The Sinai Peninsula and the Exodus -- By: Tommy Brisco

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 07:4 (Autumn 1978)
Article: The Sinai Peninsula and the Exodus
Author: Tommy Brisco

The Sinai Peninsula and the Exodus

Tommy Brisco

[Tommy Brisco is a teaching fellow in biblical backgrounds at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.]

Few areas on earth match the splendor and mystery of the Sinai. Incredible beauty awaits the visitor in this land of sparse population and climatic extremes. The Sinai Peninsula is basically a desert, but the varying geological formations make it curiously diverse. Even so, the area is relatively unknown in terms of exploration, Men like E. H. Palmer, Edward Robinson, and Sir Flinders Petrie penetrated the land in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and gave a remarkable amount of information upon which more recent archaeologists and explorers are building.

The Sinai Peninsula is a triangle of land approximately one hundred and fifty miles in length across the top and two hundred and sixty miles in length along the sides. Two arms of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqabah, flank it on the west and east respectively. Travel in the interior of the peninsula is largely restricted to the wadis. It is not unreasonable to assume that the roadways and major tracks of today follow in good measure the ancient tracks. The area is sparsely inhabited primarily by Bedouins who congregate around the major water supplies. The Bedouins (“desert dwellers”) are becoming increasingly sedentary as old life styles give way to more modern habits. However, it is not unusual to come upon a Bedouin woman tending to herds in a wadi as her ancestors have for centuries past.

The Sinai Peninsula has been inhabited as far back as the Middle Paleolithic period. Flints from the southern Negev and Sinai proper attest to this fact.1 During the Chalcolithic period (ca. fourth millennium B.C.) numerous sites in south Sinai, the southernmost Negev, and the southern Arabah testify to the existence of a civilization with copper metallurgy.2 During

Early Bronze Age II (ca. 2850-2650 B.C.) Amiran has noted cultural relationships between southern Sinai and Arad, leading her to postulate that miners, smiths, or traders sought out the area, motivated by a search for copper ore.3 This early connection with mining operations in south Sinai and the peoples of the northeast may be significant in light of Moses’ possible associations with Kenites (Jud. 1:16; 4:...

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