat) in the northeastern Sinai.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 14, 2021 at 7:46 am

    The 11 days’ distance of Deut 1:2 has been used to disqualify the Har Karkom candidate for Mount Sinai. Har Karkom (Central Negev Highlands) is one of the three most popular candidates for Mount Sinai. The other two main candidates, Jebel Musa (Southern Sinai) and Jebel el-Lawz (Saudi Arabia) are both 237 linear km from Kadesh at Ayn Qudayrat (Northern Sinai). How odd they should both be the same distance away, albeit in different directions! This distance would indicate a daily rate of travel of about 25-30 km per day which is about right for military and commercial travellers, but a bit too far for pastoral travellers.

    Har Karkom, however, is only 50 linear km from Kadesh! This is such a dramatic shortfall that the scholars have largely been dismissive of the Har Karkom candidate for this reason alone. I will copy what they say in subsequent posts.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 14, 2021 at 7:48 am

      Hoffmeier, James K. Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University, 2005.

      [126] Because of the reference to the eleven-day journey from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea (‘Ain Qudeirat) Anati realises he has a problem, since the distance between his Mt. Sinai and ‘Ain Qudeirat is less than 50 km (32 miles). Hence he posits that a circuitous route through eleven stations was taken by the Israelites — but this measures only 124 km (77.5 miles). As we have shown, this distance should be around 265-350 km (165-220 miles). Because of this, and all the problems for the Har Karkom theory noted by Finkelstein, this possible Mt. Sinai seems doubtful.

      • Deborah Hurn

        January 14, 2021 at 7:58 am

        Davies, G. I. “Sinai, Mount (Place).” In Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6:47–49. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1992.

        [48] The most precise indication in the Bible is Deut 1:2, “It is eleven day’s journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea,” and this tends to favor a location in the S of the Sinai Peninsula (see Davies 1979a*; and, for a more general review of the arguments for the different theories, Davies 1979b: 63-69**).

        *His 1979a ref is:

        Davies, Graham I. “The Significance of Deuteronomy 1.2 for the Location of Mount Horeb.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 111, no. 2 (1979): 87–101.

        **His 1979b ref is:

        Davies, Graham I. The Way of the Wilderness: A Geographical Study of the Wilderness Itineraries in the Old Testament. SOTS: Monograph Series 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2009.

        • Deborah Hurn

          January 14, 2021 at 8:04 am

          Beitzel, Barry J. The New Moody Atlas of the Bible. New Ed. Chicago, IL: Moody, 2009.

          [112] In addition, a number of biblical texts suggest that Mt Sinai was separated from the area of Kadesh-barnea by a great distance. In the Israelite itinerary between Mt Sinai and Kadesh-barnea (Num 33:16-36), some 20 intermediate stations are recorded, and that itinerary may be selective in nature (Deut 1:1). Deut 1:2 stipulates that there was an 11 day march between Horeb-Sinai and K-B. Similarly the text of 1 Kgs 19:8 indicates that it took Elijah 40 days etc…. These biblical narratives concur that Mt Sinai was separated from Kadesh-barnea by a considerable distance—a conclusion that is fatal to the contention that Mt Sinai should be located somewhere in N Sinai.

          • Deborah Hurn

            January 14, 2021 at 8:06 am

            Hoffmeier, James K. “Sinai in Egyptian, Levantine and Hebrew (Biblical) Perspectives.” In The History of the Peoples of the Eastern Desert, edited by Hans Barnard and Kim Duistermaat, 105–24. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Monograph 73. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA, 2012.

            [122] The description in Deuteronomy 1:2 that it “is an eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mt. Seir to Kadesh-Barnea” is valuable for locating Mount Sinai for two reasons. First because there is widespread agreement that Ain Qudeirat is Kadesh-Barnea, and second the figure eleven is so irregular and holds no particular symbolic significance that it is understood as a precise figure by biblical scholars” (Davis, 1978; Davies 1979; Hoffmeier 2005; 122-24. Rainey and Notley 2006; 120).

            [122] The information in Deut 1:2 certainly supports the tradition that Mount Sinai is located in South Sinai because of the distance that this entails, between 265 and 350 km (Hoffmeier 2005: 123) and 288 and 400 km (Davies, 1979), while it makes north and central Sinai locations, such as Gebel Halal, or Har Karkom, and those in Arabia, such as Hala al-Badr, unlikely (Hoffmeier 2005: 130-44: Rainey and Notley 2006: 120).

            • Deborah Hurn

              January 14, 2021 at 8:31 am

              There are other lesser-known scholars who object to Har Karkom as Mount Sinai-Horeb on the basis of the eleven days of Deut 1:2, but the above quotes are enough to show that this is a major objection, and must be addressed by anyone who aims to make the case for Har Karkom. I will get to this over a few days, but anyone can jump in here and comment.

            • Deborah Hurn

              January 15, 2021 at 1:11 am

              oh, here is the Sacred Bridge ref:

              Rainey, Anson F., and R. Steven Notley, eds. The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World. Jerusalem: Carta, 2006.

              [120] [quotes Deut 1:2] “An eleven-day journey from Kadesh-barnea can only point to a place in Southern Sinai and rules out most alternatives, especially in the Hejaz…. There have been at least a dozen proposals for alternate locations, in different districts of Sinai or in Saudi Arabia. All of them will be ignored by this study.”

              I am not sure why Rainey and Notley think the 11 days “rules out” anything in the Hejaz (NW Saudi Arabia) when the distance from Kadesh to Jebel Musa is the same as to Jebel al-Lawz.

            • Thomas Donlon

              January 15, 2021 at 2:47 am

              There is a relatively powerful, free, open source, GIS program called QGIS. I certainly haven’t mastered the program and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn it. However all this talk of different locations without a map in hand makes it a little hard for me to follow. Before I start suggesting perhaps having you compile different shapefiles (or some other newer format) to place the varied locations of these sites in the different exodus scenarios with the different routes, sea crossings and Mt Sinai destinations, I am curious about different options regarding how to see what you are talking about.

              The collectors edition of The Red Sea Crossing Volume 1 is available for digital download at The reason I’m mentioning that is that some of the participants often had huge maps on hand showing the cities and landmarks in their preferred scenarios.

              Red Sea Miracle 1 collectors edition digital download is $30 American dollars, but I have no idea if it is available where you are (internationally. The eight extra hours, mostly of interviews, has a lot of information on the routes, speed, direction and number of people in the Exodus.

              I don’t know if you’ve dealt heavily with the map making side using GIS or have mostly used books, websites or whatever. I’m not super-interested in these specific topics and though I love maps I’ve yet to order the Exodus route books. I’m not yet seeing a huge amount of apologetics value in these discussions yet. On the other hand, evidence of Israelites in Egypt is seeming rather powerful. Manfred Bietak, (though he seems to still believe whatever Exodus occurred out of Egypt happened around the time of Ramses) has found additional evidence for Israelites in Egypt. I found the Collectors Edition extra material to be a fun watch.

              I’m not sure even if you had handwritten maps whether they could be put up on a website. It looks like members can put up photos on their personal page of the HFS. Maybe simplified maps could be put up outlining the different routes? You’ve got a lot of enthusiasm for these topics and just a handful people here are well-versed enough to understand what you are talking about. And probably those that are well-versed enough are busy working on books or producing something for a larger audience. I specifically appreciate you putting up counter-arguments to your ideas. Still though all the citations and everything from different people (who seem to have overlapping objections) makes it harder to read and skim.

              Also maybe some people here have ordered Dr. Fitz’s (sp?) book or books. And as your arguments and thinking are at variance on a number of points from his, it might be good to be thoroughly aware of the details of his positions. I know more reading.

              I’ve got about no background in all this. I’ve listened to the Bible a lot, (at least over 20 times from end to end) but that doesn’t give me a huge amount of geographical knowledge. I like using QGIS and I’ve come across a few places where online GIS formats of Bible names and places are available as shapefiles or KLM files typically used for Google Earth. I wanted to find out for example where Makkedah is and the cave where Joshua threw the bodies of the Kings… maps though are uncertain about such things. So I’m not sure if you have much technical advice on how to look at maps on topics like this. Did I just see you or someone else suggesting that there have been 20 or more suggestions of the location of the Mountain of God? And I think Tim intends to do a movie on that location. I’ve got some passable skills with QGIS but finding good data sources for Bible is proving a bit difficult. Places like Ai for example are in contention. Good arguments have been made that alternate site better meets the criteria for where the Israelites hid in ambush that the traditionally believed site for Ai.

              I’m just wondering if there can be some technical starting point. Tim has put forth the idea of “Courses” being available at this website. Maybe a course could be done on geography or even more specifically using open source QGIS for Bible studies. If everyone working together produces Shape files, vector shapes of whatever and the files are available it will be real fun. People can learn to produce their own maps for things like Bible Studies and Sermons. And this will make the material easy to share. Much more geographical material is going to be covered in future productions by Thinking Man Films. A body of people that can work with the geographical data will make all this fun. David Rohl, for example, in some of his videos overlays the Bible’s description of Saul’s Kingdom with a certain Labaya (“Lion”) who was operating in the identical area. And he died from a similar or identical attack. To have downloadable and customizable map making capabilities will work well with this website. What Pastor, or teacher or author wouldn’t appreciate being able to skillfully include maps? Saul was a master at the tough guy image. He is always portrayed in the Bible as having a spear in his hand or even throwing it from his hand or sleeping with it stuck in the ground next to head. Why wouldn’t he also be referring to himself as “Lion” in his correspondence with other Kings?

            • Deborah Hurn

              January 15, 2021 at 3:21 am

              Thomas, I have not found a way to add files to the forum. If it were possible to attach images, I would just post screenshots from Google Earth which is where I measure the distances between points. A professional cartography company makes custom maps for me, but I won’t be uploading them in public. If anyone wants to see the PPT for the case for Har Karkom, you can see it in a narrated PPT MP4 (20 min) on my academia page. There is a map of all the candidates for Mount Sinai.

            • Deborah Hurn

              January 15, 2021 at 3:25 am

              Nonetheless, if there is no way to share images here, I will try to keep the geographical descriptions as clear and concise as possible. Kadesh is in Northern Sinai on the east side close to the Egypt-Israel border. Jebel Musa is 237 linear km SSW of Kadesh in the Southern Sinai. Jebel al-Lawz is 237 linear km SSE of Kadesh in the Hejaz (NW Saudi Arabia). Har Karkom, however, is only 50 linear km SE of Kadesh.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 14, 2021 at 8:45 am

    I should have said somewhere that I will be making the case FOR Har Karkom as Mount Sinai, although I understand that perhaps the majority of members of this forum (so far) have been introduced to (and possibly favour) the Jebel al-Lawz or Hala al-Badr candidates in Saudi Arabia through the Patterns of Evidence documentary series. And maybe some members here prefer the Jebel Musa candidate in the Southern Sinai. So I am in a minority theory here, but I will enjoy discussing this (calmly) with any comers.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 15, 2021 at 1:35 am

    So there we have the main problem for the case for Har Karkom as Mount Sinai (there are several problems but this one seems to be the ‘kill’ shot). Har Karkom is much too close to Kadesh-barnea at Ayn Qudayrat to be the mountain of the exodus journey and of Elijah’s excursion to Mount Sinai via Beersheba (1 Kgs 19). The same argument applies to other candidates in the Northern Sinai, which have sometimes been proposed, for example, Jebel Halal, Jebel Maghara, etc.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 15, 2021 at 10:13 am

    So before I offer my solution for the problem of the eleven days of Deut 1:2, let’s look at the account of the journey that the Israelites actually did take between Mount Sinai-Horeb and Kadesh-barnea. This journey is the second stage of the wilderness itinerary, Sinai-to-Kadesh.

    After about a year encamped at Mount Sinai, the nation of Israel set out from Sinai for the Promised Land (Deut 1:6-8).

    Num 10:11-12 NRSV In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the covenant. (12) Then the Israelites set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.

    From the Numbers narrative, we also learn that the nation followed the pillar of cloud into the Wilderness of Paran for three days:

    Num 10:33-34 NRSV So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey with the ark of the covenant of the LORD going before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them, (34) the cloud of the LORD being over them by day when they set out from the camp.

    This doesn’t mean that they didn’t camp at all for three days– of course they did. But whenever there is a gap of numbered days in the itinerary, it seems to indicate there are no surface water sources along this path and hence no named stations (e.g. Ex 15:22; Num 33:8). No water no name.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 15, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      The first station of the Sinai-to-Kadesh journey is Taberah. This station is the destination of the third day of travel through the Wilderness of Paran.

      Num 11:1-3 NRSV  Now when the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, the LORD heard it and his anger was kindled. Then the fire of the LORD burned against them, and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.  (2)  But the people cried out to Moses; and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire abated.  (3)  So that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned against them.

      Taberah is mentioned once more as a place where Israel “provoked the LORD to wrath” (Deut 9:22), but it is not listed in the Numbers itinerary, which passes from Sinai straight to the next named station of the Sinai-to-Kadesh journey, Kibroth-hattaavah.

      Num 33:16 NRSV  They set out from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah.

      The Numbers itinerary also neglects to mention the three days in the Wilderness of Paran, but no matter… the itinerary must be compiled from all the biblical texts, not just one.

      • Deborah Hurn

        January 15, 2021 at 7:46 pm

        After Taberah comes the station of Kibroth-hattaavah, where a flock of quails arrived, apparently for the second time in the wilderness journey (cf. Ex 16:9-13).

        Num 11:31-35 NRSV  Then a wind went out from the LORD, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground.  (32)  So the people worked all that day and night and all the next day, gathering the quails; the least anyone gathered was ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.  (33)  But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.  (34)  So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving.  (35)  From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth.

        This is the second of three named stations of the Sinai-to-Kadesh journey as detailed in the Numbers narrative (Num 10-12).

        • Deborah Hurn

          January 15, 2021 at 7:57 pm

          The last of the three named stations of the Sinai-to-Kadesh journey is Hazeroth:

          Num 11:35 NRSV  From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth.

          Hazeroth is where Miriam and Aaron rebelled against Moses’ leadership:

          Num 12:1-2 NRSV  While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman);  (2)  and they said, "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?" And the LORD heard it.

          The people were at Hazeroth for a week until Miriam was readmitted to the camp, and then they entered the Wilderness of Paran:

          Num 12:15-16 NRSV So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again. (16) After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

          This comes as a little surprise, in that the journey started with an entry into the Wilderness of Paran (see quotes ^^) and nothing was said about leaving the wilderness in order to (apparently) enter it again after Hazeroth.

          • Deborah Hurn

            January 15, 2021 at 8:09 pm

            In comparing the length of the Israelites’ actual journey between Mount Sinai-Horeb and Kadesh with the “eleven days” of the statement in Deut 1:2, we see there is a shortfall of 5 days. The Israelite itinerary is 3 days altogether; 3 dry days and 3 named stations:

            • 3 days in the Wilderness of Paran, to
            • Taberah, to
            • Kibroth-hattaavah, to
            • Hazeroth, to
            • the Wilderness of Paran.

            From the next story, that of the spying expedition to Canaan, we find out that the people have actually arrived at Kadesh, here associated with the Wilderness of Paran:

            Num 13:3 NRSV  So Moses sent [the 12 spies] from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the LORD, all of them leading men among the Israelites.
            Num 13:26 NRSV And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.

            So the terminus of the Israelite journey from Sinai is established to be Kadesh, with only 6 days of travel detailed in the Numbers narrative.

            • Deborah Hurn

              January 17, 2021 at 3:01 am

              correction: The Israelite itinerary is 6 days altogether; 3 dry days and 3 named stations.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 15, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    So which is right then? the 11 days between Horeb (Sinai) and Kadesh as stated in Deut 1:2, or the 6 days of Israel’s actual journey in the second year after exodus? The usual ‘fix’ is that the Numbers narrative is selective… it only details 6 of the 11 days. That’s an option. But there is another issue with that: the Numbers itinerary gives a list of some 20 stations between Sinai and Kadesh (and we know Taberah is in there too):

    Num 33:16-36 NRSV
    (16) They set out from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah.
    (17) They set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.
    (18) They set out from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.
    (19) They set out from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez.
    (20) They set out from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah.
    (21) They set out from Libnah and camped at Rissah.
    (22) They set out from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.
    (23) They set out from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.
    (24) They set out from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.
    (25) They set out from Haradah and camped at Makheloth.
    (26) They set out from Makheloth and camped at Tahath.
    (27) They set out from Tahath and camped at Terah.
    (28) They set out from Terah and camped at Mithkah.
    (29) They set out from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah.
    (30) They set out from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.
    (31) They set out from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan.
    (32) They set out from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad.
    (33) They set out from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah.
    (34) They set out from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.
    (35) They set out from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber.
    (36) They set out from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh).
    • Deborah Hurn

      January 15, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      Frustration with this conundrum along with many others in the wilderness itinerary is why archaeologist Yohanan Aharoni wrote:

      [118] “To-day the problem of identifying the route of the Exodus and Mount Sinai itself is one of extraordinary difficulty, far more than any other problem of Palestinian Biblical topography.”

      Aharoni, Yohanan. “Kadesh-Barnea and Mount Sinai.” In God’s Wilderness: Discoveries in Sinai, by Beno Rothenberg, 115–82. London: Thames and Hudson, 1961.

      He is not exaggerating. It is the Phaistos Disc of biblical studies… the Gordian Knot of historical apologetics.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 16, 2021 at 7:35 am

    So we have three different distances in days’ journey between (Mount) Horeb and Kadesh:

    1. 11 days as per Deut 1:2
    2. 6 daily stages as per Num 10-12
    3. 21 daily stages as per Num 33:16-36 (+ Taberah from Num 11:1-3)

    Can these data be reconciled? So far, not.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 16, 2021 at 8:09 am

      To reiterate the problem:

      Kadesh was firmly identified over a century ago at Ayn Qudayrat in the Northern Sinai. Mount Sinai-Horeb, however, has not been firmly identified and the debate over its location continues. The Deuteronomy review seems to specify an 11-day distance between Kadesh and Sinai-Horeb which measure should narrow the choice of mountains considerably. But the Numbers narrative indicates a lesser distance of 6 days’ journey while the Numbers itinerary indicates a greater distance involving 21 days (which may, of course, not be a direct route).

    • Thomas Donlon

      January 16, 2021 at 11:20 pm

      Hi Deborah. I don’t have answers (indeed I’ve actually yet to look into all that you wrote and deeply understand it). I’m so far just skimming all this. It may have been in some of the extra material in RSM I collectors edition that I remember Jodell Onstott making an observation about a certain scripture. I’m not sure I fully understand this scripture passage. You have any thoughts on it?

      15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.

      16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.

      17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.

      18 At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.

      19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.

      20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out.

      21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.

      22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.

      23 At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. (Num. 9:15-23 NIV)

      I think Jodell was pointing out verse 22 “Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out: but when lifted, they would set out.”

      Now verse 21 spoke of the cloud staying sometimes “only from evening till morning.” The scripture here might be distinguishing being camping and staying. I’ve seen there are two different Hebrew words, one used for staying and one for camping. I’m not even moderately proficient in Hebrew but I’m just wondering if exploring these ideas would help sort out some things. Jodell Onstott seemed to have done a lot of work trying to figure out dates of travel too. I’m just wondering if the above verses have been on your radar. Maybe understanding whatever is being distinguished with the possible low limit of two days for something to be considered being encamped maybe that will help in some sort of way. Maybe the Israelites when traveling and coming to the end of a day would just make some minimal arrangement to sleep for the night. And if in the morning the cloud was not lifting or setting out then they would figure they’d be there for the day and do a more extensive setup. Perhaps that would be what we called a real encampment rather than just stopping for rest. I’m avoiding getting in over-my-head in this discussion. Nothing I’m writing here is original to me … I’m just noting something that Jodell spoke about with Tim and wondered if it sheds any light on anything.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 17, 2021 at 6:27 am

    I don’t know if anyone else is following here, but I will continue slowly examining the question of the numbers of days’ journey between Mount Horeb-Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. I know this is a terrible time for concentrating on anything other than the USA and C19 crises.

    As far as the “eleven days” are concerned, I offer another reading of Deut 1:1-2. For those who have some understanding of Hebrew, I will post the text here to illustrate and support that reading (I don’t know how to justify right, and not sure how this will post):

    Deuteronomy 1  דְּבָרִים א
    א אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן: בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּעֲרָבָה מוֹל סוּף בֵּין-פָּארָן וּבֵין-תֹּפֶל וְלָבָן וַחֲצֵרֹת וְדִי זָהָב.
    ב אַחַד עָשָׂר יוֹם מֵחֹרֵב דֶּרֶךְ הַר-שֵׂעִיר עַד קָדֵשׁ בַּרְנֵעַ

    Here is a typical translation of these verses:

    Deu 1:1-2 NRSV These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan—in the wilderness, on the plain opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. (2) (By the way of Mount Seir it takes eleven days to reach Kadesh-barnea from Horeb.)

    To arrive at this rendition, the translators add punctuation and a few ‘helper’ words to make sense in English, and they may also mix up the word order if necessary. Note that the NRSV puts v. 2 in parentheses to set it apart from v.1.

    Now, here is a straight translation, word for word with no punctuation or added words:

    These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness in the Aravah opposite Suph between Paran and between Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Di-Zahav eleven days from Horeb through [דֶּרֶךְ by way of] Mount Seir unto Kadesh-Barnea.

    If you read it this way, it is apparent that the 11 days may not apply between Horeb and Kadesh. They may rather apply between Horeb and the place where Moses spoke to Israel, which we know is the eastern side of the Jordan River in the Arabah.

    Here are two translations that have picked up on this detail and do not try to make v. 2 stand alone.

    Deu 1:1-2 MKJV  These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain opposite the Red Sea, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab,  (2)  eleven days from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.
    Deu 1:1-2 YLT These are the words which Moses hath spoken unto all Israel, beyond the Jordan, in the wilderness, in the plain over-against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-Zahab; (2) eleven days' from Horeb, the way of mount Seir, unto Kadesh-Barnea.

    Here is Deut 1:1-2 from Alter’s renowned translation of the Pentateuch:

    Alter, Robert. The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co, 2004.

    These are the words that Moses spoke to all the Israelites across the Jordan in the wilderness in the Arabah opposite Suph between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Di-Zahab, eleven days from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-Barnea.

    I think this reading is a game-changer in the search for Mount Sinai.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 17, 2021 at 8:01 pm

      With or without punctuation, Deut 1:1-2 is a headache to interpret. It is safe to say that the scholars have given up on it.

      Kallai, Zecharia. “Where Did Moses Speak? (Deuteronomy i 1-5).” Vetus Testamentum 45, no. 2 (1995): 188–97.

      "The opening section of Deuteronomy (i 1-5) is of a markedly complex nature. The obvious problems that present themselves have been extensively studied — as yet, however, without convincing results…. 
      All commentaries and numerous related studies have attended to the problems of this passage."

      As with all the stalled problems of biblical history and geography, scholarship requires new information to make progress. Where will this new information come from? Archaeology, perhaps. William G. Dever is absolutely sure it won’t come from the Bible. See his lecture, from 16:20 – 17:05 min.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 17, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      I think Dever is mistaken: there is a wealth of biblical information that we have not yet recognised… details we all read over and, lacking context, do not see for what they really mean. A new insight can trigger a cascade of revelation. So, for example, in the newly unpunctuated text of Deut 1:1-2, the structure is more apparent. The verses comprise almost entirely toponyms (place-names), prepositions, and conjunctions.

      “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness in the Aravah opposite Suph between Paran and between Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Di-Zahav eleven days from Horeb through [by Way of] Mount Seir unto Kadesh-Barnea.”

      After “Moses spoke”, there are no more verbs. In the Ancient Near East (ANE), a verbless list of toponyms and prepositions is an itinerary, but a particular kind of itinerary, a prescriptive or forward-looking itinerary, a kind of mental map. So “forward-looking” means ‘This is how you get there”. Descriptive or backward-looking itineraries describe journeys that have taken place. So “backward-looking” means ‘This is how they got there’. Backward-looking itineraries have verbs: for example, the Numbers itinerary of the actual Israelite journeys uses the verbs נָסַע “set out”, חָנָה “camped”, and בּוֹא “came”.

      Davies, Graham I. “The Wilderness Itineraries: A Comparative Study.” Tyndale Bulletin 25 (1974): 46–81. pp. 53-70 (backward-looking itineraries), pp. 70-77 (forward-looking itineraries).

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 19, 2021 at 9:14 am

    With the translators’ added punctuation and ‘helper’ words removed, the Hebrew text of Deut 1:1-2 is best read as one sentence and also appears to be a kind of prescriptive itinerary, that is, a route-map. This text was the topic of my Honours thesis, 15k words, as yet unpublished, so I will not give a complete dealing here until it is published. If any publisher is interested, contact me through

    In brief, the new (autograph) reading of Deut 1:1-2 suggests that the place where Moses spoke to Israel (east of the Jordan River in the Arabah) is 11 days’ journey from Mount Horeb-Sinai.

    Now, we know that Israel did not take the ‘ideal’ 11-day journey to the Jordan River from Mount Sinai. Instead, in the 40th year after exodus, they had to take the ‘long way’ around Edom and Moab (Deut 2:1; Judg 11:18).

    Thus, the purpose of the first two verses of the Book of Deuteronomy is to pointedly note how close the nation of Israel was to its goal when it left Mount Sinai in the second year after exodus, and how, for lack of faith, the chosen people had suffered a total of forty years in the wilderness until the whole generation had died off.

    Deu 1:2 “eleven days…”

    Deu 1:3 “In the fortieth year…”

    • Thomas Donlon

      September 5, 2021 at 7:55 pm

      I can see your thought. It makes sense… but I’m of course uncertain if it is right.

      What might be making sense about your point is that an abundant amount of details, (for some reason) is being poured into the description of where God spoke to Moses. If we can get this location nailed then we might be able to figure out some of the named cities. “In the Aravah opposite Suph between Paran and between Tophel and Labal and Hazeroth and Di-Zahav….”

      • Deborah Hurn

        September 5, 2021 at 8:46 pm

        Hi Thomas. From numerous biblical passages, we know where Moses spoke the words of Deuteronomy “to all Israel”. The nation was camped in the plains of Moab waiting to cross the Jordan into Canaan just the month or two prior to the 41st Passover of the exodus era. The NIV takes a little liberty with the text to try to make it clear, and is correct in locating them in the Arabah, that is, in the southern Jordan Valley opposite Jericho:

        Deu 1:1  These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan—that is, in the Arabah—opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. 
        Deu 1:1 אלה הדברים אשׁר דבר משׁה אל־כל־ישׂראל בעבר הירדן במדבר בערבה מול סוף בין־פארן ובין־תפל ולבן וחצרת ודי זהב׃

        My case is that the remaining toponyms in vv. 1-2 comprise a verbless itinerary describing an ideal ‘eleven-day’ route from Horeb to the east bank of the Jordan River (the plains of Moab). I did a lot of work on this… only the junctions of this journey are listed, that is the sites where a choice of roads is made. But this may have been the form for an ancient verbal ‘map’. At least three of the toponyms are in the Sinai-Negev, as established from their appearance elsewhere in the wanderings texts. So that’s Paran, Hazeroth, and Laban (Libnah). These places are a long way from the east bank of the Jordan River, which can cause confusion, but this fact also supports the idea that this short text is an itinerary from Mount Sinai-Horeb to the final campsite of the Israelite journeys.

        • Thomas Donlon

          September 6, 2021 at 10:54 pm

          Hi Deborah. Though I don’t fully understand any of this, I feel that an alternate translation, perhaps the one you have promoted is warranted. Verse 2 of Deuteronomy 1 makes no CONTEXTUAL sense (that I can see) as a standalone clause.

           (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.) (Deut. 1:2 NIV)

          What would the point of this verse be? They aren’t describing a trip to Horeb as far as I can tell. They aren’t at Horeb. I’ll try to dig a little deeper into what you are saying and see if I can’t make any sense of it. I’m though clearly perplexed as to why the standard translation of verse 2 would have any contextual bearing. Any other takes on this verse?

          Maybe this will clear up a few issues, if it is better understood.

          • Deborah Hurn

            September 7, 2021 at 12:19 am

            Yes, Thomas, I think that a reframing of these two verses together as a single sentence offers a contextual relevance that most common translations do not. The emphasis of this opening statement of the book of Deuteronomy is on the time it took Israel to get to the gateway to Canaan (40 yrs after exodus) as compared to the time it should have taken (11 days from Horeb which they left in the second year after exodus). And the mixed Sinai-Negev and Transjordan toponyms in the two verses confirm the suggestion that a Horeb-to-Jordan route is here described.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 19, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Alter’s translation (and the YLT and MKJV) of Deut 1:1-2 are clear: the terminals of this route-map are (Mount) Horeb and the east bank of the Jordan River.

    These are the words that Moses spoke to all the Israelites across the Jordan in the wilderness in the Arabah opposite Suph between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Di-Zahab, eleven days from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-Barnea.

    I propose that the other toponyms in Deut 1:1-2—Suph, Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, Di-zahab, and Kadesh-barnea—are all associated with this 11-day route. Of these 7 toponyms, 4 are found elsewhere in the wilderness itinerary (Paran, Laban [Libnah], Hazeroth, Kadesh), and 3 are not found elswhere (Suph [as a site], Tophel, Di-zahab). The single road-name in v. 2, the Way of Mount Seir, is the central or definitive road of the 11-day route-map between Horeb and the Jordan river via Kadesh-barnea.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 20, 2021 at 1:28 am

    More summary of my investigation of the 11 days of Deut 1:2:

    Har Karkom in the Southern Negev is about 330 km by road from the east bank of the Jordan River. This is a journey of 11 days, not just because of the average 30 km distance* but because there are 10 known water-sources at daily intervals between Mount Horeb-Sinai (at Har Karkom) and the Jordan River along three major roads of the ANE.

    *For the most thorough dealing of the daily rate of travel, see Davies, Graham I. “The Significance of Deuteronomy 1.2 for the Location of Mount Horeb.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 111, no. 2 (1979): 87–101.
  • Deborah Hurn

    January 20, 2021 at 5:51 am

    The 11-day route of Deut 1:1-2 was the shortest or ‘ideal’ route between Mount Sinai-Horeb and the eastern gateway of Canaan. This was the route the Israelites started taking when they first left the holy mount in military formation in order to invade Canaan (Num 10-12). But over the first 5 days of the march, with a crisis at every named station (complaining/fire at Taberah, complaining/quails/plague at Kibroth-hattaavah, and a leadership challenge/exile at Hazeroth), morale collapsed and the people got no further than Kadesh-barnea in the Wilderness of Paran (Num 12:16; cf. 13:3, 26). From there, to buy time and regain confidence, Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan but they came back with an overall bad report (Num 13). Morale collapsed further, the people rebelled, God through Moses sentenced them to 40 years’ wandering in the wilderness, the people rebelled again, and their men invaded Southern Canaan to be soundly defeated by an alliance of Amorites, Canaanites, and Amalekites (Num 14; Deut 1:44).

    Only then, after limping back to Kadesh (Deut 1:45), does the whole nation continue on through the rest of the stations in the Numbers itinerary of the Sinai-to-Kadesh journey (33:18-36). Early among the 17 stations of this segment is Libnah (vv. 20-21), a site also attested as ‘Laban’ on the prescriptive route between Mount Horeb and the Jordan river (Deut 1:1). But Israel did not continue to advance through the remaining named stations towards the Jordan River (as listed in Deut 1:1-2); but rather turned south and toured the resources of the Central- and Southern Negev and the Arabah (Num 14:25), arriving at last back at Kadesh, this time associated with the Wilderness of Zin where the nation was to be based for the rest of the 40 years (Num 33:36).

    Although the people arrived in Kadesh twice during the course of this Sinai-to-Kadesh journey, only their second visit is noted in Num 33:36. There are some very good literary reasons for this, but I won’t cover them here. Every one of these unknown and unattested stations, both in Deut 1:1-2 and Num 33:16-36, can be identified with known water-sources along major ancient roads… if Mount Horeb-Sinai is at Har Karkom, and if Deut 1:1-2 describes an 11-day prospective itinerary between Horeb and the Jordan.

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 20, 2021 at 6:15 am

    Conclusions: Har Karkom acts on all three itinerary-lengths (the 6 days of Num 10-12; the 11 days of Deut 1:2; the 21 stations of Num 33:16-36) as the key to the puzzle of the wilderness itinerary. These three different measures (apparently all involving Horeb-Sinai and Kadesh-barnea), can be reconciled thus:

    1. The 11 days of Deut 1:2 do not apply to the distance between Horeb and Kadesh. They apply instead to the distance between Horeb and the east bank of the Jordan River. This text is a prescriptive itinerary: the Israelites never followed this route in full.

    2. The 6 days itinerary from Mount Sinai to Kadesh (Num 10-12) is a complete account of the Israelite journey after leaving Mount Sinai: 3 days in the Wilderness of Paran and 3 named sites thereafter. Moses did not intend to be waylaid on their march to Canaan, but ‘the wheels fell off’ during the disastrous first 5 days, and the invasion was abandoned at Kadesh.

    3. The 21 toponyms between Sinai and Kadesh (Num 33:16-36 + Taberah from Num 11:1-3) comprise the complete itinerary of the Sinai-to-Kadesh journey (i.e. the second stage of the full wilderness itinerary between Egypt and Canaan). During this journey, Israel arrives at Kadesh twice, but only the second and last arrival is recorded.

    So that’s the end of the summary of my investigation of Deut 1:1-2 with Har Karkom as Mount Sinai-Horeb. Interested in any questions or comments.

  • Thomas Donlon

    January 31, 2021 at 4:42 am

    Steve Rudd is arguing that most scholars have the location for Kadesh.

    Pros and Cons of his analysis?

    • Thomas Donlon

      January 31, 2021 at 4:56 am

      (You’d think if I was going to just write one sentence I’d get it right.) Correction in [brackets]:

      [Steve Rudd is arguing that most scholars have the WRONG location for Kadesh.]

      Also on pages 4-6 of the below link Vern Crisler attacks David Rohl for holding a similar view.

      So I guess there are at least two people who doubt the traditional location of Kadesh.

      • Deborah Hurn

        January 31, 2021 at 5:22 am

        Thomas, I can’t discuss two views at once… pick one. Rohl is on the visiting scholar list but I don’t know if he will turn up. Rudd isn’t here, ditto, but his argument is online where I can see it, whereas I don’t have Rohl’s Exodus book here… I donated it to the seminary… and we are in a new 5-day lockdown here (mm, sure it will be just 5 days, pff) so I can’t go borrow it back. Also, my supervisor has just today cracked the whip for finishing the chapter on the Sinai-Negev regions ASAP, so that’s what I should be doing. But I can probably discuss the location of Kadesh for a ‘break’ here and there. Rudd’s stuff is just too much… there is another web page here and most people are just not going to read all that.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 31, 2021 at 6:18 am

      OK, I have skip-read Rudd’s webpage and typed a few notes.

      The S border of Judah (hence of Canaan because Judah is the southernmost tribe) runs to the S of Kadesh, yes. Num 34:3-5 and Josh 15:1-4 both say so. This is clearly describing an arc from the Dead Sea across the Zin wilderness to Wadi Arish to the Med Sea. Any other reading is ungrounded.

      Num 34:3-5 NRSV [Y]our south sector shall extend from the wilderness of Zin along the side of Edom. Your southern boundary shall begin from the end of the Dead Sea on the east;  (4)  your boundary shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its outer limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea; then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and cross to Azmon;  (5)  the boundary shall turn from Azmon to the Wadi of Egypt, and its termination shall be at the Sea.

      Kadesh being ‘technically’ within the border of the Promised Land is not a problem. Why does Kadesh have to be outside the border of Canaan-Israel? This is a wilderness region, and only travellers went through here. It is not a contradiction for Israel to be at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin and still be hoping to enter Canaan proper.

      The early CE historians and geographers (Josephus, Eusebius) didn’t know where Kadesh, Mount Sinai, or Mount Hor were. Israel had lost touch with these regions during the kingdom period, lost even more knowledge during the exile to Babylon, and it was all a big blank thereafter until quite recently. Josephus embellishes the Red Sea crossing, partly for lack of reliable geographical information. Eusebius as a 4th C Christian relied partly on Jewish tradition, by then some centuries less informed. He also got some things wrong.

      Why does Rudd want Kadesh in the Transjordan? He has a Saudi Sinai, I guess.

      • Thomas Donlon

        January 31, 2021 at 12:37 pm
        Kadesh being ‘technically’ within the border of the Promised Land is not
         a problem. Why does Kadesh have to be outside the border of 
        Canaan-Israel? This is a wilderness region, and only travellers went 
        through here. It is not a contradiction for Israel to be at Kadesh in 
        the Wilderness of Zin and still be hoping to enter Canaan proper.

        A few scriptures. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. (Num. 14:30 NIV)

        Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. (Num. 20:24 NIV)

        49 “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Deut. 32:49-52 NIV)

        Granted, Deborah this isn’t necessarily a super proof against the idea of Kadesh being inside Israel, but it certainly works a lot better here if it isn’t.

        • Deborah Hurn

          January 31, 2021 at 7:33 pm

          The borders of the Land of Israel apply after the Israelite conquest, of course. Before that, Canaan was inhabited by 7 nations:

          Deu 7:1 NRSV  When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you—the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations mightier and more numerous than you

          Thus, the inhabitants of Canaan were not a single nation-state and did not operate as such in the matter of borders. The 31 kings of Canaan each occupied a city-state, that is, a fortified city surrounded by agricultural lands with hamlets (בַּת “daughters”). In the south, the Canaanites and Amorites (urban) were in alliance with the Amalekites (nomadic), who were the desert dwellers at the time the Israelites arrived in the region (Num 14:39-45; cp. Deut 1:44) and were the historical occupiers of Kadesh-barnea (Gen 14:7).

          So even though the Canaanite nations between them occupied somewhat the same area that Israel later incorporated into its kingdom, it was not organised on the same principle. Mount Nebo where Moses died was included within Israel’s borders when they annexed large parts of the Transjordan. In fact, this annexation was arranged while Israel was still in the Plains of Moab (Num 32). We would not argue that somehow Moses *did* enter the land because the eastern Arabah and Nebo later became Israelite territory. Yet Rudd and others appeal to Israel’s borders to force a contradiction with Canaan’s borders.

          • Deborah Hurn

            January 31, 2021 at 7:55 pm

            Another point regards the location of Kadesh in “the hill country of the Amorites”.

            Deu 1:19-25 NRSV  Then, just as the LORD our God had ordered us, we set out from Horeb and went through all that great and terrible wilderness that you saw, on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, until we reached Kadesh-barnea.  (20)  I said to you, "You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us.  (21)  See, the LORD your God has given the land to you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you; do not fear or be dismayed."  (22)  All of you came to me and said, "Let us send men ahead of us to explore the land for us and bring back a report to us regarding the route by which we should go up and the cities we will come to."  (23)  The plan seemed good to me, and I selected twelve of you, one from each tribe.  (24)  They set out and went up into the hill country, and when they reached the Valley of Eshcol they spied it out  (25)  and gathered some of the land's produce, which they brought down to us. They brought back a report to us, and said, "It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us." (cf. v. 7)

            Kadesh at Ayn Qudayrat is at the western edge of the Central Negev Highlands. These highlands are the southern extension of the range of mountains that forms the ‘spine’ of the land of Israel. As such, they are here designated as “the hill country of the Amorites” even though no Amorites or Canaanites lived so far south. Arad, in fact, was the southernmost Canaanite city at the time and that is in the Northern Negev (the biblical Negeb). The Arad and Beersheba basins almost separate the hill country of Canaan in the north from the hill country of the Central Negev in the south. It is still all one range, however. But if Kadesh is at Petra, it is up on the Edomite plateau, much higher than the ‘hill country’ of Canaan. There is no sense in which the 12 spies could be said to “go up”. They would have had to enter and cross the Arabah first, which near the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.

            Note also that from Kadesh, the spies went through the Wilderness of Zin before they got to Canaan:

            Num 13:21-22 NRSV  So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath.  (22)  They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

            This is describing a route from Kadesh at the edge of the Wilderness of Zin northward through the biblical Negeb (the Beersheba Valley) to Hebron in the hill country of Canaan and thence along the full length of the mountain range to Lebanon. There is no indication of a journey from Petra down into the Arabah. These issues were all debated and settled over 100 yrs ago to the satisfaction of all but a few Saudi Sinai proponents who realise they have a problem with the location of Kadesh and seek to relocate it in the Transjordan.

    • Deborah Hurn

      January 31, 2021 at 6:21 am

      Kadesh is the premier watersource in the south. The spring at Ayn Qudayrat even now flows at an amazing 40 cu. m. per hour. Nothing in the Sinai or Negev comes close. Most of the water-points have become degraded (drier). Kadesh also, as its water supply depends on the water that falls on the Central Negev Highlands. With increasing desertification, the soil becomes water-repellant, rain runs off the surface (mostly to the Dead Sea to the east) rather than feeding the karstic system, and less water arrives at the springs.

      Here is Rainey and Notley’s section on the question of the location of Kadesh… my notes have some abbreviations.

      Rainey, Anson F., and R. Steven Notley, eds. The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World. Jerusalem: Carta, 2006.

      [121] The ID of Kadesh is based on the convergence of 3 lines of evidence… its place in the S border description, ascribed to Canaan (Num 34:4) or Judah (Josh 15:3), or the idealised eschatological land (Ezek 47:19; 48:28). It is obvious that K-B must be located roughly halfway between the lower extremity of the Dead Sea on the E and the estuary of the Brook of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish). It is not surprising, therefore, that at just about the right position required by the texts… a spring was found called Ain Qadeis [ref] During the early 19th C scholars looked for K-B somewhere in the Arabah because of Num 20:16, which places the site on the border of Edom. Later the search shifted W because of the bib refs to the S border of Canaan/Judah. In 1905 Schmidt (1910) recognised that a more appropriate archae site was at neighbouring Wadi el-Ain with its water-source at Ain el-Qudeirat. Woolley and Lawrence made an archae survey of the region soon after, and confirmed Schmidt’s conclusion. The IA fort stands near the junction of a road leading from Suez to Beer-sheba/Hebron, the “way of Shur” (Gen 6:7) and the road branching from the coastal highway… near el-Arish, which leads to Aqabah. This area is now the largest oasis in the Northern Sinai and produces about 40 cubic metres of water per hour.
      • Deborah Hurn

        January 31, 2021 at 9:34 am

        Har-El, Menashe. The Sinai Journeys: The Route of the Exodus. New (English) and Revised Edition. San Diego, CA: Ridgefield, 1983.

        [66] The area with the most plentiful supply of sweet water in the whole of Northern Sinai is apparently the region of Quseima—Ein Qudeirat—Ein Qadeis, where the water is both good for drinking as well as being fairly abundant. Suffice it to say that the water of Ein Qudeirat reaches a flow of 40-50 cubic metres per hour. According to Holland [ref] Ein Qadis has four springs, three at the foot of the mountain and one in the valley bed [does he mean Qudeirat?]…. The source of this rich supply of water is in the mountains of the central Negev which reach an elevation of 1000 metres above sea level, and lie relatively close to the Mediterranean. The large amount of water at Ein Qudeirat derives from its origin as a karstic spring… Moreover, Ein Qudeirat is the most abundant spring in the whole of the Sinai peninsula and the Negev. The south of this region is, however, very poor in water-resources and the distance between one source and the next is never less than 50 km.
      • Thomas Donlon

        January 31, 2021 at 12:57 pm

        Jumping a little bit to Islamic tradition, Muslims believe that where Moses struck the rock and water poured out fed Petra with water.

        If the settlement at this
        time was a lush urban oasis in the middle of the red desert, it is easy
        to see why, in local tradition, the episode from the biblical Book of
        Exodus—in which Moses makes water flow by striking a rock from his
        staff—is set in Petra. According to the local version, the narrow wadi
        known as the Siq, along which Burckhardt himself had arrived in Petra,
        was formed by the torrent of water released after Moses struck the rock.

        And the Bible seems to tie the area of Kadesh with water that Moses brought from the rock too. This verse below seems strangely worded to me by using the term “Meribah Kadesh.”

        51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. (Deut. 32:51 NIV)
    • Deborah Hurn

      January 31, 2021 at 10:33 pm

      As Crisler points out in his review of Rohl, Petra does not have remains to suit Kadesh:

      Petra, however, was not settled until about the fourth century B.C. In terms of its archaeology, it has indicia from the Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, Iron Age (Edomite ware), and from Hellenistic and later times.20

      20 Stern, Ephraim, ed., entry for “Petra,” by Avraham Negev, in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993, Vol. 4, pp. 1181, 1183.
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