Another contender for Oboth:

Tell Abu Hitana on the same route but north of Ma'an and S of Wadi el Hesa. Due east of Feinan (Punon) is a Wadi Ghubaiyat who's mouth terminates at the "Way of the Wilderness Road to Moab." Could Ghubaiyat be Oboth? (cf. Atlas of Israel sheet I/12)


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Punon is rendered Phino in the Greek Septuaginta Bible (3rd century B.C.). The Arabs appear to have preserved it in its Greek Septuaginta rendering probably from Byzantine era Greek-speaking Christians, as khirbet Feinan. An Iron Age fortress has been found at Feinan and copper ore was processed in the area.

Septuaginta Nu 33:43,

"And they departed from Phino, and encamped in Oboth. And they departed from Oboth and encamped in Gai..."


Oboth is frequently identified with Ain el Weiba (modern Israeli: en Yahav) west of Feinan (Punon) in the midst of the Arabah valley south of the Dead Sea. Strong 88: oboth o-both' plural of 178, water skins; Strong 178: 'owb, obe; from same as 1 apparently through the idea of the hollow sound of a waterskin; Strong 1: 'ab, awb, father in a literal and immediate or figurative sense ("Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary." James Strong. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Waco, Texas. Word Books. 1977)

Cohen (1962):

"Oboth...A station of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites, between Punon and Iyye-abarim in Moab. It has been identified by some with 'Ain el-Weiba, not far from Feinan, the biblical Punon; but since the route of the Israelites between Punon and the borders of Moab is not known with certainty, this identification is not definite." (p.  582. Vol. 3. S. Cohen. Oboth." George Arthur Buttrick. editor. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville & New York. Abingdon Press. 1962)

The problem? Ain el-Weiba is almost due west of Feinan. The text suggests for me that Oboth ought to be near the eastern perpihery of Edom and south of Iym-Abarim in Moab's eastern perpihery.
Another possible candidate for Oboth besides Ain el-Weibah might be Khirbet el Webde, south of Feinan (Punon?) and N of Petra. The site is listed as being Iron Age (cf. Hohne. Palastina Historische-Archaologische Karte. Sud Blatt. 1981. Gottingen)
Another possible candidate for Oboth:

Bir el Bitaiyihat ENE of Aqabah and S of Ma'an, near the eastern periphery of ancient Edom, on the "Way to the Wilderness of Moab" (the red line). (cf. Atlas of Israel sheet I/12).
Zalmonah, Punon and Oboth of the Exodus

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

24 March 2009

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Zalmonah might be Wadi Salamana draining from the western slopes of ancient Edom into the great Arabah valley below the Dead Sea? (cf. Atlas of Israel. Jerusalem. Survey of Israel. Ministry of Labour. Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam. 1970. Sheet I/12)

Numbers 33:42 RSV

"And they set out from Zalmonah, and encamped at Punon. And they set out from Punon, and encamped at
Oboth."
Of all the above proposals for Oboth I tend to favor Bir el Bitaiyihat. Why? I "want" a site EAST OF EDOM near the "Way to the Wilderness of Moab" to _align_ with Iye-abarim which is described as being in the wilderness EAST OF MOAB, and being a bir or "well" it seems to align somewhat with the notion of waterskins (oboth) being lowered to gather drinking water. I am unaware of any survey having been done for this location to determine how old it is.