National Geographic : 1976 Jan
CLOUDED BY UNCERTAINTY, the actual route followed by the Israelites from bondage in Egypt to deliverance in the Promised Land has been the subject of endless scholarly debate much of it intriguing, little of it provable. While most conjectured routes begin near the eastern edge of the Nile Delta and end just northeast of the Dead Sea in Jordan, the way between can only be guessed at, since few of the stopping places mentioned in the Bible can be located with cer tainty. Arrows on the map above indicate two possible routes through Sinai-one a generally southern route with Jabal Musa as Mount Sinai, the other a northern route with Jabal Hilal as Mount Sinai. Both routes converge at the oasis of Ayn al Qudayrat, commonly identified with the Biblical Kadesh-barnea. From Kadesh-barnea to Mount Nebo, atop which Moses died, new per plexities arise, for the Bible seems to indicate two separate routes by which the Israelites skirted the land of Edom, whose ruler had refused them pas sage. Some scholars postulate that different groups of Israelites took different routes-which might explain the seeming discrepancy.