create account

The Desert of Sinai by harlotscurse

View this thread on
· @harlotscurse ·
The Desert of Sinai
<center>_Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah – Part 36_</center>

<center><b>[**Part 1**](</b></center>

<center></center><center>**The Desert of Sinai**</center>

After leaving Rephidim, the Israelites next encamp in the Desert of Sinai. This is the Twelfth Station of the Exodus. In the Book of Numbers, we are simply told:

>And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai. And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at Kibrothhattaavah.([Numbers 33:15-16](

In the parallel passage in the Book of Exodus, we read:

>In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. ([Exodus 19:1-2](

In one of the previous articles in this series, I adopted as a working hypothesis Lina Eckenstein’s theory that the Mountain of God, where Moses is alleged to have received the Ten Commandments, was located at Serabit el-Khadim, an ancient Egyptian holy site and turquoise mine. As can be seen from the following map, the area surrounding this site is a desert, known as the Debbet er-Ramleh, or The Plain of Sand:

<center></center><center>**The Western Sinai Peninsula**</center>

If we identify the Desert of Sinai with the Debbet er-Ramleh, it could be argued that the Israelites must have approached Serabit el-Khadim by ascending one of the neighbouring wadis—the Wadi Humr or the Wadi Sidri, for example—since Exodus 19 clearly states that they only entered the Desert of Sinai after leaving Rephidim. If, however, we turn back to Exodus 16-17, we read:

>The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt ... The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. (Exodus 16:1 ... 17:1)

Taken together, these passages could be interpreted to imply that the Desert of Sin referred to the western, low-lying part of the Debbet er-Ramleh, while the Desert of Sinai referred to its eastern, elevated region. Exodus, therefore, could be cited in support of my reconstruction of the Israelites’ itinerary. Unfortunately, we have already identified the Wilderness of Sin with the coastal plain between Ras Sedr and Pharaoh’s Baths. I have to concede, therefore, that the passage in Exodus 19 is more supportive of the traditional view that the Israelites ascended to the highlands along one of the wadis that lie south of Pharaoh’s Bath and the coastal bluffs of Jabal Hammam Fir’awn. Perhaps they did succeed in circumventing the latter without having to first ascend into the highlands.

<center></center><center>**The Eastern Debbet er-Ramleh**</center>

# The Desert of Sin and the Desert of Sinai #
The similarity between these two toponyms has led some scholars to suggest that there was a close connection between them—if, in fact, they did not refer to one and the same location:

>Biblical texts also refer to regions within the drylands [of the Sinai Peninsula] in more specific terminology—midbār followed by a proper name, such as _midbar ṣin_, _midbar pārān_, _midbar sînay_, _midbar sîn_. These terms imply a sense of specificity and distinctness to areas within the drylands. However, these same texts are vague in all other details and may even offer conflicting accounts. Thus, the precise locations of these places are not readily apparent from these texts. Modern identifications of these regions then typically derive from Hellenistic and Roman Period Jewish sources, early Christian sources, and scholarly attempts to interpret laconic biblical texts and rectify competing claims.
>For example, early Christian traditions associate Mt. Sinai and the _midbar sînay_ with the southern Sinai (Davies 1992: 48). However, there is little evidence for this association in pre-Christian Jewish sources. At least as early at the third century BCE, Jewish sources located Mt. Sinai near the settlement of Madyan (identified with biblical Midian, modern Al-Bad᾿) in northwestern Arabia (Kerkeslager 1997: 63-69; 1998: 146-152). The similarity of _midbar sîn_ with _midbar sînay_ may also suggest that the words and/or region are related (Seely 1992: 47).

David Seely is cautious:

>The similarities of the words Sin (Heb _sîn_) and Sinai (Heb _sînay_) may suggest that Sinai is derived from Sin or that they are otherwise related. (Seely 47)

The German theologian Martin Noth was willing to go even further:

>The wilderness of Sin occurs only in this context (Num. 33.11 f. is literarily dependent on Ex. 16.1; 
17.1) and cannot more exactly be defined. P [ie the [Priestly Source](] observes that it is to be found ‘between Elim and Sinai’, but this is no more than a reference to his list of stopping places. We should probably assume that the name of the desert area of ‘Sin’ is connected with the name ‘Sinai’, and that P’s distinction between the ‘wilderness of Sin’ and the ‘wilderness of Sinai’ (19.1 f.) is purely artificial. (Noth 133)

This opinion has been recently rebutted by the Biblical scholar James Hoffmeier:

>In Exodus 16:1, Sinai is used to indicate the location of the wilderness of Sin ... “Israel came to the wilderness of Sin.” Noth and other scholars think that these terms are related, the one perhaps deriving from the other, Sin being a shortened form of Sinai. This suggestion is unlikely, since Exodus 16:1 locates the wilderness of sin between Elim and Sinai ... Furthermore, (the wilderness of) Sinai is not reached by the Israelites until after leaving Rephidim, six weeks after departing Egypt (Exod. 19:1-2; Num. 33:16). This reference means that the wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Sinai are not one and the same, despite the similarity of the names. Rather, it suggests that Sinai is a more specific area within the present-day Sinai Peninsula. (Hoffmeier 38)

One must also remember that the climate of the Sinai Peninsula was different in 763 BCE, the year in which I am tentatively placing the Exodus. This is a subject to which I intend to return in the future. According to Charles Ginenthal, one of the leading proponents of the Short Chronology, the climate was much more temperate then when compared to today’s. The desert regions of the Peninsula were not as extensive or as barren as they are today:

>It was only after around 800 B.C. that the final drying out of the desert belts occurred and destroyed civilization across the Earth. (Ginenthal 314)

If true, this leaves a wide margin of error, which may accommodate any number of theories concerning the locations and identities of the Bible’s various _midbār_'s.

<center></center><center>**Sinai Mountain Range**</center>

# The First Day of the Third Month #
In Exodus 19:1, we are told explicitly that the Israelites camped before the Mountain of God on the first day of the third month after leaving Egypt. In other words, after the passage of sixty days. They did not necessarily travel every day, of course. They may have remained at some of the Stations for several days, to rest and recover their strength for the following leg of the journey.

If, however, they were covering an average of 24 km per day (Hoffmeier 120), then sixty days would be more than enough time to reach Serabit el-Khadim. The distance, as the crow flies, from the eastern Nile Delta to Serabit el-Khadim is about 250 km. If we trace the route proposed in these articles, a more realistic figure of 350 km is arrived at. This is well within the bounds of credibility. It leaves plenty of room for rest days, and even allows us to reduce considerably our estimate of the average pace of progress.

On the other hand, it also leaves plenty of time for the Israelites to have followed a longer route, accommodating those scholars who, for example, seek Mount Sinai in the Arabian peninsula.

To be continued ...


## References ##
 * [Andrea Creel](, _Connectivity on the Edge of Empire: Movement, Liminality, and Ritual in the Southern Levantine Drylands_, UC Berkeley Electronic Theses and Dissertations (2017)
 * [Lina Eckenstein](, _A History of Sinai_, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London (1921)
 * [Charles Ginenthal](, _The Extinction of the Mammoth_, **_The Velikovskian_**, Volume 3, Nos 2-3, Forest Hills NY (2013)
 * [James K Hoffmeier](, _Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition_, Oxford University Press, Oxford (2005)
 * [Martin Noth](, _Exodus: A Commentary_, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia (1962)
 * [David R Seely](, _Sin, Wilderness of_, in David Noel Freedman (editor), _The Anchor Bible Dictionary_, Volume 6, p 47, Doubleday, New York (1992)

## Image Credits ##
 * [The Western Sinai Peninsula]( University of Texas Libraries, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, [Aqaba](, [Suez](, D Survey, Great Britain War Office and Air Ministry (1960), Public Domain
 * [The Eastern Debbet Er-Ramleh]( © 2014 [Salma El Dardiry](, Fair Use
 * [Sinai Mountain Range]( © Dahab Lover’s Blog, Fair Use

👍  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and 363 others
properties (23)
created2020-02-06 15:10:24
last_update2020-02-06 15:10:24
last_payout2020-02-13 15:10:24
cashout_time1969-12-31 23:59:59
total_payout_value6.160 SBD
curator_payout_value6.075 SBD
pending_payout_value0.000 SBD
promoted0.000 SBD
root_title"The Desert of Sinai"
max_accepted_payout1,000,000.000 SBD
vote details (427)
@steemitboard ·
Congratulations @harlotscurse! You have completed the following achievement on the Steem blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

<table><tr><td><img src=""></td><td>You received more than 25000 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 30000 upvotes.</td></tr>

<sub>_You can view [your badges on your Steem Board]( and compare to others on the [Steem Ranking](</sub>
<sub>_If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word_ `STOP`</sub>

**Do not miss the last post from @steemitboard:**
<table><tr><td><a href=""><img src=""></a></td><td><a href="">SteemitBoard Ranking update - A better rich list comparator</a></td></tr></table>

###### [Vote for @Steemitboard as a witness]( to get one more award and increased upvotes!
properties (23)
created2020-02-06 20:00:06
last_update2020-02-06 20:00:06
last_payout2020-02-13 20:00:06
cashout_time1969-12-31 23:59:59
total_payout_value0.000 SBD
curator_payout_value0.000 SBD
pending_payout_value0.000 SBD
promoted0.000 SBD
root_title"The Desert of Sinai"
max_accepted_payout1,000,000.000 SBD
vote details (1)
@c-squared ·
<div class="pull-left"></div><br>This post was shared in the <a href="">Curation Collective Discord community</a> for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.<br/>@c-squared runs a <a href="">community witness</a>. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us <a href ="">here</a>
properties (23)
created2020-02-06 23:49:30
last_update2020-02-06 23:49:30
last_payout2020-02-13 23:49:30
cashout_time1969-12-31 23:59:59
total_payout_value0.000 SBD
curator_payout_value0.000 SBD
pending_payout_value0.000 SBD
promoted0.000 SBD
root_title"The Desert of Sinai"
max_accepted_payout1,000,000.000 SBD
vote details (1)