Any scholarly pursuit of events that have gone beyond the pale of traditional history needs to have a healthy dose of skepticism. In my case, a journey to hopefully retrace the footsteps of the Exodus was prompted less by a yearning for historical accuracy than the overwhelming desire to bask in the sacredness of the places believed to have something to do with my faith. It was understandable that thrown into the mix were sights and locations extraneous to the stated goal but in whole, it was a very memorable event that would be difficult to forget throughout my lifetime.
Day 8 of the trip was described, thus: “This morning we depart Cairo, pass through the ‘Land of Goshen’ and travel the southward route of the Exodus through the Wilderness of Shur. We learn of the terrain and the history of this region en-route as we pass Marah (Spring of Moses) and further to south, the oasis of Elim. Arriving in the late afternoon to the hotel at Mt. Sinai (Mt. Horeb), we have dinner and rest for our early morning activity.”
“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 16:1)
What took Moses and the Israelites numerous years of hardships walking across the desert took only several hours by air-conditioned bus plying Egypt’s well-maintained highways, past sentinels’ outposts and across the boundary of Africa into Asia. The tour guide took us to the traditionally accepted site of the 2285 meter-high Mount Sinai (Mount of God), which is also the name of a collection of peaks in the peninsula sometimes referred to as the Holy Mountains.
FROM INFORMATION.COM The narrowest strip of land between Asia and Africa is, the Isthmus of Suez through which the Suez Canal was cut. Hence the logical geographical boundary between these two grand land masses is the Suez Canal. The question, however, is complicated by the fact that the Sinai peninsula and the territory north of it to the Mediterranean Sea are politically a part of Egypt. Therefore mapmakers include this region in the map of Africa, making the eastern boundary of Egypt the dividing line between the two continents.
The place (Mt. Sinai) is also considered by Islam as the place where Mohammed's horse, Boraq, ascended to heaven. On its southern end is Mount Musa, sometimes referred to as Jebel Musa, Gebel Mousa or the Mountain of Moses. Bedouins consider Jebel Musa as the real Mount Sinai while others believe it is the nearby Mount Catherine, the highest peak in the area. Located at the base of the latter is the Saint Catherine Monastery, the smallest diocese and oldest Christian monastery in the world. They say Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, constructed it. A bush in the monastic grounds is claimed to be the biblical Burning Bush that still survives.
As to the allegation that the land near the present Mount Sinai could not have held the number of people that are supposed to have left Egypt, our personal observation is that the area bounded by mountain ranges is large enough to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people. History also tells us that it accommodated horde of soldiers of Alexander the Great and the Crusades and in more recent recorded history, the fighting armies of both Egypt and Israel. --
RETRACING THE EXODUS Reviewed by The Backpack Man on 1:43:00 PM Rating: