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Why Did Paul Say That Sinai Was In Arabia?

From their Exodus out of Egypt, the Israelites entered into the wilderness of Sinai, which is called "the wilderness of Sinai" because it is in the Sinai Peninsula, where they were later given the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, which is called "Mount Sinai" because it is in the Sinai Peninsula.

"In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] called unto him out of the mountain" (Exodus 19:1-3 KJV)

"And He gave unto Moses [see also The Education Of Moses], when He had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." (Exodus 31:18 KJV)

Later, the apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) referred to Mount Sinai as being in "Arabia":

"Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants [see also Covenant and Testament]; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." (Galatians 4:24 KJV)

Why Did Paul Say That Mount Sinai Was In "Arabia"?

The apostle Paul's allegorical statement, as quoted above, that "mount Sinai in Arabia" has resulted in some rejecting all of the earlier Biblical record that Mount Sinai was in the Sinai Peninsula (hence the name Sinai) and claiming that it was in Arabia, which to their "now is all that ever was" thinking means what is today called Saudi Arabia. They look at today's territorial definition of "Arabia" to refute everything else the Word of God says.

Mount Sinai In Arabia Arabia is the name given to a vast region, covering over 1,200,000 square miles, of the Middle East. It's generally considered to be the area bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the east by the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates River, on the west by the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea, and on the north Syria and Mesopotamia. The Sinai Peninsula is within those parameters.

In ancient times, "Arabia" was composed of three sections. The Sinai Peninsula was within those parameters:

  • Arabia Felix, a large area between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

  • Arabia Deserta, the el-Badieh or "Great Wilderness," from which the nomadic tribes of this region derive their name, the "Bedaween," or "Bedouin."

  • Arabia Petraea, the Rocky Arabia, named for its rocky mountains and stony plains.

In modern times, Arabia is composed of 3 general territorial designations. The Sinai Peninsula is within those parameters:

  • Arabia Proper, or the Arabian Peninsula.

  • Northern Arabia, or the Arabian Desert.

  • Western Arabia, including the Sinai Peninsula and the Desert of Petra.

Fact Finder: What did the tablets of stone, upon which the Ten Commandments were written, look like? Why was a second copy of them made later?
See What Did The Ten Commandments Look Like?

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