MemberApril 22, 2021 at 11:16 am
Hi Bruce. I call the night stops where there is no named site (and hence no water source) a ‘dry camp’. This does not happen as much as we may imagine, for there are springs every 15-20 km or so through much of the southern wildernesses and the ancient roads tend to connect them. Hence the “itinerary form” of Numbers 33.
The debate over whether the Exodus narrative and Numbers itinerary describe daily stages (for the Suez Isthmus crossers) or far-flung stations interspersed with many dry camps (for the Rift Valley crossers) requires careful attention to the text. The questions to ask in regard to the journey from Goshen to Sinai are these:
If, say, most of the named stations had several dry camps between them, why are the three days without water after the Red Sea crossing noted in both records? (Ex 15:22; Num 33:8)
Why is there a second Red Sea camp after Elim? (Num 33:10-11)
Why are there no named stations listed in the Wilderness of Sin? (Ex 16:1 cf. 17:1; Num 33:10-11)
Why do the named stations resume again after leaving the Wilderness of Sin? (Num 33:11-15)
These are questions for historical geography, and it’s a headache getting a complete picture of the itinerary from the data of text and terrain.