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From Egypt To The Promised Land

The route of the Israelites' wilderness journey between the Exodus and their entry into the Promised Land is listed in Numbers 33:1-50. The map below plots the major points along that 40-year trek - that could have been accomplished in a matter of days had they not refused to go in when God gave them the opportunity to do so the first time. The 40 years wandering was a deliberate delay:

"Say to them, 'As I live,' says The Lord, 'what you have said in My hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and of all your number, numbered from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against Me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know My displeasure.'" (Numbers 14:28-34 RSV)

Map Of Israel's Wilderness Journey

Beginning at Goshen (in the Nile River delta north of the Pyramids), the Israelites left Egypt and slavery by Pharaoh. They safely crossed the waters of the Red Sea (in the northern Bitter Lakes region through which the modern Suez Canal was dug) that The Rock had miraculously opened for them, but hundreds of Pharaoh's Chariots were lost in the waters. Rather than traveling northward along the coast of The Mediterranean Sea, The Lord had them turn southward into the desert wilderness of The Sinai Peninsula where He miraculously provided them with water and Manna. Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came to greet the Israelites after he heard of The Exodus.

At Mount Sinai, Moses received The Ten Commandments from God, which were placed in The Ark of The Covenant. The Tabernacle was also constructed then, with the Levites given the responsibility for its operation and care.

The Israelites then made their way northward. Aaron died at Mount Hor, and Moses died at Mount Nebo, near The Salt Sea. The wilderness years of the Israelites ended when they crossed the Jordan River near Jericho, only about 15 miles from Jerusalem.

Fact Finder: How many Israelites took part in the Exodus?
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