MUSA THE CORRECT MT. SINAI?
By John D. Keyser
The Land of Midian
The Testimony of
The Sacred Mountain
The Real Mt. Sinai
route the Israelites took is related next
It has become customary since the time of Constantine the
Great for the majority of the Christian world to accept the
area of the Sinai peninsula for the location of the biblical
Mt. Sinai. Unknown to most, the REASON this location was
selected rests solely with the opinions of one man -- the
Roman emperor Constantine the Great (c.280-337 A.D.)!
The question is, did Constantine select the correct spot?
What prompted him to pick the rugged, mountainous region of
south-central Sinai? The answers to these questions may
The truth is, there was not the SLIGHTEST biblical or
historical evidence to sustain the selection of this site as
the proper place for the giving of the Law. In fact, just
the OPPOSITE was the case, yet Constantine's opinion
prevailed while he remained alive -- and is paramount to
this present day.
What we must understand is that Mt. Sinai in the Sinai
peninsula was selected exclusively through the agency of
DREAMS AND VISIONS that Constantine experienced throughout
his troubled life. Constantine had a LONG HISTORY of
visionary experiences. From the year 312 A.D. they became a
REGULAR part of the emperor's life; and throughout his
career he was affected by FREQUENT SUPERNATURAL OCCURRENCES.
And, according to Constantine himself, he never had a
reversal in his affairs if he HEEDED these visions.
The beginning of his trust in the SUPERNATURAL occurred just
before the battle at Milvian Bridge outside Rome,
which gained for him the mastery of the western portion of
the Roman Empire. As the story goes, he witnessed (along
with his troops) a parhelion (a bright image appearing on a
solar halo) of the sun which appeared to him as a CROSS in
the heavens. With the cross he noticed the Greek letters Chi
Rho accompanied with the words "by this sign conquer." The
following evening he supposedly had a VISION of Christ who
told him to adopt the sign of the "Chi Rho" as a
symbol to protect him and his armies, and that he would
ALWAYS be victorious. It was this so-called (by Constantine)
"supernatural sign" that moved the emperor into thinking he
had been DIVINELY SELECTED to bring about a UNIVERSAL
KINGDOM that would usher in divine salvation and peace to
According to Ernest L. Martin: "This visionary experience
had a profound effect upon Constantine. In the following
years he featured himself as the DIVINELY CHOSEN instrument
of God to bring in the UNIVERSAL (CATHOLIC) KINGDOM TO THE
TOTALITY OF THE WORLD. It gave Constantine great confidence
that he was a special and elect vessel of God himself. And
in all the battles that Constantine fought from A.D. 312
onward, with what he called the salutary sign of the "Chi
Rho" in the advance of his armies, convinced him that he was
indeed that special person selected by God to bring to pass
the universal kingdom of Christ on earth" (Secrets of
Golgotha. ASK Publications, CA P. 99).
It appears that not long after his visionary experience at
Milvian Bridge, Constantine began to think of himself as a
NEW MOSES ordained by God to lead the true people of God
into a NEW WORLD ORDER with Constantine as its head. To
reinforce this identification with Moses, Constantine had a
SPECIAL TENT constructed in the form of a cross which he,
LIKE MOSES, placed "outside the camp." (Ex. 33:7). It was
into this tent that he and his trusted advisors would enter
before any military action to seek "divine counsel" to
direct them in the upcoming engagement.
Eusebius -- church historian and scholar of the third and
fourth centuries -- noted what usually happened when
Constantine entered this tent: "And making earnest
supplications to God, he was always honored after a little
while with a MANIFESTATION of His [God's ] presence. And
then, AS IF MOVED BY A DIVINE IMPULSE, he would RUSH
from the tent, and SUDDENLY give orders to his army to move
at once without delay, and on the instant to draw their
swords. On this they would immediately commence the attack,
fight vigorously, so as with incredible celerity to secure
the victory, and raise trophies of victory over their
enemies" (Life of Constantine, II. 12).
These "divine impulses" ruled Constantine's life. Eusebius
noted that Constantine's visions and supernatural encounters
became such an ingrained part of his affairs that "a
THOUSAND such acts as these were FAMILIARLY AND HABITUALLY
done by the emperor" (Ibid., II, 12 & 14). Constantine's
WHOLE LIFE was filled with visions, dreams and supernatural
wonders; and they became FOREMOST in ALL his major
"This was," notes Michael Grant, "an epoch...in which
VISIONS were frequently and continually seen, or imagined to
be seen, by all and sundry, especially at decisive turning
points of history, and it was natural enough for someone who
had played such an important part as Constantine to believe,
or require others to believe, that he, too, had seen a
vision, which supported his [supposed] adherence to
Christianity" (Constantine the Great: The Man and His Times.
Charles Scribner's Sons, N.Y. 1994. P. 138).
"The ancient world," continues Grant, "and especially the
world of Constantine's epoch, was as credulous of
significant nocturnal DREAMS as it was of other kinds of
VISIONS. 'It is to dreams,' wrote Tertullian, 'that the
majority of humankind owe their knowledge of God.'
Artemidorus of Ephesus devoted a study to the subject, the
Oneirocriticon. Divine powers were believed to visit people
very often in their dreams and give them messages, and this
was thought to
apply particularly to great and powerful men. Thus an angel
was said to have appeared in a dream to Licinius, and
Constantine himself was said to have seen and talked with
God in dreams, as part of his LIFELONG RELATIONSHIP WITH THE
SUPERNATURAL" (Ibid., p. 140).
And there was NO EXCEPTION TO THIS when Constantine selected
Jebel Musa in the Sinai peninsula as the "true" site of the
Mountain of God. As we shall see, there was no biblical or
historical teaching that prompted Constantine to pick the
area in the wilderness of the Sinai. The Jews themselves had
NO FIRM TRADITION regarding the location of Mt. Sinai.
Notice what the Jewish Encyclopedia says:
There is NO Jewish tradition of the GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION of
Mt. Sinai; it seems that its exact location was
OBSCURE already in the time of the monarchy....The Christian
hermits and monks, mostly from Egypt, who settled in
Southern Sinai from the second century C.E. on, MADE
REPEATED EFFORTS to identify the locality of the Exodus with
actual places to which the believers could make their way as
pilgrims. The identification of Mt. Sinai either with Jebel
Sirbal near the oasis of Firan (Paran; Nilus, Cosmos
Indicopleustes), or with Jebel Musa, CAN BE TRACED BACK AS
FAR AS THE FOURTH CENTURY C.E. [TO CONSTANTINE'S TIME].
(Vol. 14, p. 1599).
The selection of the Sinai peninsula for the site of Mt.
Sinai probably occurred at the same time Constantine decided
to build a church at the supposed place of Christ's
resurrection in Jerusalem. The identification of "holy
sites" in the Middle East was the result of an ATONING
ACTION by Constantine for the deaths of his wife Fausta and
his son Crispus -- executed at his own command. In a fit of
depression Constantine sent his MOTHER HELENA to the Middle
East to discover the spots he had "foreseen" in his
The strange thing is that almost all of the spots that
Helena "identified" as holy sites were previously occupied
by some sort of PAGAN structure! "The very place where Jesus
himself was believed [according to Constantine's "dreams"]
to have met his death and to have received the burial that
preceded his Resurrection: the Church of the Anastasis or
the Holy Sepulchre on Mount Golgotha, [was built] upon the
site of a Jewish burial chamber and beneath A TEMPLE OF
APHRODITE" (Constantine the Great: The Man and His Times, by
Michael Grant. P. 202).
Not only that, but while Helena was in Palestine she ordered
a church to be built on the spot where the "cross of Christ"
supposedly had been buried! In order to find the "cross,"
"she had made inquiries among the local people, who advised
her to proceed to a place where 'ancient persecutors' had
built A SHRINE OF THE PAGAN GODDESS APHRODITE. STIMULATED BY
VISIONS, she ordered that the site should be excavated,
whereupon, according to St. Ambrose's work On the Death of
Theodosius (De Obitu Theodosii, 395), THREE crosses were
disinterred..." (Ibid., p. 203). One of these three
"crosses" was taken to be the "true" cross on which Christ
had met his death and, records Michael Grant, "in
consequence, Helena built a church on the spot."
In the town of Bethlehem a further great ecclesiastical
building was constructed on Constantine's orders. "Its focal
point," states Grant, "was the rock-cut grotto, which was
supposed to be the birthplace of Jesus (and PAGAN WOMEN HAD
COME THERE ON A FIXED DATE EVERY YEAR TO MOURN FOR THE DEATH
OF ADONIS). Over this revered spot, surrounded by a railing,
was constructed an octagonal martyrium" (Ibid., p. 206).
Grant goes on to show that "at Mambre, too
(Ramath-el-Khalil, two miles north of Hebron), where Jesus
had taught the
disciples, a small church was built at the order of
Constantine, shortly before 330. IT ADJOINED THE TEREBINTH
OR OAK TREE (KNOWN AS OGYGES), VENERATED FROM VERY ANCIENT
TIMES..." (Ibid., p. 206).
Helena's flurry of activity in Palestine was soon engulfed
in myth; however, the essential truths of her building
have come down to us today. The local Jews, ever open to
monetary rewards for their "service," helped Helena locate,
to her own satisfaction, "all the spots where every
important event in the recorded career of Jesus at Jerusalem
[and outside the city] supposedly took place" (Ibid., p.
204). "She arranged, "notes Grant, "for each of these places
to be dug up, and promptly identified what was found there
to her own satisfaction. The authenticity of these finds,
dating back, as was alleged, TO A SO MUCH EARLIER TIME --
the tomb, Golgotha, the True Cross and the locations where
Jesus was born and ascended to heaven -- has AROUSED
SKEPTICISM, which is hardly surprising."
S. Runciman, in Byzantine Civilisation (1933) CRITICALLY
NOTES that Helena's thrilling discoveries were made "with
miraculous aid seldom now vouchsafed to archaeologists" (p.
The Sinai peninsula was one such place she visited. "The
origin of the present Monastery of Saint Catherine on the NW
slope of Jebel Musa is traced back to A.D. 527, when Emperor
Justinian established it on THE SITE WHERE HELENA, MOTHER OF
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT, HAD ERECTED A SMALL CHURCH two
centuries earlier." (The Interpreter's Dictionary of the
Bible. Abingdon Press, N.Y. 1962. P.376).
Eusebius and other religious authorities of the time saw NO
OBVIOUS REASON why Constantine would have picked Jebel Musa
as the site of Mt. Sinai! The selection of this spot came
through SECRET VISIONS AND SUPERNATURAL REVELATIONS known
only to Constantine himself and his mother Helena. As Ernest
L. Martin points out, "The
emperor's opinions, however, prevailed. He CLAIMED to
possess divine knowledge, just like the apostles, and those
VISIONARY EXPERIENCES gave him the essential teachings which
he thought to have as their source his Saviour and which he
considered necessary for all the Christian Church to follow"
(Secrets of Golgotha, p.107).
Visions, dreams and miracles -- when they are obviously NOT
from God -- are the most UNRELIABLE "proofs" for
demonstrating historical, geographical and theological
truths. Instead of relying on MANIFESTATIONS OF DEMONS,
Constantine should have consulted the pages of the Bible for
clues to determine the TRUE SITE of Mt. Sinai!
When Moses fled Egypt in fear for his life, he
journeyed to the land of Midian in the Arabian peninsula --
now part of modern-day Saudi Arabia. Here he helped the
seven daughters of Jethro, priest of Midian. As a result he
was invited to Jethro's home and entered Jethro's employment
as a shepherd for his flocks. Eventually he married
Zipporah, one of Jethro's daughters, and was blessed with
Toward the end of his 40-year sojourn in Midian, Moses was
shepherding Jethro's flock near Mt. Horeb, where he came
across a sight that was to change his life forever. Notice
the account in Exodus 3: "Now Moses was tending the flock of
Jethro his father-in-law, the PRIEST OF MIDIAN, and he led
the flock to the far side of the desert and came to HOREB,
THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD." (Verse 1, RSV). Keep in mind the
phrase, "MOUNTAIN OF GOD." "And the Angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.
So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the
bush was not consumed." (Verse 2).
Later on, after leading the Israelites OUT OF EGYPT and
crossing the Red Sea, Moses encamped near Mt. Sinai, which,
in the biblical account, is termed the "MOUNTAIN OF GOD"!
Shortly after arriving in the vicinity, "Jethro, Moses'
father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife, came to
him in the desert, where he was CAMPED NEAR THE MOUNTAIN OF
GOD." (Ex. 18:5).
To further reinforce the identity of Mt. Sinai, the
narrative in the Book of Exodus states: "So he [God] said,
'I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to
you that I have sent you: WHEN YOU HAVE BROUGHT THE PEOPLE
OUT OF EGYPT, YOU SHALL SERVE GOD ON THIS MOUNTAIN' "
(Exodus 3:12). This promise to Moses was made from the
burning bush while he was tending Jethro's flock in MIDIAN!
Clearly, the MOUNTAIN OF GOD IN MIDIAN, where Moses lived
for forty years, is the SAME MOUNTAIN OF GOD he led the
Israelites to AFTER the Exodus from Egypt!
This has not been lost on some researchers:
The location of Horeb, or Sinai, SOMEWHERE IN THE LAND OF
MIDIAN is evidently well supported....Examination of the
[biblical] narrative tends to confirm this view. "When thou
hast brought forth the people out of Egypt ye shall serve
God UPON THIS MOUNTAIN." This was spoken to Moses at Horeb,
"the MOUNTAIN OF GOD," IN MIDIAN; and indicates that the
Exodus would be completed on the arrival of the Israelites
at HOREB, WHERE MOSES STOOD WHEN "THE ANGEL OF THE LORD"
APPEARED TO HIM." (On the Track of the Exodus, by C.C.
Robertson. Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, CA. 1990. P. 87.).
Any doubt that might remain is dispelled by a statement of
the apostle Paul found in Galatians 4: "For these are the
two covenants: the one from MOUNT SINAI which gives birth to
bondage, which is Hagar -- for this Hagar is MOUNT SINAI IN
ARABIA, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in
bondage with her children..." (Verses 24-25).
The reference to HAGAR also indicates WHERE the Mountain of
God is situated. Peake's Commentary on the Bible explains:
"Their mothers likewise represent the TWO dispensations.
Hagar represents that given on Mt. Sinai, and, PAUL NOTES IN
PASSING THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE FACT THAT MT. SINAI IS IN
ARABIA, the land
to which HAGAR was exiled (p. 977).
James A. Montgomery, in his book Arabia and the Bible, takes
this a step further:
This experience of St. Paul with the Nabataean government of
Damascus was preceded by his RETIREMENT INTO ARABIA
immediately after his conversion, as he briefly relates in
Gal.1:17. The region no doubt was what the Romans came to
call Arabia Petraea, Trans-Jordan; he returned thence to
Damascus. There were 'desert' districts therein plenty to
gratify his desire for solitude; again one of the great
souls of the True Religion started his career from the
desert. THAT THIS ARABIAN EXPERIENCE OF THE APOSTLE BROUGHT
HIM ACTUALLY TO SINAI, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MOSES AND ELIJAH,
has been advanced by some scholars, in view of his
subsequent reference, in the same epistle, to SINAI AND
HAGAR, 4:24, 25.
Montgomery now looks at the Textus Receptus --
The textus receptus of the Greek is represented by the
American Standard Version: "Which things contain an
ALLEGORY; for these women are two covenants; one from Mount
Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. NOW
THIS HAGAR IS MOUNT SINAI IN ARABIA and answereth to the
Jerusalem that is now." But the second 'Hagar' is now
generally admitted to be a gloss, and there remains the
question how to interpret the sentence with the excision. I
suggest the meaning is: "THIS IS MOUNT SINAI IN ARABIA (then
the gloss) THAT IS HAGAR," i.e. THE LAND OF THE HAGARENES;
and so the gloss is interpretatively correct, although out
Montgomery now shows where the "Sons of Hagar" were located
THE ARABIANS ARE CALLED 'SONS OF HAGAR' in Baruch 3:23,
WHILE THE HAGARENES (OR HAGARITES -- both in AV) ARE
FREQUENTLY MENTIONED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ARAB PEOPLES TO
THE EAST AND SOUTH OF PALESTINE.
E.G., Ps.83:6,7, "Edom and Israel, Moab and the HAGARENES,
Gebal [= the Arabic plural jibal, 'mountains,' still the
name of the mountainous region south of the Dead Sea], and
Ammon and Amalek." 'Hagarene may have served as a general
name of the Arabs for the Jews with reminiscence of the
concubine HAGAR....IDENTIFICATION OF HAGAR AND HAGARENES HAS
BEEN MADE WITH THE AGRAIOI OF PTOLEMY, OF STRABO, ETC., IN
NW ARABIA; but this important people MUST BE CONNECTED WITH
AL-HIJR IN THE THAMUDENE COUNTRY [OF NW ARABIA], THE REGION
OF EL-ULA....(University of Pennsylvania Press,
Philadelphia. 1934. Pp. 34-35).
The Land of Midian
Some "authorities" have claimed that the land of Midian
included the Sinai peninsula and the area of the TRADITIONAL
Mt. Sinai. Can this be true? Just WHERE was the geographical
area called Midian?
Werner Keller makes the location clear:
Moses does what Sinuhe had done before him. He flees
EASTWARD to get OUT of Egyptian territory. Since Canaan is
occupied by Egypt, Moses chooses for his exile THE MOUNTAINS
OF MIDIAN EAST OF THE GULF OF AQABAH, with which he had a
remote connection. Ketura had been Abraham's second wife,
after Sarah's death (Gen.25:1). One of her sons was called
MIDIAN. The TRIBE OF MIDIAN is often called KENITES in the
Old Testament (Num.24:21). The name means "BELONGING TO THE
COPPERSMITHS" -- QAIN in Arabic, QAINAYA in Aramaic = a
SMITH. This designation connects up with the presence of
METAL in the neighbourhood of the tribal territory. THE
MOUNTAIN RANGES EAST OF THE GULF OF AQABAH are rich in
copper, as the investigations of Nelson Glueck of America
have indicated. -- The Bible as History. William Morrow
& Co. Inc. New York. 1981. P. 123.
This location of Midian EAST of the Gulf of Aqaba is
verified by many other scholars. "The Biblical references
connecting SINAI with Mount Seir, Edom and the LAND OF
MIDIAN seem clearly to indicate this region EAST OF THE
AELANITIC GULF (g. of AKABA) as pointed out by Beke (1834),
Wallhausen (1886), Sayce (1894), Moore
(1895), Shede (1897), Gall (1898), Gunkel (1903), Edward
Meyer (1906), Schmidt (1908), Gressmann (1913), Haupt (1914)
and by Alois Musil in 'The Northern Hegaz' (1911)" (On the
Track of the Exodus, p.87).
Not only that, but the area WEST of the Gulf of Aqaba has
ALWAYS been Egyptian territory -- even up to this present
day! Author James Montgomery points out that "the land WEST
OF A LINE FROM THE WADY OF EGYPT TO THE ELANITIC GULF [GULF
OF AQABA] HAS ALWAYS BELONGED TO THE EGYPTIAN POLITICAL
SPHERE, and actually that is the present BOUNDARY of
Egypt....the SOUTH-ARABIANS called the SAME REGION MSR, i.e.
MISRAIM, EGYPT" (Arabia and the Bible, p.31).
Arab tradition likewise places Midian EAST of the Gulf of
Aqaba. The famous British explorer Charles Doughty, whose
Arabia were legendary, tells of "a tradition amongst their
ancestors [of Arabs Doughty met in Arabia Deserta] that
'very anciently they occupied all that country about MAAN,
WHERE ALSO MOSES FED THE FLOCKS OF JETHRO THE PROPHET....' "
(Travels in Arabia Deserta. Random House, New York. 1921.
The fact that the territory WEST of the Gulf of Aqaba --
that is, the SINAI PENINSULA -- has always been Egyptian
territory brings to mind another point: If Moses led the
Children of Israel OUT OF EGYPT (see Ex.12:39, 41; 12:18)
then logic dictates they had to CROSS THE GULF OF AQABA INTO
MIDIAN to "leave" the land or territory of Egypt! If Mt.
Sinai was in the Sinai peninsula, the Israelites could never
have left Egypt.
Josephus, the first-century A.D. Jewish historian, upholds
this concept that the Mountain of God is located in Midian
-- the NW corner of the present day Saudi Arabia.
Notice what he PLAINLY says:
Now when Raguel [Jethro], Moses father-in-law, understood in
what a prosperous condition his affairs were, he willingly
came to meet him. And Moses took Zipporah, his wife, and his
children, and pleased himself with his coming.
And when he [Moses] had offered sacrifice, he made a feast
for the multitude, NEAR THE BUSH HE HAD FORMERLY SEEN; which
multitude, every one according to their families, partook of
the feast. -- Antiquities of the Jews, bk.III, chapter III.
In chapter II of the same book Josephus notes that "going
gradually on, he [Moses] came to MOUNT SINAI, in three
months' time after they were removed OUT OF EGYPT; AT WHICH
MOUNTAIN, as we have before related, THE VISION OF THE BUSH,
AND THE OTHER WONDERFUL APPEARANCES, HAD HAPPENED"
Josephus understood, then, that the mountain of the burning
bush in Midian was the SAME MOUNTAIN from which the Law was
delivered to the Israelites by God.
Further on, in chapter XI, Josephus states the following:
"....and when he [Moses] CAME TO THE CITY MIDIAN, which lay
upon the Red Sea...he sat upon a certain well....It was not
far from the city....These virgins [Jethro's daughters], who
of their father's flocks, which sort of work it was
customary and very familiar for women to do IN THE COUNTRY
TROGLODYTES...." (Book II, section 1 & 2).
This land of the TROGLODYTES was visited by Charles Doughty
when he passed through an area of northwestern Arabia called
the MEDAIN. In his book he explains that the MEDAIN is the
"Syrian caravaners' name for the hewn monuments in the CRAGS
OF EL-HEJR on the Haj road, SIX REMOVES NORTH OF MEDINA."
The publisher of Doughty's book notes that "Mr. Doughty
found the TROGLODYTE CITIES to be sandstone cliffs with the
funeral monuments sculptured in them of an antique town, and
like those which are seen in the 'Valley of Moses' or Petra"
(Travels in Arabia Deserta, pp.136-137).
Josephus reveals another clue in book III, chapter I, verse
So he [Moses] placed himself in the midst of them, and told
them he came to bring them from God a deliverance from their
present distress. Accordingly a little after came a vast
number of QUAILS which is a bird more plentiful IN THIS
ARABIAN GULF than anywhere else, flying over the sea, and
hovered over them, till werried with their laborious flight,
and, indeed, as usual, flying very near to the earth, they
fell down upon the Hebrews, who caught them and satisfied
their hunger with them, and supposed that this was the
method whereby God meant to supply them with food. --
Antiquities of the Jews.
This incident, recorded by Josephus, is that of Exodus 16
and Numbers 11 -- occurring AFTER the Israelites had crossed
Sea. "THIS ARABIAN GULF" can be none other than the Gulf of
Aqaba! Therefore, the Mountain of God, or Mt. Sinai, was
EAST of the Arabian Gulf -- in the land of Midian.
Over the years many historians and scholars have realized
the TRADITIONAL site of Mt. Sinai in the peninsula between
gulfs of the Red Sea is MISPLACED and UNTENABLE. Sir Richard
Burton, writing in 1883, summed up the various sites
supposed to be Mount Sinai as follows: "....the SO-CALLED
SINAI (JEBEL MUSA) is simply a MODERN FORGERY, dating
probably from the 2nd century A.D.;...the first mount Sinai
(Jebel Serbal) was INVENTED by the Copts, the second (Jebel
Musa) by the Greeks, the third (Jebel Musa) by the Moslems,
and the fourth (Jebel Susafeh) by Dr. Robinson...."
The Danish Expedition of 1761-1767 DOUBTED that the
traditional Mt. Sinai was correctly identified. Von Haven, a
member of the expedition, quickly realized the IMPOSSIBILITY
of the site:
I have observed earlier that we could not possibly be at
Mount Sinai. The monastery [of St. Catherine] was situated
in a NARROW VALLEY, which was NOT EVEN LARGE ENOUGH FOR A
MEDIUM-SIZED ARMY to be able to camp in, LET ALONE THE
600,000 MEN THAT MOSES HAD WITH HIM, who, together with
their wives and children, must have come to OVER 3,000,000."
-- Arabia Felix: The Danish Expedition of 1761-1767, by
Thorkild Hansen. Harper and Row, New York. 1964. P.181.
James Hastings, prolific author of Bible dictionaries and
other study aids, also saw the absurdity of the Sinai
In an excellent critique he lays down the following points:
IF the Israelites really went into the Sinai peninsula, the
route and goal of their wanderings have probably been
correctly identified. We have shown that the tradition
in favour of Jebel Musa is earlier and more constant than
has generally been recognized. BUT THE REAL DIFFICULTY
begins with the question WHETHER THE BIBLICAL MT. SINAI WAS
IN THE PENINSULA [OF SINAI], AFTER ALL. Objection
after objection has been raised under this head, and some of
them ARE NOT EASY TO REFUTE. (1) The biblical references to
Mt. Sinai DO NOT seem to warrant an identification in the
limits of the peninsula. Dt.1:2 gives a distance of 11 days
from Horeb to the mountains of Seir, and this would agree
well enough with the distance from Jebel Musa. BUT in other
passages, such as Dt.33:2, Hab.3:8, THE CONTIGUITY BETWEEN
SINAI AND EDOM SEEMS TO BE MORE PRONOUNCED: even if we grant
a certain freedom of expression to poetical passages,
still such language as Dt.33:2 -- I came from Sinai, And
rose from Seir unto them -- might, in view of Hebrew
parallelism of the
members, IMPLY MORE than that Sinai was in the direction of
Seir. It might be urged in reply that the passage continues
-- He shined forth from Mt. Paran, And came from Meribah
Kadesh, -- and Paran has been commonly identified with
Feiran in the
peninsula [of Sinai]. BUT THIS IDENTIFICATION HAS ALSO BEEN
QUESTIONED ON ACCOUNT OF THE PARALLELISM WITH KADESH AND
OTHER REFERENCES. (2) Some of the places in the itinerary of
Exodus have apparently BEEN FOUND OUTSIDE THE LIMITS OF THE
PENINSULA, AS ELIM IN ELATH-ELOTH, AND THE ENCAMPMENT BY THE
SEA IN THE GULF OF AKABA. (3) MT. SINAI IS SUSPICIOUSLY
CONNECTED WITH THE LAND OF MIDIAN, and it HAS TO BE SHOWN
that the Sinaitic peninsula could be thus described. AT THE
THE EXODUS IT [SINAI PENINSULA] WAS AN EGYPTIAN PROVINCE.
These and OTHER OBJECTIONS have been raised against the
TRADITIONAL THEORY; their resolution depends upon the
final discrimination of the documents underlying the Pent.
and upon the results of further archaeological
only in the peninsula of Sinai but TO THE N. AND E. OF IT.
Dictionary of the Bible. T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh. 1947.
Vol. IV, p.538.
On page 536 of this same volume, Hastings makes further
The real problem lies in the IDENTIFICATION of the mountain
described in the Pent., ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT
THE WHOLE OF THE [SINAI] PENINSULA IS A MASS OF MOUNTAINS,
many of which are conspicuous objects in the landscape, and
certain to have EARLY ATTRACTED ATTENTION AND INVITED
NOMENCLATURE. We are ASSUMING that Mt. Sinai is somewhere in
the tongue of land at the head of the Red Sea, between the
two arms of that sea which constitute respectively the GULF
OF AKABA and the Gulf of Suez. It should, however, be
remembered that Sayce thinks he has
grounds for LOCATING MT. SINAI OUTSIDE THE PENINSULA AND IN
THE LAND OF MIDIAN ITSELF. In this he is following in some
points as earlier...suggestion of Beke.
Hastings points out the main advantages in Sayce's theory:
The ADVANTAGE of such a theory lies in the FACT (1) that MT.
SINAI IS CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE LAND OF MIDIAN in the
biblical account. Thither Moses escapes from the wrath of
Pharaoh, and while engaged in pastoral occupations IN THAT
LAND [MIDIAN] he sees the theophany of the BURNING BUSH.
Moreover, HIS WIFE AND HER RELATIONS ARE MIDIANITE. The
general opinion is THAT MIDIAN IS ON THE FARTHER SIDE OF
AKABA TO THE EAST AND NORTH, and that SPECIAL EVIDENCE is
needed if we would include in it the surroundings of the
traditional Mt. Sinai. (2) The theory
furnishes a new explanation of the encampment of the
Israelites by the sea, which on this theory IS THE GULF OF
AKABA; (3) it FINDS A SITE FOR THE MUCH-DISPUTED ELIM IN THE
MODERN AILEH (ANCIENT ELOTH); (4) it EXPLAINS WHY NOTHING IS
SAID about the exquisite VALLEY OF FEIRAN [in the western
side of the Sinai peninsula] by a writer [Moses] who is so
careful to record the palm-trees and springs (certainly of a
much inferior quality) AT ELIM; the identification of
Rephidim with Feiran is, on this hypothesis, INCORRECTLY
Captain Haynes of the Palmer Search Expedition of 1882 has a
comment in his notes about the location of Sinai. It reads
follows: "From the account in Ex.3,1, the mount of God
considered WITH RESPECT TO CANAAN -- for Exodus was written
after the Israelites reached the Holy Land -- was at the
'BACK [SIDE] OF THE DESERT,' and also WITH RESPECT TO
EGYPT IN FRONT OF MIDIAN, for we read that Moses returned
unto Jethro from SINAI to get leave to go back to Egypt
C.C. Robertson comments on this in his book On the Track of
In Ex.16,1, Sinai is sited on the farther side of the
wilderness of Sin from ELIM.
Moses was therefore SOMEWHERE ON THE BORDER OF MIDIAN; in
well-watered pasture country; in the vicinity of the mount
or hill Horeb, or Sinai, from which the wilderness of Sinai
took its name. In patriarchal times the ruling prince of a
tribe was also the CHIEF PRIEST. The "flock of Jethro"
signifies the entire wealth of the Midianites in their
camels, cattle and sheep. We must imagine the wilderness of
Sinai AS A WIDE AREA OF GRAZING COUNTRY, with thousands of
tribesmen encamped under the orders of Moses for the care
and protection of their property. This security could be
maintained only so long as they were WITHIN the limits of
their tribal territory, and well armed against any
cattle-raiding incursions from their neighbours.
Now the TRADITIONAL SITE of the wilderness of Sinai is in
the HEART OF THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION OF THE SINAI PENINSULA,
with Mount Sinai (7,450 feet) representing the "mount of the
law" Horeb or Sinai.
This traditional site is more than a hundred miles from the
head of the Gulf of Akaba, the nearest MIDIANITE country. IT
IS QUITE CERTAIN that Moses DID NOT conduct the Midianite
flocks over A HUNDRED MILES OF RUGGED, MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY,
to make a present of them to the Amalekites in Feiran!
Robertson goes on to present FURTHER PROOF for the Midian
location of the Mountain of God:
The location of Sinai IN MIDIAN is confirmed by the incident
recorded in Num.10:29, when Moses required Midianite scouts
WHO KNEW THE COUNTRY to lead the march out of the wilderness
of Sinai to the wilderness of Paran, on the west of the
Before leaving Sinai for Paran, Moses told his father-in-law
that he was about to undertake the conquest of Canaan.
Hobab appears to have been the same individual as Jethro who
welcomed Moses on ARRIVAL OF THE ISRAELITES IN MIDIAN. Now
he came the second time to visit Moses before their
departure. Moses asked Hobab to accompany him on the march
to Paran, as he knew the country. Hobab declined, not being
willing to LEAVE HIS COUNTRY AND KINDRED.
[WHERE WAS HIS COUNTRY? MIDIAN, OF COURSE!!]
In Ferrar Fenton's translation: "I WILL NOT GO FROM MY
COUNTRY and from my children with you." Whether he returned
to Modiana or was persuaded by Moses is not recorded, but
the incident SHOWS THAT THE ISRAELITES IN THE WILDERNESS OF
SINAI WERE WITHIN THE MIDIAN BORDERS. -- Pp. 88-89.
Alois Musil sums up the arguments in favor of the Midian
location of Mt. Sinai in his work The Northern Hegaz, in the
When the Israelites fled from Egypt they endeavoured as soon
as possible to escape from the reach of EGYPTIAN POLITICAL
INFLUENCE. They found a refuge in a country which afforded
them not only safety but also the necessary food supplies.
country must have had an abundance of water with rich
pastures, and must have been situated near large transport
routes so that
they could purchase what they needed from the trade
Moses knew such a country, THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he
himself had found a refuge, and where in the person of his
father-in-law THE PRIEST OF MIDIAN, he had a powerful
protector not only for himself but also for his kindred of
therefore led the Israelites DIRECT FROM EGYPT INTO MIDIAN
TO THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD, where Jehovah appeared to him. --
In the last century an Englishman named Charles Beke
published a controversial pamphlet entitled Mount Sinai a
Volcano. While he was studying the biblical description of
the day of the lawgiving, Beke came to the startling
conclusion expressed in the title of his pamphlet. The day
of the lawgiving at Mt. Sinai is described in Exodus 19 in
Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that
there were THUNDERINGS AND LIGHTNINGS, and a THICK CLOUD on
the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so
that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And
Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God,
and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai
was COMPLETELY IN SMOKE, because the Lord descended upon it
IN FIRE. Its [Sinai's] SMOKE ASCENDED like the smoke of a
furnace, and the WHOLE MOUNTAIN QUAKED GREATLY.... Now all
the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes,
the sound of the trumpet, and the MOUNTAIN SMOKING; and when
the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. --
Verses 16-18; 20:18.
Beke explained the pillar of smoke and fire as the ignited
column of ashes and vapors ERUPTED BY A VOLCANO!
Other passages in the Bible tend to support Beke's
viewpoint. The book of Judges in particular shows an ACTIVE
volcano: "Lord, when You went out from Seir, when You
marched from the field of Edom, the earth trembled and the
heavens poured, the clouds also poured water; THE MOUNTAINS
GUSHED [FLOWED] BEFORE THE LORD, THIS SINAI, before the Lord
God of Israel. (Verses 4-5, NKJV).
Notice, now, the book of Psalms: "O god, when You went out
before Your people, When You marched through the wilderness,
THE EARTH SHOOK; The heavens also dropped rain at the
presence of God; SINAI ITSELF WAS MOVED at the presence of
God, the God of Israel." (Verse 7-8).
If we take all these verses together it becomes obvious that
tremendous forces of nature were unleashed during the time
of the Exodus and the giving of the law at Sinai!
Immanuel Velikovsky, in his revolutionary work entitled Ages
in Chaos, CLEARLY saw this discovery of Beke's in the pages
If we do not limit ourselves to the few passages from the
Book of Exodus cited in support of the idea that MOUNT SINAI
WAS A VOLCANO, the activity of which impressed the
Israelites, but turn our attention to the MANY OTHER
PASSAGES in the various books of the Scriptures referring to
the Exodus, we soon feel bound to make the unusual admission
that, if the words MEAN WHAT THEY SAY, the scope of the
catastrophe must have exceeded by far the extent of the
disturbance that could be caused by ONE ACTIVE VOLCANO
[SINAI]. Volcanic activity spread far and wide, and MOUNT
SINAI WAS BUT ONE FURNACE in a great plain of smoking
Earth, sea, and sky participated in the upheaval. -- Vol.I.
Sidgwick and Jackson, London. 1977. P.19.
Beke, therefore, was not at all unreasonable when he deduced
that Mount Sinai must have been a VOLCANO. To prove his
theory, Beke set out for the Sinai region in an attempt to
identify the PRECISE PEAK that might have been responsible.
returned to England disappointed after learning that there
is NOTHING CONCEIVABLY VOLCANIC about south Sinai's JEBEL
MUSA -- the TRADITIONAL Mount Sinai of the Bible! Not only
that, but Beke discovered the OTHER MOUNTAINS in the Sinai
peninsula are also NON-VOLCANIC!! With this in mind, Beke
opted instead for ARABIA as being the location of Mt. Sinai.
All down the western side of the Arabian peninsula are vast
lava and ash fields known as "HARRAS" -- evidence of massive
volcanic activity in the past.
Notes James Montgomery:
"In the LAND OF MIDIAN there are extensive HARRA-DISTRICTS,
and to the northeast of Medina lies that of Khaibar, famous
as an oasis in pre-Muslim times....These volcanic deposits
raise the question whether the biblical language has not
been inspired in some of its descriptions by actual VOLCANIC
Montgomery goes on to relate:
"Moritz records (p.13) the account of such phenomena by the
Arabic historians, occurring near Medina in the time of the
Caliph Omar, again in 1256, and in the same century similar
OUTBURSTS near Aden and on the margin of North Syria; and he
would illustrate from Is.34:9-10, IN THE JUDGMENT UPON EDOM,
WHOSE SOUTHERN BOUNDS RAN INTO THE LAVA-REGION OF MIDIAN:
'The streams thereof shall be turned into PITCH, and the
dust thereof into brimstone, and the land
thereof shall become BURNING PITCH.' These VOLCANIC
PHENOMENA have indeed induced some scholars to place the
FIERY AND SMOKING SINAI of biblical legend IN THE HARRAS OF
MIDIAN" (Arabia and the Bible, pp. 84-85).
Alois Musil, in his Topographical Itineraries, certainly
believed this. He found CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE that Mt. Sinai
is located in the VOLCANIC HARRA OF MIDIAN, east of the Red
John M. Allegro, of Dead sea Scroll fame, was also convinced
of a volcanic Mt. Sinai:
"When, at Horeb/Sinai, Jehovah appeared before his people to
reveal to them the Law through Moses, he SHOWED HIMSELF IN
And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain
while the mountain BURNED WITH FIRE to the heart of heaven,
wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. Then the Lord spoke
to you out of THE MIDST OF THE FIRE; you heard the sound of
words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. (Dt.
Some scholars have identified the Mountain of God with the
volcano Hala El-Bedr, which rises on the eastern slope of a
called Tadras in Northwest Arabia; others argue for the
plateau of Petra in Mt. Seir, for Serbal, and even for
Serabit el-Khadim" (The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian
Myth. Westbridge Books, Devon, England. 1979. P. 170).
Peake's Commentary on the Bible notes that the reason for
these choices lies in the paucity of evidence for the
TRADITIONAL SITE in the Sinai peninsula. "The chief reasons
for discounting the traditional identification are (a) that
the description of the mountain in Exodus 19 is widely
thought to point to a VOLCANO, BUT THERE ARE NO VOLCANOES IN
THE SINAI PENINSULA; (b) that THE SINAI PENINSULA LAY WITHIN
THE JURISDICTION OF THE PHARAOH, and that therefore the
fugitive Israelites would AVOID it; (c) that JETHRO'S CLAN
OF THE MIDIANITES LIVED EAST OF THE GULF OF AQABA, and NOT
in the south of the Sinai peninsula" (Pp. 211-212).
Even the Arab traditions favor a volcanic origin for the
mountain of Moses: "....it is said that when the Lord
conversed with Moses on Sinai, THE MOUNTAIN BURST INTO SIX
PIECES, three of which flew to AL-MADINAH [modern Medina],
WARKAN and RADHWAH, and three to MECCAH, HIRA (now popularly
called Jabal Nur), SABIR (the old name for Jabal
Muna), and SAUR." (Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to
Al-Madinah and Meccah, by Captain Sir Richard F. Burton.
Vol. I. Dover Publications, N.Y. 1964. Footnote p. 422).
Mountain of Midian
Traditions abound of a SACRED MOUNTAIN in the land of
Midian. These traditions -- stretching back into dim
antiquity -- all converge on the same theme. Charles Doughty
relates one such tradition he heard during his travels in
Aad [ancient tribe of Arabia] defeated Thamud (ancient
peoples in el-Yemen or Arabia Felix). Thamud emigrated
NORTHWARDS alighted upon the plain of EL-HEJR [area where
Midian was located] UNDER MOUNT ETHLIB. In later
generations GOD'S WARNING is come to these sinners, which of
a vain confidence had hewed them dwellings in the rocks, by
the mouth of Salih, a prince of their own nation. The
idolatrous Thamudites required of him a sign: 'Let THE
MOUNTAIN, they said, bring forth a she-camel ten months gone
with young, and they would believe him! Then THE MOUNTAIN
wailed, as in pangs to be delivered, and there issued from
the rocky womb that she-camel or naga which they had desired
of God's prophet....The days ended there fell a fearful
wind, sarsar, the EARTH SHOOK, a VOICE WAS HEARD from
heaven, and on
the morrow the idolatrous people were found lying upon their
faces (as the nomads used to slumber) all dead corpses, and
land was empty of them as it had never been inhabited. A
like evil ending is told of Aad, and of the Midianites. The
Syrian Moslems show a MOUNTAINOUS CRAG (el-Howwara) IN THIS
PLAIN, which opened her bosom and received the orphan
calf again. -- Travels in Arabia Deserta. Random House, N.Y.
The Jewish historian Josephus was aware of the Arabian
traditions regarding a SACRED MOUNTAIN. In book II of the
Antiquities of the Jews, he equates this mountain WITH THAT
Now Moses, when he had obtained the favour of Jethro, for
that was one of the names of Raguel, stayed there [IN
MIDIAN] and fed his flock; but some time afterward, taking
his station at the MOUNTAIN CALLED SINAI, he drove his
flocks thither to feed them. Now this is the HIGHEST of all
the mountains there about, and the best for pasturage,
the herbage being there good; and it had not been before fed
upon, because of the opinion men had THAT GOD DWELT THERE,
the shepherds NOT DARING TO ASCEND UP TO IT; and here it was
that a wonderful prodigy happened to Moses; for a fire fed
upon a thorn-bush, yet did the green leaves and the flowers
continue untouched, and the fire did not at all consume the
fruit-branches, although the flame was great and fierce. --
Chapter XII, verse 1.
Further on, in book III, Josephus narrates the account of
Moses climbing up the mountain to commune with God, once
again showing the SACRED NATURE of Sinai:
When he [Moses] had said this, he ascended up to mount
Sinai, which is the HIGHEST OF ALL THE MOUNTAINS THAT ARE
IN THAT COUNTRY, and is not only very difficult to be
ascended by men, on account of its VAST ALTITUDE, but
because of the sharpness of its precipices; nay, indeed, it
cannot be looked at without pain of the eyes: and BESIDES
THIS, it was terrible and INACCESSIBLE, on account of the
rumour that passed about, THAT GOD DWELT THERE. -- Chapter
5, section 1.
Peake's Commentary states that "at the beginning of the
summer, the grass in the lower pastures begins to be burnt
up, and THE BEDOUIN go to the mountain slopes. 'THE MOUNTAIN
OF GOD,' that is, THE SACRED MOUNTAIN, was so
called...because the MIDIANITES already regarded it as
sacred, as the dwelling-place of deity...." (p. 211).
Can we now pinpoint the Mountain of God -- the REAL Mt.
Sinai-- with exactitude? We have seen all the EVIDENCE
pointing our gaze to the ancient and fabled land of Midian.
Are there any clues that will lead us right to the very
slopes of the
mountain of the lawgiving? Keep reading, for there certainly
Returning to Peake's Commentary once again, we learn the
following: "It [Mt. Sinai] is sometimes called HOREB (E, D),
sometimes SINAI (J, P), the names appearing to be
interchangeable. Some think that Horeb refers to the RANGE
and Sinai to the PEAK; others the opposite. Heinisch holds
that there is much to be said for the conjecture of Sandra
(Moses und der Pentateuch (1924), 37, 359) that Horeb
represents the MIDIANITE NAME for the mountain and Sinai the
one used by the CANAANITES and the Amorite population of the
peninsula. IT IS THUS CALLED HOREB HERE, SINCE MOSES IS
AMONG THE MIDIANITES...." (p. 212).
This explanation is CLOSE, but not one-hundred percent
correct! The British author and archaeologist H. St. John
Philby spent a significant portion of his life exploring the
wadis and mountains of northwest Arabia -- the biblical land
of Midian. In the book he wrote following his exploration of
Midian, Philby outlines his adventures in that mountainous
From here my guide and I climbed up the cliff to visit THE
'CIRCLES' OF JETHRO on the summit of Musalla ridge, from
which we climbed down quite easily to our camp on the far
side. [Alois] Musil tells us that he had to fetch a circuit
of two kilometres to approach the ridge from the north; but
the more direct approach presented no difficulty. A cairn
marked the spot where JETHRO IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE PRAYED, and
all round it are numerous circles, the significance of which
is difficult to guess: presumably some stance marked out for
the benefit of pilgrims visiting the scene of Jethro's
argument with the Midianites. from here I had a magnificent
view of the WHOLE OF THE MIDIAN MOUNTAIN RANGE: with LAUZ
and its sister peaks in the northeast and Maqla' a very
little north of east, with the valley of al-Numair
separating the latter from the long low RIDGE OF ALL MARRA,
extending from east to south-east, where the TWO PEAKS OF
HURAB stood out in front of the great range of Zuhd, which
runs down to a point not far from the sea to our
southward...the spot that held my imagination was the
smooth, double-headed, granite boss of HURAB (pronounced
HRUB by 'Id), AN OBVIOUS CANDIDATE FOR IDENTIFICATION WITH
THE MOUNT HOREB OF THE EXODUS, with the burning bush and the
tablets of the Law: THE ONLY CANDIDATE FOR THE HONOUR WHICH
CAN CLAIM TO HAVE PRESERVED THE NAME.
Philby goes on to explore the area --
So far as I am aware the existence of THIS HILL IN MIDIAN
HAD NEVER BEEN NOTED BEFORE; and naturally I was
anxious to explore it and its surroundings....A couple of
miles brought us to the edge of a wide chasm, with
forty-foot cliffs of sandstone and silt along the left bank,
and an easier rise on our side, strewn liberally with large
granite and basalt boulders from the steep flank of HURAB
just ahead of us. The Land-Rover could go no farther, and I
made my inspection of the VALLEY and the edge of the
mountain on foot. The massif is granite, with dykes of
basalt at intervals, running from south-west to north-east
at an angle of thirty degrees. I did not attempt to emulate
Moses' feat of climbing it, if indeed he did; but I made a
CAREFUL SEARCH IN THE VALLEY and its sandstone cliffs in the
hope of finding a few Badawin wasms, BUT THE CHANNEL ITSELF,
100 YARDS WIDE AND THICKLY COVERED WITH ACACIA BUSHES AND
TREES, AND THE DEEP GORGE OF THE MOUNTAIN FROM WHICH IT
EMERGES, WERE QUITE IMPRESSIVE....According to Hasballah,
THE NAME OF HURAB
APPLIES PRIMARILY TO THE WADI, while he called THE MOUNTAIN
ITSELF AL MANIFA (which simply means 'the lofty'). -- The
Land of Midian. Ernest Benn Ltd., London. 1957. Pp. 222-224.
Philby was not the first to explore WADI HROB -- Alois Musil
himself camped there during his exploration of Midian; and
specifically IDENTIFIED HROB WITH HOREB.
If you examine a detailed map of this area, the WADI HOREB
can be seen to run into the foothills of one of the MOST
IMPRESSIVE PEAKS OF MIDIAN, and also the HIGHEST -- JABEL EL
Jabel el Lawz is indeed impressive. Those who have looked up
at its massive granite slopes are awed by its sheer
size. It continually impressed H. St. John Philby as he
wandered through the mountains and wadis of Midian. "...I
took advantage of our long halt to inspect the country from
the top of a charming 100-foot hillock of rhyolite and
andesite on the very edge of the Afal channel. It was a nice
fine morning with a coldish breeze blowing from the north.
The MAIN PEAK OF LAUZ, partly in cloud, rose to the
south-east of our position....The upper part of the valley
varied from 500 to 1,500 yards in width, with occasional
wider basins allowing of splendid views of THE GREAT
MOUNTAINS, INCLUDING THE LAUZ SUMMIT on which there seemed
to be a patch of snow. the guide confirmed that it was snow:
and, if so, it was the first and only time that I have ever
seen snow in Sa'udi Arabia...."
Philby notes that Burton never explored the gullies of Lauz:
"Burton had never examined the gullies of Lauz or the other
mountains of the Midian chain; and it is not unlikely that
they may contain minerals of various kinds. The basalt
pyramid of Maqla' looked climbable, but THE SHEER GRANITE OF
THE LAUZ PEAKS would have needed more time and energy than I
had at my disposal. SO FAR AS I KNOW THEY [THE PEAKS OF
LAUZ] HAVE NEVER BEEN CLIMBED BY ANY HUMAN
Philby punctuates his book with superlatives such as "the
GREAT MASSIF of Jabal Lauz," "Lauz and the other GREAT
GIANTS of Midian," "the GREAT PEAK of Lauz," and "the Lauz
MASSIF." Is THIS peak that so impressed Philby and Musil the
REAL Mt. Sinai of the Bible?
Mt. Sinai Discovered?
In July 1988 a report came out in the High Flight Foundation
Newsletter that startled its curious readers:
Great news! We strongly feel that the REAL Mt. Sinai has
been discovered. Since February, we have been searching in
and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to find the real Mt. Sinai,
currently believed to be in Egypt. The Bible, however, is
that Mt. Sinai is IN ARABIA (Galatians 4:25). We have found
an UNDERWATER LAND BRIDGE IN THE RED SEA in the
area of the tip of the Sinai peninsula. This land bridge was
photographed and found to be a perfect underwater bridge to
Larry Williams and I [Bob Cornuke] have taken two trips to
SAUDI ARABIA and traveled to JABEL AL LAWZ. This mountain is
believed by some Biblical scholars to possibly be the REAL
Mt. Sinai. JABEL AL LAWZ is an 8,000 ft. mountain with a
HUGE VALLEY at its base. In this VALLEY we found an ANCIENT
ALTAR with petroglyphs of the Egyptian bullgod, Hathor,
inscribed in the rocks. We feel this is the altar where
Aaron made the Golden Calf. There were also very strong
readings of the
mineral gold registered at this site. -- Report by Bob
Cornuke on Noah's Ark and Mt. Sinai.
In the book Treasures of the Lost Races, published in 1982,
author Rene Noorbergen writes about the REASONS for
Jebel el Lauz with the Sinai of the Exodus:
The theory on which Ron Wyatt was basing his exploratory
trip to the Middle East was founded on TWO VERY OBVIOUS
POINTS made by Flavius Josephus and recorded in the Bible.
Both mention that the Hebrew children went SOUTH FROM EGYPT,
through the desert, ending at the shore of the Red Sea in an
area where 'the mountains were closed with the sea.' That
the Red Sea at that time EXTENDED, in name at least, AS FAR
AS EILAT AT THE TOP OF THE GULF OF AQABA can be
seen in I Kings 9:26, where it states that 'King Solomon
made a navy of ships in EZION-GEBER, which is beside ELOTH,
ON THE SHORE OF THE RED SEA, IN THE LAND OF EDOM.'
Wyatt reasoned therefore that the Israelites had crossed the
Sinai from west to east and had finally reached an area on
the EASTERN COAST (GULF OF AQABA) where a mountain range met
the sea. According to the record, the Egyptians had taken
over the mountain peaks near the area to prevent the Hebrews
from escaping. It also mentions that AFTER they had crossed
the Red Sea, Moses took them to 'Mt. Sinai in order to offer
sacrifices to God.'
Rene Noorbergen discusses Wyatt's exploration of the eastern
shore of the Sinai peninsula --
A careful examination of the EASTERN SHORE OF THE SINAI
PENINSULA allows for only one place where two million people
and their flocks can be gathered. it is the wide expanse of
beach near NUWEBA, the south end of which is closed off by
steep mountains! Nearby is a wide and wild mountain gorge
known as the WADI WATIR, AN ANCIENT DRIED-OUT RIVERBED that
forms a NATURAL ROADWAY into the Sinai desert. What's more,
the TRADITIONAL MT. SINAI is
deep within the SINAI DESERT, while both the Bible and
Josephus indicate that Moses took the Hebrews to Mt. Sinai
crossed the Red Sea into what is now known as ARABIA.
Interestingly, not far from the opposite shore is a MOUNTAIN
KNOWN AS JABEL EL LAWZ, A STEEP, FORBIDDING PEAK. Is it
perhaps that this is the Mt. Sinai that Moses speaks of?
There are many different theories regarding the possible
location of the real Mt. Sinai, and Ron Wyatt's location
wasn't all that farfetched.
route the Israelites took is related next
He held that the Israelites, after leaving Egypt, went DOWN
the western side of the Sinai along the Gulf of Suez and
crossed the Sinai from west to east through its most rugged
mountainous section by travelling over the dried-out
riverbeds that run into each other. Their route, according
to him, could well have gone via the Wadi Feiran, connecting
with the Wadi El Akhdar, which in turn runs into the Wadi
Salaqa, becomes the wadi Zaranek, and eventually meets the
Gulf of Aqaba via the well-known Wadi Watir. The Wadi Watir
is the only wadi that ends at a wide beach-like expanse
whose southernmost end is cut off by steep mountains. An
escaping horde of people arriving at the Red Sea via the
Wadi Watir had ONLY TWO CHOICES: to be annihilated on the
beach by the pursuing armies that could enclose it from the
north, while it was hemmed in by mountains on the west and
south; OR to go FORWARD INTO THE WATER. There simply could
have been no other. -- Pp. 163-166.
Ronald E. Wyatt -- amateur archaeologist and theologian from
Tennessee -- has long been interested in the location of Mt.
In 1978 he did some exploratory work in the Red Sea; and, in
1984, after spending 75 days in a Saudi Arabian jail,
returned to the U.S. to be interviewed by the CBS MORNING
NEWS on April 17. In the interview Mr. Wyatt explained the
choice of Jabel El Lawz as the REAL Mt. Sinai:
We found some chariot parts that looked like the chariots
found in King Tut's tomb in the Gulf of Aqaba, WEST OF THIS
JABEL EL LAWZ. Now, we found these at depths from 60 feet
out to 200 feet and over a stretch of about a mile and a
half. And we believe that was the crossing site, so in the
Biblical narrative, they arrived at Mt. Sinai after crossing
the Red Sea. The language in the Bible indicated that they
stayed 'IN' A MOUNTAIN; ENCLOSED IN A MOUNTAIN. So, an
aerial map showed that this JABEL EL LAWZ HAD A LARGE VALLEY
ENCLOSED IN THE RIM OF AN ANCIENT VOLCANO. There's about
5,000 acres in there. We felt this was the place. And, in
Exodus 24:4 and Leviticus 6:28, 11:33 and 15:12, it tells of
SOME ARTIFACTS that were to be found. There would be TWELVE
PILLARS OF STONE AND AN ALTAR AND SOME POTTERY, and so this
is why we looked at that particular mountain.
In the following year (1985) David Fasold of Port Salerno,
Florida accompanied Ron Wyatt to Jabel El Lawz to carry out
an archaeological survey. Mr. Fasold relates the events of
that fruitful expedition:
On April 2, 3 and 4 of 1985, an archaeological survey was
conducted by Mr. Ronald Wyatt of Madison, Tennessee, at
JABEL EL LAWZ, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA. The molecular
survey, leading to points of interest, was carried out by
Mr. David Fasold of Port Salerno, Florida, who accompanied
Mr. Wyatt and Samran Al-Moteiri, a prominent citizen of
Tabuk [town in NW Saudi Arabia], who had gained permission
to conduct the survey. The purpose of the investigation was
that Mr. Wyatt's premise that the mountain, JABEL EL LAWZ,
REPRESENTED THE TRUE MT. SINAI IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, which
is, of course, IN NORTHERN ARABIA, and NOT in the Sinai
THE SITE IS LOCATED SOME 144 KILOMETERS BY ROAD FROM TABUK
TOWARDS HAGL. When soon after crossing a bridge, a dry wadi
is followed west for a distance of 48.7 kilometers.
Questioning a Bedouin tribesman proved very fruitful --
Upon questioning a Bedouin in the area if this was indeed
Jabel El Lawz, Ibrahim Salem Frich responded with "nahm,
Jabel Musa henna!", which means "YES, THE MOUNTAIN OF MOSES
The Bedouin showed us the REMAINS OF A TEMPLE that, during
the reign of Sulyimin, the Turkish " Sulyimin, the great,"
has been stripped of cut stone for building material for a
mosque in Hagl. I would have liked to have seen this mosque
to ascertain how many blocks were removed from the site, but
time did not permit.
25 rectangular blocks, 16 1/2" by 8 1/4," varying in length
from 26 1/4" to 39", were scattered at the site below a
RAISED PLATFORM, and 10 pillar sections are visible, varying
in height from 10" to 26" with a 22 3/4" diameter. The
TEMPLE PLATFORM represents 1/4 of a circle leading from a
set of three pools joined to a large rock best described as
the size of an "up-ended" car, which carries slightly
incised, esoteric symbols. This site nestles between TWO
The molecular survey uncovered some interesting remains:
Closer to the wadi, the molecular survey uncovered a line of
12 CIRCLES OF STONE with an outside diameter of 18 feet,
consisting of three rows of stones in thickness. It would
appear to this writer that the construction was not a "shaft
grave" or walls for wells, but the REMAINS OF STANDING
TOWERS. THE 12 were spaced five feet apart from one another
in a straight line bearing 193 degrees magnetic. the
elevation at this site is 4,050 feet, some 20 feet above the
wadi, 70 feet below the TEMPLE REMAINS and less than 1/8 of
a mile distance from THE TEMPLE; from tower number four,
JABEL EL LAWZ bearing 216 degrees and the other mountain at
Directly across the wadi, a survey line was followed to a
low grouping of stones that were COVERED WITH PETROGLYPHS in
the following manner: an area of the stone was washed with a
substance that was absorbed by the rock about 1/8 of an
inch; a pointed tool was then employed that, when struck
against the blackened rock to a depth of 1/4 of an inch,
left a white mark. The artist thus portrayed images of
Hathor and Apis, the Egyptian sacred cows, in dotted outline
with their markings, in several cases, six figures apiece.
When shown to an archaeologist sent from Riyad University to
verify the site, Wyatt was congratulated on the discovery
area promptly closed. All photographs were confiscated.
Later visits by Larry Williams finds the area fenced off --
Two visits to the site in the spring of 1988 by Larry
Williams, an explorer from Rancho Sante Fe, California,
verified by photograph that the petroglyph site was now
enclosed by a 12 foot, chain link fence and barbed wire,
with a large blue and white 4 foot by 8 foot sign in the
Arabic and English that it was a protected site of
historical importance. Two other sites, the TEMPLE and the
towers, are protected by the same type fence, encircling TWO
This writer feels that the cost involved in the fencing
alone shows that the Saudis are taking this site very
seriously....I can assure
you that this was Wyatt's first trip to the site, but not
his first attempt. I can personally verify that the
discoveries were made in
accordance with the theory formulated by Wyatt that the
Exodus route from the Egyptians crossed the eastern arm of
the Red Sea, INTO MIDIAN AND RETURNING TO MT. HOREB -- JABEL
EL LAWZ. -- Discovered: Noah's Ark, by Ronald E. Wyatt.
World Bible Society, Tennessee. 1989. Pp. 45-47.
All the evidence we have covered CLEARLY points to the land
of Midian on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba as being
the CORRECT LOCATION for Mt. Sinai -- the Mountain of God.
Jebel el Lauz appears to be the REAL mountain of the
lawgiving; and we wait with eager anticipation for further
evidence to emerge from this site in Saudi Arabia and from
the pen of Ronald Wyatt who made the startling disclosures
we have just read about.
God, in his good time, will reveal ALL TRUTH to those who
serve and obey Him.
By John D. Keyser
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