The Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb , is the place where, according to the Bible , the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments . Since the time of Saint Helena it has been identified with Jabal Musa, or Gebel Musa, an Arabic name that means Mount Moses. And it indicates the highest altitude in the orography of Egypt .
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- 1 Geographical location
- 2 Biblical Sinai
- 3 Jabal Musa
- 4 Rosary of doubts about its authenticity
- 5 Sources
Mount Sinai is a mountain located south of the Sinai peninsula , northeast of Egypt , in Asia , it is separated from the African continent by the Suez Canal , which connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. Its height is 2,285 meters. It constitutes a mountainous area, where Mount Santa Catalina (2,637 m), the highest summit in Egypt, stands.
The Old Testament considers Mount Sinai as a holy mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Lord . It is a peak located in a rocky massif that almost completely occupies the Sinai peninsula, in the Asian part of Egypt . He is famous for his presence and role in one of the Pentateuch books: Exodus .
In the Torah , Mount Sinai is also called Mount Horeb and Mount Yahveh .
Hebrew scholars have long claimed that the exact location of Mount Sinai was unknown, giving the reason that its location was located in unknown land. This is not surprising, as it is one of the most sacred places in their religion, especially famous for having been the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from Yahveh.
In Biblical times, the place on the mountain was apparently well known, as seen in Joseph’s description: He camped on the mountain called Sinai, leading the crowds to feed them there. It is in the highest of the mountains of the place, and the one of better grass, because the grass is good; and it had not been eaten before, because of the opinion that men had that God lived there, and the shepherds did not dare to go up to the place. Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Book II, Chapter 12.
And he was known in the days of Ahab , king of Israel, as narrated in the story of Elijah’s journey: “And he got up, and ate and drank, and walked with the force of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb , the mount of God. ” 1Ki: 19.8. The last biblical mention of the place is in the New Testament: “This is why Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia.” Galatians 4-25.
Sinai Peninsula , showing the position of Jabal Musa The position of the mountain was evidently forgotten later. Positioning it in Jebel Musa was done by two monks who announced that they had found the “burning bush” of Moses , around 300 AD. According to tradition, this bush is located in the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Egypt. The belief of the place of Mount Sinai has lasted 1700 years and has become part of the tradition. The actual biblical place, however, is still uncertain.
The name Sinai comes from “Moon god Sin”, probably, just like the Sin desert. Judaism teaches that as soon as the Jews received the ten commandments at Mount Sinai, they were hated by the rest of the world for having been the ones who received the divine word (a situation presented as a play on words: Sinai as Seen-ah, which means hate). The area was reached by the Hebrews the third month of the Exodus . They were camped there for about a year.
The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus , along with all of Leviticus and the Book of Numbers (books) chap. 1-1 contain a record of what happened while they were on Mount Sinai. From Rephidim (Ex. 17, 8-13) the Israelites traveled to “the Sinai desert”, and camped there “before the mountain”.
The part of the mountain range, an outstanding low precipice, known as the Ras Sasafeh (Sufsafeh), rises almost perpendicularly from the plain, and is identified by some as the historic Sinai. Local tourist and religious groups advertise this mountain as the same Mount Sinai described in the Tanach (Hebrew Bible, Old Testament ). Historians and archaeologists point out that there is no accepted tradition about which mountain is the “true” Mount Sinai and in fact there are several other mountains in the area that some groups maintain to be the true one.
Rosary of doubts about its authenticity
There is considerable weight of historical counter-evidence to support the view that Jabal Musa and Biblical Mount Sinai do not represent the same place. Other locations have been suggested. The book The Gold of Exodus by Howard Blum opts for Jabal al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia. Professor Colin Humphreys has argued for the southernmost Hala-‘l Badr volcano in Arabia , narrated in his book The Miracles of Exodus, claiming that the eruption of a volcano would explain many of the phenomena described in the Exodus . There is evidence to indicate that Biblical Mount Sinai is located at Hashesh el Talif, a mount closer to Israel than is commonly thought, located in eastern Egypt.; which apparently bears more resemblance to biblical descriptions.