Community Discussions

Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Home Forums Location of Mount Sinai Timeframe, distances and campsites between the sea and the mountain Reply To: Timeframe, distances and campsites between the sea and the mountain

  • Deborah Hurn

    February 14, 2021 at 6:06 am

    I just measured the distance between the shore opposite Nuweiba on the Aqaba Gulf and Jebel al-Lawz. It is 57 linear km inland to the SE. You can look it up in Google Earth Pro: Nuweiba: 28°58’24.30″N 34°39’13.53″E, Lawz: 28°39’15.29″N 35°18’16.48″E. Check the ‘Terrain’ box in the Layers panel on the L for a 3D view, and zoom in and around (you might need a tutorial if you haven’t used GE before).

    Into this distance (just 57 km) must fit all the wildernesses and stations listed in the Exodus narrative and Numbers itinerary (see the post above this one), beginning with a 3-day journey into the Wilderness of Etham/Shur to Marah, then Elim, then the Wilderness of Sin (entry plus exit), then Dophkah, then Alush, then Rephidim, and finally, entry into the Wilderness of Sinai to camp by the mount.

    What on earth were the people doing for those three days into/along the coastal strip? The mountains of the Western Hejaz meet the coast not far S of the ‘landing’ point. There really isn’t anywhere to go but N along the coast *away from* Jebel al-Lawz which lies to the SE. Three days’ walk to the N of the ‘landing’ point would bring them to Elath (65 km). But they were still on the Red Sea shore a month after Passover (note the timeframe as explained in the post above). What, did they go turn around and come back S to go to Jebel al-Lawz? How do you fit Marah, Elim, Red Sea (again), Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim into 57 km along one or two narrow mountain wadis (check it out online)? And what rationale would there be for the detailed description of such an unremarkable journey?

    As for the wildernesses, into that short distance of 57 km must fit the wildernesses of Etham/Shur, and of Sin, and of Sinai, and also of Paran, because after a year’s encampment the people left the Wilderness of Sinai and directly entered the Wilderness of Paran for another three-days’ journey (presumably not the same as the one in the Wilderness of Etham/Shur) (Num 10:12, 33). Also, how did the people know they were in a ‘new’ wilderness? What geographical features distinguish one wilderness from another? Looking at the terrain here I can see only two regions: the coastal strip and the rough mountains along the E side of the Aqaba Gulf.

    I am surprised to observe the serious shortcomings of this candidate. I didn’t realise the distance from the shore was so short. Even coming from the Tiran Straits to Jebel al Lawz as Rudd supposes is only 100 linear km, and the situation with distinguishing the wildernesses is no better. Jebel Musa is a far more credible candidate just from being in the Sinai Peninsula and a sufficient distance from the Red Sea crossing site (wherever it is in the Suez Isthmus) to account for the extended journey of three days, three wildernesses, and six stations. But I go for Har Karkom in the Central Negev because the itinerary details work even better for that candidate.