Some people think they found Mount Sinai in this 24-minute video clip. The above pictures are taken from this video clip, which is fascinating. Googling “the real Mount Sinai” will give you two or more ideas as to where the real Mount Sinai was. One article by a Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) scholar, who believes differently, is a much longer and more involved read. I’ll summarize my general impressions here.
The people in the above-referenced 24-minute video clip believe Mount Sinai was not at Saint Catherine’s Monastery but in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s location has been hotly disputed. To me, the absence of archaeological evidence doesn’t conclude anything. I wanted to believe the video clip because it was nice to envision this as the real Mount Sinai. But more than that, it’s possible because this location was probably a volcano at one time. Black basalt, volcanic rock covers the whole mountain. If it was covered with a volcanic eruption after the Israelites were there, likely all archaeological evidence that could’ve existed became engulfed by the burning lava. But the more I learned, the more I also had to face it’s possibly not the right location for many other reasons. It’s just that none of these reasons prove anything with certainty.
This location in Saudi Arabia is called Jebel al-Lawz. The black basalt rock makes this mountain quite different in appearance from all the surrounding hills and mountains, and it is the highest in the area. Since there was a fire on top of the mountain, with smoke, rumblings, and lightning, I suspect it was an active volcano when the Israelites were there. The cave near the top is deep and large enough for a man to sleep in. Archaeology proves this cave was used as a first-century AD Nabatean tomb. But I’m not convinced the cave wasn’t there before it was used in this way. I just honestly don’t know what to think. 12 cylindrical white rocks seem likely to have been stacked on top of each other to make their memorial pillar. At least I didn’t find anything BAS had to say that was convincing against this.
There’s what seems to be a V-shaped altar at the foot of the Mountain. Also, a place where the Israelites may have set up their golden calf. But the cows engraved on the side of the mount were probably destroyed by Moses when the golden calf was. This article also claims there are about 50 other rock art sites with bovine scratched on them in the same area.
In the above-referenced video, it was fascinating to go from this “Mount Sinai” back to the place where the Israelites would’ve crossed the Gulf of Aqaba. There’s a high mammoth rock split down the middle where it seems that God provided Israel with badly-needed water when Moses first struck the rock. This mammoth rock is absolutely amazing. The amount of water needed to supply so many people and animals, for the year or so they were there, was likely lake-size. A powerful geyser that could split this mammoth rock in such a dramatic way would be just what they needed.
The people in the above-recommended video also think they found the place called Marah where the water was so bitter. They could still taste its bitterness four hours after they tasted a little of it on their fingers. They went on to the place called Elim where there were twelve springs and palm trees. Quail is also known to migrate over this area, and sometimes they can land in sheer exhaustion in large numbers.
Watching this video clip was an eye-opener for me, even if it’s not the real Mount Sinai. I could envision myself looking out from the cave near the top of the mountain. Moses was high up the real Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights. His view would’ve likely been this remarkable if the cloud didn’t always block it. What a privilege it would’ve been to be so close to God. Yet with Christ in our hearts, we can by faith in the Bible experience this same nearness every day, wherever we are.
Do you experience this same nearness?
The above picture is a map of the Exodus and a collage of pictures from the above-recommended web link.