Good day or evening, wherever you are in the name of Mashiach Yeshua – Christ Jesus. I’m Ty Alexander Huynh, Elder Minister and Teacher of Christ Jesus. Welcome to this examination of the Exodus journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Mount Sinai, where God brought His People to found a new nation and its laws, some 3000 years ago after 430 years of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41).
There have been many studies of this Hebrew journey. Some were tainted by false spiritual guidance that put Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, while many others erred because they had limited or incorrect knowledge, which included bad assumptions and interpretations of scripture.
After reviewing much evidence and critique of the Exodus journey that ends at the true Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia, near the mountain of Jebel al Lawz, I can say that many opponents of the journey I will share here, failed to accept it, because they were not willing to acknowledge every reasonable explanation.
Valid evidence was dismissed, because of a rigid understanding of the world and scripture. However, the Lord has taught me that dismissing too much evidence and testimony, and being unyielding in your viewpoints will surely have you miss the truth. I will share what I’ve found.
The incorrect, but traditional location, of Mount Sinai is in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and not Saudi Arabia. This location was founded by the early church, but after review of many early church statements and doctrine, I determined the church had fallen to false gospels and false spiritual guidance as early as 100 AD.
So to help eliminate that influence, we’ll go to a source that was not yet tainted. The apostle Paul mentioned the location of Mount Sinai in the New Testament. He stated it was in Arabia and not Egypt, when he was comparing the Old and New Covenants in Galatians 4, saying, “[one, the Old Covenant a law of slavery,] coming from Mount Sinai, giving birth to children who are to be slaves…” which is the “Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children” (Galatians 4:21-25).
At the time Paul wrote Galatians, the Sinai Peninsula was not a part of Egypt or the Roman Empire, because it was in the hands of the Nabataean Kingdom [“næ-bah-tee’in”],who took control of the Peninsula for the valuable trade route from Egypt, from about 100 BC to 106 AD when Rome conquered them.
The Nabataeans were a nomadic tribe from northwest Arabia, so the Arabia of Paul’s time could very well have included the Sinai Peninsula where the traditional location of Mount Sinai is located, and in fact, a map of Rome’s new territory from the Nabataeans does appear to include the Sinai Peninsula.
To eliminate the Sinai Peninsula as a possible location for Mount Sinai, some cite the Jewish historian Josephus, who worked at the same time as the first apostles, including Paul, and say Josephus always referred to the Sinai Peninsula as Egypt and not Arabia. However, I’ve not found any text from Josephus explicitly supporting that.
A study of Paul’s words in Galatians 4 by Glen A. Fritz, though, helps shed light on where Paul believed Mount Sinai to be. Glen noted Paul used a special Greek word in Galatians 4:25, systoicheo (συστοιχέω) [“soos-toy-keh-oh”], which is only used in the Bible in this verse. It is translated “corresponds” or “answers to,” in Galatians 4:25, “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children” (Galatians 4:25).
Glen notes this word’s use at the time was a geographic term, meaning to be in the same line longitudinally or latitudinally, and Paul meant to use it that way, since that word is not used anywhere else in the Bible. And in the next verse, Paul says, “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother,” (Galatians 4:26), noting that the free Jerusalem of Christ is not just “above” as in “of heaven or a higher standing” than the old or present, enslaved Jerusalem, but Paul was also noting that Jerusalem is “above” or north of Mount Sinai, along the same line geographically, because he used a geographic word for alignment in the previous verse.
To convey Paul’s wordplay so the meaning is obvious, Galatians 4:25-26 would be translated, “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and is in the same line with the present Jerusalem, allegorically and geographically, for she is enslaved with her children by the law given at Sinai. While the Jerusalem that is north of it and, allegorically, of heaven is free; she is our mother.”
When we look at the map of the area containing Jerusalem and the true Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia, we can see they both fall very close to the same meridian line of 35.25 degrees, so I’ve no doubt the Lord aligned Paul’s words with the geographic truth of Mount Sinai being in Saudi Arabia almost due south of Jerusalem.
But Sinai is our last destination. First, we’ll examine the journey out of Egypt, using more recent knowledge of where ancient biblical cities were located, and the logistics of fleeing Egypt.
Exodus 12 says, “Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men [of fighting age] on foot. A mixed multitude [of women, children, and others] also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock” (Exodus 12:37-38).
There would have been well over a million people in the Exodus, some believe close to two million, because God’s census only included men able to fight, 20 years old or older, and that count came to 603,550 (Numbers 1:2-3, 1:46). So let’s move the map to the ancient city of Rameses, also called Pi Ramesses, which is modern day Qantir, about 30 miles west of the Sinai Peninsula, and imagine that great number of Hebrews leaving boldly (Numbers 33:3; Exodus 14:8) out of the Egyptian capitol they built as slaves.
It was the morning after the first Passover when the Lord fatally struck all of Egypt’s first-born (Exodus 11:1-12:30; Numbers 33:3-4), and the Jews carried out much fine gold and silver items and clothing, which the Lord had them ask of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36).
Also imagine the Jews not carrying much food or water for the trip (Exodus 12:39), because they left in haste, as the Egyptians urged them out before any more death came, except many Hebrews had bowls on their shoulders, bound up in their clothes, where they carried uncooked dough for unleavened bread (Exodus 12:33-34).
The Jews left Rameses swiftly, and when pharaoh heard they fled, he and his servants changed their minds about freeing them, and said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?”
They were losing millions of slaves, so the pharaoh had horses harnessed to his chariot and took six hundred select chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with their officers. And so the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, because the Hebrews left his city boldly, and he was determined to chase after Israel with all his horses, chariots, and army (Exodus 14:5-9).
So the Exodus headed out of Rameses, southeast towards Succoth which is modern day Ismailia [“is-mah-lee-ah”], with the Egyptian army less than a day behind them.
God had told the Israelites He was taking them to the Promised Land far northeast, to the land of the Canaanites and Philistines (Exodus 3:8, 3:17), so it is unclear if they questioned why God led them farther south into the Peninsula through Succoth.
God did give a reason for skipping the direct route, northeast, through the land of the Philistines, though. It was because “the people might change their minds when they see war [with the Philistines], and return to Egypt. So He led the people around by way of the wilderness to the Red Sea” (Exodus 13:17-18), which is southeast into the desert wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula.
The journey to Succoth is a 33 mile walk today, which would take about 15 hours at a slow pace that is doable for children and the elderly. That would bring the Jews to Succoth in the late evening, and there they camped and baked the dough they carried from Rameses (Exodus 12:39).
“Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham, on the edge of the wilderness” (Exodus 13:20; Numbers 33:6). This is where different routes to the Red Sea have been proposed, because the locations of Succoth and Etham were mixed up or not certain.
A modern theory is that Etham was modern day Ismailia, instead of Succoth, and the Israelites headed north from there to a migdol or fortified tower, to a theorized “Red Sea” crossing site near the Mediterranean Sea where they would cross an ancient, shallow lagoon, much like Egypt’s Lake Manzala today.
This was theorized because in 1882, British Major General Alexander Bruce Tulloch wrote about his stay at Lake Manzala when a heavy east wind blowing for six hours made the lake drain away by the next morning.
This act of nature was linked to the Israelite’s Red Sea crossing, but it or a lagoon like it cannot be the site of the Red Sea crossing, because the lagoons there are shallow and muddy. Over a million people with livestock and carts, and pharaoh’s army with chariots would have been stuck in the mud, and pharaoh’s army would not have drowned in the shallow waters either, because they are hardly more than six feet deep.
This northern route also cannot have happened for the Israelites, because the Bible stated in Exodus 3 that God wanted to avoid fighting the Philistines, so He did not take the obvious and shortest northeast route to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8, 3:17).
However, there is something interesting to note about the lake areas north of the Gulf of Suez. Like Lake Manzala today, there were large salty lakes with many reeds growing on the shores from which the Hebrew term used in ancient scripture manuscripts could have come from - Yam Suph (יַם־ס֑וּף) or “sea of reeds” is translated as the Red Sea in the Bible, however, some people think the Hebrew could have been Yam Soph (יַם־סוֹף) with a simple change of a dot in one letter, signifying a different vowel, which would make it become “Sea of Land’s End”[10,12].
Sea of Land’s End would be more appropriate for the Gulf of Aqaba where the Red Sea crossing actually took place. It was where the Egyptian kingdom ended, and is also where the Hebrews’ land of inhabitance ended, so both the Egyptians and the Jews could have referred to the Gulf of Aqaba as the Sea of Land’s End. But whether or not the Hebrew, Yam Suph or “Reed Sea,” and Yam Soph or “Sea of Land’s End,” were somehow mixed up in scripture isn’t a major point.
Yam Suph or Reed Sea is what was recorded in scripture and not Yam Soph, so the Red or Reed Sea’s name could very well have come from reeds growing along the salty lake and marsh areas east of the Nile Delta and north of the Gulf of Suez.
Those areas would have been much wetter 3000 years ago without the Suez Canal and modern weather trends towards a warmer earth. The Gulf of Suez would have reached farther north, the Great Bitter Lake north of it would have been larger, and there would have been more expanses of “reed seas” in the area 3000 years ago.
In any case, the northern route towards the Mediterranean was eliminated as a possibility, because that was not God’s plan, and the shallow “reed sea” there, cannot fulfill the descriptions of what happened at the Red Sea crossing in Exodus.
Most people suggest the Exodus went south from Etham, either on the west side of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Suez or along its east side. However, a more western route staying out of the Sinai Peninsula would not be logical, considering their destination was far east in Saudi Arabia, and moving mostly south would waste much traveling time and energy.
Remember, the Hebrews believed God was leading them to the Promised Land far northeast, and God’s destination was Arabia, so going 60 to 70 miles south, which is quite a few days journey by foot, to cross at the northern tip of the Gulf of Suez is not logical.
Crossing at the north end of the Gulf of Suez would not have been possible in one night either, as scripture records (Exodus 14:19-28). It quickly goes to about 20 miles wide south of the tip, which is double the width of the Gulf of Aqaba, so the Israelites would have needed to travel much farther south to find crossings in the Gulf that could be made in one night.
NOAA underwater bathymetric maps of the topology under the Gulf of Suez show it is much shallower than in the Gulf of Aqaba, and the narrower crossing sites are of similar width as the Gulf of Aqaba. Its maximum depth is only about 164 feet or 50 m. However, the main problem with a crossing in the Gulf of Suez is that it does not align with God’s plans in the Exodus or the true location of Mount Sinai in Arabia, on the other side of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Red Sea crossing sites in or above the Gulf of Suez, were based on erroneous guesses for the location of Succoth being much farther west, as well as misconceptions that Mount Sinai is in the Sinai Peninsula. Some people also think Etham was where Ismailia is today, but the Bible’s description of Etham is that it is “on the edge of the wilderness” (Exodus 13:20), which is at the end of cultivated Egyptian land, and some Biblical scholars believe Etham is the transliteration of the Egyptian word, “khetem,” meaning fortress, so Etham was very likely a small fortified town at the edge of civilized Egyptian lands, east of Succoth or modern-day Ismailia.
That makes much more sense, and considering the cultivatable lands would have reached farther east 3000 years ago, we will put Etham about a day’s walk from Succoth towards the southeast, which is where God was leading the Israelites.
The Exodus moved fairly quickly to stay ahead of the Egyptian army. Jewish tradition says it took seven days to reach the Red Sea crossing site, but there is no evidence in the Bible for that. I believe the Hebrews only took about half that time, because they were being chased by the army, they had limited food and water, and they traveled day and night, since “the Lord Yehovah was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from the presence of the people” (Exodus 13:21-22).
Because the Jews traveled day and night and it is estimated Pharaoh’s army could only average 15 miles a day in the harder packed sands of the northern Sinai Peninsula, the Israelites could keep ahead of Pharaoh until they stopped at the Red Sea crossing site.
A route running south along the east side of the Gulf of Suez, inside the Peninsula, and then east towards the Strait of Tiran is another suggested and logical path. The maps show relatively flat desert on that route and a shallow, narrow Red Sea crossing at Tiran, but after further research, that route would not have worked, because the sands in the area are deeper and would not have allowed for quick travel on foot or with carts.
The route would be much longer as well, going far south and rounding the outside perimeter of the Peninsula to get to Arabia. It would have slowed them significantly, adding days to their travel time.
Some people suggested this route was taken, so the Israelites could stop at Egyptian copper and turquoise mines to collect more Hebrew slaves, but there is no Biblical evidence for that, nor of going anywhere else in the Egyptian kingdom to gather more Hebrews. There would have been slaves along the Nile, as well as in the Peninsula.
However, the Lord told Moses to gather all the elders at Rameses, before the Exodus started (Exodus 13:16-18; 14:29), and word would have spread to every Hebrew in the days since Moses returned to Egypt and when the Biblical plagues happened, so most, if not all, the Hebrews were already gathered together at Rameses when the Passover happened and when the Exodus began.
Another significant downside for a crossing at the Strait of Tiran is that there is a tightly compacted coral reef, spanning almost the whole 8.5-mile long crossing that would have made walking on very difficult and treacherous.
The Biblical account of the Red Sea crossing does not mention difficulty of travel or coral, so coral must have been sparse or non-existent at the crossing site – “The children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:22, 14:19).
Furthermore, looking at NOAA bathymetric maps that show the depths in the Strait, there are deep chasms everywhere in the Tiran crossing that would be too steep to travel, except for the narrow, shallow crossing along the north edge of Tiran Island where compact reefs are found. The chasms go down quickly to 1600 ft or 500 m and bottom out at 4600 ft or 1400 m.
But another problem is the shores of the island would be very close to one side of this crossing. The Bible records walls of water on both sides of the crossing and does not mention an island anywhere near them (Exodus 14:15-16, 14:21-22, 14:29). Tiran Island is about 8 miles long, almost as long as the whole crossing at the Strait, and 31 square miles, so a land mass that large would have been prominent and mentioned in the Bible, if the crossing was here.
So far, there are too many problems with the Exodus routes we discussed for them to be valid. So next, we’ll examine the route and crossing site that does have a lot of witness testimony and archaeological evidence. Much of it comes from the work of Ron Wyatt in the late 1970’s and 80’s, and third parties who helped his family gather photo and video evidence after he and his sons were imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for trespassing and alleged spying in 1984 when they were researching the sites without visas or government permission.
When I mention Ron Wyatt, I often get complaints that he was a charlatan, who could not give solid evidence of his finds. And some even suggest he was mentally unstable and imagined what happened. However, I examined some of his major discoveries and his testimonies, and I’ve no doubt the Lord led him to find the things he did. I also have no doubt it was never the Lord’s plan to give the world solid, irrefutable proof of his discoveries.
They were not meant for the scientific world or scoffers, but for those who have faith and are willing to accept evidence and testimony, though, they cannot be fully backed-up. Ron’s discoveries are works of faith, not different than the gospel and recorded scripture, much of which is testimony that is also not backed up by irrefutable proof.
However, I’ve found that Ron’s experiences are in line with what I’ve also personally experienced in how God works to give guidance, revelation, and evidence, how the spiritual world works, and how God often keeps things hidden. Remember that Yeshua - Jesus spoke in riddles and parables, so that not everyone would understand and be saved (Mark 4:11-12). Pearls should not be cast to swine (Matthew 7:6), and so truth sometimes can only be accepted by those of sufficient faith.
I’ve also examined what critics say about Ron Wyatt’s work, and in nearly every case, I found reasonable explanations for what critics condemn and dismiss with overarching negativity. I’ve also seen too many of these critics, even in the church, are too quick to invalidate evidence, because they do not give enough thought to things and are extremely biased.
Another serious problem with Biblical finds and research as a whole, and not just for Ron Wyatt’s work, is that it gets mixed up with false news and testimony. For example, something I’ve seen circulate with Ron Wyatt’s Red Sea work and evidence is a false news story of an Egyptian army and other artifacts being found in the Gulf of Suez, complete with photos and video that were faked and/or taken from other archaeological sources, including Ron Wyatt’s work. All this mixing of lies with truth really hurts the actual truth and our spiritual fights for righteousness and what is true.
Many people spreading rashly put-together documentaries appear to be well-meaning, but are untrained in evaluating evidence. Or like the tabloids, they are only interested in getting views and not in giving good, accurate reporting. Unfortunately, these kinds of media sources are the majority on the Internet, and if naïve believers keep faulty media sources in the forefront, they will continue to walk in lies and misinformation as secular critics laugh and accuse the church of being nothing more than blind sheep.
All these faults in examination and teaching are things I’ve worked very hard to be rid of in my life of ministry, and I praise the Lord for teaching me so much towards better discernment. I hope you see that in all the details and analysis you get here. I am also open to discussion, so if you have questions or problems with anything I say, you are free to send comments and queries.
Now, Ron Wyatt’s work placed the Red Sea crossing site at Nuweibaa on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, where he found ancient column markers on the beaches at both sides of the gulf. Ron even translated ancient Hebrew on the column on the Arabian side to have the words, “Pharaoh, death, Edom, Yehovah, and Solomon”, so he believed the columns were erected by King Solomon to commemorate the Red Sea Crossing sites. This should not be surprising, since King Solomon had a sea port at the north tip of the Gulf of Aqaba at Ezion-geber (1 Kings 9:26), where modern day Eilat is.Critics of the crossing at Nuweibaa say there is no shallow “land bridge” there, as Ron Wyatt said. But after reviewing NOAA bathymetric maps and those from Ron’s organization, I can see why critics think they are lying about a shallow land bridge off Nuweibaa.
The topology map shown on the Wyatt Archaeological Research website shows a completely inaccurate and misleading land bridge that does not match modern day maps. The relative depths on either side of their “bridge” are also opposite of what they should be, so I believe they erred in making a map with approximation from what Ron had imagined with the outdated maps he was using.
However, this doesn’t mean Ron was incorrect about a “land bridge” at the crossing site. If we look at a more detailed bathymetric map from NOAA, we can see there is a narrow area between the coasts that is much shallower and void of deep chasms that are seen north and south of it. This “land bridge,” as Ron’s supporters call it, isn’t really a bridge, but more of a raised ridge that goes through the gulf.
I don’t think Ron surveyed the underwater topology very far from shore when he was diving, so from where he examined the undersea terrain, closer to the Nuweibaa beach, it might’ve looked like a land bridge with steep edges going down on both sides.
The depths on the NOAA maps are about 1700 meters or 5800 feet on the south and about half that on the north, and it appears Ron didn’t realize the deepest parts of the ridge where the Israelites crossed are not at a much different depth than what was north of them.
However, there is a clear path or ridge through the gulf at Nuweibaa that avoids the deep drop-offs. This means Ron and other supporters had some things wrong about the crossing site, but I still see a good crossing site that would be easy to travel, which critics have overlooked or chose to dismiss. Today, this path is about 9.8 miles or 15.7 km long, which can be traversed in a night as the Bible states.
Now that we have the actual location of the Red Sea crossing site, and a good estimate of where Etham was, we can estimate a plausible a path through the Sinai Peninsula. God would have led the Israelites through fairly easy to travel terrain that followed flats and valleys, or what are called wadis or waterways in the area.
Then when they were near the crossing site, God told them to “turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea” (Exodus 14:1-2; Numbers 33:7). God told them to back track so the pharaoh would think they were wandering aimlessly and got trapped by the mountains around them (Exodus 14:1-3).
This means the Israelites went down a valley near the beach and backtracked to camp at Pi-hahiroth, which was a migdol or watchtower by the sea. Migdol is usually capitalized in the Bible here, but migdol is just a word for tower at the time of the Exodus, so it is not a separate place from Pi-hahiroth.
Exodus 14:1-2 should be read, “Turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between the tower and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it across the sea” (Exodus 14:1-2; Numbers 33:7).
The Israelites camped in front of a watchtower called Pi-hahiroth on the shore, opposite a fortress or town called Baal-zephon on the other side of the gulf, so searches for two different places called Migdol and Pi-hahiroth were misguided.
With this information, let’s look the path again from Etham to Pi-hahiroth, which is in Nuweibaa today. It is about 197 miles or 317 km and would have taken a few days to travel, assuming the Israelites went day and night as the Bible says.
But the Egyptian army was not far behind, and as the Hebrews camped on the beach at Pi-hahiroth in modern day Nuweibaa, “The Egyptians overtook them camping by the sea…
As Pharaoh approached, the children of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were coming after them, and they became very frightened; so they cried out to the Lord Yehovah” and complained to Moses that they would die there in the wilderness (Exodus 14:5-11).
“But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of Yehovah, which He will perform for you today; for the Egyptians you see, you will never see them again, ever. The Lord Yehovah will fight for you, while you keep silent’” (Exodus 14:13-14).
This is when God’s pillar of cloud moved between the Egyptian army and Israelite camp, so neither camps approached each other all night, and it became dark, yet the cloud gave light at night (Exodus 14:19-20).
“Then Moses reached out with his hand over the sea; and the Lord Yehovah swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right and on their left.
Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.
But at the morning watch, Yehovah looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians each said, ‘Let me flee from Israel, for Yehovah is fighting for them against the Egyptians.’
Then Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Reach out with your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.’ So Moses reached out with his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then Yehovah overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. But the children of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right and on their left.
So Yehovah saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. When Israel saw the great power which Yehovah used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in Him and His servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:21-31)
In support of the Bible’s account of the crossing, Ron Wyatt found artifacts in the waters off of Nuweibaa, such as chariot wheels and parts, horse remains, and human bones. The town’s name also attests to the truth, because Nuweibaa is Arabic ( نويبع ) and short for “Nuwayba'al Muzayyinah” meaning “Open Water of Moses” or “The Water of Moses Opening.”
Many critics have complained that Ron didn’t have any physical proof of artifacts from the crossing, but some are on display at the Wyatt Archaeological Museum in Tennessee, though their limited selection may disappoint.
Why aren’t there whole chariot wheels and such on display? A good reason is because the wood rotted after thousands of years in the sea and disintegrates with any handling and attempt at salvage.
Ron noted this in his Red Sea documentary when he spoke of finding the gold laminated chariot wheel. It disintegrated when he tried to retrieve it.
Physical artifacts for the Red Sea crossing may be scarce, but the photographic, video, and testimonial evidence all make sense with the actual locations and geography in Egypt, the Gulf of Aqaba, and Saudi Arabia. It all correlates with what the Bible states.
Now we are maybe, less than a week into the Exodus trail, on the morning the Jews crossed the sea.
The Israelites were on a large beach in Arabia, opposite Pi-hahiroth, near a town or fortress called Baal-zephon, which are now ruins near the crossing site.
From the beach, the Israelites would have travelled along valleys or wadis into the mountains of Arabia. The Lord had them go into that wilderness of Shur for three days until they got to a spring they called Marah, because the water was bitter (Exodus 15:22-23).
An exact location for Marah has not been authenticated, but a likely candidate is a place called Ain Marra, about 37 miles southeast of the crossing site and 9 miles southwest of Mount Sinai. It is about three days travel from the beach and 13 miles east of modern day Al Bad.
Ain is Arabic for spring and Marra would mean bitter or bitterness, because in Hebrew, a language that Arabic shares roots with, the name Mara also means bitter or bitterness. This is seen in the Book of Ruth, where Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law tells everyone to call her Mara instead of Naomi, because she lost her husband and two sons, and proclaimed, “Call me Mara, for Shaddai, [the Lord Almighty], has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20, 1:1-13).
So Ain Marra today translates as Bitter Spring, and is a likely location for Marah in Exodus 15:23. It is here where the Israelites complain about not being able to drink the bitter water, but God tells Moses to throw a tree into the spring to make the water sweet (Exodus 15:25).
After Marah, the Israelites “came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters” (Exodus 15:27). Elim is another place whose location is unvalidated, but research makes a place called Setenta Palmera or Tayyib al Ism a good candidate.
It is grove of trees at the narrowing end of a large wadi about 25 miles from Ain Marra, and only a day’s walk from the coast, which aligns well with scripture saying that the Israelites camped by the Red Sea after they were at Elim (Numbers 33:10). Setenta Palmera means 70 Palm Trees and is a small grove of trees that could well have been the 70 palms in Exodus 15. Furthermore, locals call the place, “The Wells or Waters of Moses,” because there are 12 wells there, also aligning with Exodus 15:27 stating there were 12 wells or springs of water at Elim. Today at Setenta Palmera, these wells are reinforced with concrete.
After Elim, God had the Israelites camp by the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10). They must have been on a beach near Elim for quite some time, because they went into the wilderness of Sin again, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving Egypt (Exodus 16:1), which was over a month after they crossed the Red Sea.
When they were in the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai (Exodus 16:1), they were running out of food and livestock and thought they would die of hunger. They complained to Moses, “If only we died by Yehovah’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat, when we ate bread until we were full” (Exodus 16:2-3).
“Then Moses said to [his brother,] Aaron, ‘Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come forward before the Lord Yehovah, for He has heard your grumblings.’
And it came about, as Aaron spoke to the entire congregation, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of Yehovah appeared in the cloud. And He spoke to Moses, saying, ’I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am Yehovah, your God’” (Exodus 16:9-12).
That night God covered the camp with quail for meat to eat, and in the morning, they found something like fine, white flake that was left after the morning dew evaporated. It was over the surface of the wilderness, fine as frost on the ground (Exodus 16:13-14).
They didn’t know what it was, but called it manna, from which the Hebrew means “What is it?” (Exodus 16:15, 16:31). Moses told them, “It is the bread [from heaven,] which Yehovah has given you to eat” (Exodus 16:15).
This is when the Lord taught them to obey the weekly Sabbath, and so told them to only gather manna for six days each morning; only enough for a family to eat in one day, but on the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much, because the seventh day was to be a Sabbath rest from work and manna would not appear in the morning (Exodus 16:4-5, 16:16-30).
Manna was white, like coriander seed, and tasted like wafers and honey (Exodus 16:31). The Israelites used it like flour and made baked or boiled bread and cakes with it (Exodus 16:23). The Lord told them to preserve an omer of manna, about 3 quarts or 2.8 liters, for future generations to see (Exodus 16:32-33 NASB). This was kept in a gold jar, which was later stored inside the ark of the covenant with the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments and Aaron’s staff that had sprouted almond buds, flowers, and fruit (Hebrews 9:4).
The Israelites ate manna in the desert wilderness for forty years until they celebrated the first Passover in the Promised Land (Exodus 16:35; Joshua 5:11-12). They went out every morning, Sunday through Friday, gathering manna to eat. This is how they continued their Exodus journey after the camps at Elim and by the Red Sea.
Then they continued from place to place in the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:1, 17:1; Numbers 33:10-11), going from the coast to Dophkah, Alush, and then to Rephidim (Numbers 33:12-14). The locations of Dophkah and Alush are unknown, but Rephidim was near the great rock of Horeb, which the Lord split to give the Jews water (Exodus 17:1-7). By the time they got to Rephidim, they had run out of water again and complained to Moses.
This time, the Lord told him to gather the elders and use his staff to strike the rock at Horeb and bring water out of it (Exodus 17:5-6).
Ron Wyatt talked of finding this rock and gave video and photographic evidence that was later verified by third parties. Their photos and video show it from various angles and you can see how large it is. Ron’s video even shows the rocks around it had water stains and erosion flowing down from the great split rock.
It is located about 10 miles north of Mount Sinai, on the other side of the mountains where they would eventually make camp at the foot of God’s mountain. Rephidim was near the Rock at Horeb, and likely the large valley, almost a mile wide, just north of the it.
The Israelites would have come from north of the rock, since the mountains surround it on all sides except in the north entrance to the valley. Rephidim is the last place mentioned in the Bible before they camp at Mount Sinai (Exodus 18:5). It is also where they were attacked by the Amalekites after God brought the water from the rock at Horeb (Exodus 17:8-13). I imagine the Amalekites found the Israelites enclosed near the mouth of the valley and thought they would be easily defeated with no escape route. However, God gave the Hebrews victory by having Moses keep his staff raised as he stood on a hill overlooking the battle (Exodus 17:9-13). It is sometime after this that the Jews continued on their way to the foot of Mount Sinai and camped (Numbers 33:15).
It was now the third month after leaving Egypt (Exodus 19:1-2), and Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, came to him there and brought Moses’s wife and two sons to join them (Exodus 18:1-7).
Sometime after they camp in front of Sinai, God calls Moses up the mountain, which is the peak of Jabal Maqla, which means Burnt Mountain, and He tells Moses to say to the people, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:3-6).
Moses did as God said and the people answered, “All that Yehovah has spoken, we will do!” (Exodus 19:8). That was the beginning of what we now call the Old Covenant and the Law of Moses, so like the New Covenant requiring belief and loyalty to God through Christ, the Old Covenant had the conditions of obeying God through Yehovah and keeping its other terms. These other terms would be given through Moses, later on Mount Sinai, but for now, the Lord had the people prepare to be consecrated (Exodus 19:10-15), which is analogous to performing the ritual of water baptism for Christians after they accept the truth of Christ and wish to live as Christians.
At this time, the Israelites were warned to stay away from Mount Sinai until the shofar was blown or they would die (Exodus 19:12-13). So the people consecrated themselves for days, and on the third day, God descended on Mount Sinai with “thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord Yehovah descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the entire mountain quaked violently” (Exodus 19:16-18).
And indeed, when Ron Wyatt found the peaks around Mount Sinai, he noted how they appeared dark and charred from the Lord’s descent on the mountain.
Then “the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. Then Yehovah came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and called Moses to the top and he went up” (Exodus 19:19-20). God warned Moses that the people should not come up the mountain or they would die, but Moses said they set up boundaries for the people and they would not come up. Then God told Moses to go back down (Exodus 19:21-24).
After Moses went down from Sinai, God spoke to all the people the Ten Commandments in a terrifying display. “All the people were watching and hearing the thunder and the lightning flashes, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it all, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but do not have God speak to us, or we will die!’ However, Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you will not sin.’ So the people stood at a distance, while [they let] Moses approach the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:1-21).
Then within the cloud, God tells Moses many ordinances for the Law of Moses, and that He will send an angel ahead of the Israelites to guard them and prepare the Promised Land for them (Exodus 20:22-23:33). Moses reports all God said to the people and they answered with one voice, saying, “All the words which Yehovah has spoken, we will do!” (Exodus 24:3). And so Israel affirmed again to obey God and the law He gave through Moses.
The next day Moses “got up early in the morning, and built an altar to the Lord at the foot of the mountain with twelve memorial stones for the twelve tribes of Israel” (Exodus 24:4). It was the remains of these and other monuments that Ron Wyatt and third-parties found at this location.
Then after building the altar, they made offerings and sacrifices to God on it, and Moses read to the people, all the law God gave them from the Book of the Covenant, which he wrote down the night before (Exodus 24:4). And for the third time, the people affirmed to obey the covenant, saying, “All that Yehovah has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” (Exodus 24:7).
“Then Moses went [back up Mount Sinai] with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not reach out with His hand against the nobles… of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank” (Exodus 24:9-11).
Afterwards, God tells everyone to wait under the mountain while Moses goes up again, so that the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments could be made (Exodus 24:12-15).
God’s glory settled on Mount Sinai when Moses went back up, and it was covered with cloud for six days as he went up, which looked like a consuming fire on the mountaintop, and when Moses entered the cloud, he was on Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:16-18).
This is when God tells Moses to collect gold, silver, bronze, fine linen, precious stones, and other materials from the people, so that the ark of the covenant, tabernacle sanctuary, and priest garments could be constructed (Exodus 25:1-9). God gave Moses the plans and details for it all within the cloud, and when He was finished, God carved the tablets of the Ten Commandments and gave them to Moses (Exodus 25:10-31:18).
But because Moses was so long on Mount Sinai, the people did not know what happened to him and grew restless. They quickly forgot what they committed to God and convinced Aaron to make an idol to be God.
Aaron told them to give him their gold earrings, and he fashioned a golden calf and proclaimed, “This is your God, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4). Then he built an altar for the idol and said there would be a feast the next day for the Lord (Exodus 32:5). Aaron said the feast would be for the Lord Yehovah by name, so apparently, the Israelites were so used to worshipping idols that they thought nothing of making one to represent God, even though making idols and worshipping them was explicitly spoken to them in the previous month when God proclaimed the Ten Commandments from Sinai, and when Moses repeated them after they built the altar to God.
Ron Wyatt also gave evidence for the golden calf altar in his testimony. It was marked full of painted bulls that were in the Egyptian style, and at the time of Ron’s discovery, that style of iconography was not found anywhere else in Saudi Arabia.
But in the decades after Ron’s discovery of Mount Sinai, other sites were found to have the same style of Egyptian bulls, and critics say that they cannot be from the Israelites because they were supposed to know the Law and not make depictions or idols of anything. However, that logic assumes that the Israelites knew and obeyed the Law of Moses throughout their journeys around the wilderness of Arabia.
From the golden calf incident, though, we can see the Hebrews did not obey God even after being given the Ten Commandments multiple times. They also stopped at various places during their trip to Mount Sinai, and it’s no stretch of imagination that a massive group of nearly two million people could have painted Egyptian-style pictures at any place they stayed, especially before they were given the Law of Moses. It took them three months, after all, to reach Mount Sinai and receive the Law there, so trying to dismiss the validity of Sinai artifacts based on flawed assumptions has no merit.
Critics also try to dismiss Ron’s Sinai discoveries by saying that the golden calf altar he found was made of boulders too big for him do move alone, and they cite Exodus 32:5 saying that Aaron built the altar, assuming that scripture meant he did it alone.
However, we cannot assume God meant Aaron did it alone, since the words only convey that he did build it, but he could have had people help him. Another possibility is that the large boulders were in place when the Jews arrived at Sinai, and Aaron made the altar alone by building up the large stones with smaller ones. These possibilities show that better analysis of things is needed before dismissing as much testimony and evidence as Ron Wyatt and others gave.
Let’s get back to what was going on at Mount Sinai. Moses was in God’s glory, inside a cloud of light and fire on top of the mountain for 40 days, and God finished telling him about building the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle, and gave him the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Then He told Moses to go down to the people, because they were worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:7-8).
The Lord was so angry, He was going to destroy the people and make Moses into a nation, but Moses convinced God to spare them. However, when Moses went down to them and saw the people rejoicing around the idol, he was angered so much that he threw the tablets of the Ten Commandments down, and they shattered (Exodus 32:10-19).
“Then he took the calf which they had made and completely burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of water and made the children of Israel drink it” (Exodus 32:20).
After this, God tells Moses to go back up Sinai to replace the tablets he broke, and God reiterates some of the Law. The Lord also goes before Moses in His natural form at Moses’s request while God shields him from seeing His face, because the Lord decreed, “mankind shall not see Me and live” (Exodus 33:18-23, 34:5-8).
Moses stays on Sinai another 40 days and nights, and when he returns to camp, his face shines bright and makes the people fearful, so Moses covered with a veil when he was out with the people, but removed it when he went into the tent of meeting to speak with God (Exodus 34:28-35).
Moses then reiterated some of the Law to the people and began work on the ark of the covenant and all the items for the tabernacle sanctuary and priestly clothes. Many skillful artisans did the work. This was now over five months since they left Egypt and they finished just before their second year out of Egypt.
They used over 29 talents of gold (almost 2200 pounds or 987 kg) and over 100 talents of silver (about 7556 lbs or 3427 kg). At today’s prices, that is $65,165,649 in gold and $3,169,683 in silver. With all the gems and other fine materials used, the ark of the covenant and sanctuary would have needed well over $70 million today, just in materials alone.
Add in a year and a half of highly skilled labor for a small army of artisans and that cost would increase dramatically. It is easy to see costs going over $1 billion today. Quite a sum for what was a mobile temple that was constructed like a tent.
And so, “in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected” and all its articles were set up – the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments were placed in the ark of the covenant, and the ark was put inside the new tent of meeting, screened off with a veil; the golden table for sacred bread, the golden menorah lampstand, and incense altar were placed inside as well, opposite the veil closing off the Most Holy Place where the ark sat (Exodus 40:17-24), and from where God’s voice spoke to Moses (Numbers 7:89).
Moses lit the menorah and burned incense on the golden altar for incense that were in the tent of meeting. And the bronze wash basin and bronze altar for burnt offerings were placed outside the tent of meeting, in the courtyard of the tabernacle (Exodus 40:6-8), which was made by walls of fine fabric and wood posts with bronze bases and silver hooks and bands (Exodus 27:9-10).
The tent of meeting was more ornate, made with walls of fine fabric of blue, purple, and scarlet, embroidered with angel cherubim and fastened with gold clasps (Exodus 26:1). Its canopy and covering was double-layered, with an inside layer of coarse fabric of dark goat hair, fastened with bronze clasps, and an outside layer of leather dyed red (Exodus 26:7-14).
When Moses had setup the tabernacle, God’s cloud covered the tent of meeting and the Lord’s glory filled the tabernacle, so much so that Moses couldn’t enter the tent of meeting (Exodus 40:34-35; Numbers 9:15-16).
“Throughout their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout their journeys, the cloud of Yehovah was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel” (Exodus 40:36-38; Numbers 9:16-23).
In the following days, the Lord gives Moses more of the Law for the Jews and completes a census of the fighting men. The people make offerings to the Lord, and then in the next month, God’s cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the testimony; and the children of Israel set out on their journeys from the camp of Sinai.
They moved on for the first time in accordance with the command of Yehovah through Moses on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year since leaving Egypt. The flag of the camp of the sons of Judah, by their armies, set out first. Then the tribal army of Issachar and the tribal army of Zebulun.
Then the tabernacle was taken down and carried out. Next the flag of the camp of Reuben, by their armies, set out, and the tribal armies of Simeon and Gad followed.
Then the Kohathites, a branch of the priestly Levites, set out, carrying the holy objects, so the tabernacle was set up before their arrival at the next destination. Next the flag of Ephraim, by their armies, set out, and then the tribal armies of Manasseh and Benjamin.
Then the flag of the camp of Dan went and formed the rear guard for all the camps, along with the tribal armies of Asher and Naphtali. This was the order of marching for Israel by their armies as they set out with the ark of the covenant in front of them (Numbers 10:11-28, 10:33).
So as Israel’s camp marches out from the foot of Sinai, it ends our examination and Exodus journey. I hope the journey from Egypt to Sinai was enlightening. God bless you in the name of Mashiach Yeshua – Christ Jesus. Amen.
 NASB notes Exodus 14:20 pg154
 NIV notes 1 Kings 9:26
 Lin, Albert. “Buried Secrets of the Bible - Episode 1: Parting of the Red Sea”. National Geographic. 2019.
 Scarth, John. “The Route Of The Exodus”. pg245. Holy Trinity Vicarage. Milton-next-Gravesend. 1882 Sep.
 Ron Wyatt Exodus Red Sea Crossing 00:41
 NIV notes 1 Kings 9:26