The Exodus Route: Alush (Stage 2 of 2)

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Exodus locations:

Click to ViewWilderness of Shur
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Click to ViewRed Sea Camp
Click to ViewWilderness of Sin
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Click to ViewRephidim (Meribah)
Click to ViewWilderness of Sinai
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1.       Israel travelled in stages between the wilderness of Sin and Rephidim with Dophkah and Alush in-between.

a.         Little is known about Dophkah and Alush except that they are located in difficult terrain between the wilderness of Sin and Rephidim.

b.        From Goshen to Mt. Sinai the topography was flat, wide and easy except between Dophkah and Alush, which infers it was canyon travel through the mountains.

2.       Bible texts:

a.         "They journeyed from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. They journeyed from Dophkah and camped at Alush." Numbers 33:12-13

b.        " Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink." Exodus 17:1

3.       Early Christians created metaphoric messianic meanings for Alush:

a.         “Well then, “they set out from Raphaca [Rephidim] and come to Halus [Alush].” Halus translates as “toils.” Do not be surprised that toils follow health. For the soul acquires health from God in order to accept toils with delight and not unwillingly. For it will be said to it: “You will eat the toils of your harvest; you are blessed, and it will be well with you.””(Origen, Homilies on Numbers 27.12., 400 AD)


A. Journeying in Stages: 

  1. Journeyed in stage groups:
    1. The only difficult and narrow terrain the entire 47-day journey was the two stages (Dophkah and Alush) between the Wilderness of sin to Rephidim.
    2. They were unable to travel as a single unified group so they travelled in smaller groups or “stages” through the narrow and difficult portion of the route until they reached Rephidim: Num 33:12-13; Ex 17:1.
    3. Another synchronism is that the Amalekites attacked when the first group completed the stages, exited the mountainous area, and started on their way to Rephidim: Exodus 17:7-8.
    4. It was a brilliant military move that the Amalekites attacked the first group, who was also short of water before the entire population arrived at Rephidim.
  2. Tiran route canyon travel between Dophkah and Alush:
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    1. The distance between the Wilderness of sin and Dophkah is 22 km. The canyon travel distance between Dophkah and Alush is 23 km. The distance between Alush and Rephidim is 30 km.
    2. The canyon travel through the mountain passes was only 23 km and is the only portion of the entire 700 km route from Goshen to Sinai with canyon travel.
    3. The main section of the canyon is 500-800 meters wide but narrows to about 200-300 meters the last 3 kilometers until reaching Alush.
    4. The canyon travel is uphill. At Dophkah the elevation is 450 meters above sea level, which rises to 500 meters in the initial broad canyon trail. The elevation rises to about 850 meters near the end of the broad canyon tail. The last 3 km to the plateau gently rises 450 meters in a 10-degree incline over 3 kilometers from 850 m to 1200 meters.
  1. Israel travelled by stages when they left Mt. Sinai:
    1. The same word for stages [nāsa’ – Strongs 4550] in Ex 17:1 is also used in Num 10:12-16 when Israel clearly departed Sinai in stages of smaller groups rather than as one large group.
    2. “nāsaʿ is also used in the sense of to “journey by stages.” Headed for Sinai, the Israelites “moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages” (pl. of massaʿ, Ex 17:1).
    3. Later they “set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai” (Num 10:12).” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 1380 נָסַע, p584, Marvin R. Wilson, 1999 AD).
    4. This proves the word “stages” means smaller travel groups of the larger population in Ex 17:1.
  1. Traditional Exodus route to Mt. Musa or Mt. Sin Bisher or the Nuweiba Red Sea crossing fails:

Expected difficulty of Terrain of Exodus Route

They Journeyed by stages between the Wilderness of Sin and Rephidim: Ex 17:1


Terrain expected from Bible narrative

Terrain encountered

Steven Rudd1

Terrain encountered

Gordon Frantz2

Terrain encountered

Glen Fritz3

Goshen to Red Sea camp




Difficult and narrow before Nuweiba

Red Sea camp to Wilderness of Sin




Difficult and narrow

Wilderness of Sin to Dophkah





Dophkah to Alush

Difficult and narrow

Difficult and narrow


Difficult and narrow

Alush to Sinai





Sinai to Kadesh



Difficult via

Ezion Geber



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100% Perfect fit

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40% failure

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40% failure

1: Rudd: Red sea crossing is at Tiran, Mt. Sinai is Lawz, Kadesh is at Petra.

2: Frantz: Red sea crossing is at Ballah, Mt. Sinai is Sin Bisher, Kadesh is at Qudeirat.

3: Fritz: Red sea crossing is at Nuweiba, Mt. Sinai is Lawz, Kadesh located inside Judah 32 km due west of Ein Hatzeva and 12 km SE of Sde Boker.

    1. Only the Red Sea crossing at the Straits of Tiran to Sinai is a perfect geographic match for journeying in stages between the Wilderness of Sin and Rephidim. The 700 km Tiran crossing exodus route to Mt. Sinai has only one section of difficult or narrow canyon travel 18 km which represents only 3% of the entire journey. All the rest of the route is easy, flat and wide.
    2. The traditional exodus Route to Mt. Musa between the Wilderness of Sin and Rephidim (Meribah) is easy with no need to "journey by stages". The route becomes difficult again between Rephidim (Meribah) and the wilderness of Sinai. This is a complete fail.
    3. For Gordon Franz’s Mt. Sinai at Mt. Sin Bisher, there is zero difficult terrain from Goshen to Sinai. A complete fail!
    4. The Glen Fritz route: The 888 km Nuweiba crossing exodus route to Mt. Sinai has four sections of difficult or narrow canyon travel that add up to a whopping 289 km and represents 33% of the route. One third of the entire Nuweiba route needed to be travelled in small group stages rather than all together as one large unit. First, before the Red Sea crossing in the Wadi Watir (78 km). Second, after crossing the Red Sea at Nuweiba to the Al Bad (93 km). Third, the “backtrack” from Al Bad to the Gulf of Aqaba and back to Al Bad (64 km). Forth, the route through Dophkah and Alush (54 km). This contradicts scripture that says they only needed to journey in stages between Dophkah and Alush. The 700 km Tiran route has only 23 km of canyon travel and the rest is very easy. The 888 km Nuweiba has only 383 km of very easy travel and 505 km of medium and difficult travel. This means enormous increase in canyon travel greatly slows down the daily cumulative daily rate of travel. The Nuweiba route is 25% longer than the Tiran route of which 60% is medium and difficult terrain to travel through. Therefore, the Tiran route is not only faster per km travelled but shorter as well. The Tiran route can easily arrive at Mt. Sinai on day 47 but the Nuweiba route arrives on day 63 according to Glen Fritz. However, if you corrected his 63-day route to harmonize with the parameters of the Tiran route and add the travel or rest-days he missed, Fritz has Israel arriving on day 82! See: Click to ViewGlen Fritz Exodus Route debunked


B. Timing and distances: 

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1.       Israel left the Wilderness of Sin on day 14 (from Red Sea crossing) as a single unit, but once they arrived at Dophkah, they shuttled through the mountain canyons in stages through Alush over 2-3 days to reach Rephidim.

2.       Sunday, day 39 from Goshen, day 14 from the Red Sea: All 3 million Hebrews leave the Wilderness of Sin and arrive at Dophkah to camp the night.

3.       Monday, day 40 from Goshen, day 15 from the Red Sea: Stages of small groups of Hebrews depart Dophkah and begin the 23 km canyon travel and camp at Alush that night. The remaining Hebrews camp a second night at Dophkah.

4.       Tuesday, day 41 from Goshen, day 16 from the Red Sea: The last of the Hebrews leave Dophkah and camp at Alush while the lead group journeyed ahead 30 km to reach Rephidim.

5.       Wednesday, day 42 from Goshen, day 17 from the Red Sea: Amalekites attack as more Hebrews arrive from Alush.

6.       Thursday, day 43 from Goshen, day 18 from the Red Sea: Israel defeats the Amalekites as his hands are held up on the top of a hill. Moses builds an altar (Ex 17:15). Jethro arrives and eats a meal with Moses at Rephidim (Ex 18:12).

7.       Friday, day 44 from Goshen, day 19 from the Red Sea: Moses Judges Israel all day at Rephidim (Ex 18:13).

8.       Second Sabbath, day 45 from Goshen, day 20 from the Red Sea: Jethro offers his advice as Israel celebrates their second sabbath at Rephidim.

9.       Sunday, day 46 from Goshen, day 21 from the Red Sea: Moses implements Jethro’s advice and leaves Rephidim for Mt. Sinai: Ex 18:27. Israel arrives in the Wilderness of Sinai after sunset day 47 from Goshen.

10.   Ex 19:1 Sivan 1, Monday, day 47 from Goshen, day 22 from the Red Sea, day 1 at Mt. Sinai: Moses strikes the rock at Mt. Horeb creating the massive water supply for 3 million Hebrews who will camp in front of Mt. Sinai for 11 months and 5 days.

11.   Tuesday, day 48 from Goshen, day 23 from the Red Sea, Day 2 at Mt. Sinai: Moses makes his 1st ascension up Mt. Sinai and comes back with an oath for the people (Ex 19:3-8).



C. Calendar of events from Goshen to Sinai: Days 1-47












Nisan 14: Passover lambs killed before sunset and eaten on Nisan 15 Wed evening.

Day 1


Nisan 15: Departed in Daylight

Num 33:3


3 Start counting 7 Sabbaths for







9 Succoth

Overnight camp

10 day 8 of Pentecost Nisan 24







16 Etham:

Nisan 30

17 Iyar 1

camped at Red Sea

18 camped at Red Sea

19 Iyar 3 at Red Sea

20 camped at Red Sea

21 camped at Red Sea

22 camped at Red Sea

23 camped at Red Sea

24 camped at Red Sea

25 crossed the Red Sea

Iyar 9, saved and Shadow of First Fruits Lev 23:10-12

26 Wilderness of Shur

Day 1 after crossing

27 Wilderness of Shur

28 Marah

In Wilderness of Shur

Day 3 after crossing

29 Elim

30 Iyar 14

Red Sea Camp

Day 5 from Red Sea Crossing

31 Iyar 15 

Wilderness of Sin.  Ex 16:1. Day 6 from Red Sea Crossing

32 camped at Sin, 1st Manna

33 camped at Sin

34 camped at Sin

35 camped at Sin

36 camped at Sin

37 camped at Sin. Day 12 from Crossing

38 camped at Sin. 1st Sabbath

39 Iyar23

Day 14 Leave wilderness of Sin for Dophkah

40 Dophkah, Alush (small stage groups) Day 15 from Red Sea Crossing

41  Alush, Rephidim (small stage groups) Day 16 from Red Sea Crossing

42 Rephidim (Meribah)

Israel grumbles for water: Ex 17:6

Amalek attacks

43  Rephidim (Meribah)

Moses hands held up to win war. Moses’ altar: Ex 17:15. Jethro arrives, eats meal Ex 18:12

44  Rephidim (Meribah)

Moses Judges the people all day: Ex 18:13

45 Iyar 29


2nd Sabbath. Jethro’s Advice: Ex 18:17

46 Iyar 30

Moses implements Jethro’s advice and leaves: Ex 18:27. Israel leaves for Wild. of Sinai

47 Sivan 1

Wilderness of Sinai: Ex 19:1

Split rock for water at Horeb: Ex 17:6. Day 22 from crossing

Day 48 Sivan 2

1st ascension
Ex 19:3-8

oath for people

Day 49

Day 50

Sivan 4

2nd ascension
Ex 19:8-14

be ready on the third day: Ex 19:7-14

51 Sivan 5

“preparation day” to wash clothes

52 Sivan 6

Day 49 of Pentecost, 7th Sabbath.

Seder Olam 5.31

53 Pentecost

Sivan 7
3rd ascension
Ex 19:18-25, 20:1-26.
God dawns from Seir

Moses hears 10 Comm. and laws


Sivan 8


4th ascension
Ex 19:24- 24:1-8, Sivan 9

Moses ascends with Aaron. laws repeated Ex 20-23



5th ascension
Ex 24:9- 11 Sivan 11

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, 70 elders.












C. Photos and maps: 

Arial of Alush.

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Journeyed by stages between Dophkah and Alush because of canyon travel.

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A view looking back into the trench from Alush, the second stage complete.

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View from Alush looking back to the wilderness of Sin

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 A ground level view of the trench at the end of the narrow and difficult terrain between the Wilderness of Sinai and Rephidim.

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After Alush they went on in relative easy terrain to Rephidim.


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


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