The Secrets of Sinai
By Stephen Andrew Missick
Our goal is to understand the Bible better to advance and not to impede knowledge.
We want to understand the ancient better and put ourselves in their position-so that we can follow in their steps.
Scholarship: our research needs to be taken seriously by the Academic community. Sometimes the academic community makes its finding inaccessible to the general public by using too much technical jargon and by writing above the general reading level.
(Another example of this is philosophy. Philosophy is interesting, relevant and important-but philosophers make it so dry and technical that no one is interested.)
We need to back up our research with solid evidence.
Sometimes archeology doesn't do what people want it to do. Some things are open to debate, such as who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. It was most likely Amenhotep II or Ramesis II. (Most scholars believe it was Ramesis II.)
Let us pause here to review some of the topics covered in the previous lecture:
Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
Three likely contenders:
Kamoses, the Pharaoh who expulsed the Hysksos from Egypt. (This is a historically documented exodus of Semites from Egypt.)
Amenhotep III (based on some chronological indicators in the Bible.)
Ramessis II. The Bible says the Pharaoh had the Hebrews build the city of Pi-Rameses. This city has been excavated.
Reasons why Ramesses is believed by most historians to be the pharaoh of the Exodus.
- Egypt occupied Canaan until after the period of Merenptah, the son of Ramessis. The Bible says nothing about Israelites living under Egyptian occupation in the Holy Land.
We briefly discussed the unlikelihood of the Israelites crossing the entire Sinai peninsula in one week. It was noted that they were tough nomadic people-but they were not. They were slaves in Egypt and unused to surviving in the desert-and this was a source of their moanings, groaning and complaining.
It was also mentioned that some have theorized that there was more than one Exodus. Other scholars have suggested that the Hebrews moved in two phases out of Kadesh Barnea and that the two phases took two different routes.
Yahweh Verses the Gods of Egypt
We discussed the historical evidence for the Hebrews living in Egypt. I mentioned that there is an abundance of evidence that Semitic people settled in Egypt. We know that certain Semites rose to high positions the way that Joseph did. So, we have evidence for the Hebrews living in Egypt staring at us-but we don't see it because we have false ideas about the Hebrews in Egypt. They were not worshiping to God of Abraham in Egypt. They were worshiping idols and Egyptian gods.
According to the Bible, while the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, they worshiped the gods of Egypt (Joshua 24:14, Ezekiel 20:7-8). They had no knowledge of the name of God (Exodus 3:13-14, 6:2-3). God first revealed himself to the Israelites in Egypt through Moses (Exodus 4:30-31). In many places in the Bible it is stated that God (Yahweh or "Jehovah") first revealed himself to Israel when they were slaves in Egypt (1 Samuel 2:27, Ezekiel 20:5, Hosea 11:1, 12:9, 13:4). Archeologists have discovered a significant amount of evidence that proves that there was a large minority of Semitic people who lived in ancient Egypt. I believe the Hebrews were among this population of Semites in Egypt. Since there were so many Semites in Egypt, not only did these Semites worship the gods of Egypt (as the Bible says the Hebrews did) the Egyptians worshiped the gods of the Semites. Egyptians worshiped the Semitic gods Baal, Hauron and Reshep and the goddesses Anat, Astarte, Baalat and Qadesh. (Seth was often identified with the Semitic god Baal.) I believe that knowing about cultures and beliefs of biblical times deepens our understanding of the Scriptures.
The Bible says that Yahweh's mission in the plagues was to "execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt" (Exodus 12:11-13, Numbers 33:4). Also, in order to properly understand the religion of the Israelites during their sojourn in Egypt, it is necessary to understand ancient Egyptian religion since Joshua 24:14 makes it clear that the Israelites worshiped Egyptian gods while they were slaves in Egypt. (Also, Moses asked God what his name was so that he could tell the Israelites what god had sent him (Exodus 3:13). The Israelites had lost knowledge of God.) In retellings of the Exodus, such as Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, ancient Egyptian religion isn't properly explained or represented. The only thing that the viewer would learn from this movie about ancient Egyptian religion is that they worshiped idols. Even in some scholarly works by Evangelical Christians, ancient Egyptian religion is superficially treated.
The Bible says that Yahweh's mission in the plagues was to "execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt" (Exodus 12:11-13, Numbers 33:4). To fully understand the Exodus account and what this means it is necessary to be familiar with ancient Egyptian religion. The Lord specifically said in Exodus 12:12, "…against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am Yahweh." How did God execute judgment against the gods of Egypt? John J. Davis in his book "Moses and the Gods of Egypt" argued that God judged Egypt's false gods by directing a plague against each of the main gods of Ancient Egypt. However, he seems to have a rather superficial knowledge of Egyptian religion.
Every plague had its meaning. God had a purpose in each of the plagues.
IMPORTANT NOTE: THERE WAS NO ONE EGYPTIAN RELIGION. There were different religions in ancient Egypt. Egyptian religion was never unified into one coherent system.
First Plague: The Nile Turns into Blood (Exodus12:12
Hapi was the god of the annual inundation (flooding) of the Nile. Khnum , a creator god, was a god of the source of the Nile. Anukis was a goddess of the Nile.
The ancient described Egypt as the "Gift of the Nile." In a sense, Egypt is the Nile and the Nile was personified and worshiped as a god.
The Egyptians prayed for the gods to bless the Nile. (Their survival literally depended upon it.) The Coptic mass includes a blessing for the Nile.
The Second Plague: Frogs
Heket, the goddess of magic, was a frog headed goddess. A group of eight gods who were held to be creator deities were called the Ogdoad. There were four serpent headed gods and four frog headed goddesses.
The Ogdoad of Hermopolis: Gods: Nun, Heh, Kek, Amun Goddesses: Nunet, Hauket, Kauket, Amunet. Their identity: Water, Infinity, Darkness, and Hiddeness or wind.
These eight deities formed the original mound of dry land, from which a lotus flower, or in another version an egg arose, that gave birth to Ra. The Ogdoad of Hermopolis were held by some Egyptians to be creator deities. So, the frog had a powerful religious symbolism to the Egyptians.
The Third Plague: Flies +
The Fourth Plague: Lice, gnats or mosquitos (Exodus 8:8, 8:20)
The Egyptians didn't worship flies or other pestilent insects. (They did have a beetle god called Kheferi. And a scorpion goddess named Serqet. ) They did however pray to Harpokrates-Horus the Child and Isis his mother, to heal them from insect bites.
Obviously, these gods were helpless to deliver than from the biting insects.
The Fifth Plague: Cattle Disease (Exodus 9:1-6)
Egyptians worshiped cattle goddesses and sacred cows. These gods and goddesses were probably what was behind Aaron building the golden calf.
HATHOR: the goddess of love appeared with the head or horns of a cow.
THE APIS BULL: was worshiped as an incarnation of Ptah, a creator god.
THE MNEVIS BULL: was an incarnation of Ra.
And so with this plague, important symbols of Egyptian deities died.
The Sixth Plague: Boils
Egyptians worshiped two gods of pestilence. These were Sekhmet, a lion headed goddess and Resheph (a Semitic god, whose name in Hebrew means plague). They would intercede with these gods for them to end plagues. The Egyptian gods had no power to end the plagues.
The Seventh Plague: Hail (Exodus 9:13)
Nut was the goddess of the sky. Seth was the god of storms.
The Eighth Plague: Locusts (Exodus 10:1-6)
The locusts consumed the fruit of the ground. Osiris was the god of fertility and vegetation. Through the plague of locusts, Osiris, one of the most important Egyptian gods was rendered powerless.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness (Exodus 10:21)
Ra was the great god of Egypt. Egyptians were sun worshipers. Probably the most important gods of ancient Egypt was Amen-Ra.
Yahweh shows his superiority over Ra by blotting out his light.
The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn Son
Khnum was the ram god. He was the creator of mankind and the god of the Nile. The lamb was his sacred animal. Killing this animal and painting the door with its blood was a show of defiance and rejection of Egyptian religion, and was from the Egyptian perspective, sacrilege.
The death of Pharaoh's son was a strike at the very foundation of Egyptian royal religion. The first born son of the king was believed to be the reincarnation of Horus, the son of Osiris.
(Hoffmeier has protested saying that we shouldn't imagine Egyptians to be like the Hindus with sacred animals. (but Hindus themselves aren't like hindus-we have false assumptions and stereotypes about the Hindu religion). The Egyptians would sacrifice cows and would sacrifice and mummify animals such as cats to the cat goddess Bast and mummify crocodiles for Sobek the crocodile god and baboons for Thoth the baboon god.
And we need to realize that there were beliefs that the Egyptians had which were similar to concepts found in the Bible:
Ptah: spoke the world into existence
Khnum: formed man from the dust of the earth
Amen: a transcendent god
Atum: eternally existant and uncreated.
Aten: monotheistic god (Amen too)
TOP IMPORTANT ARCHEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES
- The Merenptah Stelae-it describes the Egyptians "destroying" Israel
- The Soleb inscription-mentioning Yahweh as the god of desert nomads-dating to the reign of Amenhotep III-circa 1400
- The Timna Tabernacle A Midianite tabernacle with a "Brass Serpent" within its holy place.
- Papyrus Leiden 348-349 These papyri mention Hebrews working building the city of Pi-Ramesses.
- Papyrus Anastasi 4 an officer filed a complaint stating, "I am staying at Kenkenento, unequipped, and they are neither men to make bricks nor straw in the neighborhood." These materials, along with the Deir el-Medineh materials and the Louvre Roll, date to the Ramesside era and have been studied by Kenneth Kitchen.
- Papyrus Anastasi 5 contins a letter reporting on the movements of runaway slaves that corresponds to the route taken by the Hebrews in Exodus 13:37 and Numbers 33:5.
- Papyrus Anastasi Vi, 55-56 refers to the Shasu (Bedouin) of Edom who were permitted to water their herds in the waters of Pithom.
- Ipuwer Papyrus (Papyrus Leiden I 344 recto) entitled "Admonitions of Ipuwer" or "The Dialouge of Ipuwer and the Lord of All." Dated to the late 13th Century BC but a copy of an earlier Middle Kingdom document. Its date is disputed. It describes a world in chaos and natural disasters and says "the river has become blood."
- The Shiprah document The name "Shiprah," the name of one of the Hebrew midwives, is found listed on a list of slaves from the reign of Sobekhotep III in Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446
- The Tale of Sinuhe This is the story of an Egyptian nobleman who overhears a conspiracy and in fear flees to the desert where he takes up with a Bedouin sheik.
In a recent edition of BAR magazine, controversial Egyptian archeology chief said that 30 percent of Egypt is excavated 70% is still underground-so many biblical artifacts may be excavated in the future.
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
Where was the Red Sea Crossing and where is Mount Sinai?
Let us say for instance that you have a proposed Mount Sinai that isn't correct. What if it is hundreds of miles away from the actual Mount Sinai? That theory would need to be debunked. Why: Because it prevents people from understanding the TRUTH. Instead of helping people to understand the Bible better, you are causing them to misunderstand the Bible.
Let me give an example: an ancient Greek stated that Hieroglyphs weren't letters-they were symbols. He was wrong and his error prevented people from deciphering hieroglyphs for centuries.
An incorrect date can set us backwards in our quest for the truth. (What I mean is "Why can't we find evidence for the Exodus?"-It could be that we are looking in the wrong time period.)
Bible scholars need credentials. We need experts in the field. Amateurs sometimes do amateurish work.
What do I expect from experts? METHODOLOGY
- To have taken classes in the Bible at a higher educational level, college but preferably a master's level.
- To be familiar with the civilization of the ancient near east and with the most significant archeological findings. (Someone claims to have found, say, the Ark or some other relic-but they aren't familiar with the Siloam inscription or the Gezer calendar-you would have to wonder. How could someone with no archeological knowledge track down and discover a major artifact?)
- To have carefully examined the text of the Bible, ancient evidence and practicalities. (Such as-how far could a man walk in one day.)
The "Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia" Theory
Background: As a child, I lived in Tennessee. Ron Wyatt went on a Christian radio station in the area. My father heard the program. This was after the release of the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" which created a huge amount of interest in biblical archeology. My father met Ron Wyatt and offered his services as an artist and accompanied him on a research expedition to Egypt. I met Mr. Wyatt on several occations. He was a 7th Day Adventist, which in my opinion is a fringe group with "cultic" tendancies. The 7th Day Adventists share common roots with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Other people took Ron Wyatt's theories and adopted and adapted it. Specifically a man named Cornuke, a former police officer. Documentaries were made about the new theory-having Jabel El-Lawz as the actual Mount Sinai.
How far could the Israelites go in a short period of time?
Let us examine how far trail-riders go in their journeys to Houston. A trail ride from Anderson, Texas to Houston, Texas crossed 80 miles in 10 days. One trial ride was going a greater distance. Starting at Reynosa, Mexico and traveling to Houston. They started on February 9 and arrived February 29 and traveled a total of 386 miles to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2011.
My first concern with the theory is that it has the Israelites crossing a greater distance before the crossing of the Red Sea than they did the entire 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
What began to trouble me was when I realized that among the masses "Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia" is becoming the majority position.
Because it is sensational and people like sensational new ideas.
BUT-people have not been exposed to a rebuttal of the theory.
WHAT I WANT TO DO IS TO PRESENT THE IDEAS FULLY AND FAIRLY-to show its pros and cons.
What I would like to do is something similar to "Different views" books such as "The Rapture: four views."
There are 7 major candidates for Mount Sinai.
- Jebel Catherine: The "traditional" Mount Sinai
- Jebel Serbal: Apparently viewed as Mount Sinai before Jebel Catherine was-contains ancient graffiti identifying it as a sacred place
- Jebel Sin Bashir: a "three days journey" from Egypt
- Jebel Helal: located near Kadesh Barnea
- El-Khrob: in southern Midian
- Jebel El-Lawz in Saudi Arabia
- Hashem el-Tarif, AKA Gebel Khashem Tarif. This is advocated by Simcha Jacobovici in "Exodus De-coded."
NOTE: PEOPLE often look for a volcanic mount Sinai-BUT remember the Burning Bush-it was burning but it was not consumed-it was a theophany-not a physical fire.
QUESTIONS: has Egypt and he Sinai changed catastrophically since the Exodus? It seems not. But there has been some changes. The Suez canal, the city of Pi-Ramesses is underground, the coastline of the Mediterreanean has changed some. But BY AND LARGE we should be able to retrace the steps of the Israelites-I mean to stand where Moses stood.
We need to look for details in the Bible-does our theory fit the description of events as found in the Bible.?
Preliminary problems with the Sinai is in Saudi Arabia theory.
- It doesn't follow the biblical iteneray. Three stops before the Red Sea crossing-then 10 stops till Sinai. Why did they go so far with so few stops-and then go short distances with many stops.
- Time it takes to travel. Human beings and animals can only go so far in a day, especially women, children, infants and the elderly. My dad tried to ride a horse twenty miles in a day-the horse couldn't-and wouldn't do it. These were slaves who were used to the settled life-they were not used to traveling great distances. Part of the reasons they "murmured" was because they were unaccustomed to the nomadic life. REALISTICALLY, they would have traveled ten miles a day. We have ancient records telling us how far the ancients could travel in one day. Tuthmoses III at the Battle of Megiddo-traveling with a sense of urgency in order to quash a revolt traveled 15 miles a day. THINK: time limit+distance a mass of people can travel in a day.
- The Floor of the Red Sea at the proposed site are un-navigatable-underwater precipices suddenly fall one mile.
- THERE is no evidence chariots were ever used in central of southern Sinai-they were probably impractical due to the rugged terrain.
- Pursuing the Israelites ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE ENTIRE SINAI PENINSULA would have been a major expedition.
- If the Israelites were hundreds of miles away from Egypt-the Egyptians would never have caught up with them.
- NOTE: Sinai was considered part of "Arabia" in Paul's time.
Two Biblical passages clearly place Mt. Sinai outside the Land of Midian. In Exodus 18, Moses and the Israelites are camped at "the Mountain of God" (Mt. Sinai) when Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, visits them. Verse 27 says, "Then Moses let his father-in-law depart [from Mt. Sinai], and he went his way to his own land [Midian]." Jethro departs from Mt. Sinai to return to the Land of Midian. According to Mandelkern Biblical Concordance, the phrase "his own land" (third person singular possessive) is used 30 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (Ex. 18:27; Num. 21:24,26,34,35; Deut. 2:24,31; 3:2; 4:47; 11:3; 29:1 [29:2 Eng.]; 33:13; 34:11; Josh. 8:1; I Kings 22:36; II Kings 18:33; Isa. 2:7,8; 13:14; 18:2,7; 36:18; 37:7; Jer. 2:15; 27:7; 50:18; Prov. 8:31; Dan. 11:19,28; Neh. 9:10; Mandelkern 1896:153). In the Pentateuch the phrase is use 13 times. Each time it is used of a specific geo-political entity, a kingdom, nation or tribal area. It is used of the Kingdom of the Amorites (Num. 21:24,26; Deut. 2:24,31; 4:47), with the borders clearly delineated as going from the Arnon to the Jabbok (Num. 21:24). The Kingdom of Bashan (Num. 21:34,35; Deut. 3:2; 4:47), which is implied as going from the Jabbok to Mt. Hermon (Deut. 4:48). The nation of Egypt (Deut. 11:3; 29:1 [29:2 Eng.]; 34:11) as well as the tribal territory of Joseph (Deut. 33:13). Joshua gives the delineation of the tribal territory of Ephraim and Manasseh which make up the tribes of Joseph (Deut. 33:17; Josh. 13:29-33; 16:1-10; 17:1-18). If Moses is consistent with his use of the word, and I think he is, the context suggests Jethro returned to the country of Midian, not to a plot of ground that he controlled as the proponents of Jebel al-Lawz contend.
Ken Durham, a research assistant for Bob Cornuke and the BASE Institute, interpret the phrase "his own land" as an "actual, physical tract of land under the control of a person mentioned in the text- not to an arbitrary political/geographical designation" or "land under ones jurisdiction" (Letter to Bryant Wood, April 12, 2001). There does not appear to be lexical support or Hebrew dictionary references that support this use of the term.
The second passage that places Mt. Sinai outside the land of Midian is Numbers 10:30. It states, "I [Hobab] will not go, but I will depart [from Mt. Sinai] to my own land [Midian] and to my kinsmen." Hobab is returning to Midian where his kinsmen live from Mt. Sinai.
The third questionable assumption made by the proponents of Jebel al-Lawz is that Galatians 4:25 says that Mt. Sinai is in Saudi Arabia (Franz 2000: 106,107). One proponent affirms this conclusion when he writes, "The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, informs us that Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia. Not Egypt!" (Cornuke and Halbrook 2000: 17). The Bible does not say Saudi Arabia, it only says Arabia.
One can easily argue that the Apostle Paul used the First Century AD Roman concept of Arabia in this passage. In the first century AD, based on the prior use by Herodotus, Pliny and Strabo, Arabia extended from the Persian Gulf to the Nile Delta, thus including the Sinai Peninsula in Arabia. Paul would be perfectly correct in placing Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula because the Sinai Peninsula was part of Arabia of his day.
Two of the three BASE participants (Bob Cornuke, Larry Williams and/or Ken Durham) are to walk from Tel el-Dab'a (Biblical Rameses) to their Red Sea Crossing, northeast of Sharm el-Shiek, in seven days with one day of rest for the Sabbath (either Saturday or Sunday).
They are to wear sandals and walk on the sandy ground, not on the paved road.
They are to take two ten-year-old children. (Please get a parental consent form signed by both parents. I do not want you to be hauled into court for child abuse). Also bring along two sheep and two goats.
They will be permitted to buy bottled water along the way. I do not want to be responsible for their death by dehydration!
In the event that the pillar of cloud/fire does not reappear, they will be permitted to use road maps and their good judgments as to the timing so as to cover the 350 miles, averaging 58 miles per day, in the allotted time.
They will not have to take 2 million men, women or children with them, nor a herd of cattle, a flock of sheep and herd of goats.
They will not have to bring along any nursing mothers with newborn children.
They will not need to bring along senior citizens. Remember, Moses, Aaron and Miriam were all more than 80 years old.
In the unlikely event the challengers are successful, after being observed by a neutral party and documented on video, I (Gordon Franz) will publicly and in print, renounce my articles against the idea that Mt. Sinai is at Jebel al-Lawz and will wholeheartedly endorse their views. I will also donate $1,000 to the BASE Institute.
In the likely event of failure, I will let them decide what their course of action will be.
The five areas that I have been able to discern, from north to south, are:
· The Mediterranean Sea sites. Usually the crossing is placed at Lake Sirbonis. This identification is based on placing the Baal-Zephon with a sanctuary of Zeus Casios nearby. The leading proponents of this view are O. Eissfeldt, M. Noth, H. Cazelles, Y. Aharoni and M. Avi-Yonah.
· The northern sites. Several lakes north of the Bitter Lakes have been proposed. They are Lake Timsah, Lake Balah or the southern extension of Lake Menzaleh. The proponents of this area are E. Naville, M. F. Unger, K. A. Kitchen and J. Hoffmeier.
· The central site. The proponents of this view place the crossing at the Bitter Lakes. Some would suggest that the Gulf of Suez actually came up to the Bitter Lakes in antiquity. The proponents of this view are J. Simons, C. Condor, U. Cassuto, John J. David.
· The southern view. The proponents place the crossing at the northern end of the Gulf of Suez. Within this view there are two areas. One view places it just off shore from the modern day Suez City. The other places it at a land bridge 4 miles south of Suez City between Ras el-'Adabiya and Birket Misallat. The proponents of this view are E. Robinson, A. Smith, E. H. Palmer (1977:35-37), Keil and Delitzsch, James Murphy, John Rea, J. McQuitty and G. Franz.
· The southeastern view. This view places the crossing in the Gulf of Akaba / Eilat. Within the gulf there are two proposed crossings. One crossing, proposed by R. Wyatt and L. Moller, is a land bridge to the east of Nuweiba. The second crossing that was proposed is at a land bridge at the Strait of Tiran. R. Knuteson, J. Irwin, B. Cornuke and L. Williams hold this view.
PROBLEMS WITH THE GULF OF AKABA / EILAT CROSSINGS
The proponents of Jebel al-Lawz do not agree on the crossing site of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Akaba / Eilat. One group, consisting of R. Wyatt, J. Pinkoski and L. Moller suggests that the Israelites crossed at Nuweiba. The other group, consisting of J. Irwin, R. Cornuke, L. Williams, R. Knuteson, K. Kluetz, and K. Durham argues for the Strait of Tiran.
Regarding the Nuweiba crossing, there are several problems. The first problem is the distance it takes to go from Rameses to Nuweiba. Moller, in his video, said their route through the Sinai would take three weeks. This does not meet the Biblical requirements of seven days. The second problem is the topography of the underwater land bridge. From Nuweiba the land bridge slopes down to 850 meters (2,790 feet) but then comes up sharply on the east side as it gets to the shore of Saudi Arabia. This sharp incline would make the ascent extremely difficult, if not impossible for the Israelites to cross in one night. Dr. Roy Knuteson, a retired pastor who has done a considerable amount of research on the Red Sea crossing also points out, "The wadi they claim the Israelites traveled on [to Nuweiba] is much to small for those millions of people" (Letter from Knuteson, June 8, 2001). He goes on to say in the same letter, "…the coral encrusted chariot wheels are interesting, but not convincing. The so-called 'golden wheel' is a fabrication." Russell and Colin Standish have also examined the other claims of Wyatt regarding the so-called chariot wheels that were discovered (1999:164-194).
Is Mount Sinai in "Arabia"?
Years ago my father traveled with a man named Ron Wyatt to Egypt. Ron Wyatt was convinced that the Red Sea crossing took place at the Gulf of Aqaba and that the "real" Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia.
Pentecost of "Shavuot" is traditionally held to be the celebration of the giving of the Law upon Mount Sinai. It comes 50 days after Pentecost. If this is true then there wasn't enough time for all the Israelites to get across the Sinai Peninsula and do all the things the Bible says they did in that time period (escape the Egyptians, fight the Amalekites, get water from the Rock and ect.). If the 50 day tradition is correct, then the crossing most likely took place in the region where we find the Suez Canal today.
- This theory has the Israelites going a greater distance before the Red Sea Crossing that they go during the entire 40 years in the Wilderness. I find that a little odd.
- Proponents of this theory, reconstruct a route that the Israelites took to get to Mount Sinai-but they do not show us the route the Israelites took from Sinai and then into the Promised Land. If it is true they should have no trouble in reconstructing the entire route of the Exodus. This seems to be something that they are incapable of doing.
- Think with me a little bit. Has the Holy Land and the Desert changed cataclysmically since the time of Moses? Apparently not. If there was an Oasis there 3,000 years ago-the Oasis should still be there. I mean, why wouldn't it be? There is no evidence that the terrain has been totally transformed. After all, ruins and inscriptions can be found in Sinai and the Arabian Desert where the ancients left them. What I am saying is if the Bible says the Israelites traveled for a few days and came to an oasis, an oasis should still be there and if not there should be geographical evidence that an oasis was in the region.
Here is my problem with the "Jabel El-Lawz" theory. It is a controversial theory and yet it is being popularized. If it is incorrect, then it is not helping people understand the Bible better, it is spreading disinformation and actually confusing people regarding what really happened during the Exodus.
- Later on, a man named Cornuke picked up on Ron Wyatt's theory. However, he recognized a problem with it. Itineraries written by Moses are found in the Book of Numbers and in the Book of Deuteronomy. So, he revised Ron Wyatt's route of the Exodus and has a different route. However, he keeps "Jabal El-Lawz" as Mount Sinai. Another issue he doesn't resolve is the route after Moses left Sinai. The Jabal El-Lawz people don't seem to chart to route of the Exodus from Sinai and to the Promised Land.
Here is another problem: Ron Wyatt was an anesthesiologist and Bob Cornuke is a former police officer (he was a SWAT officer). They are working outside of their fields. Neither of them formally studied the Bible, Ancient Egypt or archeology. They are amateurs and I believe their work is amateurish. I have a Master's Degree in Divinity. I believe there is a value to a formal education.
Mount Sinai is not Jebel El-Lawz in Saudi Arabia
By Gordon Franz MA
James K. Hoffmeir Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition
James K. Hoffmeier Ancient Israel in Sinai: Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition
See my "Quest for the Historical Moses"