Mount Sinai

From Academic Kids

For other places named Mount Sinai, see Mount Sinai (disambiguation)
Sunrise on the Mount Sinai
Sunrise on the Mount Sinai
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View from the summit of Mount Sinai
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Sinai Peninsula, showing location of Jabal Musa

Mount Sinai is the name of the mountain where, according to the Bible, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. Since the time of Saint Helena it has been identified with Jabal Musa (or Gebel Musa), a mountain 2,285 meters high in the southern Sinai Peninsula. The Arabic name means Mount Moses.


Biblical Mount Sinai

Mt. Sinai is most famous for its importance in the Bible, in the book of Exodus. Whether modern-day Gebel Musa is the same as the biblical Mount Sinai, however, is the subject of much religious and scholarly contention.

In the bible, Mt. Sinai also called Mt. Horeb and the mount of God.

Jewish scholars have long asserted that the exact location of Mount Sinai was unknown, the reason being that its location was purposefully terra incognita. This is unsurprising since it is one of the holiest places in their religion, most famous for being the place where Moses was said in the Bible to have received the Ten Commandments from God.

In Biblical times it's place was well known as in the discription of Josephus: taking his station at the mountain called Sinai, he drove his flocks thither to feed them. Now this is the highest of all the mountains thereabout, and the best for pasturage, the herbage being there good; and it had not been before fed upon, because of the opinion men had that God dwelt there, the shepherds not daring to ascend up to it. Josephus Flavius, Antiquities of the Jews, Book II, CHAPTER 12. it was known in the days of Ahab, king of Israel, as we read in the story of Elijah jurney: "And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God" 1Ki:19:8:

the latest mention of the place is in the New Testement: "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia" GALATIANS:4:25:

The location of the mountain was since forgotten. the present location in Jebel Musa was made by two monks that claimed they found the Burning Bush of Moses, about 300 ce. this bush is located today in the monastery of Santa Catarina, Egypt. this location of mount Sinai survived almost 1700 years and become part of tradition. the real biblical Location, though, is still unknown.

The name Sinai comes probably from moon God Sin, same as the Desert of Sin. Judaism teaches that as soon as the Jewish people received the Bible at Mt. Sinai they would be hated by the rest of the world for having been the ones to receive divine word (a word game: Sinai as Seen-ah which means hatred). The area was reached by the Hebrews in the third month after the Exodus. Here they remained encamped for about a whole year. The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus, together with the whole of Leviticus and Numbers ch. 1-11, contain a record of all the transactions which occurred while they were here. From Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-13) the Israelites journeyed to "the desert of Sinai," and encamped there "before the mountain."

Jabal Musa

The part of the mountain range, a protruding lower bluff, known as the Ras Sasafeh (Sufsafeh), rises almost perpendicularly from the plain, and is identified by some as the Sinai of history. Local tour groups and local religious groups advertise this mountain as the same Mount Sinai described in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, Old Testament). Historians and archaeologists point out that there is no one accepted tradition as to which mountain is the "real" Mount Sinai, and in fact there are several other small mountains in the area that some groups hold to be the real one.

Other sites

There is a considerable weight of historical counterevidence to support the view that the mountain now known as Mount Sinai and its biblical namesake are not coterminous. Other sites have been suggested. The book The Gold of Exodus by Howard Blum opts for Jabal al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia. Prof. Colin Humphreys has argued in favor of the volcano Hala-'l Badr further south in Arabia in his book The Miracles of Exodus. An erupting volcano would explain many of the phenomena described in Exodus.

See also

External links

he:הר סיני ja:シナイ山 pl:Gra Synaj pt:Monte Sinai sv:Sinai berg


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