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Home Forums Location of Mount Sinai The issue of the wilderness of Shur Reply To: The issue of the wilderness of Shur

  • Roger Waite

    January 1, 2021 at 2:41 am

    Bill Schleigl, author of the Satellite Bible Atlas, correctly notes that the location of the Wilderness of Shur is well known to us and is immediately to the east of the defensive border of Egypt. It probably takes its name from the wall or shur that defended the eastern border of Egypt.

    In Abraham’s time this Shur was on the way to Egypt from Hebron and Beersheba. In Genesis 16:7 Hagar, who came from Egypt, is returning to Egypt and comes on a spring on the way to Shur. The way to Shur is the road from Hebron and Beersheba in Israel’s central highlands that goes to Egypt parallel with but some distance south of the coastal Mediterranean route (Way of Horus).

    Since the Israelites passed through the Wilderness of Shur after they crossed the Red Sea this is clearly the best evidence in support of the Red Sea crossing occurring at one of the Border lakes or the Gulf of Suez. Bill Schleigl appears to support a crossing over Lake Timsah rather than the Bitter Lake.

    That said, Glen Fritz makes a good case for the mountain range that goes from Edom down to Midian as being called Shur and the area near it being the Wilderness of Shur as it acted like a wall. The functional meaning of Shur is mirrored in the Arabic name Al-Hejaz, which means “the barrier” and this referred to the mountain chain of northwest Arabia extending between Mount Seir in Jordan and Medina.

    Those who support a Border Lakes crossing might scoff at this suggestion of a second Wilderness of Shur. However, Border lakes theorists are essentially proposing the same thing with regards to one of the Border Lakes being called Yam Suph, the Hebrew that is translated as Red Sea.

    The only body of water that, without question, is called Yam Suph is the Gulf of Aqaba as noted in 1 Kings 9 where Solomon built a naval base. For one of the Border Lakes to be the crossing site requires there to be multiple Yam Suphs just as I am suggesting that there was more than one Wilderness of Shur.

    That mountain range from Edom down to Midian could be another place called Shur meaning wall (a quite generic name), just as the Bible mentions a place called Succoth in both Egypt and Israel.