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Home Forums Location of Mount Sinai The issue of Midian

  • Historical Faith Society

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

    January 7, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    I will just copy a section out of an article in preparation here:
    The Land of Midian was Moses’ destination when he fled from Pharaoh, and is the first national territory mentioned in the exodus narrative after the Land of Egypt (Ex 2:15). Despite many references to Midianites, the Hebrew Bible does not locate or describe their territory other than to mention that Paran lies between Midian and Egypt during Solomon’s reign:

    1Ki 11:17-18 NRSV but Hadad fled to Egypt with some Edomites who were servants of his father. He was a young boy at that time. (18) They set out from Midian and came to Paran; they took people with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, assigned him an allowance of food, and gave him land.

    The Kenite clan of Midian lived within range of Mount Sinai-Horeb, as shown by Moses pasturing Jethro’s flocks אחַר הַמִּדְבָּר <i style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>ahar ha-midbar “behind [west of] the wilderness” to “the mount of God, Horeb” (Ex 3:1). Jethro’s Midian is close enough so that Jethro could officiate as priest at Mount Horeb-Sinai (Ex 18), and far enough to be his “own land” (Num 10:30).

    Classical references to Midian on the east of the Aqaba Gulf may not be relevant to the wilderness era: “The relevance of Hellenistic/Roman evidence to the location of Biblical Midian must in any case remain doubtful.” (Davies, Graham I. <i style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>The Way of the Wilderness: A Geographical Study of the Wilderness Itineraries in the Old Testament. SOTS: Monograph Series 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2009, pp. 64, 110 n.17.). Nonetheless, many deduce this location for the Land of Midian. Midianite association with Sheba, Amalek, Cushan, and “the people of the east” (Judg 6:33; 1 Chron 1:32; Isa 60:6; Hab 3:7), their camels and merchandising wealth (Gen 37:28, 36; Judg 7:12; 8:21, 26), their large flocks and herds (Num 31), their early presence near Mount Sinai and amongst the Moabites and Amorites of the Central and Southern Transjordan (Ex 18; Num 22:4; 31: 8; Josh 13:21), and their raids throughout pre-monarchic Israel (Judg 6:3-6; 8:10), indicate a mobile decentralised tribal nation. In all, it seems that the Land of Midian cannot be conclusively identified with any single region during the Israelite period.

  • Ron Bublitz

    June 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    I don’t understand the conclusion of these experts that you quote. I did a study of the location of Midian years ago. It was very easy to locate Midian by the clear statements in the Bible.

    1. Mount Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai

    Exo 31:18

    And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

    1Ki 8:9

    There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

    2. Mount Sinai/Horeb is in Arabia

    Gal 4:25

    Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;

    3. Mount Sinai/Horeb is in the land of Midian. Moses led the sheep of his father-in-law to the western side of Midian where the mountain is located.

    Exo 3:1

    Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

    4. Kadesh-barnea is just east of the Jordan River. Mount Sinai/Horeb in Midian is 11 days’ journey from Kadesh-barnea

    Num 32:8

    Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land.

    Deu 1:2

    It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.

    5. Midian is a neighbor of Moab and is near the land of Israel.

    Num 22:1

    Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.

    Num 22:4

    And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.

    Gen 36:35

    Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab

    6. Midian was so close to Israel that the entire story of Gideon dealt with the invasion of the Midianites

    Jdg 8:28

    So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

    7. Paran is between Midian and Egypt. Paran neighbors Israel

    1Ki 11:18

    They set out from Midian and came to Paran and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt,

    Num 13:26

    And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh

    Is it not clear to you from what is contained in the Bible itself?

    • Deborah Hurn

      June 3, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Ron. Just before I look at this a bit more, can you please clarify this statement?

      4. Kadesh-barnea is just east of the Jordan River. Mount Sinai/Horeb in Midian is 11 days’ journey from Kadesh-barnea.

      East? Of the Jordan?

      • Ron Bublitz

        June 3, 2021 at 8:14 pm

        As I included Num32:8 – the band of Hebrews spied out the land from Kadesh – which had to be near the eastern border. And as the following additional passages state Kadesh was in the Wilderness of Zin which was on the eastern side from Jordan down the Dead Sea.

        Num 33:36

        And they set out from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh).

        Jdg 11:17

        Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.

        Num 34:3

        your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east.

        • Thomas Donlon

          June 3, 2021 at 9:05 pm

          Hi Ron,

          I’m very open to an alternate location of Kadesh East of the line from the Dead Sea to the gulf of Aqaba. Some people like Rohl favor or are open to such a location.

          But Kadesh must at a minimum be South of the Dead Sea.

          Look at the way this scripture outlines the entire border of Israel. First the scripture gives the Southern border (whether on the South or heading South). Then is given the Eastern border (the Mediterranean) then the Northern border and then the border ends with the Eastern border heading down to the Dead Sea. So since this is a clockwise circle (or sorts) Kadesh has to be South of the Dead Sea (or south West or west) and can’t be located east of the Jordon River according to this configuration. Here is the scripture. Yet all the other stuff I’m open to. (But I don’t know much a Biblical geography.)

          2 “Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan as defined by its borders),
          3 your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east.
          4 And your border shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea. Then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon.
          5 And the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and its limit shall be at the sea.
          6 “For the western border, you shall have the Great Sea and its coast. This shall be your western border.
          7 “This shall be your northern border: from the Great Sea you shall draw a line to Mount Hor.
          8 From Mount Hor you shall draw a line to Lebo-hamath, and the limit of the border shall be at Zedad.
          9 Then the border shall extend to Ziphron, and its limit shall be at Hazar-enan. This shall be your northern border.
          10 “You shall draw a line for your eastern border from Hazar-enan to Shepham.
          11 And the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain. And the border shall go down and reach to the shoulder of the Sea of Chinnereth on the east.
          12 And the border shall go down to the Jordan, and its limit shall be at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land as defined by its borders all around.”
          (Num. 34:2-12 ESV)

          • Thomas Donlon

            June 3, 2021 at 11:08 pm

            Um… I meant to say the Mediterranean is the west border.

          • Deborah Hurn

            June 4, 2021 at 11:24 am

            Ron, in favour of Kadesh lying in the northeast Sinai in the Wadi Arish catchment, we have the toponyms from Num 34 and Josh 15 preserved in the Arabic:

            Jos 15:1-4 NRSV  The lot for the tribe of the people of Judah according to their families reached southward to the boundary of Edom, to the wilderness of Zin at the farthest south.  (2)  And their south boundary ran from the end of the Dead Sea, from the bay that faces southward;  (3)  it goes out southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, passes along to Zin, and goes up south of Kadesh-barnea, along by Hezron, up to Addar, makes a turn to Karka,  (4)  passes along to Azmon, goes out by the Wadi of Egypt, and comes to its end at the sea. This shall be your south boundary.

            Kadesh: Ayn Qadeis

            Addar: Ayn Qudayrat

            Azmon: Ayn Qusayma

            Karka means “floor” and there is a plain between Ayn Qudayrat and Ayn Qusaymah.

            Note: the guttural ‘ayin’ ‘A’ in Hebrew comes through in Arabic as ‘Q’ or ‘G’.

            Hezron/Hazar is sometimes paired with Addar (Num 34) and the Wadi of Egypt when studied in other biblical texts is most likely Wadi al Arish of the Central and Northern Sinai. The “sea” is the Med Sea.

            Kadesh is probably not Ayn Qadays all the same: the best water source by far in the Kadesh district is Ayn Qudayrat. So there are still some uncertainties, but overall, the location of Kadesh to the SW of Israel between Wadi Zin and Wadi Arish is well accepted by the scholars for good reasons, biblical, geographical, etymological.

        • Deborah Hurn

          June 5, 2021 at 10:48 am

          Ron, I do appreciate the time you have taken to look up and refer to all the Bible quotes:

          The 12 spies “went up” from Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran through the Wilderness of Zin and across the Negeb to spy out the land of Canaan (Num 13:3, 17, 21-22). This is undoubtedly an approach from the S. The Wilderness of Zin is only ever S of Canaan/Israel to the W of the Arabah.

          In Judges 11:17, Jephthah describes Moses at Kadesh sending a message to the king of Edom requesting passage through his territory. The Numbers narrative describes Kadesh as a town on the edge of Edom’s territory (Num 20:14-21). This is true insofar as Edom sometimes expanded westward across the Arabah into the Central Negev. There were highlands on both sides of the Arabah, and there appears to have been no hindrance to Edomite access and expansion. This is also consistent with how Seir happens to also be on the W side of the Arabah, S of Canaan, as we learn when the rebelling Israelites tried to invade the Hill Country of Canaan from Kadesh but were beaten “in Seir” (Num 14:39-45; cf. Deut 1:43-45). This describes a foray into Southern Canaan from the S, and a defeat and pursuit that drove them back S in the Negev highlands.

          In Numbers 33:36, where the Israelites are returning to Kadesh from Ezion-geber near the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, they are heading NNW on the Way of the Red Sea, now called the Darb al-Ghazza (Road to Gaza). This is all hard to show without a map.

    • Deborah Hurn

      June 5, 2021 at 10:26 am

      Hi Ron. To your numbered points:

      1. Yes, Horeb is another name for Sinai.

      2. No, Mount Sinai-Horeb is not in Arabia (what we now understand as Arabia is different to the 1st C understanding). Note that Hagar (Gal 4:25) was probably never east of the Rift Valley. She and Abraham’s household wandered around between Philistia and Egypt. So an allegory linking Hagar to Mount Sinai is probably not connected with Saudi Arabia.

      3. No, Mount Sinai-Horeb is not *in* Midian. It is at the “backside [west] of the [unnamed] wilderness” (Ex 3:1) *near* Midian.

      4. Kadesh is SW of Canaan at Ayn Qudayrat in eastern Sinai. The 11 days of Deut 1:2 apply to the distance between the place where Moses was when he spoke the words of Deuteronomy (the Plains of Moab) and Mount Horeb where Israel had been 39 yrs before. The whole point of Deut 1:1-3 is that Israel had taken 39 years to get to a destination only 11 days from Mount Horeb. Without that context, Deut 1:2 is without any relevance to vv. 1 and 3. Deut 1:1-2 should be read as one sentence in Hebrew. Look it up in Young’s Literal, or the Modern King James.

      5, 6. Midianites lived among the Moabites, both N and S of the Arnon. Midian was a mobile Arabian tribe who turned up in many places throughout biblical history.

      7. Yes, Paran is between Midian and Egypt. Bear in mind that Hadad was an Edomite. His travel vector is Edom-Midian-Paran-Egypt. So this is all N of the Aqaba Gulf.

      • Ron Bublitz

        June 11, 2021 at 5:48 pm

        I’m not going to respond to the various responses other than to talk about Sinai’s location. Paul states quite clearly Sinai is in Arabia. The Greek word used there is specifically “Arabia”. The Aramaic (arguably the language he wrote in) specifically is “Arabia”. The people of that area understood 3 different areas of Arabia and would have stated which one they were referring to by the words used. While facing east, there was Desert Arabia, Fertile Arabia (south) and Arabia proper (the Roman province). Paul most assuredly would be referring to the proper Roman province. This included present day Saudi Arabia as well as the Sinai Peninsula.

        I do not understand why you say Midian was not in Arabia. Nothing in the Bible states that. You say it is “west”. The Hebrew does not state that either. The word is “backside or other side”. And “wilderness” is actually uninhabited pasture land. Moses was specifically leading the flock to a good feeding location. That is not a desert. He’d be a very poor shepherd if he did that.

        • Deborah Hurn

          June 11, 2021 at 10:18 pm

          Hi Ron.

          Yes, Arabia in Roman terms included the Sinai Peninsula. Israel, then as now, was surrounded by Arab nations, including to the south and southwest.

          Your first point about facing east is relevant to the second, where אחר המדבר ahar ha-midbar “behind the wilderness” indicates ‘west’ to people who described direction when facing east. So ‘east’ is קֵדְמָה kadimah or קֶדֶם kedem meaning “to the fore”, “in front”. They also use מִזְרָח mizrah “sunrise”. In biblical texts, ‘west’ is nearly always יָם yam “sea” in reference to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. So Josh 11:3 has “to the Canaanites in the east מִזְרָח [sunrise] and the west יָם [sea]”.

          But the Mediterranean Sea is also called הים האחרון ha-yam ha-aharon “the sea behind” as in Zech 14:8 and Joel 2:20. Thus אחרון aharon “behind” signifies ‘west’ to someone facing קֵדְמָה kadimah ‘east’. It is in this sense, ‘west’, that Moses took Jethro’s flocks אחר המדבר ahar ha-midbar “behind the wilderness”, that is, to the west side as per the ESV, ISV, NrIV, and even the MSG 🙂 This wilderness, it turns out, is the Wilderness of Paran, so familiar to Moses that he often doesn’t bother to name it. Mount Sinai-Horeb is also called “Mount Paran” in Hab 3:3.

          Hab 3:3  God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. [Selah] His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 
        • Deborah Hurn

          June 13, 2021 at 6:16 am

          The western location of the wilderness where Moses took Jethro’s flocks is a problem for Jebel al-Lawz and any candidate in Saudi Arabia. The only wilderness to the west of that granite mountain range along the east side of the Aqaba Gulf is… the coastal strip. A close look in Google Earth shows that the coastal strip is barren, certainly not pasture land (all the life is offshore and underwater in the coral reefs!)

          As detailed in the discussion the Exodus narrative and Number itinerary list all the wildernesses and stations that have to fit between the Red Sea crossing and Mount Sinai:

          • Red Sea crossing (from Pi-hahiroth)
          • 3 days in the Wilderness of Etham (or Shur, cp. Ex 15:22)
          • Marah
          • Elim
          • Red Sea (again)
          • Wilderness of Sin
          • Dophkah
          • Alush
          • Rephidim
          • Wilderness of (Mount) Sinai

          With only 57 km between the shore opposite Nuweiba and Jebel al-Lawz, and with only two kinds of terrain between them (coastal plain and mountain range), I have to ask what route Israel could possibly have taken to fit in all these regions and sites. Moreover, a year later according to the Numbers narrative, Israel left Mount Sinai and immediately and directly entered the Wilderness of Paran (Num 10:12, 33), so this is yet another wilderness to fit into that strip east of the Aqaba Gulf. I have not yet read or engaged with any proponent for a Saudi Sinai that is willing to make the case from the wilderness itinerary. The Jebel al-Lawz proposal is in serious trouble with the itinerary data.

          Timeframe, distances and campsites between the sea and the mountain

          • Deborah Hurn

            June 13, 2021 at 11:14 pm

            So, if Mount Sinai is at Har Karkom at the southern edge of the Negev Highlands, it is on the western side of the Paran River catchment. Moses could indeed be referring to this river system as the Wilderness of Paran. The historical geographers of the new state of Israel thought so when the Governmental Names Commission renamed from the Arabic Wadi Jirafi as Hebrew Nahal Paran in the 1950s. They also renamed from the Arabic Wadi Figra as Wadi Zin. These two main river-systems of the southern regions are among sixteen rivers in Israel to receive their original biblical names. The river-system of Nahal Paran makes up almost the entire Southern Negev. It is a lowlands region of many desert wadis that consolidate near Har Karkom to flow NNE as one past the Karkom mesa towards the Northern Arabah. These wadis would have been suitable for grazing flocks. Pastoral nomads make seasonal migrations from the lowlands in the winter to the highlands in the summer where the grass lasts longer. This is what Moses was doing over there on the west side of the Paran wilderness in the Negev Highlands. It was probably summer and he was exploiting highlands pasture on and around Har Karkom “behind the wilderness”.

            • Deborah Hurn

              June 14, 2021 at 5:09 am

              Correction: “They also renamed from the Arabic Wadi Figra as Nahal Zin.” The Nahal Zin river system is the basis of the Wilderness of Zin.

              Note that the twelve spies went from the Wilderness of Paran northward through the Wilderness of Zin, across the Negeb (the Beersheba Valley), and into the Hill Country of Canaan. They traversed the whole length of the Hill Country as far north as Lebanon (about 400 km or 250 miles!), returning the same distance via the Valley of Eshcol to Moses at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran (Num 13:3, 17, 21-22, 26; Deut 1:23-24).

              Kadesh is more commonly identified with the Wilderness of Zin (Num 20:1; 27:14; 33:36; Deut 32:51). This proximity between the Paran and Zin wildernesses and a reference to Mount Sinai as Mount Paran (Hab 3:3) situates the holy mountain not far from Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran. These regions are all ‘local’ to Southern Canaan and all on the west side of the Rift Valley. From S to N they are consecutive and contiguous:

              • Mount Sinai
              • Wilderness of Paran
              • Kadesh District
              • Wilderness of Zin
              • The Negeb
              • The Hill Country of the Amorites
              • The Lebanon

              Jebel al-Lawz on the eastern side of the Aqaba Gulf about 240 km from Kadesh is remote and irrelevant to this scenario.

          • Ron Bublitz

            June 17, 2021 at 12:42 am

            I’ll just respond to say that basing anything on modern geography and climate – especially G***** Earth is extremely troubling. As we know climate has changed significantly over several thousand years.

            • Deborah Hurn

              June 17, 2021 at 1:46 am

              Ron, are referring to my observation that the east side of the Aqaba Gulf is barren and unsuitable for flocks? The mountain range alongside the gulf is granite, as far north as the watershed of the Arabah, impervious to rain which runs off to the sea. The same granite peaks are found across the Gulf in the Southern Sinai. Neither of these regions on both sides of the Aqaba Gulf is ‘pastureland’ suitable for supporting a semi-nomadic tribal nation. These regions were always barren, crossed by camel traders connecting the great empires of the Euphrates and the Nile. The limestone and sandstone mountain ranges further north in the Southern Transjordan and Negev Highlands absorb and channel rainwater. There the wadis are vegetated. The marginal lands of Southern Canaan, Edom, and Moab have been pastoral territory throughout human history.

  • Donna Cox

    June 4, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    I was wondering of the possibility that Mount Sinai might be in Saudi Arabia as the documentry Exodus Decoded has stated?

    • Deborah Hurn

      June 4, 2021 at 11:14 pm

      Hi Donna. I re-viewed Simcha Jacobovici’s movie Exodus Decoded, and took some notes, as below. Firstly, he does not offer a candidate for Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia. His candidate, Hashem al-Tarif, is in eastern Sinai.


      The panning spinning GIS visuals with ‘hologram’ effects are gimmicky… he calls it his “chronology machine” at 34:00, but it does nothing to illustrate chronology. Simcha is a film maker so he can make fancy visuals which cover for his film being light on content. The whole movie has a ‘sensational’ tone and soundtrack, and a treasure-hunting tone.

      10:00 He launches straight into the Pharaoh of the exodus and chooses one (Ahmose) with no arguments! “Here is the man who confronted Moses”. Why would anyone believe him? He has the mummy for a start. The pharaoh of the exodus was drowned and lost with all his army. There should be no mummy.

      14:00 So this is the Avaris theory… heavily reliant on Bietak’s excavations at Tel ed-Daba. Simcha mentions the Hyksos that Pharaoh Ahmose drove out of Egypt. So he thinks the Hyksos are the Israelites. Again he gives no arguments. This is also Rohl’s view. The connection of Avaris with the Hebrews is entirely based on the MBA II remains in Avaris being ‘Asiatic’. Well yes, they are, because the Hyksos were Asiatic invaders of Egypt.

      The Hyksos-Hebrews ID is actually an antisemitic view if you scratch the surface. The Hyksos were iconoclastic pillaging raping murdering barbarians. They were the ISIS of the ANE. They invaded and ruined Egypt, dominated it, and developed their own dynasty in Lower Egypt. The native Egyptians in Thebes (Upper Egypt) eventually overcame the Hyksos kingdom, isolating them in Tel ed-Daba and then evicting them to “the borders of Syria” i.e. Southern Judah (NOT to the Sinai or Negev as the Bible describes the exodus).

      Not only were the Hyksos violent invaders not mild refugees as the Bible describes Jacob and his sons, but the proposed Hyksos-Hebrew ID would make the whole biblical narrative of the Egyptian sojourn and exodus narrative into a clever self-serving saga of lies. In fact, the Hyksos were not slaves but enslavers. They were not accommodated by Pharaoh, rather they invaded and took over. The Hyksos were not victims but perpetrators. So everything in the patriarchal-sojourn-exodus story would be a lie: Joseph would not be the saviour of Egypt but a foreign-born despot, and so on.

      The Hyksos were actually the bad guys. So no wonder the atheist and agnostic theorists are so eager to sell the Judaeo-Christian world on the Hyksos-Hebrew ID and to identify MBA Avaris with the Rameses of the sojourn. It fits in very well with literary-critical views of the Bible as semi-fictional lying Jewish propaganda.

      25:00 Simcha connects the Santorini eruption with the exodus. Again this involves wild dating assumptions. By this event, he attempts to explain the 10 plagues, including the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn.

      52:00 He has a “Reed Sea” crossing in the Ballah Lakes in the northern isthmus. Simcha again does not make any kind of proper argument, but just states his position and then uses footage from his trip(s) to illustrate whatever he wants. This showy movie with its shallow commentary is a kind of mental chewing gum.

      59:00 So he buys into James Hoffmeier’s northern isthmus crossing. But Simcha has the Santorini eruption somehow involved… a tsunami across the Mediterranean. Such theories barely use the biblical descriptions of any events; they don’t seem to mind that the account of the Red Sea crossing doesn’t describe a tsunami. They ignore the primary role of the wind. They can’t explain the ‘walls’, or the bogging of the chariot wheels, and don’t even try.

      1:00:00 So here he has jumped the shark (in the Med Sea)! He is looking for the Hebrews in Greece. He says the Red Sea crossing is depicted on Mycenean tombstones. This is all really woo-woo stuff.

      1:10:00 He identifies Mount Sinai in the eastern Sinai, Hashem el-Tarif. His argument is based on the ’11’ days vector of Deut 1:2. This text is an issue for all the Sinai candidates… any mountain closer than 11 days from Kadesh at Ayn al Qudayrat is discounted. But if the 11-days text has been wrongly read and in fact the 11 days apply between the place where Moses spoke to all Israel (in the Plains of Moab, v. 1) and (Mount) Horeb via Kadesh-barnea as I have explained elsewhere on this forum (v. 2), then this requirement is reframed.

      1:15:00 He has Elim in the right place. But he takes the other coordinate from Timna (which he arbitrarily IDs with Midian). So he swings three vectors and comes up with a mountain at their intersection between Elim, Kadesh, and Petra. Hashem el-Tarif has not had any impact on the Mount Sinai debate. Simcha has done no itinerary work other than to mention the 11 days. People can’t just keep throwing up Sinai candidates without doing the geographical work. The geographical data of the Pentateuch is the prime testing ground for any would-be Mount Sinai-Horeb. It actually doesn’t matter what features a mountain has: if it doesn’t solve the problems of the wilderness itineraries, it cannot be Mount Sinai.

      1:25:00 He has some golden Mycenaean artifact that he thinks looks like the ark of the covenant. Simcha has a wild imagination and no logic. How did the Hebrews cross the Ballah Lake, end up in Greece, and yet go to Mount Sinai in the eastern Sinai? Or in some other order? It is pointless to expect any of this to make sense.

      • Thomas Donlon

        June 5, 2021 at 1:42 am

        Hi Deborah,

        Patterns of Evidence: Exodus one hour twenty-three through one hour twenty four minutes + David Rohl explains his view on the Hyksos.

        In his book Exodus: Myth or History pages 156-161 David Rohl lays out that after the Exodus of Israel from Avaris and Egypt the Hyksos invaded Egypt and made their capital at Avaris.

        I know this is complicated…

        • Deborah Hurn

          June 5, 2021 at 1:51 am

          Thomas, if so, Rohl crams the Hebrew sojourn and captivity plus the Hyksos invasion, dynasty, and eviction all into the one city and the one era/culture, MBA IIa. Why? Who does he think the Hyksos are then?

          There are no MBA IIa remains across the Sinai-Negev or at Jebel Musa. How does his theory help him there?

          • Thomas Donlon

            June 6, 2021 at 3:04 am

            Who does [David Rohl] think the Hyksos are then?

            Deborah, I’ll attempt an answer to this part of your question since it only involves some simple typing of what David has written in his book Exodus: Myth or History. Page 158.

                   These early Hyksos rulers were Canaanites – several bearing Semitic names such as Ya Ammu, Yakubim, Kareh, Ammu, Sheshi and Yakub Har. They appear to have originated from southern Palestine. The Greater Hyksos kings who succeeded them, on the other hand, may have originiated from much further afield as they had strong contacts with the Indo-European lands to the north (especially with the island of Cyprus). Manetho describes them as "foreign kings from Phoenicia'. Excavations at Avaris record the appearance of imported Cypriote decorated pottery during the Greater Hyksos 17the Dynasty (strata D?2 and D/1), whereas southern Canaanite pottery predominated in the earlier Strata F to E/1, indicating the restricted southern contacts of the Lesser Hyksos kings.
                  At this point it should be noted the Greek term 'Hyksos' refers only to the rulers of Mentho's invading 'people of obscure race'. The word is actually tow Egyptian words - Hyk (Egyptian heka) meaning 'ruler' and -sos which is usually equated with Egyptian khasut meaning 'hill country', giving us 'Ruler of the Hill Country' or more usually in the textbooks 'Ruler of Foreign Lands'. However, I actually prefer an alternative etymology which Menetho himself offers (as quoted by Josephus). I see the second element -sos as the Greek form of the Egyptian wprd shosu which describes the nomadic shepherds of the Negeb desert of southern Palestine and Wilderness of Shur in northern Sinai. These Bedouin-type nomads, in my view, were the 'people of obscure race' who, being on the very border of Egypt, seized their moment to invade the delta when it was ripe for plunder, following the catastrophe of Exodus. The Hyksos themselves were therefore the 'Rulers of the Shepherds' (Egyptian Hekau Shosu) or, to put it another way, the 'Shepherd Kings'.   

            After several more paragraphs about specifics about the details of the Kings and who reigned when, David Rohl went on writing “These warrior graves were gruesome affairs…” and he went on quoting Manetho about the Hyksos and their “cruel hostility, massacring…”

            • Deborah Hurn

              June 6, 2021 at 6:28 am

              Thanks for typing that up, Thomas. I donated my book to the seminary library and would have to make a trip to see it.

              The Hyksos seem to have been a diverse bunch, or rather it seems they started out as barbaric pastoral-nomads who were joined over time by more technologically capable groups from farther north. This fits well with Velikovsky’s original proposal that the Amalekites of the Northern Negev invaded Egypt after the exodus when the Old Kingdom was ruined by the plagues and leaderless from the Red Sea disaster. The brutal invaders were the “people of obscure race” as mentioned in the Ipuwer Papyrus lament. They worsened conditions in Egypt with their plundering, hence the ‘dark age’ of the First Intermediate Period. They were joined over time (40 yrs later, we would expect) by Canaanite refugees from the conquest (there was an influx of people to Philistia, Lebanon, Syria, and Southern Moab, so we may expect some to flee to Egypt also), who had urban living and agricultural skills and were much more ‘civilised’ than the Amalekites (that’s a low bar!). Then they were joined, it seems, by some Indo-Europeans, these groups together Egyptianising and eventually forming their own dynasty, the Hyksos, “foreign rulers”.

              So the question then arises, why would Rohl identify the Hebrews of the exodus with the same city and the same era (MBA II) as the Hyksos? Clearly, the Hebrews left Egypt before the Amalekites moved in. How would one distinguish between their remains and those of the invading Amalekites? Why does Rohl identify the ‘Asiatic’ remains at Avaris with the Hebrews if they had been resident in Egypt for ~200 yrs, had no access to ‘Asiatic’ goods, named their kids with Egyptian names (e.g. Phinehas), made mud-brick dwellings, even worshipped Egyptian gods… it doesn’t seem likely that they were culturally distinguished by then. What Bietak has found there in the MBA IIa at Tel ed-Daba are Amalekite+Canaanite(+Cypriot?) remains, i.e. Hyksos, and these have nothing to do with the Israelites. Or rather, they are there *because* of the Israelites but are not identified with them. Egypt with its abundant reliable water source (the Nile) and incredibly rich soil was a big prize. It was like opening the West in the Americas… a land-rush.

              Rohl writes (copied from your copy):

              These Bedouin-type nomads, in my view, were the 'people of obscure race' who, being on the very border of Egypt, seized their moment to invade the delta when it was ripe for plunder, following the catastrophe of Exodus.

              Why does Rohl (apparently) NOT identify the Hyksos with the Amalekites? Why not say it? Does he say it elsewhere? If not, what is he hoping we won’t see? Of course this is who they were! Who else fits the description of “Bedouin-type nomads… on the very border of Egypt”? Who else was likely to sweep in and pillage Egypt after the Israelites left? We know that Amalek harrassed Israel across the Sinai, attacked them at Rephidim, attacked them at Hormah, and then… went totally quiet for 40 yrs and more and were not heard of again until the Judges period. Israel wandered in the Eastern Sinai and Central-Southern Negev for 40 yrs with no more trouble from Amalek. Where were they? They had heard Egypt’s front door was wide open, walked in, and got busy.

            • Thomas Donlon

              June 6, 2021 at 9:18 am

              Hey Deborah, In answer to your question about the Amalekites. “The fruit of the poisonous tree.” Velikovsky had some wild ideas … I know his astronomical ideas could not be more discredited. I’m guessing from what you are saying that the idea of the Amalekites being the Hyskos then, is associated with Velikovsky. David Rohl has decades of high-level experience in debates and may then be framing the people involved, which perhaps he agrees is the Amalekites, in such a way that won’t hit the emotional touchstone of “Velikovsky.” Say the word “Velikovsky” and you’ve just lost a large part of your audience. Or you have to spend pages explaining “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.” And that Velikovsky can be correct with A but wrong on B, C, D, E etc…

            • Deborah Hurn

              June 6, 2021 at 10:05 am

              Thomas, I have lost contact with the allusion to “the fruit of the poisonous tree”. What’s that about?

              Velikovsky has the right to be credited with his original theory even though his views may not be accepted or acceptable in academia. I don’t care about the “who”, just the “what”. And I don’t care about “losing half my audience” if it means doing the wrong thing. Those who cringe from crediting an original theorist because of enmity, fear, and the loss of reputation do not deserve the title of ‘scholar’. In this aspect at least, the idea that the Hyksos were the Amalekites et al, I believe Velikovsky was right. From what you typed up, Rohl comes close to suggesting the very same idea. Why didn’t he come right out and identify those Bedouin plunderers of Egypt as the (proto-)Hyksos? Perhaps because if he did he would have to reference Velikovsky? There are many ‘reputable’ scholars out there who got much less right than Velikovsky. All the Documentary Hypothesis scholars, for example. That’s a lot of scholars. But it is OK to cite those who deny biblical history and not someone who actually sought evidence for biblical history. I strongly object to this kind of censorship. Now called “cancel culture”.

            • Deborah Hurn

              June 6, 2021 at 12:10 pm

              correction above:

              “Why didn’t he come right out and identify those Bedouin plunderers of Egypt as the Amalekites?”

            • Thomas Donlon

              June 7, 2021 at 10:56 am

              Thomas, I have lost contact with the allusion to “the fruit of the poisonous tree”. What’s that about?

              Red Sea Miracle II collector’s edition extra material bonus interview with former forensic professional Jennifer Hall Rivera who now works with Answers in Genesis. Tim interviewed her and they talked about it as a legal term and Tim expanded the reference to include the dilemma he had faced in how to present a view that was associated with a Ron Wyatt proposal for the Israelites crossing the gulf of Aqaba.

              I’m out of time. There are alternate explanations for David Rohl writing what he did. But not worth discussing. HFS guidelines are to be polite, kind etc.

              What are your thoughts about Exodus 1:11 since you might be opting for a non-traditional understanding that is different than what has been portrayed by the material I’ve read and seen in videos.

            • Deborah Hurn

              June 7, 2021 at 12:01 pm
              Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. (Exo 1:11 NRSV)

              The Land of Rameses was already there from Jacob’s day, at the end of the Way of Shur, i.e. in the Wadi Tumilat. The ‘city’ of Rameses that the Hebrews built possibly came much later in the ~200 yrs of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. They may still have been building it at the time of the exodus if the mudbricks were for this project (Ex 5:7, 8, 14 etc), Thus, these two “supply cities” were probably not very fancy. If Israel mostly lived in the city of Rameses (and it is not entirely sure they did), then this is just an industrial facility, only fitting for slave habitation.

              Gen_47:11  Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed.
              Exo_1:11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh.
              Exo_12:37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.
              Num_33:3 They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the passover the Israelites went out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians,
              Num_33:5 So the Israelites set out from Rameses, and camped at Succoth.

              Jochebed left the ark in the rushes where the princess came to bathe and returned home, presumably a short distance, leaving a child to keep watch. During the plagues, Moses came and went from his interviews with Pharaoh in the royal precinct at short notice. From this and other hints, we may deduce that the supply city of Rameses, presumably in the Land of Rameses, was not far from the royal precinct. I think it was one of the tels at the western end of the Wadi Tumilat. We get the impression of an early era with a low population, where the royal palace was in the Eastern Delta in close proximity to the fringe-dwelling pastoral Semites, at a time when Pharaoh could be afraid that the nomads of the Sinai might even outnumber and overwhelm his own people. Ironically, that’s what happened, for when the Hebrews left Egypt was ruined and leaderless, nomadic savages moved in and took over, as is known of the first stage of the Hyksos era.

              Is this what you wanted, Thomas?

      • Deborah Hurn

        June 6, 2021 at 2:27 pm

        correction above (to my notes on Simcha’s Exodus Decoded movie):

        “So he swings three vectors and comes up with a mountain at their intersection between Elim, Kadesh, and Timna.”

  • Donna Cox

    June 5, 2021 at 2:14 am

    Thank you for your honest opinion on this matter.

  • Thomas Donlon

    June 7, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Deborah, just like New York State and New York City are both “New York”, your re-introduction of the “land of Rameses” apparently suggesting it possibly being the Rameses the Israelites left from puts your ideas back in play … or gives it a plausible framework in which to view your theories.

    However, I might have to spend some time learning how to produce maps if I want to better understand all these places and geographical locations.

    • Deborah Hurn

      June 7, 2021 at 10:12 pm

      Thomas, we seem to have lost connection with the correct threads by topic. I will also post this on a thread for Goshen if I can find one.

      It is important to pay very close attention to the geographical details of the text, both explicit and implied. Goshen is not up NE in the Nile Delta at Tel ed-Daba. It is at the end of the nomads’ route into Egypt, the Way of Shur, which comes directly from the east through Beersheba and Kadesh across the middle of the Northern Sinai (not the Med Sea coast) and enters Egypt along the full length of the Wadi Tumilat. Wadi Tumilat is the only lateral (east-flowing) distributary of the Nile Delta. It terminates in Lake Timsah (‘crocodile’) in the Suez Isthmus. Crocodiles could only have got out to the Suez Isthmus if there was a waterway for the full 60 km from the Delta (the ancient Pelusiac branch) all the way there. There is no geographical or hydrological justification for extending Goshen any further than the Wadi Tumilat valley.

      Wadi Tumilat and its surrounding pasturelands were the whole of the Land of Goshen. This can be established from the biblical descriptions in Genesis and Exodus. It is a long thin E-W strip of green that can be clearly seen in satellite images, a convenient corridor into Egypt proper, and occupied throughout human history by Semitic pastoralists who came and went from the border of Egypt to fatten and rest their flocks. They could also trade wool and meat into Egypt for grain and produce and luxury goods. This is all well known to archaeologists and Egyptologists. As Tim covered in the Red Sea Miracle documentaries, Manfred Bietak, the excavator of Avaris, has recently shifted his focus back to the Wadi Tumilat as Goshen, observing that there were overflow lakes along the length of Wadi Tumilat, and that this lake region is referred to as “Gesem” in ancient papyrus records. This is where the Hebrew dwelled for the four generations from Jacob to Moses. They were not elsewhere in the Delta or in Upper Egypt.

  • Trish Williams

    July 30, 2021 at 1:52 am

    Really enjoying the dialogue on this subject, especially Deborah. Thank you. Just a mention about Galatians 4.25 which many use to justify that Mt Sinai is in Saudi Arabia. Mt Sinai is in Sinai which was part of Arabia in biblical times including Paul’s time-there is only one Sinai (Peninsula) and it makes sense that the Mount of God would be situated on this Peninsula. Also this text is not about geography. It is an allegory merely bringing up the contrast of two covenants. Paul is making an allegory using literal historical events for the express purpose of illustrating the lessons of faith and freedom versus works and bondage. Through Hagar and her son Ishmael, Abraham intended at one time to work out God’s plan. Sarah represented the new covenant of Faith through the son of Promise (Isaac). This text reveals that the Galatians were reverting to the very kind of worship that had brought Israel as a nation into bondage, ruin and rejection.

  • Deborah Hurn

    July 30, 2021 at 4:12 am

    Trish, thanks for the comment. Your point re Paul’s allegory is correct. I am currently taking a break from HFS as I finish my dissertation on the historical geography of the exodus. Will be back! I would be willing to battle it out with anyone (or several) who wishes to defend a Mount Sinai in Arabia, that is, east of the Rift Valley. Any takers? You have about a month to prepare 🙂 I will be nice and calm! No insults, just the issue.

    • Deborah Hurn

      September 2, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Sent off the full dissertation draft on 31 Aug! There will still be corrections and I have a lot of other reading lined up! But I am back and willing to debate anyone who would like to defend the Jebel al Lawz and/or Jebel Musa candidate(s) for Mount Sinai. Who do we have? Has Glen Fritz or David Rohl ever turned up here on the forums? Who else is an HFS member who is also an advocate for any of the Mount Sinai candidates? Come out and play! 😉

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