Proposed Locations for Mount Sinai

Exodus 13-40; Numbers 10:11-12; 33:1-36; Deuteronomy 1:1-2; Galatians 4:25

Tracing the route of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and their arrival at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Law, is one of the most popular topics to include in Bible maps, yet this is one of the most hotly debated topics among scholars. Scholars have proposed several locations for the parting of the Red Sea (or Reed Sea), placing it at one of the small lakes bordering Egypt, at Lake Sirbonis, at the Bitter Lakes, at both branches of the Red Sea as it is known today, or at one of various empty lakebeds believed to have been filled with water at the time of the exodus. Likewise, Mount Sinai has had no less than a dozen locations proposed as the site of the holy mountain, most of which are shown here. Some of these proposals have many centuries of tradition supporting them, while others have only very recently been put forth. Some highlight a certain site’s appropriate distance from Egypt, from conjectured locations of other sites, and from Kadesh-barnea (see Exodus 15:22-23; Numbers 33; Deuteronomy 1:2). Others highlight a site’s congruence with the volcano-like phenomena that accompanied the giving of the law (see Exodus 19-20). Still others highlight a site’s compatibility with considerations such as Moses’ interaction with his father-in-law Jethro, who was a priest of Midian (see Exodus 3:1; 18:1).

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