Tag Archives: Exodus

The Route of the Exodus and the Location of Mount Sinai

Over the past 48 years I have had the opportunity to visit almost all parts of the Bible World. I certainly have not solved all of the problems that are raised about locations of certain events, but I have tried to look at the major claims whether it is the location of Cana, the site for the baptism of Jesus, the place of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, the location of Ararat, or the route of the exodus and the location of Mount Sinai, et al.

In this post I have pulled together a list of some things I have written about the route of the Exodus and the location of Mount Sinai. I hope you will find the posts helpful when you study this subject.

  • Pharaoh’s chariot wheels and other things that won’t float – Examining the claims of the late Ron Wyatt here.
  • Location of the Red Sea crossing and Mount Sinai here.
  • Location of Mount Sinai here.
  • Solomon’s Seaport at Ezion-geber here.
  • Sharks at Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai here. Sharm el-Sheikh is at the Straits of Tiran.
  • “Cracked Pot Archaeology” here.
  • Pseudo Archaeologists here.
  • Goshen and the Great Bitter Lake here.
  • Another day in Goshen here.

Below are a couple of photos that show the changing scenery that one sees in the Sinai Peninsula.

Sinai Peninsula near the Gulf of Eilat or Aqaba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sinai Peninsula near the Gulf of Eilat or Aqaba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Read some scholarly presentations on the subject. Such as these recent Bible atlases.

  • Beitzel, Barry J. The New Moody Atlas of the Bible, 106-114.
  • Currid, John D. and David P. Barrett. Crossway ESV Bible Atlas, 77-91.
  • Rasmussen, Carl G. Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, 100-105.
Wadi Feiran in the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wadi Feiran in the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Or books such as…

  • Hoffmeier, James K. Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, chs. 8-9.

The Associates for Biblical Research includes several articles about the Exodus at their website here.

  • Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia? here.
  • Mount Sinai is Not Jebel Al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia here.

I am hopeful you will browse through this material and remember to examine it more closely the next time you study Exodus.

Goshen and the Great Bitter Lake

The land of Goshen is fascinating because it is much different from the Egypt that so many of us studied in elementary school. Instead of sand, river, and pyramids, Goshen is a flat agricultural region in the eastern Nile Delta.

Perhaps Goshen is most fascinating as the long-time home of the sons of Israel. Joseph told his brothers,

You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. (Genesis 45:10 ESV)

The photo below  shows reeds (bulrushes) growing on the banks of the Great Bitter Lake. This is the largest of a chain of lakes through which the Suez Canal runs. I have used a Photoshop plug-in called Topaz Adjust to turn this photo into a sketch that more resembles a photo made at night. If you think it might be useful in a lesson, you may click on the photo for a larger image.

Reeds (bulrushes) growing in the Great Bitter Lake. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Sketch of Reeds (bulrushes) growing in the Great Bitter Lake. Photo by F. Jenkins.

There are several good suggestions for the place of the exodus recorded in Exodus 14. This vicinity may be the sea described in Exodus 14:9.

Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Other scholars suggest a location associated with Lake Timsa which is a few miles to the north.

The Land of Rameses

Note: Over the past nine years I have contributed nearly 100 articles on Bible places to a magazine published by some of my friends. Normally I do not repeat the material here for several years.  The typesetter made a mistake in the July, 2009, issue of Biblical Insights using the title from the previous issue. Because of this I decided to run the article here with the correct title.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-

For many years scholars identified Rameses with Tanis (San el Hagar). Tanis is often identified with the Zoan which was built seven years after Hebron (Numbers 13:22). As a result of recent excavations in the eastern Nile Delta by Austrian archaeologists under the direction of Manfred Bietak, Rameses is now identified with Tell el-Daba. Tell el-Daba is situated on the eastern side of the ancient Pelusiac branch of the Nile River in the biblical land of Goshen (Gen. 45:10) which is also called the land of Rameses (Genesis 47:11). Rameses was the starting point of the exodus (Ex. 12:37; Num. 33:3,5).

Scholars posit four main proposals for the date of the exodus. (1) Before 2000 B.C. (Anati); (2) 1477 B.C. (Goedicke); (3) about 1450 B.C. (Bimson); (4) 1280 B.C. (popular view). If we believe that 1 Kings 6:1 should be taken seriously, as I do, the date of the exodus would have been about 1446 B.C. Conservative scholars disagree over whether there was a long bondage (430 years), or a short bondage (215 years).

The history of this area should be divided into three periods: pre-Hyksos, Hyksos, and post-Hyksos. The Hyksos were foreign (Canaanite or Asiatic) rulers who lived in the eastern Nile Delta and eventually ruled northern Egypt for some 108 years (c. 1663-1555 B.C.; 15th dynasty). In the pre-Hyksos period the town was known as Rowaty (“the door of the two roads”). During the 15th Dynasty the name was changed to Avaris. The Hyksos made their capital there and retained the name. When the Egyptians ran the Hyksos out of Egypt the name was likely changed to Peru-nefer (“happy journey”). Pharaoh Rameses built a new city at the same location and named it Rameses.

During their stay in the land of Egypt the Israelites built the storage cities of Pithom and Rameses (Exodus 1:11). Pharaoh Rameses II ruled Egypt about 1304 to 1227 B.C. How could the Israelites have built the city of Rameses prior to 1446 B.C. if Pharaoh Rameses was not the ruler of Egypt until nearly 200 years later? Some have suggested that the name Rameses was given to the city by the Hyksos in the 17th century B.C. Perhaps the city was named for a private individual by that name. The most common explanation is that Rameses is the modernization of an obsolete place name. We might say that Caesar crossed the English Channel though it was not known by that name at the time. We say St. Nicholas of Myra was a Turkish bishop, but Turkey did not exist at the time.

Earlier this year I spent two days in the land of Goshen. My guide gained access to a field in the Tell el-Daba area where we saw remnants of a colossal statue of Pharaoh Rameses II estimated to have been more than 30 feet high. The royal precinct of the city at the time of Moses has also been uncovered at Ezbet Helmi on the bank of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile.

Remnant of a colossal statue of Rameses II at Tell el-Daba in the land of Goshen.

Remnant of a colossal statue of Rameses II at Tell el-Daba in the land of Goshen.

It is incorrect to say that there was no Egyptian building in the delta during the time of Rameses II. The storage city constructed by the Israelites was not known as Rameses when they built it, but by one of the earlier names.