Community Discussions

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

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

  • Deborah Hurn

    February 17, 2021 at 1:39 am

    Two nice pieces of prose about the Kadesh district by famous surveyors (yes, that’s Lawrence of Arabia):

    Rothenberg, Beno. <i style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">God’s Wilderness: Discoveries in Sinai. London: Thames and Hudson, 1961.

    [45] “Here, in this broad plain of long dark shadows and golden-gleaming hillocks, the Children of Israel encamped for a whole generation; from here the spies set forth on their way across the Negeb mountains to reconnoitre the Land of Canaan. Kadesh-barnea, comprising the region of Ain el Qudeirat, Ain Qadeis, El Qusaima and El Muweilah, was the springboard for the invasion of Canaan and the crucible in which the eternal faith of an eternal nation was put to the cruel test of the wilderness. Here Moses wrestled for the destiny of his people and here his own destiny was decided.”

    Woolley, C. Leonard, and T. E. Lawrence. The Wilderness of Zin. (2014). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936.

    [88] Strategically the Kossaima [Qusayma] district agrees well with what we know of Kadesh-Barnea. The Darb el Shur, the road of their forefathers, stretching westwards before the eyes of the mutinous Israelites, suggested an easy return to Egypt (Numbers xiv, 4); the same road runs northwards to Hebron, whither the spies went up to view the Land of Promise (Numbers xiii, 21). From the south runs up the main road from Elath…. Westwards [sic, he means eastwards] there is a choice of roads; one can go either through Bir Hafir and the Abda district by what is now called the Darb el Sultan, the King’s Highway, into the Araba, or by way of Wady Lussan, a little to the south, to Bir Mayein, and thence by the Jerafi [Paran] wady system to sundry roads leading into the Araba…


    It is out of the question to identify Kadesh anywhere else than in the Ayun Qadays-Qudayrat-Qusayma-Muwaylah district. Everything locks it in: the abundant water, the border descriptions of Judah, the ancient highways that all intersect here, the IA II fort, the ancient remains, the proximity to the Wilderness of Zin and the Negeb, and the Arabic names: Qadays=Kadesh, Qudayrat=Addar, Qusayma=Azmon (see Num 34 and Josh 15).