The Exodus Route: Elim

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Elim

(12 springs, 70 palms)

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Overview map
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Satellite map
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Exodus locations:

Click to ViewWilderness of Shur
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Marah
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Elim
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Red Sea Camp
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Wilderness of Sin
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Dophkah
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Alush
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Rephidim (Meribah)
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Wilderness of Sinai
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Mt. Sinai

Introduction: 

  1. Marah and Elim are both in the Wilderness of Shur: "Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur Exodus 15:22
  2. Little is known about Elim except two things: 1. There were 70 date palms and 12 springs of water. 2. The wilderness of Sin was located between Elim and Sinai.
  3. Based upon Ex 16:1, geographically Elim should be located halfway between the mountains and the Red Sea on the same side the Mt. Sinai as both the wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Sinai. This is deduced because the next stop is the Red Sea camp and the previous stop went 3 days inland away from the Red Sea, towards the mountains. If they have hovered near the Red Sea coast for the first four days after crossing the Red Sea, the "camp by the Red Sea" would make no sense. Every indication is that before they reached the Red Sea camp after Elim, they were inland, so as to be not camping near the Red Sea.
  4. Elim must be a significant location because it is used as a reference marker to locate "the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai". The wilderness of sin is divided like two lungs on either side of a valley rift. Israel camped in the eastern of these two area. When you look at both halves of the wilderness of Sin, you find that it is indeed, in direct line of sight between Elim and the Wilderness of Sinai.
  5. Elim, the wilderness of Sin and the Wilderness of Sinai must all be on the same side of the mountain range.

A. Bible texts:

  1. "Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters." Exodus 15:27
  2. "Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt." Exodus 16:1
  3. "They journeyed from Marah and came to Elim; and in Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there." Numbers 33:9
  4. "They journeyed from Elim and camped by the Red Sea." Numbers 33:10

B. Timing and distances: 

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  1. This would be a Thursday, day 4 from the Red Sea crossing.
  2. Elim is 15 km from Marah.

Here is an overview map with all the locations between the Red Sea crossing and Mt. Sinai with distances and times.

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C. Photos and maps: 

Here is the terrain looking towards the Wilderness of Sin.

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Here is the exodus route from Marah to Dophkah.

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Here is Marah and Elim which are both in the wilderness of Shur. Distances are indicated from each stop.

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Here is an aerial view of the wilderness of Shur and the exodus route.

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 Here is Elim, even today the springs support many trees in the middle of a dry desert.

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This is the view to the next stop of the exodus route

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 D. How the traditional choice for Elim fails:

Click to ViewExcluded Exodus Routes: Nuweiba Beech, Bitter lakes, Gulf of Suez, Mt. Musa, Mt. Karkom, Ein el-Qudeirat.

  1. The Bible says they exited the Red Sea when to Marah and Elim, then camped beside the Red Sea again. This means that Marah and Elim were not beside the Red Sea but somewhere inland. The traditional location on most Bible maps for the Marah and Elim are on the east coastal plain of the Red Sea. The coastal flat is only about 10 km wide at this point.
  2. Because traditional route has Israel traveling down the east side of the Gulf of Suez in a narrow coastal plain, all three locations (Marah, Elim, second Red sea camp) are by the Red Sea. This makes no sense because Marah and Elim should not be near the Red Sea or else the narrative saying they left Elim and camped by the Red Sea is nonsense. If this was the case it would say they left the Red Sea and camped again by the Red sea at Marah, and left Marah and camped by the Red Sea again at Elim, then left Elim and camped by the Red Sea. A crossing point at the Straits of Tiran travelling 67 km straight inland, however, makes perfect sense and is logical when they change direction and stop at Elim, then head for the Red Sea and camp beside it. The traditional route doesn't work, but our route works perfect!
  3. Elim, the wilderness of Sin and the Wilderness of Sinai must all be on the same side of the mountain range. "wilderness of Sin, is between Elim and Sinai" Ex 16:1. For those who propose an exodus route where Jebel A-Lawz is their choice for Mt. Sinai (we agree) they must locate all three of these on either one side of Mt. Sinai or the other. You cannot have Elim on the west side of Mt. Sinai and the wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Sinai on the other side.

  

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

 

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