MemberJanuary 20, 2021 at 10:48 pm
The theory of Israel moving towards a static volcano plume on the Arabian horizon (Humphreys, Baltz et al) does not fit with the biblical descriptions of the pillar of cloud and fire, that went ahead of the people, stopped, ‘settled’, rose, and moved again. There are so many texts about the pillar of cloud and fire, all in agreement on its ‘habits’:
Exo 13:21-22 NRSV The LORD went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. (22) Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Exo 14:19-20 NRSV The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. (20) It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.
Exo 40:34-38 NRSV Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (35) Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (36) Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; (37) but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. (38) For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.
Num 9:15-22 NRSV On the day the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant; and from evening until morning it was over the tabernacle, having the appearance of fire. (16) It was always so: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. (17) Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, then the Israelites would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the Israelites would camp. (18) At the command of the LORD the Israelites would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they would remain in camp. (19) Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the Israelites would keep the charge of the LORD, and would not set out. (20) Sometimes the cloud would remain a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the LORD they would remain in camp; then according to the command of the LORD they would set out. (21) Sometimes the cloud would remain from evening until morning; and when the cloud lifted in the morning, they would set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they would set out. (22) Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, resting upon it, the Israelites would remain in camp and would not set out; but when it lifted they would set out.
Num 14:14 NRSV and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people; for you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go in front of them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.
Neh 9:19 NRSV you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud that led them in the way did not leave them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night that gave them light on the way by which they should go.