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Home Forums Location of Mount Sinai The distance from Kadesh Barnea Reply To: The distance from Kadesh Barnea

  • Deborah Hurn

    Member
    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.