Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sinai in Yemen

It seems most websites talking about the idea that Sinai was in Yemen aren't giving a specific Mountain.  Just referring to Teman of Habakkuk 3:3 paralleling Deuteronomy 33 with Teman in place of Sinai.  And how Teman was a Jewish name for Yemen.  And mentioning the Kadesh-Barnea as Mecca theory and how that involves identifying the first Meribah, Exodus 17, with Ma'rib in Yemen.

Teman is also often translated South and Jesus called the Queen of Sheba the Queen of The South.  And that Kingdom we know was in Yemen.

First I want to mention how all the Tribes of Arabia were wandering nomads, so it doesn't surprise me that many place names may repeat in both Northern Arabia/Jordan and Southern Arabia/Yemen.  Like with Teman or Midian/Medan, or Seir, or Paran.  And there is no doubt there was more then one Kadesh and Meirbah in the Wandering account.

Jebel El-Lawz supporters like to emphasize how Josephus called Sinai the tallest Mountain in the area.  And I agree that it is in Arabia.  Well it seems to me unclear whether he meant just where ever he meant by Midian, or all of Arabia.  So I've decided maybe we should start our search by looking for the tallest mountain in Arabia.

Well the tallest Mountain on the Arabian Peninsula happens to be in Yemen.  And the second tallest is very near by it.  It's name is Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb, the second tallest is Jabal Tiya.  Both are located on opposite sides of the city of Sana'a.  And a district in Sana'a is called Madina.  They are part of or near a mountain range called Jabal Haraz.  And another linked location is Tihamah.  And there is also near to Yemen's north the Asir region

Some of those names sound awfully familiar don't they?  Yet they don't seem to come from local traditions claiming any such Biblical connection.  Since the Israelites were traveling towards the Promised land when they went from Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea.  If Barnea is Mecca and Sinai was in Yemen, then the Asir Mountains would be the Mountains of Seir between Sinai and Kadesh.  Doesn't mean the traditional location of Seir isn't the place in mind in other references to Seir.  There is actually no doubt that The Bible refers to more then one Seir since there is also a Seir near Hebron in Joshua 15.

BTW, the only two mountains in the entire middle east that are taller don't come close to even fitting the loosest definition of Arabia, one's in Lebanon and the other in Iran.

The tallest mountain in Arabia is named after Shu'ayb.   A Midianite Prophet mentioned in the Quran, who is linked to Mt Sinai and often either identified with Jethro or viewed as a predecessor of Jethro's priesthood.  Yet this mountain which bears his name isn't where current Islamic traditions say he lived, no the Northern Arabia/Jordan assumption is the basis for the official site of his tomb.

I then Google searched and found at least one person had came to this conclusion before I did.

Sana'a is the Capital of modern Yemen, while we're used to thinking of Sinai as being away from civilization.  But Sana'a wasn't always the capital, and the city, even the old city, is barely older then Islam, first popping up around 530 AD.  The very tall Mountain was always there, but the City was not.

I also want to talk a little more about the name of Sheba.

I obviously disagree with the premise of The Bible Came from Arabia.  I think Jerusalem was always what we today call Jerusalem, and Beth-El to the north of it.  Likewise with Hebron and Galilee ect.

But I do think in some senses what God promised to Abraham did extent further south then we usually think.  Especially since the sons of Keturah were totally South of what God gave Abraham according to most traditional maps of the Abrahamic covenant.

Beersheba is often given as a southern border of Israel.  But it's not a boundary marker included in Ezekiel 40-47.  It is usually contrasted with Dan, and since I think what is meant by Dan can extend pretty far North of the proper tribal allotments (Dan's proper allotment wasn't in the North at all), perhaps Beersheba as a southern border includes in a sense the sons of Keturah.  And thus lands that David ruled as Tributaries rather then directly.  Elijah stopped at Beersheba on the way to Horeb.

Linked to Beersheba is a place called Shebah (Genesis 26:33) and Sheba (Joshua 19:2).  They're in land allotted to the Simeonites, but remember from Genesis 49 the Simeonites ultimately lost their own land to be absorbed into the other tribes.  But one clan of Simeon was the Yamin (Jamin in the KJV) clan.

Now the Strongs lists those references to Sheba as totally separate words from the Genesis 10 Shebas and the Queen of Sheba.  But the variation is really rather small, involving a letter that sometimes gets used as a vowel.  And interestingly for the Queen, only Genesis 26 uses the name in a Feminine form.

Perhaps Beersheba is the border between Peleg and Joktan?  And king Abimelech of Genesis 20 and 21 was a Joktanite King?  And the Philistines of Genesis 26 had not yet fully migrated to the Gaza Strip from Caphtor?  2 Chronicles 14 refers to Cushites in Gerar, which is interesting given my Cushites in Arabia observations.  Abimelech was probably a title not a personal name.

The Yam Suf clearly refers to the Red Sea, as that is where Solomon had his port.  But perhaps the Red Sea crossing was at Bab-el-Mandeb?  It is called that because in some traditions early migrations to Africa from Babel crossed there.  So it would make sense to lead the Israelites there, going the opposite direction.  And Afro-centrists sometimes claim this is where men first left Africa.

Update June 12th 2017: Goshen's location.

In conjunction with the Bab-el Mandeb aspect of this theory.  I feel like questioning the traditional location of Goshen in the Delta.  It's largely dependent on thinking Exodus mentions Ramses II's capital, but we in revised Chronology know that is wrong.

But first I should note, Exodus tells us Yahuah went out of his way to make sure their path to the Promised didn't run into the Philistines.  So I think it makes he would avoid the "Sinai" Peninsula altogether.

That Joshua conquered all the way to Goshen normally makes one think it can't be too deep into Egypt.  But if Joshua was during the Second Intermediate period, as the Hyksos were establishing themselves.  Or maybe even the First Intermediate period.  Then the idea of him briefly conquering all of Egypt isn't so out there.  Especially for those who think the River of Egypt used as a boundary marker for the Covenant is The Nile.  Identifying Yaqub-Har with Jacob as some like to clearly doesn't work.  But maybe Yacub-Har was a name the Egyptians call Joshua?  As a leader of the descendants of Jacob.

The Migdol of Eygpt may not always be the same place, Migdol just means any Tower or fortification.  But interestingly many interpret Ezekiel's reference to Migdol in Egypt as being in the South near Syene/Aswan.  And I've seen Jeremiah's Migdol in Egypt interpreted as being an Island in The Nile Isrealites settled on, from what we know outside The Bible that best fits Elephantine, in the South/Upper Egypt.

Genesis 45:10 says Goshen was near Joseph.  I have become convinced Joseph's Pharaoh was a Second Dynasty one due to the Second Dynasty having an ancient account of a somewhat similar Famine, during the reign of Neferkasokar.  (The more Popular Imhotep Famine story is a Ptolemaic ea invention, not ancient enough, and is less similar then this to the Biblical story anyway.)  The office of Grand Vizer seems to not show up in exiting Egyptian Records till later then the 2nd Dynasty.  It could be it was basically invented for Joseph.  The 2nd Dynasty Pharaoh's ruled from an Upper Egypt capitol.  So at this time that description makes an Upper Nile location for Goshen more logical.

I before and many others got confused by exactly what Velikovsky was claiming in his Kadesh-Barnea theory, he wasn't placing Sinai in Yemen, he was saying Mar'ib wasn't in Yemen.  He actually did place Sinai in the traditional Helena selected location, and argued how Mecca could be 11 days from there.  In that context needing around 20 days for Israel to get from Southern Egypt or Northern Sudan to Bab-el Mandeb is perfectly feasible.  As said above Sinai being north of Barnea doesn't fit because they were traveling to the Promised Land when they traveled from Sinai to Barnea.

I've seen people suggest that the Slavery of the Israelites in Egypt maybe wasn't the kind of Slavery we usually picture, but perhaps almost a kind of Serfdom, or like the Helots were to Sparta.  I'm not sure what I think of that in general, but it could arguably fit Egypt's relationship with Kerma.  Also Kerma first appears in Egyptian records after the 2nd Dynasty and thus after my placement for Joseph.

The continuity between Kerma of the Old and Middle Kingdoms and even early 18th Dynasty, with the Nubian civilization that appeared at Napata during the Third Intermediate Period and went on to spring the 25th Dynasty, is a subject of controversy.  It's unclear to me whether or not the Egyptians called anyone Kush before the 18th Dynasty.  Some depictions of the Kermites seemingly show them as not quite as dark as the later Nubians, but that could be misleading, and how they looked works with my argument here either way.  I'm fine with thinking the Israelites were once very Dark Skinned.  And I certainly believe many Black people groups today have Israelite Ancestry, the Aksumites, the Lemba and the Igbo to name a few.

But I've also wondered.  What if Goshen and Cushan can be the same name?  Both have distinct Hebrew spellings in the Hebrew Bible.  But Egypt used a different Alphabet and Goshen could come from attempting to represent what the Egyptians called this area.  The same Hebrew name, Yeshua, can become in English Bibles both Jeshua and Jesus depending on if Greek is a middle man in the Transliteration process.  Goshen and Cushan could be the same kind of thing here.

This theory can still have Kerma exist after the Exodus.  Just as many Egyptians and other gentiles who placed Blood on their Doorpost left with the Israelites, thus them being called a mixed multitude.  Likewise Hebrews who didn't place their faith in the Passover Lamb were left behind.  And to begin with Israelites may not have been the only people in Kerma.  And when Joshua conquered all the way to Goshen he may have left some settlers there.  And perhaps some Hyksos settled there, ones with Edomite or Ishmaelite ancestry may have felt a kinship.  The Hyksos mainly based their power in the Delta, but one Hyksos ruler was named "The Nubian".


  1. This is some new, interesting material for me! Thinking outside the box definitely has brought about some very positive ideas. But some old ideas are correct, too; for example, I'm glad to see that you place Sheba in Yemen. A whole host of difficulties arise if one tries to shoehorn the Queen of Sheba into Hatshepsut's shoes.
    Just a comment on the geography of this alternate location for Mount Sinai. Could the Israelites have gotten there in time? We are told it was exactly a month from the departure at Ramesses (1st mo., 15th d.) to the 8th camp in the wilderness of Sin (2nd mo., 15th d.). But even before the month was up, they had crossed Yam Suph. Pihahiroth was the fourth camp, and it was awhile longer before the month was up at the 8th camp. So might we conclude that they crossed Yam Suph 3 weeks after departure, max? Could they get to Bab-el-Mandeb that quickly?
    Having said that, I agree with you that Yam Suph included the whole Red Sea, and have been defending that against the supporters of Wyatt, Moller, and Fritz recently.

    1. I myself am not a Geography expert and so don't think I have the answer to that question. I'm people who know more then I can carry this investigation further. I also do not have the means to actually travel there, the way advocates of El-Lawz have done.

      This theory I presented here I can't call myself 100% convinced of yet, but I am absolutely confident the Sinai was in Arabia in some capacity.

      And my disagreement with Hatshepsut of Sheba has been part of this Blog from it's inception.

  2. A little math can be done by anyone with an interest in the location of Mount Sinai. It is known that a herd of animals can occasionally travel 30 miles a day if they are moving well. (But that's higher than the average speed.)
    The strait of Bab-el-Mandeb is no less than 1500 miles (as the crow flies) from the land of Goshen, where the Israelites started from. Thus, if there was a direct road from Goshen to Bab-el-Mandeb, the journey would have taken at least 50 days (1 2/3 months). But that scenario could never be achieved since the path is not straight, and since there are mountains along the way the Israelites and their herds theoretically would have taken from Ramesses to Bab-el-Mandeb. Thus it would have taken about 2 months to get to the crossing of the Red Sea. That's somewhat more than the three weeks max that the Bible allows us.
    I don't either have the means to travel there and see where the crossing could have been. Like you, I would place Sinai in Arabia somewhere, but am not certain of a particular peak. I should read Fritz's book, Fire on the Mountain, and get his opinion.
    However, a little math will often rule out the most unlikely scenarios for the crossing site. Another theory to use this calculation on is Fritz's/ Moller's idea that the Israelites crossed the Gulf of Aqaba and travelled to Jabal el-Lawz or a nearby mountain. Well, at 30 miles a day, an Aqaba crossing requires about 10 days (besides a possible Sabbath) for 300 miles to Nuweiba. This leaves over 30 days to travel the remaining 50 miles to Jabal al-Lawz at about 1 1/2 miles a day. That's quite a difference! Sure, the Israelites were no longer being chased, but is it reasonable to figure first 30 miles a day to the Red Sea, then 1 1/2 miles a day to Sinai? That's 1/20 of the earlier speed.
    On the other hand, a Gulf of Suez crossing is about 100 miles from Rameses. The Israelites could have done this in 4 days at 30 miles a day. However, it is doubtful that the crossing was so soon after the departure, since they may have paused at Succoth to collect more Israelites. In fact, Josephus, the Jews, and James Ussher suggest that it was during or at the end of the Passover week that began the night before the Exodus. This gives a Suez crossing 5 days (excluding a Sabbath) to cover the 100 miles at 20 miles a day. (Besides being a more reasonable speed, this scenario has the threat of the Egyptian army removed sooner.) After the crossing, we have about 35 days for 300 miles to Jebal al-Lawz, at 8 1/2 miles a day. This difference, from 20 to 8 1/2 miles a day (1/2 of the earlier speed), reflects that they were no longer fleeing a powerful Pharaoh. These figures suggest that if Sinai was near Jabal el-Lawz, the Israelites probably crossed the Gulf of Suez. Again, I am not saying that Sinai was at el-Lawz itself, but it might have been in that area. At any rate, like you say, Sinai was in ancient Arabia.

    1. Vleikovsky considered Barnea as Mecca consistent with Sinai being in the Sinai peninsula. He said a day's journey could be 40 Kilomiters and, and so 11 days could be enough to get to Mecca.

      Given those numbers, I think 3 weeks could be sufficient. I"m still looking into where GOshen was.

  3. I'm unsure I agree with the traditional view of where Goshen was, I haven't looked too much into that yet. But I know posts on this blog had played them in the Fayum region.

    And I'm unsure how much I agree with modern assumption about how long it would have taken the Ancients to Travel somewhere.

    So there are a lot of variables to consider.