The route of the exodus – northern route (Exodus 13)

The itinerary of Israel’s travels from Egypt to Mount Sinai (Exodus 14-19, Numbers 33) is little more to us than a list of obscure place-names. We know that the company moved from Rameses to Succoth, then on to Etham on the egde of the desert before proceeding to Pi Hahiroth, near Baal Zephon and Midgol. From there the procession passed through the Red Sea, stopping afterward at Marah and Elim; beside the Red Sea once again; alongside the Desert of Sin; at Dophkah, Alush and Rephidim; and in the region of Mount Sinai. As specific as this itinerary is, interpreting it is much more difficult because no one knows the identities of many of these ancient place-names. In addition, there is confusion about the point at which the company crossed the Red Sea, as well as about the identity of the sea itself! Numerous routes have been proposed.

One theory argues for a more northernly exodus route, suggesting that the “sea” the Israelites crossed was actually Lake Sirbonis on the Mediterranean coast and that Mount Sinai was located in the northern Sinai Peninsula, perhaps synonymous with one of the mountains now named Jebel Helal, Jebel Kharif or Jebel Magharah. But God ha explicitly prohibited such a route (Exodus 13:17), which would have led up the Mediterranean coast into Philistia. This theory is not widely held at this time. See also the other routes under Exodus 13

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