The Exodus Route: Travel times, distances, rates of travel, days of the week

 

 

 

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Overview: In 1446 BC, the 700 km trip from Goshen (Tel Dab’a) to Mt. Sinai took a total of took 47 days. After travelling 500 KM from Goshen Israel made the 19 km crossing of the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran on day 25 then took 22 days to travel 200 km from the Red Sea Crossing to Mt. Sinai. Travel was easy for the 3 million Hebrews because there was a 20 km wide, flat coastal plain that hugged the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez from Goshen to the Strait of Tiran. After they crossed the Red Sea, this “highway” continued to the wilderness of Sin. The only portion of the trip that was difficult was the canyons between the Wilderness of Sin through Dophkah to Alush. Amazingly scripture notes that only during this portion of the journey, they “travelled in stages” (Ex 17:1) because the terrain was narrow and difficult. On day 9 after leaving Goshen they arrived at Succoth. During day 15 they pass the Egyptian Migdol watchtower stationed above the final Red Sea crossing point and on day 16 they reached the dead-end at Etham. God orders them to backtrack to the final Red Sea crossing camp beside the Migdol where God used Israel to bait Pharaoh to attack. On day 17, as Israel leaves Etham, it would take 4 hours for a passenger pigeon to fly 400 miles from the Egyptian watchtower (Migdol) back to Egypt with the message that Israel was trapped and wandering aimlessly. For 8 days Israel camped at the Red Sea crossing point (days 17-24) while Pharaoh's army pursued them with 600 choice horse-drawn chariots (Exodus 14:6-9). On day 18 Pharaoh's army easily traveled the 400 km from Goshen to the Red Sea crossing in 7 days (days 17-24), at a rate of 57 km/day with horse-drawn chariots and arrived on day 24. The Egyptians were stopped on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez by the angel about 36 km short of Israel’s camp. After crossing the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran via the natural underwater land bridge on day 25, Israel travelled 3 days (day 25-27) in the Wilderness of Shur and the land of Midian, then travelled 3 more days (day 28-30) and arrived at the second Red Sea camp. Exactly 31 days after leaving Goshen they enter the Wilderness of Sin (Nisan 15 - Iyar 15: Ex 16:1). In the Wilderness of Sin Israel camped 8 days (day 31-38) to learn about the Manna/Sabbath day cycle. Leaving the Wilderness of Sin as a single group of 3 million, Israel arrived at Dophkah on day 39. Between Dophkah and Alush Israel travelled in small groups by “stages” through the 23 kilometers of mountain canyons to Alush on days 40-41. On days 41-42 Israel arrived in stages at Rephidim and complained about having no water. God told Moses that when he finally arrived at Mt. Horeb he is to bring water out of the “split rock” as the main water supply for the 11 month stay camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The night of day 42 the Amalekites attack and the next morning Moses assembles an army and his hands are held up high on a hilltop on day 43. That night Jethro arrives watches Moses judge the people all day long on day 44. Day 45 is the second sabbath and Jethro gives Moses his advice about delegating the judging duties to others. Day 46 Jethro returns home to Midian while Moses departs for Mt. Sinai arriving after dark on day 47 which is Sivan 1 (Ex 19:1). In the morning of day 47 Moses strikes and splits the rock at Mt. Horeb for a massive water supply for 3 million Hebrews. On day 48 Moses ascends Mt. Sinai for the first time and God recites the Ten Commandments orally. Moses descends and tells the people take an oath to obey the laws of YHWH (Ex 19:3-8). On day 50 (Thursday, Sivan 4), God tells Israel to prepare for three days (Friday – Sunday) at the end of which God will ascend Mt. Sinai. (Ex 19:10-11). On Pentecost Sunday (Sivan 7), day 53 from leaving Egypt, Mt. Sinai explodes (Heb 12:18) when God gives the law to Moses over a period of 40 days. Israel spent 11 months and 5 days (Num 10:11) camped in the Wilderness of Sinai while Moses received the law and Israel built the Tabernacle tent. The journey from Mt. Sinai through Ezion Geber (Numbers 33:35-36) to Kadesh Barnea, was 20 stops over a period of about 11 months. Israel spends 38 years camped at Kadesh Barnea located at modern Petra. Aaron died on the 1st day of the 5th month of the 40th year of the wilderness wandering (summer 1407 BC). Shortly after mourning Aaron for 30 days, the people left Mount Hor which was beside Petra (Kadesh) and moved south to the Red Sea (“Yam Suph”- Deut 1:40 – Gulf of Aqaba) passing a second time through Ezion Geber (Deut 2:8). They journeyed east to avoid the Edomites living in the mountains and began moving north. Before they crossed the Wadi Zered, Israel rebelled again with the result that God sends poisonous snakes to kill the people. In obedience to God, Moses sets up a pole with a snake to heal them. Those who had been bitten could look at the snake and be healed. They crossed the Wadi Zered at the south end of the Salt sea and Moses spoke the words of the book of Deuteronomy at Iye-abarim. The conquest began and Israel passed directly through Dibon-gad and commencing the defeat of the Transjordan nations. While camped at Shittim (Tel Hammam) Israel mourned Moses for 30 days. In 1406 BC Israel crossed the Jordan on the 10th day of the 1st month of the 41st year (spring, 1406 BC), four days before the 41st Passover, which was exactly 40 years when they left Goshen. They started counting sabbatical years and Jubilees after crossing the Jordan. (Num 33:38; 20:28; Deut 34:8; Josh 4:19; 5:10). Israel camped at Gilgal then defeated Jericho and Ai. They traveled to Shechem and built Joshua’s Altar. The Ark of the Covenant was positioned in the valley between Mt Gerizim and Mt. Ebal with half the tribes on each of the two mountain sides. The echo-ritual “curses and blessings ceremony” of Deut 27-28 were spoken across the valley to each of the six tribes. From 1406-1400 BC Israel defeated first the northern Amorite Pentapolis then the southern Amorite Pentapolis. They were unable to defeat the Philistine Pentapolis (Ex 13:17-18; Deut 2:23; Josh 11:22; 13:2-3; Judges 1:18-19; 3:1-3) until the time of David which restricted Israel’s possession of the promised land to the central hill country until 1003 BC. After 6 years of war, on the first Sabbatical year of 1399 BC, Israel moved the tabernacle from Gilgal to Shiloh which served as Israel’s first capital city for 305 years until the Philistines burn the city in 1094 BC.

 

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Click to ViewThirty-eight continuous years at Kadesh Barnea

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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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Introduction:

1.      Many Christians falsely assume there is little information contained in scripture about the 50 locations of the Exodus, much less the timing. Many preachers never give this subject a look stating that we don't even know for certain any more than 4 of the 50 Exodus stops.

2.      Scripture specifically tells us the total number of days it took to travel from Goshen to Sinai: 47

a.       The day they left Goshen: Nisan 15 (Num 33:3)

b.      The day they entered the Wilderness of Sin: Iyar 15 = Day 31 (Ex 16:1)

a.       The day they arrived at the final Sinai camp in the Wilderness of Sinai: Sivan 1 = day 47 (Ex 19:1)

2.      There is a wealth of information in scripture about many of the 50 Exodus locations. We know four locations for certain and using key clues in scripture, we are able to discern several others.

a.       Goshen

b.      Wilderness of Shur near el Bad in Midian, modern Saudi Arabia

c.       Ezion Geber near Elat on the Gulf of Aqaba

d.      Kadesh Barnea at modern Petra

e.      Dibon

f.        Shittim

g.       Mt. Nebo

h.      The location of the Jordan crossing in 1406 BC

3.      Using careful analysis, we have calculated the distances between each of the stops. We have calculated total distances as well as daily average travel rates.

4.      Miracles of red sea: there is a lot of detail in here about the canopy that protected from sun and rain and provided light to travel at night.

a.       Guidance: Exodus 13:21

b.      Shelter canopy from Sunlight and Rain: Isaiah 4:4-6; Psalm 105:39

c.       Protection from pharaoh's armies: Exodus 14:19, 24.

5.      Two verses say that God gave them supernatural help crossing the depths of the Red Sea:

a.       "Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; As the cattle which go down into the valley (red sea), The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest." Isaiah 63:11-13

    1. "Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. " Psalm 105:37

6.      Two verses say they travelled day and night with miraculous light for night travel. Standard daily travel rates in ancient times are therefore irrelevant.

a.       "The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." Exodus 13:21-22

b.      "“And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day, and with a pillar of fire by night to light for them the way in which they were to go." (Nehemiah 9:12)

 

I. Exodus Route Travel Calendar by Steven Rudd: March 2020

A. Bible timing from Ramses to Mt. Sinai is 47 days:

1.              The Bible tells us that it was a 47-day journey from Goshen to Sinai.

a.                   They left Goshen on Passover (15th day of the first month) and arrived at the Wilderness of Sin on the 15th day of the second month and arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai on the 1st day of the third month. This equals 47 days.

b.                   It took 24 days to travel 500 km to the Red Sea and they spent 8 days camped there waiting for Pharaoh's army to come. It took 22 days to travel 200 km to Sinai after the Red Sea including 8 days camping in the wilderness of Sin and 3 days battling the Amalekites at Rephidim.

2.              Num 33:3 and Exodus 12:51 tells us Israel was driven out of Egypt by Pharaoh the day after Passover night (Nisan 15)

a.                   "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord's Passover." Leviticus 23:5.

b.                   "They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the sons of Israel started out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians," (Numbers 33:3)

c.                    "Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the Lord, as you have said." Exodus 12:31.

d.                   "And on that same day (Nisan 15) the Lord brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts." Exodus 12:51

3.              Exodus 19:1 tells us they ended the trip when they reached the Wilderness of Sinai on the 1st day of the third month (Sivan 1) "In the third month (Sivan 1) after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai." Exodus 19:1

a.                   Since the Law of Moses was given on Pentecost, this means that they arrived on the first day of the third month, not the 15th day of the third month.

b.                   On that very day (19:1b) points emphatically to the day of the new moon, the first day of the new lunar month, and not the whole first month (as NIV has it). This expression also recalls the time designations on this very day (12:17) and that very day (12:51), expressions almost identical to the one here.” (Believers Church Bible Commentary, Waldemar Janzen, Exodus 19:1, 2000 AD)

c.                    On the third new moon the closer definition “on that very day” shows that Hebrew ḥodesh, usually “month,” is here used in its original sense of “new moon.”” (Exodus, Jewish Publication Society, Nahum M. Sarna, Ex 19:1, 1991 AD)

d.                   If they arrived on the 15th day of the third month, they arrived after Pentecost, missing an important messianic synchronism of where both the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ were revealed on Pentecost Sunday (Isa 2:2-5; Acts 2)

e.                   While the Tiran Red Sea crossing has time to spare in arriving at Sinai well in advance of Pentecost on day 47, the Nuweiba crossing forces them to arrive after Pentecost in a full 61-day journey from Goshen.

4.              Exodus 16:1 tells us that when they entered the Wilderness of Sin on the 15th day of the second month (Iyar 15)

a.                   Nisan 15 to Iyar 15 is exactly 31 days after leaving Goshen with a 30-day month.

b.                   "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 (Iyar 15) after their departure from the land of Egypt." Exodus 16:1

c.                    Since the total trip was 47 days, arriving at the Wilderness of Sin on day 31 means they were only 22 days away from reaching the Mt. Sinai.

5.              Exodus 16:1: In 1446 BC Nisan and Iyar both had 30 days not 29 days.

a.                   A 30-day Hebrew month is confirmed by Josephus in Antiquities 2.316 when he say they had 30 days of food, meaning they ran out on the 31st day when they entered the Wilderness of Sin.

b.                   “The lunar calendar measured time by lunations; a lunation is the interval of time, expressed in days, between two successive new moons. Each lunar month, beginning when the thin crescent of the new moon first becomes visible at dusk, averages just over 29½ days. The moon actually orbits the earth in about 27⅓ days; because the earth is meanwhile moving around the sun, it takes the moon 2 extra days to come to the same position between the sun and earth and produce a “new moon.”” (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Calendars, p 400)

c.                    It is also possible to have up to 4 consecutive 30 day lunar months:

                                                               i.      Nisan, Iyar and Sivan were 30 day lunar months: “the lunar year is divided into twelve months: 1–3, 7–9 have 30 days; 4–6, 10–12 have 29” (AYBD, Calendars, vol 1, p 818)

                                                             ii.      “Now, I want to assume that every month thereafter is 30 days long. (That is what we are looking for – can there be 5, consecutive, 30-day months?) So looking at the data, we see everything is fine – as annotated by “OK” in the far-right column till we see that the 5th consecutive 30-day month has added up to 150 days, yet the “real” moon has added up only to 148.753 days (that is, the real months can be no more than 149 days when rounded to whole days for calendar purposes), so our calendar is 1 day ahead if we insist on a 30-day month that last lunation (the red one – 30 days). But what we see is that that last calendar month must instead be 29 days so our calendar total is 149 to match the “real” moon of 148.753 days (rounded to 149) in 5 months. This illustrates that it is possible only to have 4 consecutive 30-day months and the calendar still works. … The conclusion: That no, five, consecutive lunations can exceed 148.88 days. So if the month you stared with was itself a 30-day month, then the 5th lunation including that starting 30-day month, will end up no greater than 148.88 days long, thus, you’d find that only 3 months after the 30-day month in which you began, you’d be forced to follow it with a 29 day, 5th month, to keep the calendar in-sync with the real moon.” (On the possibility of 5 consecutive 30-day months, William J.  Welker, 2015 AD)

6.              The Red Sea crossing was on day 25 from Goshen: (Iyar 9)

a.                   The author noticed an important fact that the Bible begins counting days after crossing the Red Sea but not before. For the first time in the route itinerary, Moses indicates Israel travelled 3 days to Marah in the Wilderness of Shur. There are only two stops to reach the hard calendar marker of day 31 at the Wilderness of Sin.

b.                   Israel travelled three days in the Wilderness of Shur (days 26-28) and arrived at Marah. They travelled one day and arrived at Elim on day 29. They travelled another day and arrived at 2nd Red Sea camp on day 30. Finally, on day six after crossing the Red Sea, the entire 3 million Hebrews arrived at the Wilderness of Sin on day 31 which was Iyar 15 (Ex 16:1). Scripture tells us they travelled “3 days” from the Red Sea to Marah and that Moses arrived on day 31.

c.                    This is a total of six travel days after crossing the Red Sea to reach the Wilderness of Sin on day 31 from Goshen.

d.                   Counting six travel days back from day 31 (Iyar 15) we can be certain the Red Sea crossing was on day 25 (Iyar 9).

e.                   A Red Sea crossing at the Straits of Tiran on day 25 is a perfect fit for the timing and topography. No other candidate Red Sea crossing location is a perfect fit for a day 25 Red Sea crossing.

 

B. Ancient literary Sources confirm a 47-day journey from Goshen to Sinai:

1.        The 47-day exodus itinerary alone refutes the Nuweiba exodus route of Glen Fritz because even he admits his 555-mile (888 km) route cannot be travelled in less than 53 days. Fritz calculates Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai on day 64-65 and he added 12 “arbitrary” filler days to delay the arrival from day 53 to day 65.

2.        The 47-day journey predated Christianity by 200 years and is not a “late Rabbinic tradition” as Fritz and other commentators commonly suggest:

a.         “The biblical timing of Pentecost 50 days after Passover is not being disputed here. What is disputable is the late rabbinic tradition that Pentecost also commemorated "the giving of the law”. … It must be recalled that the 2nd century AD development of Rabbinic Judaism occurred after the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which caused the rabbis to face the reality of a Judaism without sacrificial worship. This situation catalyzed an emphasis on the oral traditions of the Torah, which were recorded in the Mishnah ca. AD 200, and subsequently expanded in the Gemara." (Exodus Mysteries, Glen Fritz, p450, 2019 AD)

b.        For Fritz to call oral traditions that were recorded in the Mishna in AD 200 a “late tradition” is puzzling since the Mishna represents one of the earliest written Jewish traditions extant today. Although the Babylonian Talmud could be considered a later tradition must of its content merely echoes the Mishna (AD 200) and the Tosefta (AD 250) and other traditions that predate Christianity by hundreds of years.

c.         It is well documented that the oral traditions in the Mishna predate Christianity by hundreds of years.

d.        The correct scholarly approach would be to say the earliest known written Jewish sources all unanimously confirm the 47-day journey where the Law was given on Pentecost and none of them provide any evidence for a 61-day journey.

e.        The correct scholarly approach would be to say that the 61-day exodus itinerary is without any confirmation from the earliest literary sources or traditions.

f.          The correct scholarly approach would be to say that the 61-day exodus itinerary is in fact a very late tradition.

3.        170 BC: book of Jubilees: Ex 24:12-18, Moses’ 6th ascension

a.         “In the first year of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, in the third month on the sixteenth day of that month (Sivan 16) , the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Come up to me on the mountain, and I shall give you two stone tablets of the Law and the commandment, which I have written, so that you may teach them. (Ex 24:12-18)” (Book of Jubilees 1:1, 170 BC)

b.        The book of Jubilees confirms arrival before Pentecost: Day 60 was Moses 6th Ascension: Ex 24:12-18

c.         The Book of Jubilees is referring to the 6th ascension of Moses when he physically got the stone tablets. Moses orally heard the Ten Commandments on his third ascension but did not get the two tablets of stone until his 6th ascension.

d.        Some misread the Book of Jubilees to say that Israel arrived on day 60 (14th day of 3rd month, Sivan 14) and then three days later, on day 62 (16th day of 3rd month, Sivan 16) God ascended Mt. Sinai with trumpet blasts, fire and thunder and gave the Law to Moses.

e.        The Jubilees specifies that the two tablets of stone were given on Moses’ 6th Ascension up Mt. Sinai not his 1st ascension: Ex 24:12-18

                                                               i.      Sivan 1: Israel arrives at Sinai. (Ex 19:1)

                                                             ii.      Sivan 2: On Moses’ 1st ascension he returned to the camp with an oath for people: Ex 19:3-8.

                                                           iii.      Sivan 4: On Moses’ 2nd ascension God said to get ready for the third day: Ex 19:8-14.

                                                           iv.      Sivan 7: On Pentecost Moses’ made his 3rd ascension and the mountain exploded with trumpet blasts, fire and thunder and gave orally the Law to Moses: Ex 19:18-25, 20:1-26.

                                                             v.      Sivan 14: It was Moses’ 6th (sixth) ascension that God gave the two tablets of stone of the Ten Commandments during Moses’ 40 days at the summit: Law to Moses: Ex 24:12-18

f.        The book of Jubilees proves a 47-day journey not 60 days because it says that Moses got the tablets of stone on Sivan 16 which would be day 63. Although we time the events of Ex 24:12-18 to Sunday Sivan 14, it doesn’t make any difference. We could easily shift the 6th ascension to Sivan 16 (day 62) and it would make no difference because in either case, it would be impossible for Israel to arrive on day 60, have Moses ascend the mountain 5 times in two days before Moses Got the two tables of stone on the 6th ascension as per  Ex 24:12-18.

4.        AD 70: Josephus: Three months: 90 days or three inclusive months

a.         “And going gradually on, he came to Mount Sinai, in three months’ time after they were removed out of Egypt” (Josephus Antiquities 3.62)

b.        Jewish inclusive counting is well documented in the three days (Friday to Sunday) in both the triumphal entry and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ (Luke 13:32). Several other examples of three day periods being less than 72 hours are Queen Esther (Esther 4:16 + 5:1), faithless Jews: (Matthew 27:63-64), starving servant: (1 Samuel 30:12-13). Most notably is the fact that 72 literal hours (three days and three nights) was called four days by Cornelius (Acts 10:3+9+23+24+30).

c.         In non-inclusive counting, three months means 90 days, which contradicts both those who say the journey took 60 days. Using this reasoning, if Josephus wanted to say 60 days, he would have said two months. So either Josephus was wrong or he was using inclusive counting.

d.        Josephus used standard inclusive counting because the exodus spanned parts of three months but literally 47 days, the same way Jesus was in the tomb parts of three days but literally 38 hours.

e.        The three months of Josephus are counted as 47 days: Nisan 15-30 (15 days); Iyar 1-30 (30 days); Sivan 1 (1 days).

f.          Josephus therefore actually confirms the earliest written Jewish traditions.

g.         Anybody who objects that Josephus confirms the 47-day exodus itinerary are forced to say Josephus actually recorded a 90-day journey, which contradicts their own 60-day exodus itinerary.

h.        The only two options in interpreting Josephus’ “three months” are to reject the 90 days as an error he made or confirmation of the 47-day itinerary.

i.           Josephus’ statement therefore agrees with all the other earliest literary sources that all confirm a 47-day exodus journey.

5.        AD 160: Seder Olam Rabbah: Ten commandments given day 47 on Pentecost: Sivan 6

a.         “For the next five days Moses ascended the mountain, descended, told the people the words of the Omnipresent, and returned their answer to the Omnipresent. In the Third month, on the Sixth of the month, the Ten Commandments were given to them on a Sabbath day.” (Seder Olam Rabbah 5:31, Rabbi Yose ben Halafta, 160 AD)

b.        In a stunning confirmation of our exodus calendar, Sivan 6 falls on a Sabbath in both our chronology and Sedar Olam Rabbah’s chronology confirming a 47-day journey.

c.         Seder Olam dates Pentecost to Sabbath Sivan 6 (day 52) and we date Pentecost to Sunday Sivan 7 (day 53). This proves they arrived in Sivan 1 not Sivan 15.

d.        Rabbi Yose ben Halafta follows the first century tradition that Pentecost fell on different days as opposed the the Sadducees Moses and the New Testament that teaches Pentecost always fell on a Sunday. Seder Olam therefore is in error by saying Pentecost occurred on a Sabbath rather than a Sunday. This is just another in series of revisions where Jews in AD 160 at Zippori changed Masoretic Text and key chronological events in the Old Testament to disconnect Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In truth, Pentecost always fell on a Sunday and although they could not break the well-known synchronism between the Law of Moses and Christian Pentecost in Acts 2, they wanted to disconnect the day of the week for both event falling on the day Jesus rose from the dead.

6.        AD 400: Augustine: Calculates a 47-day journey and the synchronism of both laws given on Pentecost:

a.         In a stunning confirmation of our exodus Chronology, Augustine specifically states that the journey between Goshen and Sinai was 47 days.

b.        Augustine emphasized the direct messianic connection between both the Law of Moses and the Law Christ were given on Pentecost. This proves the journey was 47 days.

c.         “The Pentecost too we observe, that is, the fiftieth day from the passion and resurrection of the Lord, for on that day he sent to us the Holy Paraclete whom he had promised. This was prefigured in the Jewish Passover, for on the fiftieth day after the slaying of the lamb, Moses on the mount received the law written with the finger of God.” (Augustine, Against Faustus the Manichaean 32.12, 400 AD)

d.        “But, the fifty-day period is also praised in Scripture, not only in the Gospel, because the Holy Spirit came on the fiftieth day, but even in the Old Testament. Therein, fifty days are numbered from the celebration of the pasch by the killing of a lamb, to the day on which the law was given on Mount Sinai to the servant of God, Moses.’ This law was ‘written with the finger of God,’ and this finger of God the New Testament explicitly identifies with the Holy Spirit. For, when one Evangelist has: ‘By the finger of God, I cast out devils,’ another says this same thing thus: ‘By the spirit of God, I cast out devils.’ Who would not have this joy in the divine mysteries, when the redemptive doctrine shines with so clear a light, rather than all the powers of this world though they be infused with unwonted peace and happiness? Do not the Seraphim cry to each other, singing the praises of the Most High: ‘Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts’? Thus the two Testaments agree faithfully in proclaiming the sacred truth. A lamb is slain, the pasch is celebrated, and after fifty days the law, written with the finger of God, is given in fear: Christ is slain, who was led ‘as a sheep to the slaughter,’ as the Prophet Isaias testifies, the true pasch is celebrated, and after fifty days the Holy Spirit, who is the finger of God, is given in love.” (Augustine to Januarius, Book 2, Letter 55, 400 AD)

e.        The law was given on the day of Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. But I said I was going to prove that the Jews received the law on the fiftieth day from the Passover, or Pasch, which we both celebrate. You have it that they were commanded to kill the lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month, and to celebrate the Passover. Of that month there are seventeen days left, if you include the fourteenth day itself, on which the Passover begins. We come now to the desert, where the law was given, and this is what scripture says: But in the third month from when the people was brought out of Egypt (Ex 19:1) the Lord spoke to Moses that those who were going to receive the law should purify themselves in readiness for the third day, on which the law was to be given. So at the beginning of the third month a purification is commanded in readiness for the third day. And Passover begins ... —Pay close attention, please, or the numbers may set your heads spinning, and bring a fog down upon your understanding. I am opening the thing up as best I can, with the Lord's approval. If you help me with your attention, you will soon grasp what is being said; but if that's lacking, whatever I say will remain obscure, even if it is said ever so plainly ... — So the Passover is announced for the fourteenth day of the month; and a purification is ordered, so that the law may be given on the mountain, written by the finger of God; and the finger of God is the Holy Spirit. Remember, we proved this from the gospel. So a purification is proclaimed, in readiness for the third day of the third month. So from the first month deduct thirteen, and seventeen are left, as you begin from the fourteenth. Add the whole second month; it makes forty-seven days; from that day of purification to the third day, it makes fifty days. Nothing could be plainer, nothing more obvious, than that the Jews received the law on the day of Pentecost.” (Augustine Sermon 272B, On the Day of Pentecost, 417 AD)

7.        AD 500: Babylonian Talmud: Moses received the Torah on Pentecost proves a 47-day journey:

a.         “Said R. Eleazar, “All concur with respect to Pentecost that we do require ‘for you’ as well. How come? It is the day on which the Torah was given.” (Babylonian Talmud, Pesahim 68A, 500 AD)

8.        AD 1735: Midrash, Tanḥuma: Moses received the Torah on Pentecost proves a 47-day journey:

a.         “And in the same manner, the holiday of Pentecost (Shavuot) for the giving of the Torah” (Midrash, Tanḥuma C, Derech Hashem, Part Four, On Divine Service and the Calendar, Manuscript C, 1735 AD)

                                                                     

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

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

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Goshen

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

Day 1

Goshen

Nisan 15: Departed in Daylight

Num 33:3

 2

3 Start counting 7 Sabbaths for

Pentecost

4

5

6

7

8

9 Succoth

Overnight camp

10 day 8 of Pentecost Nisan 24

11

 12

13 

14 

15

Migdol

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

Rephidim

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

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

 

 

D. Calendar of events at Sinai from arrival to departure: Days 47 – 335

Detailed outline on the Eight Ascensions of Moses up Mt. Sinai: click here

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

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

54

Sivan 8

55

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

Moses ascends with Aaron. laws repeated Ex 20-23

56

57

5th ascension
Ex 24:9- 11 Sivan 11

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, 70 elders.

58

59

60-99
Sivan 14

6th Ascension
Ex 24:12-18
Moses’ 40 days

40 days Moses was on the Mt. Sinai
God provides a stone copy of the 10 Commandments and reveals the plan for the tabernacle contained in Exodus chapters 25-31

99

Golden calf, breaks tablets

100
7th Ascent
Ex 32:30-33:23
Depart for Canaan.

101

Sabbath

102 - 141 days from Goshen (40 days inclusive)
8th Ascension: Ex 34:1-9; 2 Cor 3
The people mourn when they learn God will not be with them in the promised land. Moses spends another forty more days on the mountain, then returns. God replaces the 2 tablets; God passes by while Moses was in the cleft of the rock. God said he would perform new miracles and Moses face is shining in view of the people so he puts a veil over his face. Ex 34:1-9; 2 Cor 3.

Other events at Mt. Sinai:

  1. Jethro visits:
    1. Sometime during the time at Sinai, but after Moses had received the law, Jethro visits and gives advice to Moses to set up thousands, hundreds and tens to help judge the people: Ex 18.
  2. Tabernacle is set up:
    1. On the first day of the first month (Nisan 1) of the second year, the tabernacle is set up for the first time. this is about 7 months after they had arrived at Sinai and 15 days short of one year since they left Egypt. Ex 40:2,17
    2. Sometime during the month of Nisan, second year, Nadab and Abihu are killed by God for using strange fire. They were drunk did not focus on the seriousness of the Holiness of God. Lev 10:1-9; Numbers 3:4
  1. On the first of the second month Moses takes a census: Num 1:1
  2. Moses asked Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, to join them and be a scout for them. At first they say no, but then, like the parable of the two sons, changed his mind and joined Moses. They got an inheritance with the tribe of Judah: Judges 1:16; 4:11. This shows that Mt. Sinai must be near Midian since Hobab must have been familiar with the local area to be scout. How could a Midianite be a scout in the modern Sinai peninsula, since the traditional Mt. Sinai (Mt. Musa) is 300 km from the town of Midian (modern Al Bad)? Num 10:29-32. It is very sad that 40 years later, likely long after Jethro died, the Midianites joined with the Moabites to curse Israel through Baalam. The Kenites were representing the elders of Midian: Num 22:4,7 + 24:18. Perhaps God knew this would be the tragic outcome and that is why Moses asked Hobab to join them. Just as Jesus asked the rich young ruler to give everything up and join Him for a promised future reward, Moses asked Hobab. The rich young ruler refused and was eternally lost, but Hobab accepted and gained a better inheritance. One generation later: Pharaoh who knew Joseph was kind, but the next Pharaoh enslaved them. (Ex 1:8). In the same way, Jethro the priest of Midian and his son Hobab, were allies to Moses, but 40 years later, likely after Jethro died, the elders of Midian were enemies of Moses. (Num 22:6)

Day 335 from leaving Goshen, Israel departs from Sinai for promised land after spending 11 months, 5 days at Sinai: Numbers 10:11-12

 

E. The Eight Ascensions of Moses up Mt. Sinai:

  1. 1st Ascension: Tuesday Sivan 2, Day 48 from Goshen: Ex 19:3-8
    1. Moses Ascends Mt. Sinai and returns with oath for people to obey the Law soon to be revealed.
    2. Moses returns to the camp and asks the people if they will keep the law soon to be revealed. The people reply yes.
  2. 2nd Ascension: Friday Sivan 4, Day 50: Ex 19:7-14
    1. Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to give God the people's "yes" answer. God says to be ready on the third day (Sunday Sivan 7, day 53 from Goshen) when he will descend on the Mountain in fire: Ex 19:7-14. The people are told to walk to the base of the mountain from their camp and be ready for God's coming. God tells Moses to set up boundaries around the mountain so the people cannot break through, climb the mountain and die.
    2. The third day= Friday to Sunday: There is a direct triple correspondence between the Sinai, the Triumphal entry and the crucifixion since all were periods of three days between Friday and Sunday: Luke 13:32.
    3. As the Israelites waited as instructed the third day, for God to descend on Mt. Sinai, they suddenly looked due north 100 km and saw God in the wilderness of Paran. God "dawns from Seir" like a sunrise in its glory, until He is hovering directly over Mt. Sinai. The Israelites watched in wonder and were amazed at the beauty and splendor of God as He came closer and closer to them where they stood. One of the most interesting facts about the Wilderness of Paran, is its connection with God's appearing at Mt. Sinai. When Israel was encamped at the foot of Mt. Sinai (Mt. Al-Lawz), God thundered, in a volcanic level display that terrified the Israelites. But three verses explicitly tell us that God dawned from the north like a sunrise, or like Elijah's small cloud the size of a man's fist in the distance that became a storm (1 Kings 18:44). God dawned from Mt. Seir until he came to Mt. Sinai and made the mountain turn to fire before Israel. They were terrified. The four key verses that describe "dawning from the north" are: Deut 33:2; Isa 63:1-2; Judg 5:4; Hab 3:3-7. 40 years later, when Israel was at Mt. Seir, God gave the "go ahead" to finally start their way to the promised land by the command, "Now turn North". In fact Mount Seir is absolute due south of Jerusalem and absolute due north of Mt. Sinai in modern Saudi Arabia. There are several passages that repeat this pattern of God coming "from the North". Most notably is Ezekiel's vision where God came from a distant storm in the North finally to overshadow him. (Ezekiel 1:4) Job describes God as coming from the North in golden splendor. (Job 37:22-23) Lucifer, the king of Babylon describes God's throne as being in the far north. (Isaiah 14:13-14) Psalm 48:1-2 describes Jerusalem as being located in the "far north". Further detailed study.
  1. 3rd Ascension: Pentecost Sunday, Sivan 7, Day 53: Ex 20:18-25; 20:1-26

a.       God descends on Mt. Sinai in fire and He calls Moses to climb the mountain. Ex 19:20

b.      Moses hears the Ten Commandments and other laws including building altars.

c.       God tells Moses to go back down and warn the people again to stay away from the mountain so they will not die, then come up again (4th) with Aaron. Ex 19:21

  1. 4th Ascension: Ex 19:24, Sivan 9, Day 55

a.       Moses ascends with Aaron only where Ten Commandments and other laws are repeated for Aaron who hears the Ten Commandments and various other laws found in Exodus chapters 20-23

b.      Moses and Aaron. God tells Moses to descend and return with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and 70 elders of Israel. Moses goes back down and tells the people what God has said. Deut 24:1-3

c.       Moses descends and writes down the words in the Book of the Law, which will eventually be placed on the side of the ark. Ex 24:1-4

d.      Moses builds an alter with 12 pillars at the foot of the mountain for the twelve tribes. He then sprinkles the alter with blood. Ex 24:4-6

e.      Moses read the book of the law to the people and after they agreed, he sprinkled the people with blood of the covenant. Ex 24:7-8

  1. 5th Ascension: Ex 24:1; 9-11 Sivan 11, day 57
    1. Moses now returns to the mountain with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and 70 elders of Israel. After seeing God and eating the group descend to the foot of the mountain. Ex 24:9-11
  2. 6th Ascension: Sunday Sivan 14, day 60-99: Ex 24:12-18
    1. Moses begins 40 days on the Mountain and receives two tables of stone:
    1. Day 60-99 inclusive counting equals 40 days ending on day 99 after leaving Egypt
    2. God calls Moses up with Joshua to the mountain to receive the two tablets of stone with the ten commandments written by the finger of God. Ex 24:12
    3. Moses spends 40 days on the mountain (6th) where God reveals the plan for the tabernacle. Exodus chapters 25-31
    4. After 40 days, Aaron makes the golden calf as Moses was on the mountain for 40 days. In one of the most fascinating interaction between a man and God in the Bible, God tells Moses He will kill all the Hebrews who sinned and make Moses into a great nation. Moses pleads for the people. Then God changes his mind and says he won't kill them. Moses physically throws 10 commandments at the people who had made the golden calf, rebukes Aaron. Moses grinds up the golden calf and makes them drink the gold dust. Then Moses commanded the Levites to kill about 3000 of the idol worshippers. Ex 32:7-29
  1. 7th Ascension: Day 100 from leaving Goshen: Ex 32:30-33:23
    1. The next day, Moses climbed Mt. Sinai (7th). God tells Moses is to take them into the promised land with God's angel as protection, but God himself will not go with them. Moses goes down the mountain. God strikes down a number of the Hebrews who sinned. Ex 32:30-35
    2. When the people hear that God's angel will lead them but God himself will not go with them, the people get sad and they remove all their jewelry. Ex 33:2-6
    3. Moses continues to plead with God for the people and says, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" God says He will show Moses his Glory on the Mountain. Ex 33:18-23
  1. 8th Ascension: Days 102 - 141 days from Goshen (40 days inclusive): Ex 34:1-9; 2 Cor 3.
    1. God tells Moses to cut out two replacement tablets and God calls Moses back up to Mt. Sinai (8th), where God passes by while Moses was in the cleft of the rock.
    2. Again Moses asks God to join them on the journey to the promised land. God changes his mind finally and tells Moses he will lead them to the promised land.
    3. Moses spends forty more days on the mountain, then returns.
    4. God said he would perform new miracles and Moses face is shining in view of the people so he puts a veil over his face. Ex 34:1-9; 2 Cor 3.

 

F. Calendar of events between Sinai and Kadesh Barnea: about 11 months

1.       Israel departed Sinai on Day 335 after leaving Goshen

a.       "Now in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth of the month, the cloud was lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony;" Numbers 10:11

b.      Israel departs from Sinai for promised land after spending 11 months, 5 days at Sinai.

c.       Since they left on the 14th day of the first month, this means they had been traveling one year, one month and one week, since leaving Egypt.

d.      Using the syntax of “year:month:week” for the amount of time they spent at Sinai we get: 1:1:1 = 1 month:1 week:1 day.

2.       They navigated about 20 stops over a period of between 10.5 and 11 months between Sinai and Kadesh Barnea

a.       "Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh." Numbers 20:1

b.      They arrived at Kadesh Barnea in the first of the month of the third year or exactly 24 months after leaving Egypt.

c.       They celebrated their second Passover at Sinai, then leave almost immediately afterwards for Kadesh. They arrived at Kadesh and immediately celebrated their third Passover.

3.       They spend 38 continuous years at Kadesh Barnea (they do not leave and come back), then depart for the Jordan in the 40th year.

a.         Many commentators mistakenly believe Num 20:1 was the 40th year, but they are wrong.

b.        The verse tells us they arrived at Kadesh in the first month, but does not tell us the year!

c.         It does not say, "the first month in the 40th year".

d.        Since Israel left Sinai in the second month of the second year after leaving Egypt (14 months), this means they arrived at Kadesh in the first month of the third year after leaving Egypt or 24 months.

e.        More details: Israel spent 38 continuous years at Kadesh Barnea

 

G. Calendar of events between Kadesh Barnea and the Jordan River: about 9 months

1.      Israel Crossed the Jordan exactly 40 years after leaving Goshen to the day:

a.       Aaron died on the 1st day of the 5th month of the 40th year of the wilderness wandering (summer 1407 BC).

b.      Shortly after mourning Aaron for 30 days, the people left Mount Hor, defeated the Transjordan nations, and then mourned for Moses 30 days.

2.      They crossed the Jordan on the 10th day of the 1st month of the 41st year (spring, 1406 BC), four days before the 41st Passover, which was exactly 40 years to the day they left Goshen.

3.      They started counting sabbatical years and Jubilee after crossing the Jordan. (Num 33:38; 20:28; Deut 34:8; Josh 4:19; 5:10)

 

III. Understanding Jewish dating and times:

A. Jewish days started at sundown not midnight:

  1. The entire world today uses the Roman method of reckoning days from Midnight to Midnight.
  2. Jewish days began at sundown. This means that if it is 5 pm on a Friday night and you are just getting off work, two hours later (Roman time 7 PM) would actually be Saturday.
  3. This is helpful to know because in the Wilderness of Sin they arrived on a Saturday, and after sunset, that evening while they were in the camp, God revealed the Sabbath for the first time using manna as an instructor. So from Roman time, God revealed the Sabbath on Saturday evening 8 PM, but to the Jews, it was a the 1st day of the week (Sunday).
  4. We are very glad because the Jewish method of time keeping would be awkward to implement today.

 

B. Jewish inclusive reckoning method of counting days:

  1. Biblical Jews counted days differently from how we count today. Jews used the inclusive counting system.
  2. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and rose from the dead on the first day (Sunday) Three days and three nights: Friday crucifixion - Sunday resurrection. For us this would only be two days, but for Jews it was three days.
  3. On the Friday before "Palm Sunday", exactly one week before Jesus died, Jesus said: Luke 13:32 "Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today [Fri] and tomorrow [Sat], and the third day [Sun] I reach My goal."
  4. Even during the Exodus there is an excellent example of Jewish inclusive time keeping. The Bible says: "The Lord also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people." Exodus 19:10-11
  5. Notice that even Jesus counted three days as a duration from Friday to Sunday. He started counting today as day one.
  6. We don't count this way. Today is day 0. For the Jews today is day 1.
  7. We need to keep this in mind when calculating days the way the Jews did.
  8. For example, when it says they went three days into the wilderness of Shur after crossing the Red Sea, this would be a Monday to Wednesday duration for the Jews.
  9. They counted a day even if there was only one hour left in that day.
  10. For a full discussion about Jewish time keeping see this.

 

IV. Calculating Exodus dates and times:

A. Calculating the days of the week at the Wilderness of Sin: Day 31 from Goshen

  1. The primary way we have used to calculate the days of the week for the Exodus journey is based solely on their visit to the Wilderness of Sin. It is there God first revealed the Sabbath.
  2. 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.
  3. In Ex 16:1 God revealed the Sabbath for the very first time in world history. Contrary to the unbiblical ravings of Seventh-day Adventists, Adam and Abraham never kept the weekly seventh day Sabbath (Saturday). In fact the word Sabbath is never even used once in the book of Genesis. The Sabbath was a Jewish holy day that was abolished by God when he nailed the first covenant to the cross. Col 2:14-17 clearly teaches that the Law of Moses, including the 10 commandments, were nailed to the cross. The New Testament passage specifically states that Christians are free to eat "unclean foods" (pork) and that all the system of Jewish holy days, yearly (Passover), monthly (new moon) and weekly (7th day Sabbath) are all nailed to the cross. Christians do not keep the Jewish Sabbath, but worship on the first day of the week: Sunday. Christians assembled every 1st day (Sunday) for the Lord's Supper: Acts 20:7 and are commanded to give every Sunday: 1 Cor 16:2.
  4. In Ex 16, It was the 7th day of the week when Moses revealed the sabbath cycle. We know this because the day after was the first day of work, namely Sunday or the 1st day of the week. In other words, when God said to Moses on the 7th day these words: "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." Exodus 16:4-5. These words would have been spoken on the Sabbath they arrived and grumbled about having no food. The very next day had to be a Sunday, or the 1st day of the week.
  5. What is clear, is that God used Manna to teach them, for the first time, about the weekly Sabbath day. In order to do this, it would mean that they are camped in the Wilderness of Sin for the full week (Sunday - Saturday).
  6. Since manna fell in the early morning and melted by mid-day, this also proves that God instructed Moses the words of Exodus 16:4-5 on the day before the first morning Manna fell: Saturday.
  7. From this, we can quite safely determine that they arrived in the Wilderness of Sin on a Saturday and grumbled about being hungry. God gave them Manna for 6 days, then on the Sabbath they rested for the first time in world history. Then they departed early Monday morning to continue the journey in stages, since the terrain ahead was difficult and narrow.
  8. The Holy Spirit has told us in Exodus 16:1, that they arrived in the Wilderness of Sin on day 31 after leaving Goshen which was the 15th day of the second month and left the wilderness of Sin on day 39. This leaves 8 days to travel from the Wilderness of Sin till they arrived on day 47 at Mt. Sinai. We know this because we are told they arrived in Sinai on the 1st day of the third month or day 47 after leaving Goshen. They might have even traveled at night. The Bible says that they travel by night by the pillar of fire.
  9. Now that we have determined the day they arrived and left the Wilderness of Sin, we can use this as a benchmark to determine the days of the week before and afterwards.

 

B. Calculating the day of the week they crossed the Red Sea: Sunday day 25

  1. In a most natural calculation backwards from the wilderness of Sin, we discover something incredible, that they crossed the Red Sea on Sunday, Iyar 9. This is a shadow of the fulfillment of the day of First Fruits (Lev 23:10-12) which always fell on a Sunday. Israel was "saved" by coming through the Red Sea. This would fit the New Testament antitype of water baptism very well. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 10:1-4 that passing through the Red Sea with the wall of water on either side and the cloud over head was an antitype of our full immersion into Christ for the remission of our sins. Israel was "baptized into Moses" and Christians are Baptized into Christ. The Hebrews were saved from the slavery of Egyptian bondage, Christians are saved from the slavery to sin. Any Hebrew who refused to cross the Red Sea and be Baptized into Moses would be killed the Egyptian army. Likewise anybody today who is not water baptized will be lost in hell because their sins are not forgiven. See these verses: Mk 16:16; Acts 2:28; 22:16; Rom 6:2-4; 1 Pet 3:21 and take this on line interactive study on water baptism.
  2. Rom 6:3-4 tells us that our baptism is a symbol of the death burial and resurrection of Christ and that we are raised from the dead to new life when we rise from the waters of Baptism. Since Christ was raised from the dead on a Sunday and since water baptism is a symbol of this resurrection and since the crossing of the Red Sea was an antitype of water baptism, it is most natural to expect that God would orchestrate, through his power and providence, that Israel would be baptized into Moses on a Sunday.
  3. Israel crossed the Red Sea on a Sunday, Iyar 9, on day 25 after leaving Goshen.

 

C. Calculating the day of the week of Passover: Wednesday

  1. Since the Bible tells us the fact that the entire trip was 47 days from Goshen to Sinai, we can now calculate the day of the week that Passover fell upon when they left Goshen.
  2. This is done by knowing they arrived on a Saturday at the Wilderness of Sin, which the Bible tells us is day 31 after leaving Goshen (Ex 16:1)
  3. Passover (Nisan 14) was 32 days before they arrived at the Wilderness of Sin.
  4. Counting back the days of the week makes Nisan 14 a Wednesday.
  5. They killed the lamb on Wednesday during the day, ate it after sunset on Nisan 15 (Wed night) and departed the following day (Thursday) during daylight hours.

 

D. Calculating the day of the week of Pentecost: Sunday day 53

  1. Pentecost means "the 50th day" after Passover. But the counting did not always start immediately after Passover as we will see.
  2. Recent Jewish tradition states that the Law was given on Pentecost, which is 50 days after the first Sabbath following Passover. Although we cannot trace this Jewish tradition very far back in history, it is very likely correct. On the other hand even the Jews of Jesus' time were notorious at adding to or changing God's Law.
  3. Pentecost always fell on a Sunday. Pentecost was calculated by counting 50 days, where day #1 is the first Sabbath after Passover. Since Passover could fall on any day of the week, sometimes there was up to a 6 day wait until the first Sabbath came by and you started counting the 50 days. When that Sabbath came, it was day one, then you would count seven additional Sabbath days for a total of 49 days. They next day after the seventh Sabbath was Pentecost.
  4. This means that if Passover fell on a Sunday, for example, they would not start counting the fifty days until the next Sabbath 6 days later.
  5. The actual number of days between Passover and Pentecost could vary from exactly 50 days if Passover fell on a Friday to as many as 56 days if Passover fell on a Sunday.
  6. On day 47 from Goshen, they arrived in the Wilderness of Sinai on a Monday.
  7. Pentecost fell on the Sunday after the next Sabbath day. This was day 53 after leaving Goshen.
  8. On Pentecost, Moses ascended ascends Mt. Sinai and returns with law (Ex 19:3-6). Jewish tradition fits very nicely into this time scale.

 

E. God "Dawned from Seir on Mt. Sinai" on Pentecost Sunday 1446 BC

1.       Day 47 (Sivan 1) On Monday Israel arrives at Sinai and Moses gave them water out of the Rock at Mt. Sinai that was promised several days earlier at Rephidim (Meribah).

1.      Day 48: (Sivan 2) 1st ascension of Moses: Ex 19:3-8. Moses ascends Mt. Sinai and returns with oath for people to obey the Law soon to be revealed (Ex 19:3-6)

2.       On Friday Sivan 4, (day 50) Moses ascends Mt. Sinai 2nd time. God says be ready on the third day which was Pentecost Sunday (Ex 19:8-14). Moses told them that God would descend on Mt. Sinai three days later and to prepare themselves during these three days. Friday was the only day they had to wash their clothes because the next day was the Sabbath. This may be where the first century tradition that “preparation day” was their word for “Friday” because on Friday they prepared for God on Pentecost.

a.         The Bible says: "The Lord also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people." Exodus 19:10-11

b.        This means the duration would be a Friday - Sunday. This method of counting is typical of the inclusive counting system of the Jews. This further illustrates how Jesus was in the tomb three days, yet it was a duration of Friday 3 PM to Sunday 6 AM.

c.         This matches the three day sequence of the Triumphal entry: "And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today [Friday] and tomorrow [Saturday], and the third day [Sunday] I reach My goal.’" (Luke 13:32)

d.        This matches the three day sequence of Friday crucifixion being raised the third day on Sunday.

3.       Counting the day after the 7th sabbath makes Pentecost day 53 after leaving Goshen on Thursday Nisan 15.

4.       God dawned from Seir and descend upon Mt. Sinai on Pentecost Sunday (day 53, Sivan 7) as described in Hebrews 12.

 

IV. Calculating distances between stops: Red Sea to Sinai

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Itinerary from Goshen to Red Sea Crossing at Tiran

Bible texts

Day # from Red Sea

Weekday

distance from last stop

Goshen to Succoth

Exodus 12:37; 13:20; Numbers 33:5-6

1-9

Thursday- Friday

240 km

Etham: 460 km. (Passes Red Sea Camp at 436 km then 24 km to Etham)

Exodus 14:1-4: 13:20; Numbers 33:6-8

10-16

Saturday – Friday

220 km

Red Sea Camp: 484 km

Exodus 14:1-4

17-24

Saturday-Saturday

24 km

Cross Red sea: 500 km

Exodus 14:13-31

25

Sunday

16 km

 

 

 

Total

500 km

 

Itinerary from Red Sea Crossing to Mt. Sinai at Lawz

Bible texts

Day # from Red Sea

weekday

distance from last stop

Wilderness of Shur

to Marah

Day 25-28

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

3

Sun – Wed

50 km

Elim Day 29

12 springs, 70 palms

4

Thursday

20 km

Red Sea Camp Day 30

 

5

Friday

10 km

Wilderness of Sin

Day 31-38

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

6-13

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

20 km

Dophkah Day 39-40

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

14-15

Sun - Mon

22 km

difficult terrain

Alush Day 41

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

16

Tuesday

23 km

difficult terrain

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

Exodus 17:1-9; 18:27

17-19

Wednesday- Friday

30 km

Sabbath in Rephidim Day 45

 

20

Saturday

0

Wilderness of Sinai Day 46-47

Exodus 19

21-22

Monday

25 km

 

 

 

 

Total: 200 km

 

V. Calculating rates of travel from Goshen to Sinai: 700 km in 47 days

Trip

Distance

Total days

Camp days

Travel days

Daily rate of travel

Goshen to Red Sea (including Etham backtrack and Red Sea crossing)
(7 camp days at red sea)

500 km

24

7

17

29 km/day

18 miles/day

Etham backtrack distance from the camp by the Red Sea at the crossing point to Etham and back again (24 km x 2)

48 km

-

-

-

-

Red Sea Crossing at Tiran (16 km included in Goshen to Red Sea 500 km)

16 km

1

-

1

16 km/day

10 miles/day

Red Sea to Sinai
(Camp days: 7 days in wilderness of Sin including 1st sabbath, 3 days at Rephidim, 2nd sabbath)

200 km

22

11

11

18 km/day

11 miles/day

Goshen to Sinai (including Etham backtrack 44 km and Red Sea crossing 16 km)

700 km

47

18

29

24 km/day

14 miles/day

On day 17 when Israel backtracks from Etham, 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.

48 miles/hr.

 

100 km/hr.

62 miles/hr.

On day 18 Pharaoh's army begin pursued Israel with horses and 600 choice chariots (and other standard chariots for a total perhaps of 2000) from Egypt to where the angel stopped them. (Ex 14:6-9)

400 km

7

0

7

57 km/day

34 miles/day

Herodotus (450 BC): Mediterranean to Gulf of Suez

150 km

4

-

-

38 km/day

1.      You must also keep in mind the supernatural help that God gave the Hebrews during the Exodus.

a.       Nehemiah 9:12 and Exodus 13:21 says they traveled day and night by the light of the pillar of fire.

b.      Isaiah 63:11-13 and Psalm 105:37 say God miraculously prevented any of the 3.5 million from tripping during the Red Sea crossing. Young, old or crippled did not stumble once.

2.      There are only a 3-stops mentioned in the Bible between Goshen and the Red Sea: Succoth, Etham and the final the Red Sea camp before crossing. This has led many to wrongly assume it took only three day from Goshen to the Red Sea.

3.      Some people falsely assume the trip took only seven days. This assumption is based upon an inference about the 7 days of unleavened bread which was a memorial of when Israel left Egypt so quickly, that they did not have time for their bread to rise.

a.       But nowhere does the Bible say they ate unleavened bread for 7 days, only that there would be a seven-day period to remember that first day they left with unleavened bread. Day two, they ate leavened bread again.

b.      The Bible does not say, "Because you ate unleavened bread for 7 days after leaving Egypt, you will east unleavened bread for 7 days each year as a memorial."

c.       Instead the Bible says, (paraphrased) "You will not eat leaven for 7 days in remembrance of that one day you ate unleavened bread, when you first left Egypt.

4.      The Bible does tell us that the entire 700 km trip from Egypt to Mt. Sinai took 47 days.

a.       It was day 25 when they crossed the Red Sea and day 47 when they reached Sinai.

b.      It took 17 days to travel 500 km to the Red Sea and they spent 8 days camped there waiting for Pharaoh's army to come. We included the 16 km Red Sea crossing in the 500 km.

c.       It took 22 days to travel 200 km to Sinai after the Red Sea including 7 days camping in the wilderness of Sin and 2 days battling the Amalekites at Rephidim 3 days for the visit of Jethro at Rephidim including a second Sabbath day before reaching Sinai.

5.      Distance traveled from Egypt to Jebel Al-Lawz based upon actual route is 700 Km. It is 400 km line of sight as the bird flies.

a.       From Goshen to the crossing point of the Red Sea is 500 KM. Israel passed the Red Sea camp under the Migdol at 436 km from Goshen, then travelled 24 km to Etham at 460 km, then 24 km back to the Red Sea camp at 484 km and crossed the Red Sea (16 km) for a total of 500 km.

b.      These distances include the Etham and back the way they came, to the camp at the Red Sea before they crossed.

c.       Etham was 24 km past the point where they crossed, so the round trip was 48 km extra.

d.      The distance Pharaoh's army traveled from Goshen to where the pillar of cloud stopped them is 400 km. The angel stopped the Egyptian army on the coast of the Gulf of Suez 36 km short of reaching the Hebrew Red Sea camp which was 436 km from Egypt.

e.      It was 16 km (10miles) across the Straits of Tiran. The straight-line diagonal track ran north of the Enterprise Passage, not through it, to the shores of Arabia in the Wilderness of Shur.

f.        After they crossed into the wilderness of Shur, the distance to the camp in the wilderness of Sinai was 200 km.

6.      Average rates of travel must be based upon the total distance and the actual days they were moving. The total distance is 700 km and the total number of actual travel days is 29.

7.      Between Goshen and Sinai there were 18 rest days:

a.       7 rest days at the Red Sea before crossing waiting for pharaoh to arrive.

b.      7 rest days in wilderness of Sin.

c.       3 stationary days battling the Amalekites in Rephidim.

d.      1 rest day for the second sabbath.

8.      700 km between Goshen and Sinai their daily rate of travel was 24 km (14 miles) per day.

a.       Total distance Goshen to Sinai is 700 km.

b.      47 total days between Goshen and Sinai.

c.       18 rest days between Goshen to Sinai.

d.      29 travel days between Goshen and Sinai.

e.      700 km / 29 travel days = 24 km per day (14 miles per day).

9.      500 km between Goshen and the Red Sea crossing their daily rate of travel was 29 km (17 miles) per day.

a.       Total distance is 500 km in 24 total days but only 17 travel days = 29 km (17 miles) per travel day.

b.      There were 7 rest days while camped as bait at the Red Sea waiting for Pharaoh to arrive.

c.      Israel travelled 17 days and arrived at the Red Sea on day 17, which includes a night camp (day 9) at Succoth to collect the Hebrew slaves at the local turquoise mines at Serabit el-Khadim and Wadi Nasb. Messengers could be sent ahead of the main group to the miners in order to bring the Hebrew miner to the shoreline camp at Succoth.

d.       As Israel began to backtrack from Etham on day 17 it took only 4 hours for a passenger pigeon to travel the 400 km back to Egypt at 100 km per hour from the Migdol military watchtower which directly overlooked the Hebrew camp. (5 hours at 80 km per hour). Pharaoh would understand the topography of the area that he could arrive before Israel came back up the coast towards Egypt just past Succoth before they would have an eastern escape route. Pharaoh was triggered by the dead end and backtrack at Etham even before Israel reached the final Red Sea camp on day 17.

e.      Pharaoh easily travelled the 400 km in 7 days with 600 horse drawn chariots at a rate of 57 km per day (34 miles per day) and arrived on day 24 or sooner if he drove faster or longer each day. Navel support of supplies down the coast of the Gulf of Suez by ship would have made the trip even faster.

f.       Israel crossed the Red Sea on day 25.

10.  200 km between the Red Sea crossing and Sinai there were 11 rest days:

a.       22 total days between Red Sea and Sinai.

b.      7 rest days in wilderness of Sin.

c.       3 stationary days battling the Amalekites in Rephidim.

d.      1 rest day for the second sabbath.

11.  200 km between the Red Sea and Sinai their daily rate of travel was 18 km per day.

a.      22 total days between the Red Sea crossing and Sinai.

b.       11 rest days between the Red Sea crossing and Sinai.

c.      11 travel days between the Red Sea crossing and Sinai

d.      The average daily rate from the red sea to Sinai was 200 km / 11 actual travel days = 18 km (11 miles) per day.

12.  We would predict that their rate of travel would be lower after crossing the Red Sea, given the urgency of fleeing Egypt was gone. The rates of travel figures are realistic easily possible for a large crowd. Keep in mind that God gave them miraculous help and they traveled day and night and Israel could have arrived at the Red sea in 7 days.

a.       Daily travel rate before crossing is 29 km per day.

b.      Daily travel rate after crossing is 18 km per day.

13.  Herodotus said that the same basic area was traveled at a rate of 38 km per day.

a.       Herodotus (450 BC) said that the 150 km trip from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea (north tip of the Gulf of Suez) was a four days journey.

b.      This means they traveled 38 km (23 miles) per day.

c.       "Psammetichus left a son called Necos, who succeeded him upon the throne. This prince was the first to attempt the construction of the canal to the Red Sea - a work completed afterwards by Darius the Persian - the length of which is four days' journey, and the width such as to admit of two triremes being rowed along it abreast. (Herodotus 2.158)

d.      Considering they miraculously travelled day and night, the 3.5 million Hebrews travelled much slower Herodotus indicates was possible.

 

VI. Chronological markers of the Exodus

1.      Jacob entered Egypt in 1876 BC and the Exodus occurred

2.      In 1446 BC Israel left Egypt exactly 430 years after Jacob entered Egypt “to the day”:

a.       "And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:41)

3.      In 1406 BC Israel crossed the Jordan River 40 years “to the day”:

a.       "While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain." (Joshua 5:10-11)

 

 

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

 

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