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Ancient Israel in SinaiThe Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Traditions$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195155464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/0195155467.001.000

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 From Egypt to Mt. Sinai

 From Egypt to Mt. Sinai

Traveling and Living in the Wilderness

(p.149) 7 From Egypt to Mt. Sinai
Ancient Israel in Sinai

James K. Hoffmeier (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Here the problem of the archaeology and travel in desert environments as a background to the wilderness narratives is treated. Based on the reference to 600,000 (šeš me’ot‘elep) men departing from Egypt (Exodus 12:37), it has been traditionally thought that this means that there were several million Israelites involved in the exodus. How many Israelites were there? A careful study of the Hebrew word ‘elep (“thousand”) lays to rest the notion of hordes of Israelites in the wilderness. Based on the travel data gleaned in the previous chapter, a route from the Reed Sea to Mt. Sinai is proposed, and an attempt is made to locate key sites mentioned in the Torah’s itinerary such as Marah, Elim, Dophkah, and Rephidim. Connections between biblical sites and present-day areas are explored (e.g. ‘Ayun Musa, Wadi Humr, Serabit el-Khadim, Wadi Feiran).

Keywords:   ‘Ayun Musa, ‘elep, Israelites, Dophkah, Marah, Rephidim, Serabit el-Khadim, Wadi Feiran, Wadi Humr

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