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

  • Deborah Hurn

    February 11, 2021 at 7:51 am

    So, let’s have a look at some more itinerary data that may help to qualify or even disqualify some of the Mount Sinai candidates.

    1. Elijah fled from Jezebel and made a pilgrimage to Mount Horeb (Sinai):

    1Ki 19:1-8 NRSV  Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.  (2)  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."  (3)  Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.  (4)  But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors."  (5)  Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat."  (6)  He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.  (7)  The angel of the LORD came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you."  (8)  He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

    Elijah left from Jezreel in the eastern Jezreel Valley in the mid-north of Israel (1 Kgs 18:46). He travelled a long way south to Beersheba in the western Negeb where he had the encounter with the angel and began his pilgrimage to Horeb. It seems he travelled south along the Samarian and Judaean range (the Med-Dead watershed) through Hebron and continued along the Way of Shur which passes through Beersheba and Kadesh-barnea. This is the inland road to Egypt which was used by the Hebrew patriarchs (Gen 16:7; 20:1).

    The question is this: If Elijah was heading for Mount Sinai-Horeb at Jebel al-Lawz (on the east side of the Aqaba Gulf), why did he go through Beersheba? He was heading SW on the Way of Shur towards Kadesh-barnea. He should have been heading SE towards to the Arabah. From Kadesh, it is most likely he turned S along the Darb al-Gaza (the Way of the Red Sea, Num 14:25; 21:4) whether he was heading to Har Karkom in the Southern Negev or as far as Jebel Musa in the Southern Sinai. Both these Mount Sinai candidates are accessible from the Darb, the latter by an eastern branch that goes through Bir al-Thamad about 75 km (50 miles) E of Elath. But travelling via Beersheba and Kadesh-barnea to Jebel al-Lawz on the E side of the Aqaba Gulf is really going the long (wrong) way!