The Exodus Route: The Route from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai

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

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The 10 stops to Mt. Sinai

Click to ViewWilderness of Shur
Click to ViewMarah
Click to ViewElim
Click to ViewRed Sea Camp
Click to ViewWilderness of Sin
Click to ViewDophkah
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Click to ViewRephidim (Meribah)
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  1. After crossing the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran, Israel entered the Wilderness of Shur.
  2. The Wilderness of Shur is the home turf of both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites and is one of the few places of the 50 exodus locations we know for sure. This also places Mt. Sinai in modern Saudi Arabia.


A. Overview of distances and travel times: 

  1. After crossing the Red Sea, the daily rate of travel slowed down a bit. We would expect this, since they did not fear Egypt any more.
  2. They traveled each day, except for 8 days in the Wilderness of Sin to be introduced for the first time to the weekly Sabbath and the first giving of Manna. The only other place they stopped was four days at Rephidim (Meribah) when the Amalekites attacked one stop before reaching Mt. Sinai.
  3. More details: Travel times, distances, days of the week




Total days

Camp days

Travel days

Daily rate of travel

Double back distance from the camp by the Red Sea at the crossing point to Etham and back again (30 km x 2)

60 km





Goshen to Sinai (including Etham double back)

750 km




26 km/day

Goshen to Red Sea (including Etham double back)
(8 days camped at red sea)

490 km




29 km/day

Red Sea to Sinai
(Camp days: 7 days in wilderness of Sin, 3 days at Rephidim, 1 sabbath)

260 km




23 km/day

On day 15 a message from Pharaoh's military "Migdol" to Egypt by homing pigeon at 80 km/hour (average speed is 100 km/hour): "They are moving aimlessly and the wilderness at Etham has shut them in."

400 km

5 hours

4 hours



80 km/hr.

100 km/hr.

Day 16 Pharaoh's army begin pursued Israel with horses and 600 choice chariots (and other standard chariots for a total perhaps of 1000-2000) from Egypt to where the pillar of fire stopped them at the Migdol. (Exodus 14:6-9)

435 km




62 km/day

Herodotus (450 BC): Mediterranean to Gulf of Suez

150 km




38 km/day


B. Calculating the days of the week between the Red Sea and Mt. Sinai:

  1. We believe with some level of confidence, that we have enough information to actually calculate the days of the week for the journey between the Red Sea and Mt. Sinai.
  2. Jewish tradition (recent, not ancient) states that the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai was given on Pentecost. We know they departed Goshen on passover (Nisan 14) and the Bible says they arrived at Sinai in 44 days. They were then told to prepare themselves for three days when God would "dawn from Edom upon Sinai". Although we cannot trace this Jewish tradition very far back in history, it is very likely correct. So using this time table, we can reverse the journey and decipher the days of the week until we reach the crossing at the Red Sea. Pentecost always falls on a Sunday.
  3. Three days in wilderness of Shur after crossing the Red Sea, (Exodus 15:22) and two more days for Elim and the camp at the sea. (Num 33:10-11).
  4. More details: Travel times, distances, days of the week


C. Calculating distances between stops: Red Sea to Sinai

Bible texts

Day # from Red Sea


distance from last stop

Crossing Red sea:

Day 25




19 km

Wilderness of Shur

Marah Day 25-28

bitter waters: Exodus 15:22-23; Num 33:8; Luke 13:32


Sun Tues

67 km

Elim Day 29

12 springs, 70 palms



15 km

Red Sea Camp Day 30




18 km

Wilderness of Sin

Day 31-39

Exodus 16:1 tells us they arrived on the 15th day of 2nd month.


Saturday - Sunday (8 days) Manna came first on Sunday, day 7

20 km

Dophkah Day 40

Journeyed in stages between Sin and Rephidim: Ex 17:1



24 km

Alush Day 41

 Journeyed in stages between Sin and Rephidim: Ex 17:1



17 km

difficult terrain

Rephidim (Meribah) Fought Amalekites, Jethro's council) Day 42-44

Exodus 17:1-9; 18:27


Wednesday- Friday

30 km

Sabbath in Rephidim Day 45





Wilderness of Sinai Day 47

Exodus 19



38 km



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


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