ll Bible maps and most Bible scholars believe that Mt. Sinai is located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. This lesson shows why the traditional site of Mt. Sinai cannot be correct and why it must be located in Saudi Arabia, where Mr. Ron Wyatt found it.
To try to determine from the evidence presented in this lesson the exact location of Mount Sinai.
LESSON OBJECTIVES: You will . . .
- Learn the reason(s) why tradition places Mount Sinai on the Sinai Peninsula and some objections against this sight.
- Examine biblical and extra-biblical proof that Mount Sinai is in Arabia and not on the Sinai Peninsula.
- Consider evidence presented by Mr. Ron Wyatt that Jebel El Lawz in Arabia is the site of Mount Sinai.
TWO POSSIBLE LOCATIONS OF MT. SINAI – MT. HOREB
- Why Mt. Sinai is Located on the Sinai Peninsula in Bible Atlases
- The tradition of Mt. Sinai’s location on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula does not ante-date the fourth century A.D.[i]
- Byzantine monks claimed that Saint Catherine (a Christian queen of the fourth century A.D.) was carried by the angels to be buried upon this mountain in the Sinai Peninsula. Later a monastery was built there in her honor.[ii]
- Because of Byzantine tradition, all Bible maps place Mt. Sinai on the Sinai Peninsula.
- Objections to the Sinai Peninsula as the Location of Mount Sinai
- The name, Sinai, was not attached to the peninsula until the 4th century A.D.
- The word Sinai does not exist in the vocabulary of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and hieratic literature. An official of Sesostris I used the Egyptian word By’ to refer to the mine-lands of Sinai.[iii] Sesostris III called the Sinai region by the Egyptian name, Mntw, which Breasted translated by the traditional name, “Sinai.”[iv]
- 12th, 18th, and 19th dynasty kings extracted turquoise and copper from mines located close to traditional Mt. Sinai and also in eastern Sinai near the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba.[v] Egypt kept military garrisons of soldiers around this entire area to protect their mining interests.[vi] Moses would not flee Egypt, or take Israel to an area occupied by Egyptian soldiers.
- Egypt’s eastern border ran south on the Wadi of Egypt all of the way to the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba.[vii] This is also the border of modern Egypt.
- Therefore, neither Moses nor Israel left Egypt, if Sinai is on the peninsula.
- Frank Cross of Harvard University excavated the traditional site of Mt. Sinai and found only Egyptian culture, no Midianite culture.[viii]
- Traditional Mt. Sinai is also too rocky to offer sufficient pasture or food for 3 million Israelites and their flocks to survive an entire year.
- Biblical Location of Mount Sinai
- Exodus 2:15 and 3:1 places Mount Horeb (Sinai) in Midian.
- In Exodus 3:2-12 God commanded Moses to return to Egypt to free Israel and bring them back to worship on the same mountain where Moses stood in Midian.
- Jethro, the priest of Midian and Moses’ father-in-law, was still living in Midian near Mt. Sinai when Moses brought Israel back to Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 18:5)
- Midian is located in Saudi Arabia, not the Sinai Peninsula.
- Genesis 25:1-6 says the Midianites lived “east” of Canaan, placing them in Arabia, not in the Sinai Peninsula.
- When Midian fled from Gideon, they fled in a southeasterly direction from the Jordan River.[ix] If Midian lived west of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Sinai Peninsula, Midian would have returned on the west side of the Jordan.
- Galatians 4:25 says Mt. Sinai is located in “Arabia.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica says the Sinai Peninsula did not become part of Arabia until after 106 A.D.[x] Sinai was in Saudi Arabia when Paul wrote.
- Josephus, Ptolemy of Egypt and Eusebius of Caesarea located Midian east of the Gulf of Aqaba rather than on the Sinai Peninsula.[xi]
- Josephus reported that Mt. Sinai was the tallest of the mountains in Arabia and that much pasture was available there for livestock.[xii]
- The I.S.B.E (revised edition), which favors the traditional site, admits that some modern scholars locate Mt. Sinai in northwest Arabia.[xiii]
- Frank Cross found Midianite pottery east of the Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan, but found none around the traditional site of Mount Sinai; he concluded that Mt. Sinai must be located east, rather than west, of the Gulf of Aqaba.[xiv]
- Cross suggested Mt. Sinai might be Jebel el-Lawz, the highest (8,460 feet) mountain in NW Arabia, or some other mountain in Jordan.[xv]
- Cross made several attempts to enter Saudi Arabia and investigate Jebel el Lawz, but was turned down each time by the Saudi government.[xvi]
WYATT’S DISCOVERY OF MT. SINAI AT JEBEL EL LAWZ
- Ron Wyatt, an Amateur Archaeologist. Mr. Wyatt claims to have found evidence that Jebel el Lawz is indeed Biblical Mount Sinai.
- Wyatt’s own study of the Bible, Josephus and a topographical map of Saudi Arabia convinced him that Jebel el-Lawz was likely Mt. Sinai.
- Jebel el Lawz was a former volcano and contains a huge flat valley with about 5,000 acres of camping space and pasture for Israel and their livestock.
- Ron Wyatt’s First Visit to the Site of Jebel El Lawz
- For 3 years the Saudis refused to give Mr. Wyatt a visa to enter Arabia.
- Ron and his two teen-age sons sneaked over the border from Jordan into Saudi Arabia and walked to the site of Jebel el Lawz.
- When they returned to their car, Ron and his 2 sons were arrested by Saudi policemen and were imprisoned for 75 days for being “Israeli spies.”
- All of Wyatt’s photos and photographic equipment were confiscated.
- Later, Saudi Arabian Officials Apologized for Ron’s Arrest and Invited Him Back for A Visit. David Fassold, Ron’s co-worker on Noah’s ark, accompanied him on this trip.
- Ron led a Saudi Arabian prince and an archaeologist from Rihad University to show what he found at Jebel el Lawz.
- The Saudis were very impressed with the evidence shown them by Ron; however, they refused to give Ron his videos and photos of the site.
- A Video Tape of Jebel Lawz Secured from Two Friends Who Lived in Saudi Arabia Mr. Wyatt has given us permission to use his video tape in this lesson.
- Evidence That Jebel El Lawz is Mt. Sinai
- The peak of Jebel el Lawz is blackened from fire and smoke as described in Exodus 19:18- 19 in which God descended upon Mount Sinai in fire.
- God told Moses that he would place him in “a cleft in the rock” and cover him with his hand. [xvii]A large rock formation high on the mountain is split with a cleft large enough for a man to stand between the two sections of rock.
- Elijah traveled all of the way from N. Israel to Mount Horeb in 40 days and stayed in a cave on the mountain. [xviii]A single cave is seen on Jebel el Lawz.
- Evidence Around Jebel el Lawz
- An altar of uncut stones. In Exodus 20:25 God prohibited Moses from building an altar of hewn or dressed stones. In Exodus 24:4 Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain, obviously out of uncut stones. An altar of uncut stones can be seen at the bottom of the mountain.
- Egyptian cow-gods. While Moses was on the mountain, the Israelites formed a golden calf and worshiped it.[xix] The calf, the cow and Apis, the bull-god, were objects of worship in the Egyptian religion. [xx]The Bible says Israel worshiped the idols of Egypt both before and after they left Egypt.[xxi] The video shows Egyptian cow-gods inscribed on stone walls within the fenced area. The archaeologist from Rihad University told Ron that these are the only ancient Egyptian drawings he has ever seen in Saudi Arabia.
- A broken mill stone covered with a green fungus growth is shown in the video. Moses said that millstones were a common possession for even the poorest of Israelites.[xxii] Numbers 11:7-8 explains how Israelites used “a hand mill’ to grind the manna.
- A large stream bed comes out of the mountain and heads into the plain below. The size indicates sufficient water to quench the thirst of the 3 million Israelites and their animals.
- An area covering about 5,000 acres of pasture land gives sufficient space for the 3 million Israelites and their livestock to camp and graze.
- A large boulder near Mount Sinai is split open and shows evidence of great amounts of water that once gushed out of it. The location and description fit precisely the rock at Horeb that Moses struck to bring forth water before arriving in front of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 17:6).
- Evidence From the Territory Between the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba) and Jebel el Lawz
- Ron’s Saudi friends backtracked the steps of the Israelites from Sinai to its various stopping points all of the way to the Red Sea Crossing.
- They found what appears to be the hill where Moses likely stood nearby Rephidim while Israel fought the Amalekites.[xxiii]
- They also found Elim, the place of twelve springs and seventy palm trees, where the manna first daily appeared to feed the multitudes of Israel.[xxiv]
- Finally they arrived back at the Red Sea Crossing where the Israelites began their journey in Saudi Arabia.
- The Eleven Day Journey from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea
- Deuteronomy 1:2 says the distance from Mount Horeb (Sinai) to Kadesh Barnea was eleven days by the Mount Seir Road.
- The road from traditional Mount Sinai to traditional Kadesh Barnea is about 250 miles. 100 miles of the journey is through rugged mountains.
- Women, children and livestock would have to be moved at the rate of more than twenty-two miles a day over rugged territory for 11 consecutive days.
- The journey does not follow the Mount Seir Road at all.
- From Jebel el Lawz in Saudi Arabia Israel could have headed straight north to Mt. Seir, parallel to the Gulf of Aqaba, arriving in 11 days.
- The terrain is easily traveled in comparison to the rugged mountains on the western coast of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Sinai Peninsula.
- The trip to traditional Kadesh Barnea is about 150 miles. Israel could cover this distance in 11 days at the rate of 13.6 miles per day.
- Need for Excavation of Jebel El Lawz
- Archaeological treasures are likely buried beneath the sand where Israel camped for an entire year at Sinai (Jebel el Lawz) and where Midianites lived for centuries.
- The Saudis have never given permission for outsiders to excavate.
- If Amenemhet IV is the Pharaoh of the Exodus, the inscriptions of the cow-god and artifacts found in excavation should fit a late 12th dynasty context, if indeed these inscriptions were made when Israel camped there.
The Biblical, archaeological and video evidences decisively point to Jebel el Lawz as the true Mt. Sinai.
SELF EXAM FOR LESSON EIGHTEEN
- Explain why Mt. Sinai is traditionally located on the peninsula in Bible Atlases. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Give three (3) objections to the Sinai Peninsula as the location of Mt. Sinai.
- Give two Old Testament references that state that Mount Horeb (Sinai) is in Midian. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Cite one New Testament scripture which states that Mt. Sinai is in Arabia. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Give six pieces of evidences found around Jebel el Lawz which would indicate that this is the Mt. Sinai location.
[i] Frank Moore Cross, “An Interview. Part One, Israelite Origins,” Bible Review, Ed. Hershel Shanks, August 1992, p. 24
[ii] H. G. Anderson, “Sinai, Mount,” Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia, op. cit., V.448.
[iii] Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, I.274 (602), note d
[iv] James Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, I.319 (728).
[v] John Baines, Atlas of Ancient Egypt, p. 188.
[vi] “Sinai Peninsula,” New Encyclopedia Britannica, 10.827.
[vii] Genesis 15:18; Numbers 34:5; Joshua. 13:3; 15:4,47; 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 24:7; 1 Chronicles 13:5; 2 Chronicles 7:8; Isaiah 23:3; 27:12; Amos 9:5; Jeremiah 2:18; Ezekiel 47:19; 48:28.
[viii] Frank Moore Cross, “An Interview. Part One, Israelite Origins,” Bible Review, Ed. Hershel Shanks, August 1992, p. 25.
[ix] Judges 7:22-25; 8:4
[x] “Sinai Peninsula,” New Encyclopedia Britannica, op. cit., 10.827.
[xi] Josephus, Ant. II.11.1; Ptolemy Geor. vi.7:27; Eusebius, Onom. 124.
[xii] Josephus, “Antiquities,” II.12.1; III.5.1. Works of Josephus, op. cit., p. 71, 83-84.
[xiii] T. V. Brisco, “Midian,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, op. cit., III.350.
[xiv] Frank Moore Cross, “An Interview, Part One. Israelite Origins,” Bible Review, op. cit., p.25.
[xv] Ibid., p. 32.
[xvi] Ibid., p. 24.
[xvii] Exodus 33:21-22
[xviii] 1 Kings 19:8
[xix] Exodus 32:4-35
[xx] Cambridge Ancient History, I.2A.53.
[xxi] Ezekiel 20:7,18-24
[xxii] Deuteronomy 24:6
[xxiii] Exodus 17:8-15
[xxiv] Exodus 15:27; 16:1-34