Found at Sarbut al-Khadem
Don’t lose track of where we are on the journey. I have been addressing the claim by Baruch Halpern from the University of Pennsylvania, who claims there is no proof for the Exodus story as found in the Bible. I have spent some time on the proof that has been unearthed by David Rohl’s research into the New Chronology of the time frame of the reigns of pharaohs of Egypt. We have seen when we look in the correct time in the historical record we find proof for the record as handed down to in the Bible. I have given you reasonable evidence to accept that Joseph was indeed the Grand Vizier of the North and the one who did all that is recorded of him in the pages of the Bible.
From Rohl’s research we have an estimation of Moses birth in 1527 BC. We are told from the Old Testament that Moses was 80 the time of the Exodus.
Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh. (Exodus 7:7)
Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. (Joshua 14:10)
If that is true then Moses would have been between 72 and 85 at the accession of Dudimose. The Biblical date for the Exodus has been calculated by Thiele as being 1447 BC. The available data appears to be us telling one integrated story. The sources are unconnected and yet intriguingly consistent in the way in which the pieces match up.
Now let’s jump ahead to a place called Sarbut Al-Khadem on the Sinai Peninsula and what has been found there. There is a region surrounding Sarbut Al-Khadem called the Valley of the Writing (Wadi Mukatteb). Local Arabs have found a series of inscriptions which seem to provide us with an account of the Exodus journey from a source which is not Biblical. They are not the words of Moses from the Pentateuch.
Diodorus Siculus, a Greek Historian, was the first in modern history to record these inscriptions in 10 BC. He described them as being found at an altar on the Sinai Peninsula by the Ichtheopaghi, a people group who inhabited the shores of the Red Sea. In addition to the inscriptions, Siculus recorded an Ichtheophagi legend of a mighty reflux of the Red Sea that happened “in former days”.
Cosmas Indicopleustes, a Byzantine adventurer and writer, reported these same inscriptions in 535 AD. He described them as being found “at all halting places” through the area. He claimed they were written in a combined alphabet of 12 ancient Hebrew characters and 11 characters from the Egyptian Demotic script. Interesting. The dominant sentence pattern is Egyptian. Local Arabs call Sarbut Al-Khadem “the graveyard of the Jews”. To which dead Jews do these inscriptions refer? The only ones they can refer to are those who travelled across the Sinai at the time of the Exodus.
Here then are some of the inscriptions:
“The Hebrews flee through the sea; the sea has turned to dry land.”
“Their enemies weep for the dead, the virgins are wailing. The sea flowing down overwhelmed them. The waters were let loose to flow again.”
“The people drink, winding on their way, drinking with prone mouth, Jehovah gives them drink again and again.”
“The people have to drink to satiety; in crowds they swill. Flesh they strip from the bone, mangling it. Replete with food, they are obstreperous. Surfeited, they cram themselves; clamoring they vomit.”
“The people are drinking water to repletion. The tribes weeping for the dead, cry aloud with downcast eyes.”
“Congregating on all sides to ensnare them, the people voraciously devour the quails. Bending the bow against them, bringing them down. Eagerly and enormously eating the half raw flesh, the pilgrims become plague-stricken.”
“The people given over to destruction, cry aloud.”
“The apostates smitten with disease by God, by means of feathered fowl.”
“Smitten by God with disease in the sandy plain, exceeding the bounds of moderation.”
No inscriptions are quotes from the words of Moses but all substantiate what is written in the books of Moses. The facts match what we know from the Bible but are also in accord with what we know from history and linguistic background. It certainly seems as though we have an extra biblical source which confirms the Bible account of part of the wanderings he Sinai Peninsula before they crossed the Red Sea. What adds realism to these inscriptions is that many of them are found in the midst of drawings of quail carved in the same rock. It appears as though Sarbut Al-Khadem is the biblical Kibroth Hattaavah, or if not, it was close to it.