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  • Deborah Hurn

    September 26, 2021 at 5:58 am


    The proposal that Mount Sinai lies in the northern Sinai Peninsula also arose from biblical indicators. First, Moses’ request of Pharaoh to let the Hebrew slaves go three days’ journey into the wilderness to worship God (Exod 5:3; cf. 3:18; 8:27) together with the detail that their ultimate destination was Mount Sinai (19:1-4) may suggest that Mount Sinai lies three days’ journey from Goshen. Second, flocks of quail arrived at the Israelite camp after the people left the Red Sea coast and again after leaving Mount Sinai for Kadesh (Exod 16:13; Num 11:31-32). Quail are commonly netted in northern Sinai during their annual migration between southern Europe and Arabia or West Africa.[1] Third, Amalekite encounters with Israel during the journey from Goshen to Mount Sinai (Deut 25:17-18; Exod 17:8-13; 19:1-2) favour a route through the central or northern peninsula where Amalekites were otherwise active (Num 13:29; 14:25; Judg 1:16; cf. 1 Sam 15:6). Fourth, certain biblical poetic passages associate Sinai with Seir, Edom, Paran, Teman, and Midian (Deut 33:2; Judg 5:4; Hab 3:3, 7). According to other biblical and historical mentions in context, these regions lie on either side of the Arabah far from the southern Sinai Peninsula.[2]

    Explorers and scholars who propose locations in the northern Sinai Peninsula include Heinrich Graetz,[3] Gerhard Kittel,[4] Claude S. Jarvis,[5] Theodor Wiegand,[6] and Menashe Har-El, the latter offering a mountain candidate in west-central Sinai near the ancient cross-Sinai road.[7] Both Hebrew and English editions of Har-El’s investigation were published before Anati publicised his candidate, Har Karkom, so a review of Negev candidates does not appear.[8] Nonetheless, some of the arguments for and against candidates in the north of the peninsula are applicable.[9] Simcha Jacobovici offers another candidate in the Negev, also near the ancient cross-Sinai road, by triangulating a fourteen-days’ distance from Elim on the Suez coast (Exod 16:1-2; cf. 19:1) with an eleven-days’ distance from Kadesh (Deut 1:2) and “grazing distance” from the homeground of the Kenite clan (Exod 3:1) which he locates at Timna in the Southern Arabah.[10]

    <sup><sup>[1]</sup></sup> G. Wyper, “Quail,” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988), 4.

    <sup><sup>[2]</sup></sup> See #6.12 Mount Seir (West): Geozone; #5.14 Wilderness of Paran; #7.8 Southern Arabah; #7.9 Land of Midian.

    <sup><sup>[3]</sup></sup> Jebel Araif en-Naqa. Heinrich Graetz, “Die Lage des Sinai oder Horeb,” Monatsschrift für die Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums 27 (1878): 337–60.

    <sup><sup>[4]</sup></sup> Jebel Araif en-Naqa. Rudolf Kittel, Geschichte Des Volkes Israel, (not in Eng. trans), vol. 1, 2 vols. (Stuttgart: Gotha, 1916).

    <sup><sup>[5]</sup></sup> Jebel Hallal. Jarvis, Yesterday and Today in Sinai, 165–84.

    <sup><sup>[6]</sup></sup> Jebel Yelleq. Theodor Wiegand, Sinai, vol. 1, Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen Des Deutsch-Türkischen Denkmalschutz-Kommandos (Berlin / Leipzig: De Gruyter, 1920), 53.

    <sup><sup>[7]</sup></sup> Jebel Sinn Bishr. Har-El, Sinai Journeys, 415–30.

    <sup><sup>[8]</sup></sup> Anati, Har Karkom: Montagna Sacra; Anati, “Has Mt. Sinai Been Found?,” 42–57.

    <sup><sup>[9]</sup></sup> See #5.17 Har Karkom–Mount Sinai.

    <sup><sup>[10]</sup></sup> Hashem al-Tarif. Simcha Jacobovici, “The Real Mount Sinai,” in Session III: (Re)Locating Mount Sinai: A Survey of Alternative Theories (Mount Sinai–Mount Karkom?, Mizpe Ramon, 2013); Simcha Jacobovici, “Mount Sinai Has Been Located,” The Jerusalem Post, September 25, 2013.