MemberOctober 18, 2021 at 5:12 pm
As regards the Wilderness of Shur/Etham, European explorers in the 19th century AD asked Arabs if they knew of such a track. The Arabs replied in the affirmative: They called it the Darb el Shur, and it began at Hebron, went to Beersheba, then it crossed the Sinai and ended in the vicinity of Lake Et-Timsah (Egypt). Today, a number of Bible Atlases show this route and have it ending just north of Lake Et-Timsah. As Shur is described as being “before” Egypt in some bible verses, I asked myself, perhaps Shur is a location at or near the western terminus of the Darb el Shur? I sought out old maps made before the Suez Canal was constructed (circa 1860) and discovered that the Darb el Shur did NOT end at Lake Et-Timsah as shown on most Bible Atlases. It continued on past the north shore of this lake and ended at Bilbeis in the Delta. These maps revealed that smack-dab on the Darb el Shur lay a well called Bir Abu Suwayr (other maps render Souer, Sour) and near this well lay 12 small lakes. This site was east of Egypt (the Nile) and west of Lake Et-Timsah. I understand this is the Shur “opposite” Egypt. So, for me, Shur is NOT a “wall” it is a Well, near the western terminus of the Darb el Shur from Hebron and Beersheba. The Darb el Shur parallels the wadi Et-Tumilat, lying to its south. I thus understand Etham is probably Wadi Et-Tumilat. Because Etham/Et-Tumilat and the Darb el Shur, run side by side, cheek by jowl, with each other for several miles, all the way to Egypt, the wilderness to the east of Bir Abu Suwair and Lake Et-Timsah, was probably interchangeably called the Wilderness of Shur/Etham in the Bible. Google ‘Mattfeld Wilderness of Shur” for maps and further commentary.