03 – Sinai Peninsula

Day 2

I used to always think the Sinai Peninsula was part of Saudi Arabia. Not sure why.

The Sinai Peninsula is part of Egypt. It is formed by the “fingers” of the Red Sea. Our trip took us across the Suez Canal and then down to an area most likely to contain Mt. Sinai – where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God! The basic idea was to follow the path that the Israelites most likely took during their exodus from Egypt.

It was a fairly long drive.Rules for driving in Egypt are – not what we’d see here in the US.

The lines in the asphalt.. I guess they’re more what you’d call ‘guidelines’.

(Note: To take this photo, I’m looking through the front windshield. In other words, our bus is in the left lane. And there’s no car on the right side of our bus. The SUV ahead of us isn’t passing the Nissan pickup truck. They’re just moving along at about the same speed)

Along the way to Mt. Sinai, we stopped at a small impoverished village. The neat thing about this village is that it is quite likely the very place that the Israelites stopped and/or camped immediately after the Exodus. Succoth, to be exact. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. (also )One of the interesting things to note about this place is the type of mud brick construction excavated here – done exactly the way that the book of Exodus says that the Israelites did it – and dating back to that period as well.

The excavation site filled up with water, trash and sewage.

Mud bricks – without straw.
I’m betting the peasant kids that came out to see us wondered why we were so fascinated with their garbage dump.
I’ve no idea what this guy was selling in his store. The place reeked to high heaven due to the stagnant water and open sewage.
The kids like candy.Just hope you don’t run out.
We continued on to the Suez Canal. Running parallel to our road was a small canal. Every mile or so, there’d be a ferry tied to a cable. People would hop on board and pull the ferry across. Lots of trash just sitting around. The river (a branch of the Nile) stunk.
Right before we hit the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, we stopped at Lake Timsah. This is one of the possible sites where the Israelites crossed the red sea. If you go back 3,400 years (to 1440BC), the water level was much higher and the topography of the lake was significantly different.(For more on this, be sure to see the movie clip section)
We crossed the Suez Canal and really hit desert! What a wasteland. Before too long, there was nothing but mountains all around us. The mountains were pretty dramatic, actually, shooting up out of the ground for several thousand feet. talks about the Israelites stopping at an oasis with palm trees – Elim. And yes, it was just about the only oasis with palm trees around.
A more modern “oasis” – with a bathroom. Had to pay $1 for the “facilities” – and I use the word lightly. Didn’t help that they had running water. The place stunk to high heaven.These mountains are solid granite. Tough stuff.
I think I’ll make a movie logo.
We came to a valley called Rephidim. This is the area where the Israelites fought the Amelikites, but Moses couldn’t hold up his arms, so Aaron and Hur held up his arms and they won the battle.Bedoin people live out in this part of the Sinai. They aren’t as nomadic as they used to be, especially since the Egyptian gov’t built schools for them. They live off the land (not much) and sell trinkets to whomever might happen to stop by (rarely). Our guide said that since the roads were built back in the ’50s, they’ve become more sociable and less hostile to outsiders.

I’m betting they don’t get tour buses out here much.

The kids and younger men came out, but younger women didn’t come out. They stay indoors all day long.

The Valley of Rephidim..
A re-enactment.JJ Routley
Hayes Barclay
Jack BarclayFrom here we went to Mt. Sinai.


37 And the people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. (ESV)

So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth. (ESV)

33:1 These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord, and these are their stages according to their starting places. They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments.

So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth. And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. And they set out from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which is east of Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol. And they set out from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and they went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. 10 And they set out from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11 And they set out from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12 And they set out from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13 And they set out from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14 And they set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 15 And they set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. 16 And they set out from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah. 17 And they set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18 And they set out from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19 And they set out from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. 20 And they set out from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. 21 And they set out from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22 And they set out from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. 23 And they set out from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24 And they set out from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25 And they set out from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26 And they set out from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27 And they set out from Tahath and camped at Terah. 28 And they set out from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29 And they set out from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30 And they set out from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31 And they set out from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. 32 And they set out from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. 33 And they set out from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34 And they set out from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35 And they set out from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36 And they set out from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh). 37 And they set out from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.

38 And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the Lord and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 And Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.

40 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the people of Israel.

41 And they set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42 And they set out from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43 And they set out from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44 And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the territory of Moab. 45 And they set out from Iyim and camped at Dibon-gad. 46 And they set out from Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. 47 And they set out from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 And they set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho; 49 they camped by the Jordan from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.

50 And the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. 53 And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. 54 You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. 56 And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.” (ESV)

17:1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (ESV)