In the last Nugget I gave you two maps beside one another so that you could make some comparisons. In this Nugget I have combined the information into one map showing you the possible locations given for Pi-Hahiroth and Mount Sinai. I have ruled out any suggestion of Pi-Hahiroth being in the northern part of Egypt. Neither can it be anywhere along the eastern shore of the west branch of the Red Sea (the modern day Gulf of Suez). For the simple reason there is no substantial body of water which requires crossing while making your way along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez. There are other rather strange suggestions as to where Pi-Hahiroth was located, however I don’t wish to spend time discussing them as they don’t merit the time to dwell on them.
The most likely site for Pi-Hahiroth is the plain of Nuweiba on the western side of the Gulf of Aqaba (Pi). If you haven’t yet read the three Nuggets I wrote about what has been found between Pi-Hahiroth (Pi) and Baal-Zephon (Bz) in the Nugget series Evidence for the Exodus then I encourage you to read them before you read any further in this Nugget. The Nuggets in question are:-
There are many questions I have come up with over the years when I try to reconcile the traditional route the Israelites took on their journey from Goshen where they lived in Egypt to Sinai and then on to Kadesh-Barnea in the Wilderness of Paran. The scholars and researchers have tried to sort out the discrepancies as well. I have called this series Tracking The Tangled Trail To Taberah, just simply because of the alliteration in the words. Taberah was the ‘first’ place of rebellion they came to; at least the first place mentioned in Moses list. But the tangle goes far beyond Taberah, it just that the other words didn’t start with a ‘T’ so I chose Taberah as the alliterative example. I have explained already with sufficient detail the problem with Taberah in terms of the lack of inclusion in some lists and also the difficulty in locating it accurately.
I have drawn your attention to the confusion in the location of many of these places, and I haven’t given you all of the detail. Choosing only to look at the main locations which have multiple locations listed on the range of Bible atlases. You have seen in the map I gave you from the Candle atlas in Gem 2062 that there is confusion in regard to the route the Israelites took, as well as the location of Pi-Hahiroth, Sinai, Massah, Meribah and Rephidim, Kibroth-Hattaavah, Hazeroth and Kadesh Barnea. There are other maps I have not given you which confuse things further. Let me just say at the outset of this attempt to harmonise the discrepancies that there are some key places that we need to look at in detail.
The first two are Pi-Hahiroth and Sinai. Much confusion reigns in the location of these two places. Simply because Pi-Hahiroth marks the place on the one side of the body of water that was crossed with the LORD’s help. Sinai was the place they came to after the crossing of the Yam Suph. That fact is what influenced many researchers to place the location of Pi-Hahiroth early in the journey and therefore come up with widely ranging locations, many of which do not make sense. It is the juxtapositioning and the order of Pi-Hahiroth and Sinai that is the problem and which becomes the main sticking point for harmonising the rest of the places visited. But just look at the map I have given you in this Gem. The location of Pi-Hahiroth (and Baal-Zephon – the counterpart on the other side of the water Bz) are perfectly placed if we choose Gebel-al Lawz to be the location of Mt Sinai. A glance at the map of the locations of Sinai which I first gave you in Gem 2063 – Unravelling the Confusion will show you various locations for Sinai. Scholars have debated this for a long time. The location of Sinai (coloured yellow) I have used for the map in this Gem is the traditional site for Sinai which has St Catherine’s monastery at the foot of the mountain. But it is problematic in regard to any of the sites where Pi-Hahiroth is located in order for it to make sense. They had to cross the water before they reached Sinai, the mountain of God, acccording to what Moses wrote.
The location of the Nuweiba peninsula on the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba is in the prime place to be the major contender for the location of Pi-Hahiroth. If you have read the above Nuggets I think you would have to agree that Nuweiba fulfils all requirements to be thought as being the beginning of the crossing of the Yam Suph.
- It has the space for a large number of people with 19 sq kms
- It has a tight river valley which comes down to sea, which led to the Israelites being trapped against the water
- It is marked by a unique pillar seemingly erected to mark a significant event
- Linguistically the places match
- There is also a place on the other side (Saraf al-Bal) which is associated with the Hebrew name for the place on the east side of the gulf
- A place also marked by a similar pillar on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba
- Not only that, but on the eastern side of the gulf is a place which many have suggested is the true location of Mt Sinai, that is Mt Gebel al-Lawz
If we combine these facts with what Lennart Möller and his team found on the seabed between these two places marked with pillars and given the shallower land bridge which extends between these places Pi and Bz then we may well have a more logical contender for all of the places to align in a way which makes sense.
However, as simplistic and conceivable as all this might seem we have some problems with this theory too. Besides the fact that there are three atlases which mark the location of Gebel al-Lawz as the likely location of Mt Sinai (Hoffmeier, Pritchard & Page, Rasmussen), I have to call it a theory because of the problems which these pieces of ‘evidence’ introduce. If we accept this explanation of the route and the evidence found, we have to resolve some other discrepancies. That is the main problem as to why this idea has not been adopted universally by all serious scholars and researchers. I have given you a number of earlier Nuggets to read as well as the detail contained in this Gem. I will also give you time to ponder the pieces before the next Nugget. I am sure once again you will come up with questions and reasons to challenge this new scenario as have I.
I will leave you now to do your pondering. When I am satisfied that I have put all the evidence before you, I will attempt to add further alternatives to the route the Israelites took on their Exodus journey all the way to Kadesh-Barnea in the region of Paran. There are still further complications we have to sort out.