. . . don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.Hebrews 3:8
Our List of the Places of Rebellion in Order
- Mt Sinai
- Kadesh Barnea
We now come to the final place listed as a place of rebellion. Kadesh-Barnea. You can see from the map the confusion which prevails in locating Paran and Kadesh-Barnea. The locations marked by dots are Kadesh-Barnea while the area or regional names in capital letters refer to PARAN. Remember this place is referred to as Kadesh Barnea in the wilderness of Paran. Kadesh is the Hebrew word for ‘holy’. Thus we have the Holy place of Barnea in the desert or the wilderness of Paran. However, I am sure you have noticed on this map that the southern location for Paran (.) is marked as a place and not a region. This is a reference to the place Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin not Kadesh-Barnea. The usual location for the region of Paran is the northern most area marked as PARAN. There is much to be said about this place but I am not going to say it all. It is significant in that it was the place where God intended for the Israelites to go. Remember the quote I have used before.
In the second year after Israel’s departure from Egypt—on the twentieth day of the second month—the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle of the Covenant. So the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sinai and traveled on from place to place until the cloud stopped in the wilderness of Paran. When the people set out for the first time, following the instructions the LORD had given through Moses . . .Numbers 10:11-13
This was the place the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire took them to. God intended that they go from Sinai in the Wilderness of Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea in the Wilderness of Paran. All of the other stopping places were of their own causing. Many of those places had benign names but due to the Israelites’ rebellion the places came to be known by other names. Names which were not so pleasant or comfortable. However, there is more to be said about Kadesh-Barnea and Paran. Why are these significant places so fraught with vague locations? Why, as I have asked before, are places which should be so distinct and easy to locate, so clouded in vagueness and being given multiple possibilities as to their location? Well let’s investigate with Kadesh-Barnea and Paran in mind.
Here are the other references to Kadesh Barnea which we need to consider:
“Why do you want to discourage the rest of the people of Israel from going across to the land the LORD has given them? Your ancestors did the same thing when I sent them from Kadesh-Barnea to explore the land.Numbers 32:7-8
Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea, going by way of Mount Seir.Deuteronomy 1:2
“Then, just as the LORD our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-Barnea, I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the LORD our God is giving us. Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’
But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’
“This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes.Deuteronomy 1:19-23
“Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-Barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the LORD had vowed would happen.”Deuteronomy 2:14
And at Kadesh-Barnea the LORD sent you out with this command: ‘Go up and take over the land I have given you.’ But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God and refused to put your trust in him or obey him.Deuteronomy 9:23
From the references I have given you it will be clear not only that Kadesh-Barnea is one of those places of rebellion but I think you will get a hint as to why Kadesh-Barnea is difficult to locate. The journey from Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea was normally an eleven day journey on foot. However, the Israelites managed to turn it into a 38 year journey, which was then from, a Hebrew perspective, rounded off to 40 years. Why? Because forty is the number symbolic for testing or temptation. Poetically, metaphorically the number was rounded to ’40’ to make a point.
Furthermore, we know that they were in this area for a long time. They were on their way to the Promised Land, but they caused the delay both by the fact that earlier rebellious action had caused God to say “these ones would not enter the promised land”, including Moses. Some had been taken out by death of one form or another. Others it seemed were allowed to die naturally but still not having entered the promised land. So we find that for the next 38 years the Israelites go round and round in the proximity of Kadesh-Barnea or more appropriately in the region of Paran. More about that in the next Gem.
Given the fact that the Israelites wandered around in the Wilderness of Paran where numbers of place names are mentioned, gives rise to the fact that Bible scholars and cartographers end up associating Kadesh-Barnea and Paran with numerous places. Thus Paran and Kadesh Barnea end up being placed in numerous locations where the sense of location gets distorted. Furthermore, we end up with the notion on some maps that Paran was a place able to be located with a dot on a map (as seen above). This was not the case. Paran was the area of the wanderings and Kadesh-Barnea was a particular place in that region. But it gets even more confusing because apparently there was also a place(s) called Kadesh, but not Kadesh-Barnea. [Gen 4:17; 6:14; 16:14; 20:1. Num 20:1; 20:14, 20:16 (?); 27:14; 33:36-37 (?). All of which leads to confusion.
I will leave it there for this Gem in order to allow you to get your bearings before we get into deeper waters. Besides I waited for another day to see if anyone else apart from my mate Kev, was interested in any more background to Hazeroth or to an Ian story. There being no more I have moved on to Kadesh-Barnea. I also had another reason for doing that. This Gem (2072) and the next Nugget, which I will write for Monday didn’t match or run in sequence well. So I decided to switch them. No I have not had problems with my speech or any hints of another stroke as one person asked when the Gem didn’t appear yesterday. I am still fine; I just figured timing wise it was better to delay the Gem and switch the order with the Nugget.
Confusion is a word we have come up with for something puzzling which we do not yet understand.Ian
It’s good to be confused about something; confusion gives rise to inspiration and creativity if we handle it in the right way.Ian
You can’t follow your heart when it is more confused than your head.Ian
Hardcore thinkers are more provoked by confusion than the most painful truths.Anonymous