The River of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish)
The Biblical and historic Border Between Judah and Egypt

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The River:
Brook of Egypt
River of Egypt
Wadi el-Arish
Shihor

The seaport:
Arish
Tharu
Rhinocolura

2000 BC - 106 AD

Introduction:

  1. The entire Sinai Peninsula has been under the control of Egypt from before the exodus in 1446 BC down to the time of Christ. The land from the Nile river, the entire modern Sinai Peninsula up to the Wadi el-Arish has been under Egyptian control from the time of Abraham till the Romans annexed the Sinai in 106 AD.
  2. The Sinai Peninsula is called "The Wilderness of Egypt" The Bible says that there was a long journey through the wilderness BEFORE they reached the Red Sea. (Ezekiel 20:36; Judges 11:16; Exodus 13:18). In 50 AD, Philo of Alexandria understood this and wrote: "a long and desolate journey through the wilderness, destitute of any beaten road, at last arrived at the sea which is called the Red Sea". There is no wilderness west of the bitter lakes or north west of the Gulf of Aqaba, so they must be rejected.
  3. The fact of Egyptian control of the entire Sinai makes it impossible for Mt. Sinai to be located in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula at Mt. Musa and St. Catharine's Monastery. Mt. Sinai is located at Mt. al-Lawz in north Saudi Arabia.
  4. The historical border between Israel and Egypt has always been the Wadi el-Arish, also known as the River of Egypt. "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:" Genesis 15:18.
  5. Its called the "River/brook of Egypt" because it was the river that indicated the eastern border of Egyptian Territory. It is not called the "River of Syria" or the "River of Babylon" or the "River of Africa"! River of Egypt means the border river of Egypt. It doesn't get much plainer or simpler than that!
  6. The location of the southern border of Judah is critically important for determining the exodus route. This is because Kadesh is always mentioned in connection with this southern border. However, the border is completely misinterpreted and drawn incorrectly on almost all bible maps we have seen. Yet the information is right there in the bible and we use scripture to correctly map southern Judah. Only after we have correctly drawn the borders can we know where Kadesh Barnea is located.
  7. Almost every Bible map since 1916 AD has made of the blunder of locating Kadesh Barnea 27 KM inside the land of Judah at Ein El-Qudeirat. Kadesh Barnea is located transjordan, at Petra, just like Josephus said in 110 AD. Bible map makers since 1916 AD, begin by placing Kadesh on the map at Qudeirat, then adjusting the borders of Judah accordingly. But since they have chosen the wrong location for Kadesh at Qudeirat, they also wrongly map the wilderness of Zin, the Wilderness of Paran, Mt. Hor, the border of Edom, the border of Egypt, and the Ascent of Akrabbim.
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  8. Although there is a single passage that says Judah's border extended down to the Red Sea (Elat/Ezion Geber), this did not happen until the time of Solomon about 950 BC. In 1406 BC, at the time of the conquest under Joshua, the border bypassed north of Timna, which was under Egyptian control as on of their many mining operations. The Kenites formed a partnership with Egypt from 1406 - 1200 BC, when the mines were abandoned. It appears that Solomon started mining here about 950 BC. It was at this time when the border of Judah moved 80 km south from Kadesh (at Petra) down to the Red Sea. "I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba) to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you. " Exodus 23:31. Although the Egyptians lost control of the Timna, area down to the Red Sea about 950 BC, they always retained control of the Sinai Peninsula. The exodus occurred in 1446 BC and Israel crossed the Jordan in 1406 BC. During this time Timna and the port Island of Jezirat Faraun were under Egyptian control. There were trade routes that crossed from Timna over to Egypt through the modern Sinai Peninsula. It was a heavily traveled and guarded route by the Egyptians. Remember that Serabit el-Khadim was the other major mine in the Sinai under Egyptian control. This underscores how absurd it is to suggest the exodus route traveled through central Sinai using the same roads that the Egyptian miners used between Timna and Egypt. We know that the promised land did not originally extent all the way down to the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba). Now we know the reason! God did not want to interfere with the Egyptians at Jezirat Faraun and Timna. Archeologist Beno Rothenberg wrote this: "Although there is sufficient evidence in Egyptian sources for Ramesside (1250 BC) military campaigns in the Negev, Edom and the Arabah, the Hathor Temple of Timna provides the first archaeological evidence for actual and lengthy Egyptian control of this area." (Timna, Beno Rothenberg, 1969 AD)
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  9. At the time of the Exodus, Israel was not "out of Egypt" until they crossed the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran and departed from the modern Sinai Peninsula. Click here for a study of the Sinai Peninsula and the phrase, "out of Egypt" in the Bible. The Bible clearly says that Israel was still in Egypt when they rebelled on the shores of the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran. "Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known." Psalm 106:7-8
  10. The modern border between Israel and Egypt was determined in 1947 AD with UN resolution 181. This border is utterly irrelevant to the Biblical border. Never in Israel's history has this been the border between Israel and Egypt until 1947 AD.

A. The Biblical border with Egypt is the Brook of Egypt:

  1. "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:" Genesis 15:18
  2. 'Your southern sector shall extend from the wilderness of Zin along the side of Edom, and your southern border shall extend from the end of the Salt Sea eastward. 'Then your border shall turn direction from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim and continue to Zin, and its termination shall be to the south of Kadesh-barnea; and it shall reach Hazaraddar and continue to Azmon. 'The border shall turn direction from Azmon to the brook of Egypt, and its termination shall be at the sea. Numbers 34:3-5
  3. "Now the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families reached the border of Edom, southward to the wilderness of Zin at the extreme south. Their south border was from the lower end of the Salt Sea, from the bay that turns to the south. Then it proceeded southward to the ascent of Akrabbim and continued to Zin, then went up by the south of Kadesh-barnea and continued to Hezron, and went up to Addar and turned about to Karka. It continued to Azmon and proceeded to the brook of Egypt, and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border. Joshua 15:1-4
  4. "Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; as far as the brook of Egypt and the Great Sea, even its coastline." Joshua 15:47
  5. "from the Shihor [wadi el-Arish] which is east of Egypt, even as far as the border of Ekron to the north (it is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines: the Gazite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite; and the Avvite" Joshua 13:3
  6. "Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life." 1 Kings 4:21
  7. "He was the ruler over all the kings from the Euphrates River even to the land of the Philistines, and as far as the border of Egypt." 2 Chronicles 9:26
  8. What is also interesting is that the boundaries of Solomon's kingdom were from Hamath (Near the Euphrates) to the Wadi el Arish (river of Egypt):
    -"So Solomon observed the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath (Near the Euphrates) to the brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, for seven days and seven more days, even fourteen days." 1 Kings 8:65
    -"So David assembled all Israel together, from the Shihor of Egypt even to the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim." 1 Chronicles 13:5
    -"David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah as far as Hamath, as he went to establish his rule to the Euphrates River." 1 Chronicles 18:3
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  9. "The south side toward the south shall extend from Tamar as far as the waters of Meribath-kadesh, to the brook of Egypt and to the Great Sea. This is the south side toward the south." Ezekiel 47:19 and "And beside the border of Gad, at the south side toward the south, the border shall be from Tamar to the waters of Meribath-kadesh, to the brook of Egypt, to the Great Sea." Ezekiel 48:28
    Full discussion of Ezek 47:19 click here.
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  10. Pharaoh Neco began to occupy Israel and made Eliakim its puppet king. Then Nebuchadnezzar came into Israel and repelled Egypt to the border at the brook of Egypt. This shows that in the 6th century BC, Egypt's traditional border with Israel was the wadi el-Arish, with meant that Egypt controlled the entire modern Sinai Peninsula: "Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the place of Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away and brought him to Egypt, and he died there. " 2 Kings 23:34 "The king of Egypt did not come out of his land again, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates." 2 Kings 24:7
  11. Mirroring Gen 15:18, here we have a "Hebrew parallelism" that equates Euphrates with land of Assyrian and the brook of Egypt with the land of Egypt. The "wilderness to Lebanon" is equated with Assyria as the Northern border: Deut 11:24; Josh 1:4: "In that day the Lord will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem." Isaiah 27:12-13

B. Notice the interchangeability between brook of Egypt and border of Egypt!

Brook of Egypt

Border of Egypt

Euphrates to brook of Egypt: Gen 15:18

Euphrates to border of Egypt: 2 Chron 9:26

Solomon ruled to brook of Egypt: 1 Ki 8:65

Solomon ruled to border of Egypt: 1 Ki 4:21

C. South border: brook of Egypt vs. North border: Euphrates

Was used as the global reference of north/south bounders in the same verse

Text

Northern border

Southern border

Gen 15:18

as the great river, the river Euphrates

from the river of Egypt

1 Ki 8:65

from the entrance of Hamath

to the brook of Egypt

2 Ki 24:7

to the river Euphrates

from the brook of Egypt

2 Chr 7:8

from the entrance of Hamath

to the brook of Egypt

Isa 27:12

from the flowing stream of the Euphrates

to the brook of Egypt

2 Chr 9:26

from the Euphrates River

as far as the border of Egypt

1 King 4:21

from the River

to the border of Egypt

Jer 2:18

to drink the waters of the Euphrates

to drink the waters of the Shihor?

Ex 23:31

to the River Euphrates

from the wilderness

D. The Shihor River is the Wadi el-Arish

  1. The word "Shihor" seems to be used of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. Shihor is used interchangeably with the Nile: Isa 23:3 The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the Sihor was her revenue
  2. Exactly what river the term "Shihor" refers to is not universally agreed. Some think it refers to the easterly "Pelusiac" arm of the Nile. Others think it refers to the Brook/River of Egypt.
  3. However we can be sure that it does refer to the River/brook of Egypt in several key passages: "So David assembled all Israel together, from the Shihor of Egypt even to the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim." 1 Chronicles 13:5
  4. Shihor used interchangeably with Wadi Arish:

Shihor used interchangeably with Wadi Arish

Josh 13:2-5

Josh 15:45-47

Shihor which is east of Egypt

as far as the brook of Egypt

Ekron

Ekron

Ashdodite

Ashdod

Gazite

Gaza

E. The "river of Egypt" in Gen 15:18 cannot be the Nile:

A. Usage of Hebrew word for river in OT: Gen 15:18 uses: Heb "Nahar" (Strongs 5104)

1. Heb "Nahar" (Strongs 5104) of 98 uses and never refers to Nile except in Gen 15:18?

2. Heb: "Ye'or" (Strongs 2975) is used 57 times exclusively of the Nile river.

3. Heb "Nachal" (Strongs 5158) used of both the brook of Egypt and Euphrates in 2 Ki 24:7

Term

Hebrew

comment

Nile

Ye'or misrayim

Egyptian term exclusively used of Nile in Bible

Brook of Egypt

Nahal misrayim

Wadi Arish: southern boundary of promised land

River of Egypt

(Gen 15:18)

Nahar misrayim

If the Nile, why didn't God use the exclusive term "Ye'or" but a one time exception "Nahar"?

B. Contrasting sizes of rivers indicated textually in Gen 15:18

"from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates"

1. The text clearly indicates that the Euphrates is greater than the "River of Egypt"

2. The Nile is equal or larger than the Euphrates in size, If the Nile was meant the text would read,

a. from the great river, the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates; or

b. from the two great rivers, the river of Egypt as far as the river Euphrates; or

c. from the river of Egypt as far as the river Euphrates

3. If the Wadi Arish was meant, the text would read exactly as it does!

C. If the Gen 15:18 says the Nile was boundary of land God promised Abraham Isaac & Jacob, then: They already lived in the promised land in Goshen while in slavery in Egypt! Exod 3:17 Why leave Goshen? They were home in the promised land making straw bricks!

a) Exod 3:17 "So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey."'

b) Exod 33:1 Depart, go up from here, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, `To your descendants I will give it.

c) Deut 6:22-23 'Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; and He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.'

d) Deut 11:10 "For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden.

F. Modern scholars who confirm the border was Wadi el-Arish:

  1. "In its distribution of the land of Canaan to the twelve tribes . . . the southern boundary of the land of Israel is with Egypt, and the border-line is fixed at Nahal Misraim [wadi el-Arish]." ... "Brook of Egypt: From the Hebrew Nahal Misraim, a designation of the wadi separating the Egyptian territory from the Land of Israel in the Bible." (Pau Figueras. From Gaza to Pelusium: Materials for the Geography of North Sinai and Southwestern Palestine, 332 BC - 640 CE, 2000, p 35, 172)
  2. "was considered the natural border between Palestine and Egypt. Thus it was called "The Brook of Egypt." ... "From here the boundary continued on to the Mediterranean, following the "Brook of Egypt". . . the natural geographical boundary between Palestine and Egypt." ... "The Assyrian army advanced southward along the . . . coast, reaching Gaza and continuing on to the Brook of Egypt . . . the traditional boundary between Palestine and Egypt." (Yohanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography, 1979, p 64, 72, 371)

G. The seaport of Tharu is the border between Egypt and Israel.

  1. The same city has had several names: Arish, Tharu, Rhinocorura. None of these names are ever used in the Bible.
  2. Tharu was the name used for the city of "Arish" by the Egyptians in 1446-1200 BC. Rhinocolura was the Greek name for the city of "Arish" about the time of Christ.
  3. Arish is the sea port city at the mouth of the Wadi el-Arish. Wadi el-Arish means: "River of Arish". A wadi dries up for part of the year and only flows water during the rainy season.
  4. Tharu was an Egyptian prison town later known as or Rhinocolura by the Greeks. Rhinocolura literally means, "cut-off noses." Rhinocolura is el-Arish, where Gen 15:18 says the River of Egypt is Israel's southern border. The word Rhino means "nose" and is why we call the "cow with the long pointy nose" a Rhinoceros! The Egyptians would cut off the noses of their criminals and ship them to the furthermost part of Egypt at Tharu. Tharu is the border of Egypt.
  5. "my majesty commands: that every officer who seizes the dues] and taketh the craft of any citizen of the army or of any person who is in the whole land, the law shall be executed against him, in that his nose shall be cut off, and he shall be sent to Tharu. (James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, 1906 AD, Vol 3 p 50-67, The Great Edict of Horemheb, 1300 BC)
  6. Zahida's Muslim husband cut off her ears, tongue, and nose, gouged out her eyes, and left her for dead. This is what all the convicts at Tharu looked like. Thanks to your friendly neighborhood Muslim, we can see today what the Egyptians did in 1480 BC. The Egyptians had more compassion than the Muslims since they didn't cut off the ears, tongue and pull the eyeballs out like today's Muslim husbands.
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  7. Strabo confirms in 15 AD, that Rhinocolura is the same town as Tharu in 1450 BC: "After Gaza one comes to Rhaphia, where a battle was fought between Ptolemaeus the Fourth and Antiochus the Great. Then to Rhinocolura, so called from the people with mutilated noses that had been settled there in early times; for some Ethiopian invaded Egypt and, instead of killing the wrongdoers, cut off their noses and settled them at that place, assuming that on account of their disgraceful faces they would no longer dare to do people wrong. Now the whole of this country from Gaza is barren and sandy, but still more so is the country that lies next above it, which contains Lake Sirbonis, a lake which lies approximately parallel to the sea and, in the interval, leaves a short passage as far as the Ecregma, as it is called; the lake is about two hundred stadia in length and its maximum breadth is about sixty stadia; but the Ecregma his become filled up with earth. Then follows another continuous tract of this kind as far as Casius; and then one comes to Pelusium." (Strabo, Geographia, XVI,2,31-32)

Part 2:

The Historic border with Egypt is the Brook of Egypt:

Introduction:

  1. Here is a collection of ancient original sources that prove the River of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish) is the border between Egypt and Israel.
  2. The entire Sinai Peninsula has been under the control of Egypt from before the exodus in 1446 BC down to the time of Christ. This is what the Bible says. Now we give you history to prove it.
  3. The next time someone tells you that they have no idea who controlled the Sinai at the time of the Exodus, you can tell them Pharaoh! Date of the Exodus and Tuthmosis III the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

A. The Battle of Megiddo: 1482 BC

  1. Tuthmosis III is the pharaoh of the Exodus.
  2. See the study on the date of the Exodus and Tuthmosis III
  3. "Year 22, fourth month of the second season, on the twenty-fifth day his majesty was in Tharu on the first victorious expedition to extend the boundaries of Egypt with might. Now, at that period the Asiatics had fallen into disagreement, each man fighting against his neighbor. Now, it happened that the tribes - the people, who were there in the city of Sharuhen; behold, from Yeraza to the marshes of the earth, they had begun to revolt against his majesty. Year 23, first month of the third season, on the fourth day, the day of the feast of the king's coronation, he arrived at the city, the possession of the ruler, Gaza." (An Egyptian Account of The Battle of Megiddo by Pharoah Menkheperre, Tuthmosis III, 1482 BC)

B. Ramses II, 1273 BC (The Battle of Kadesh)

  1. In 1273 AD, Ramses II marched by the fortress of Tharu in full splendor of his father Montu en route to begin the battle of Kadesh against the Hittites. Tharu, at this time, was an Egyptian fort and historically it was the border of Egypt. It proves that Egypt had control right up to the Wadi el-Arish.
  2. "Behold, his majesty prepared his infantry and his chariotry, the Sherden of the captivity of his majesty from the victories of his word - they gave the plan of battle. His majesty proceeded northward, his infantry and his chariotry being with him. He began the goodly way to march. Year 5, the second month of the third season tenth month, on the ninth day, his majesty passed the fortress of Tharu, like Montu [his father] when he goes forth. Every country trembled before him, fear was in their hearts; all the rebels came bowing down for fear of the fame of his majesty, when his army came upon the narrow road, being like one who is upon the highway." (James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, 1906 AD, Vol 3 p 136-147, The Battle of Kadesh, Ramses II, 1273 BC)

C. The Septuagint (LXX): 250 BC

  1. The Septuagint substitutes "the brook of Egypt" in Isa 27:12 for Rhinocolura. This shows that everyone knew that the River of Egypt in Gen 15:18 was the same as Rhinocorura and ancient Tharu at the time of the exodus in 1446 BC.
  2. "In that day the Lord will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the Rhinocolura (LXX), and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. " Isaiah 27:12

D. Polybius: 150 BC

  1. Ptolemy was marching from Egypt to Rhinocolura to Raphia to Gaza. Rhinocolura (Tharu) was the border of Egypt for it says, Raphia was the first city you reach after leaving Egypt. Of course today, Raphia is the Modern border between Egypt and Israel.
  2. Ptolemy, marching on Pelusium, made his first halt at that city, and after picking up stragglers and serving out rations to his men moved on marching through the desert and skirting Mount Casius and the marshes called Barathra. Reaching the spot he was bound for on the fifth day he encamped at a distance of fifty stades from Raphia, which is the first city of Coele-Syria on the Egyptian side after Rhinocolura. Antiochus was approaching at the same time with his army, and after reaching Gaza and resting his forces there, continued to advance slowly. Passing Raphia he encamped by night at a distance of ten stades from the enemy. At first the two armies continued to remain at this distance from each other, but after a few days Antiochus, with the object of finding a more suitable position for his camp and at the same time wishing of encourage his troops, encamped so near Ptolemy that the distance between the two camps was not more than five stades. Skirmishes were now frequent between the watering and foraging parties, and there was occasional interchange of missiles between the cavalry and even the infantry. (Polybius, The Histories 5:80, 150 BC)

E. Josephus: 110 AD

  1. Josephus give two separate accounts of how Herod the Great escaped from the king of Arabia, into Egypt about 25 BC. Notice that as Herod traveled along the shoreline from Israel to Egypt, he stopped at an Egyptian Temple, that was very near Rhinocurura. This proves that as late as 25 BC Rhinocurura was the border between Egypt and Israel.
    -Hereupon he [Herod the Great] resolved to go away, and did go very prudently the road to Egypt; and then it was that he lodged in a certain temple; for he had left a great many of his followers there. On the next day he came to Rhinocolura, and there it was that he heard what had befallen his brother. (Josephus, Antiquities 14.374, 25 BC)
    -"So when Herod had found that the Arabians were his enemies, and this for those very reasons whence he hoped they would have been the most friendly, and had given them such an answer as his passion suggested, he returned back and went for Egypt. Now he lodged the first evening at one of the temples of that country, in order to meet with those whom he left behind; but on the next day word was brought him, as he was going to Rhinocurura, that his brother was dead, and how he came by his death; and when he had lamented him as much as his present circumstances could bear, he soon laid aside such cares, and proceeded on his journey." (Josephus, Wars 1.277, 25 BC)
  2. Josephus records the line of cities in sequential order from Gaza, in Israel towards Egypt. Notice the order is Joppa, Jamnia, Ashdod, Gaza, Anthedon, Raphia, and Rhinocolura. Rhinocolura being the ancient border between Egypt and Israel as stated in Gen 15:18 to Abraham. (River of Egypt or wadi-el-Arish) "Now at this time the Jews were in possession of the following cities that had belonged to the Syrians, and Idumeans, and Phoenicians: At the seaside, Strato's Tower, Apollonia, Joppa, Jamnia, Ashdod, Gaza, Anthedon, Raphia, and Rhinocolura." (Josephus, Antiquities 13.395)
  3. Josephus, at the time of Titus's destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, says that the border between Egypt and Israel (actually Syria at this time) was at Rhinocolura. Josephus said that Raphia was the first town within "Syria". Raphia is the modern border town today between Israel and Egypt. What this means is that the modern boundaries between Egypt and Israel closely match the ancient boundaries. "So Titus marched on foot as far as Nicopolis, which is distant twenty furlongs from Alexandria; there he put his army on board some long ships, and sailed upon the river along the Mendesian Nomus, as far as the city Thmuis; there he got out of the ships, and walked on foot, and lodged all night at a small city called Tanis. His second station was Heracleopolis, and his third Pelusium; he then refreshed his army at that place for two days; and on the third passed over the mouths of the Nile at Pelusium; he then proceeded one station over the desert, and pitched him camp at the temple of the Casian Jupiter, and on the next day at Ostracine. This station had no water; but the people of the country make use of water brought from other places. After this he rested at Rhinocolura, and from thence he went Raphia, which was his fourth station. This city is the beginning of Syria. For his fifth station, he pitched his camp at Gaza; after which he came to Ascalon, and thence to Jamnia, and after that to Joppa, and form Joppa to Cesarea, having taken a resolution to gather all his other forces together at that place." (Josephus, Wars 4.659, 70 AD)
  4. "The lot of Simeon (inside Judah), which was the second, included that part of Idumea [Edom] which bordered upon Egypt and Arabia." (Josephus, Antiquities 5.82) In Joshua 19:1-9 Hormah is listed as one of the cities of Simeon. Hormah may have been located at Ein Haseva in 1446 BC. However this is questionable, since there is no archeological evidence of any occupation at Haseva prior to 1000 BC. Hormah means "destroyed" and is likely nearby Haseva.

F. The Onomasticon by Eusebius: 325 AD:

  1. Eusebius wrote a book called the Onomasticon in about 325 AD. The Onomasticon is a dictionary of places, towns and countries. It is an ancient atlas.
  2. We have copies of it down through Jerome.
  3. The Madaba map (600 AD, see below) was based in part upon the Onomasticon.
  4. "Bethaphu (Jos 15:53), in the tribe of Judah. A village near Raphia, on the 14th milestone on the road to Egypt, which marks the boundary of Palestine." (Eusebius, Onomasticon 50,18-20; Jerome 51,18-19)
  5. Eusebius says the actual border between Israel and Egypt was just west of Raphia. Since we know that the town of Tharu (Rhinocolura) was under Egyptian control, this is exactly what we expect and fits perfectly with where the border was located.

G. Jerome: 400 AD

  1. Jerome says the border of Egypt bordered on Raphia. This is east of the Wadi el-Arish.
  2. Raphia is where the modern border of Israel is located.
  3. "In a battle near the town of Raphia, which is on the borders of Egypt, Antiochus lost his entire army and was almost captured while escaping through the desert. He retreated from Syria, and eventually the war was concluded with a treaty on certain conditions." (Jerome, Daniel 11:10-14, 400 AD)

H. Madaba Map: 600 AD

  1. The "Madaba map" is a mosaic floor laid in 550 AD. It is in St. George's Orthodox church in the city of Madaba, Jordan. The map is famous because it is one of the oldest maps of Bible lands in the world. It agrees with the "Onomasticon" (dictionary of cities) written by Eusebius in 325 AD.
  2. The proof doesn't get much better than this! An actual insitu mosaic we can jump on an airplane today and see for our selves with our own eyes!
  3. It is a mosaic that confirms that the Wadi el-Arish is the border between Israel and Egypt.
  4. The Madaba map has the words: "Border of Egypt and Palestine" just between the towns of Bitylium and Rhinocolura are the following words in the Madaba Map: Border of Egypt and Palestine "Horoi Aigyptou kai Paleaistines".
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Conclusion:

  1. There is simply no doubt that the historic and Biblical border between Egypt and Israel was the Wadi el-Arish or the River/Brook of Egypt.
  2. The Entire Sinai Peninsula was not a mere "Egyptian protectorate" but under the absolute military control of Egypt from the time of 1500 BC down to the first century AD. The Egyptian mines at Timna clearly demonstrate this.

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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