MemberFebruary 17, 2021 at 7:42 pm
Thomas, the distance by road (around the Fertile Crescent) between Haran and Mount Gilead 15 km N of the Jabbok River is more than 400 km, which would be 65-70 km per day. Something is wrong with that data… either Haran is not the one in Turkey, or the biblical number is corrupted or the account incomplete. There is no way a large pastoral group with women and children can walk that distance, ancient armies don’t even attempt it (15 miles, 20 km), and as far as I know only marathon runners could do it (I read of one who covered 100 km in 24 hours), and could only sustain that rate for one 24 hour period (which is the equivalent to three days of ‘normal’ walking). I went on an urban pilgrimage in 2016 and walked 30 km per day for two days. That was eight hours of walking per day. The ages of those participating were from 9 yrs to 85 yrs. We weren’t carrying anything but a small backpack. All food and water was provided by churches along the way. In the ME it would be necessary to rest in the hottest hours. All the great hiking trails of the world (here in WA we have the Bibbulmun Track) have overnight shelters about every 20-30 km, depending on the terrain. As for livestock, yes they can run for up to 30 km/per day or even more if necessary but will lose condition as you say. Australia’s beloved bush poet, A.B. Patterson, penned these lines regarding the standard rate for sheep on the Overland trails:
Now is the law of the Overland that all in the West obey –
A man must cover with travelling sheep a six-mile stage a day;
But this is the law which the drovers make, right easily understood,
They travel their stage where the grass is bad, but they camp where the grass is good.