Where is the mount of God?

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God manifested Himself to Israel at Horeb at the “Mount of God.” Horeb and Sinai are two different names for the same mountain (Ex. 19:11; Deut. 4:10). Since the 5th century a.d., Horeb has been recognized as one of the mountain peaks in the south central part of Sinai called Jebel Musa, “the Mount of Moses.”

The mount of God at Horeb is c. 7,500 ft. high and rises about 1,500 ft. above the neighboring valleys. This mountain is unseen from the largest plain of the neighborhood, the er–Raha, which has been regarded as the “desert of Sinai” (Exodus 19:2). This plain can easily accommodate a great number of people and has water springs.

However, Ras es–Safsaf (c. 6,600 ft.), which is another top of the same mountain, oversees the plain er–Raha. For this reason many Bible scholars who accept the traditional identification of the plain er–Raha with the desert of Sinai, regard Mt. Sinai to be related to Ras es–Safsaf rather than with Jebel Musa.

Others Bible students have regarded the mountain of the law with the Jebel Serbal, which lies some 15 mi. to the northwest of Jebel Musa, as the most remarkable mountain of the whole Sinai Peninsula. Jebel Serbal, has a height of only c. 6,750 ft. It is not the highest mountains of the terrain but upsurges sharply out of the Wadi Feiran, which has an elevation of about 2,000 ft.

It is the great variance in elevation that is reason for the grandeur of Jebel Serbal. This is one of the reasons why some scholars see in it the Horeb, and in the Wadi Feiran the “desert of Sinai” of Exodus. The second reason is that the tradition tying Jebel Serbal with Mt. Sinai seems to be earlier than the one identifying Jebel Musa with Mt. Sinai.

Since no sure proof has been found to support either identification, we can’t confirm whether Horeb is Jebel Musa, on whose hills is the world known monastery of St. Catherine, where Tischendorf found the Codex Sinaiticus, or the surrounding Ras es–Safsaf, or even Jebel Serbal.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

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