Mount Horeb/Choreb is Gebal Ghorabi and Mount Sinai is Gebal Saniya?
Israel's Woship of the Golden Calf is the Worship of Egyptian Sun-Calf?

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

06 March 2004 (Revisions through 23 June 2011)

Please click here for my latest map (21 Nov. 2009) showing the site of Israel's "crossing of the Red Sea" 
in the Exodus as being at Ras el Ballah (my Baal-zephon)

On the below map, the Egyptian miner's Hathor Temple appears as "Temple." To the WSW of the "Temple" lies Gebal Serabit el Khadim; to the east of Serabit el Khadim lies Gebal Ghorabi (which appears on other maps as Gharabi); to the south of Gebal Ghorabi lies Gebal Saniya (cf. map titled Abu Zenima. Sheet 5. Egypt 1:100,000. Southern Sinai. Survey of Egypt 1936).

I understand that Rephidim is preserved in Serabit el Kadim, perhaps p becoming b in Arabic and the "Se-," and "-it" possibly being an Arabic prefix and sufformative? The "rock in Horeb" associated with Rephidim in Exodus 17:6 (Hebrew/Aramaic: Choreb) I understand to be one of the smaller elevations in the high plain bounded by the Temple, Serabit el Khadim and Ghorabi (Ghorabi possibly preserving in Arabic the Hebrew Choreb/Horeb?). I note that a Wadi descends from Gebel Ghorabi is this wadi the river that came forth from the rock struck by Moses at Rephidim? 

The map also reveals that this wadi has other sources too, Gebel Saniya and Bir Umm Agraf. Does Agraf recall 
Rephidim? Does Gebel Serabit el Khadim recall Rephidim?

I understand that Mount Sinai might be (?) Gebal Saniya. By locating Israel in this plain, we have her to the west of Gebals Ghorabi (Choreb/Horeb?) and Saniya (Mount Sinai?) and in a position to witness the rising Sun in the east each day. In scripture Yahweh is metaphorically said to have "dawned from Mount Sinai, Seir and Paran" (De 33:2 RSV) suggesting Israel is encamped to the west of all these locations. I identify Paran and its wilderness with the Feiran Oasis and Wadi Feiran to ESE of Serabit el Khadim (not shown on this map).

In this plain (south of the Hathor Shrine), have been found Egyptian Turquoise and Malachite mines, along with Miner's encampments, Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions on shattered steli-form rocks and burial tumuli, all of which I understand "became" Israel's encampments at Rephidim, Horeb and Sinai. The area has not only Egyptian Hieroglyphic inscriptions, but pottery debris of the Egyptian Old Kingdom (2686-2184 BC)  through New Kingdom (ca. 1560-1200 BC), as late as ca. 1133 BC and the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses VI (ca. 1141-1133BC). Did the shattered steli-form Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions "become" Moses' Shattered Ten Commandments on two tables of stone? Did the worship of Hathor the "Golden One" the cow sky-goddess who gave birth to the sun-calf at dawn also called the Golden Calf in Egyptian hymns become recast as Israel worshipping a Golden Calf?

I understand that Judeans at the Feiran Oasis (their 9th/8th century BC pottery being found there) possibly visited the area of Serabit el Khadim and finding the Egyptian inscriptions and shattered Proto-Sinaitic steli-form inscriptions, incorporated these elements into the Exodus story.
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Horeb is pronounced in Hebrew according to Strong as Kho-rabe':

Strong 2722 Horeb, ChorebKho-rabe', "desolate;" from 2717 Charab khaw-rab' or Charebkhaw-rabe', "to parch."

(James Strong. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Hebrew & Chaldee Dictionary. Waco, Texas. Word Books. 1977).

The issue before us is: Does Arabic Ghorabi "preserve" Strong's Kho-rabe' (Choreb, Horeb)?

In the 1840s-1860s it was the fashion to render in English today's Ain el Qadeis (Kadesh-barnea for some scholars) Ain Gadis and Ain Qudeirat as Ain Guderat or Kudeirat. Is it possible that Khorabe'  is Ghorabi allowing Gadis to be an alternate rendering of Qadeis or Kadesh?

Chandler (1919) notes various spellings for the city of Qurnah at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq revealing that Q, K, and G are interchangeable for various spellings on maps:

"...Qurna, Kurnah, Gornah...the reputed Sumerian paradise, lies at the junction of the Tigris and the old channel of the Euphrates. The new channel flows into the Shatt-al-Arab at Garmat Ali, a few miles above Basra, but it is the old channel that serves for our line of communication with the Euphrates force...The palm trees and the fig leaf were the only paradisaical things we found in Eden. Even the serpent was invisible, though his works remain and the knowledge of evil thrives preposterously."

(p. 271. Edmund Chandler. The Long Road to Baghdad. London. Cassell & Company, Ltd. 1919. Vol. 1)

The Septuaginta Bible written in Greek in the 3rd century BC according to tradition renders Sinai as Sina and Horeb as Choreb:

Exodus 17:5 & 19:1 Septuaginta (Sir Lancelot  C. L. Brenton translation of 1851. London)

"Behold, I stand there before thou come, on the rock in Choreb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and water shall come out from it...And in the third month...they came into the wilderness of Sina..."

The Hebrew pronunciation of Sinai according to Strong:

Strong 5514 Cinaysee-nah'ee, of uncertain derivation

(James Strong. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Hebrew & Chaldee Dictionary. Waco, Texas. Word Books. 1977).

Does Arabic Saniya preserve See-nah'ee (Sinai)?


I am in agreement with the adage that behind myths are usually real historical events that have been recast and embellished almost beyond recognition. I am attempting here to identify the "historical kernels" behind the Exodus "myth" with sites and real events in the Sinai as revealed by archaeology and via a study of Egyptian beliefs regarding a solar "Golden Calf" which they worshipped.

(1) The worship of a Golden Calf may recall worship by Canaanite miners of the sky cow-goddess Hathor at Serabit el Khadim? She bore the title Nubt meaning "golden" after Nub "gold." In myth she gave birth each morning to the sun in the form a sun-calf. Old Kingdom Pyramid texts have Pharaoh asking to board the solar bark or boat that crosses the heavens each day, in this request he states he is a "golden calf," so in myth, a golden calf (a deceased pharaoh) rides the solar barge across the sky while other myths have the sun at daybreak being born of a golden cow (Hathor/Nut) as a calf.

(2) The grave tumuli (rock cairns) at Serabit el Khadim near the Hathor shrine may be what is behind the notion of Israelite graves for the worshippers of the Golden Calf (Egyptians and Canaanites who worshipped Hathor desiring to be buried near her shrine as she admitted the dead into the underworld and cared for them)?

(3) The proto-sinaitc inscriptions found on shattered stone tablets lying at the base of mountains in the area near mines may have been recast as Moses' shattered 10 Commandments?

(4) Gebels Ghorabi and Saniya may recall Horeb (Kho-rabi') and Sinai?

(5) The smelting of metal objects for the Tabernacle at Sinai/Horeb may allude to the metallurgical activities at Serabit el Khadim the mining of copper ore and malachite for jewelry as votives presented to Hathor the "Golden One."

(6) Aaron tells Israel the Golden Calf "lead" them to Horeb/Sinai and is their god. Israel is traveling east from Egypt to the Sinai. At daybreak she would take her bearings by facing the sunrise and following the sun. The Egyptian sun-calf from an Egyptian point of view was indeed leading Israel east to Mount Sinai/Horeb.

(7) Those scholars who insist that there must be archaeological debris from either the Late Bronze Age 1540-1200 BC or Iron Age I 1200-1100 BC to "locate" Mount Horeb/Sinai by (there are over a dozen site proposals) are _not_ making an unreasonable request. Serabit el Khadim does possess pottery debris evidence of _both_ of these periods.

Cartouches of Pharaohs exist at this location from Ahmose I (1540 BC) through Rameses VI to circa 1130 BC, which is the Iron Age I period.

(8) When all the above clues are brought together, it appears to me that the "historical kernels" behind the Exodus account of events at Mount Sinai/Horeb seem to support the area of Serabit el Khadim and its worship of a bovine sky-goddess who gave birth to the sun each sunrise as a sun-calf and the pharaonic claim that as a Golden Calf a deceased pharaoh rode a solar barge each day with the sun god Re. Please click here for a picture of the sun as a calf on the solar barge.