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View Diary: D'var Torah: Chukkat (32 comments)

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  •  Hard to Say (4+ / 0-)

    If they had gone directly from Egypt to the River Jordon, they would have traveled something like four to five hundred kilometers.  But according to the Exodus narrative, they didn't; they first went to Mt. Sinai, then to Canaan, then back into the desert, then noodled around in the desert for a few decades, and only then did they circle around and approach Canaan from the east.

    Scholars differ as to the exact route descibed in Scriptures, because like they taught me in Sunday School, the Children of Israel were Wandering in the Wilderness.  The quick Googling I did to try to answer your question didn't give me any good numbers, but one source suggested that it could have been a thousand kilometers -- if it happened.  The same source observes that most scholars today think that the Exodus story was invented some centuries later to give the Israelites an Origin Story.

    That's about the best answer I can give you now.  I'm sure that someone out there has methodically mapped out each of the sites mentioned in Exodus and Numbers and calculated the distances between them.  One site I found did that for the trip from Egypt to Sinai and came up with a distance of 750 km, but then it bases that on a route which differs from one rktect posted above.  And, as mentioned, that was only part of the journey.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:08:59 AM PDT

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    •  The Exodus story is much more than an origin (5+ / 0-)

      story for me. I love the Passover because it offers me an opportunity each year to reinvent myself, finding new sources of exile from God to work on. It is a psychological passage from one state to another and an opportunity for growth.

      It doesn't really matter to me what archaeologists have to say. Poetic truth can trump historic truth as we develop meaning in our lives.

      And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen .................@laurenreichelt

      by TheFatLadySings on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:20:04 AM PDT

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      •  Albert sez... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, ramara, Navy Vet Terp

        Like Albert the Alligator said about a different document:

        "I don't care if Shakespeare didn't write all seven acts of the Constitution; it's still my favorite play!"

        "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

        by quarkstomper on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:29:11 AM PDT

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      •  I find that being able to identify the route (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, ramara, quarkstomper

        and corroborate that part of the historical romance of the Exodus which actually is historical and not just  romance adds a lot of poetry in its own right. For example where the story talks about the cleft in the Rock at Petra when you actually see pictures of the cleft of the Rock at Petra its pretty dramatic.

        Previous studies of the route as originating in the delta at Ramses or Avaris had the wrong starting place, the wrong time period, the wrong route, and found no correlation in the Sinai peninsula despite noting the bulk of the action takes place at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Even worse were attempts to cross the reed sea across the bitter lakes instead of the Red Sea.

        For some reason, despite that people in that time period were regularly crossing the Red Sea back and forth from Elim to Elat to supply Thebes with mortuary materials by ship, and Hatshepset built a fleet just for that purpose, the idea of the Sons of Israel crossing the Red Sea by boat doesn't seem to connect for most people

        People reading those speculations had no problem deciding the whole story was a fairy tale.

        The archaeology and history provide actual evidence of the Exodus such as the twelve sites near Elat containing Egyptian artifacts to include Egyptian faience, artifacts of Hathor worship, and rods such as those described in the story.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 08:09:41 AM PDT

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    •  So between your estimate and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest

      rktect's below we are somewhere between 750 and 850 miles. Pretty close in estimates.  The tribes must have definitely been wandering and setttling for long periods of time because of the 40 years it took them. I saw a lecture where someone compared the route of the Jews in Exodus over 40 years with how many miles Alexander the Great traveled with the Macedonian troops in only 11 years. They covered an incredible amount of ground... thousands of miles. I guess that's because they were not "wandering".

      •  The tribes aren't wandering (3+ / 0-)

        They are first returning to Mount Horab then walking the metes and bounds of Edom and finally heading for Canaan.

        Many of the people were there because of the copper boom in the Arabah so they built camps and mined and smelted copper in and around Elat.

        As to it taking 40 years, not for the travel. They could cover about 8 miles a day because of having women and children with them as opposed to Alexanders 25 miles a day, but I suspect most of that 40 years was spent camped at Horab.
        That's where archaeology shows the more permanent settlements were.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 05:26:42 PM PDT

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        •  Having these details certainly helps (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest, rktect

          the narrative to make more sense. Thanks.

          •  religion needs to stop taking things on faith (3+ / 0-)

            and not be scared to look at the facts, because the facts actually make the Bible stories a lot more interesting.

            There is as inscription from the battle of Kadesh showing a couple of Shashu being beaten by Egyptians in which the claims of Joshua regarding who he was fighting in the hills of Aram during the conquest and the claims of the Papyrus anastasi give good grounds for the claim of the sons of the gods marrying the daughters of men and Titans.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 11:16:34 AM PDT

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