Will the real Mount Sinai please stand up?

Steve Johnson
9 min readJul 12, 2021

Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, who was also the priest of Midian. Moses led the flock to the back of the desert, coming to Horeb, the mountain of God, also known as Sinai (Exodus 3:1). Controversy has long surrounded the actual location of Horeb or Sinai. Midian, where Moses fled after killing the Egyptian 40 years later, was located entirely in modern-day Saudi Arabia. This was ideal for Moses because it was outside of the control and influence of Egypt. However, Moses’ decision to hide in Midian may have been influenced by the presence of the Egyptian military in the Sinai Peninsula. Pharaoh’s soldiers were supervising the construction and operation of copper and turquoise mines throughout southern Sinai. Inscriptions on their walls and the surrounding ruins of ancient temples still provide visual evidence of Egypt’s presence there during the years of Moses’ exile. It is doubtful that, as a fugitive, Moses would have lived or traveled anywhere in the south Sinai with an army committed to his capture close at hand. The prospects of sanctuary in Midian, however, were far more significant (The Exodus Revealed).

Map of Moses moving to Midian

After 40 years, Moses wandered to the base of Mount Sinai. There, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame from a burning bush. Moses looked and saw that the bush was burning with fire even though it did not consume it. So, naturally, Moses did what anyone would do, right? He said (paraphrasing), “Gee, there’s a bush burning over there, but nothing is happening to it. That doesn’t happen every day. Let me go get a closer look and check that out.” When God saw that Moses was looking, he called to him. The first thing he had Moses do was take off his sandals because the ground he was standing on was holy. Then God informed Moses that, even though it had been hundreds of years, God heard the cries and sorrows of the Israelites because of their taskmasters. So he was finally going to deliver them from Egyptian bondage and bring them to the land he promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Genesis. Furthermore, God let Moses know that he had been selected to go to Pharaoh to demand their release and lead them out (Exodus 3:2–10).

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Steve Johnson

My interests are Jesus Christ and all things Christianity, news and politics, current events, conservatism, sports, and entertainment. And I love to write!