Sunday, January 3, 2010

Timeline of the journey to the Promised Land

For many interesting details, read The Journey: Searching for the Promised Land by Larry J. Tate. More information on this exciting book can be found at

The Hebrews were stranded for over 400 years in the Land of Egypt. Tradition told them that there was a Promised Land out there somewhere. However, there was a vast wilderness between them and their Promised Land, also known as Canaan.

To their South and West was a great desert. To their East was a barren wilderness known as Sinai. To their North was the Great Sea. Between them and their rumored Promised Land was the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba, along with plenty of desert and mountains.

Six hundred thirty-five years earlier, Abraham had been promised that his seed would take possession of the fertile land of Canaan. The land spread East to West from the Great Sea to the Dead Sea. The southern border ran from the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba to just below Gaza. The northern border was near Hamath.

Isaac was born when Abraham was one hundred years old. Jacob was born when Isaac was sixty years old.

Jacobs Sons
By Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issacher, Zebulun
By Bilhah: Dan, Naphtali
By Zilpah: Gad, Asher
By Rachael: Joseph, Benjamin

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph’s sons were Manaseh and Ephriam. In Egypt, he found favor with Pharaoh and rose to second in command. Eventually, the entire 70 descendents of Jacob come to live in Egypt. There, Pharaoh offered the best of the Egyptian land to the Children of Israel.

Over a period of 430 years from arrival to the Exodus, Israel multiplied. Many Pharaohs came and went. Eventually, the Pharaohs no longer felt any obligation to the Children of Israel, and became fearful of their prosperity and numbers. So eventually, one of the Pharaohs forced them into slavery. The harder they were worked, the more they multiplied. Pharaoh ordered Israeli midwives to kill all new-born boys, but they refused. Pharaoh then ordered his own people to throw all new-born boys into the Nile.

Moses was born in the house of Levi. Moses was hidden in a basket along the bank of the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses and he was raised in Pharaoh’s house.

As an adult, Moses kills an Egyptian who had been beating a Jew. Then one day when he asked two Hebrews why they were fighting each other, one of them asked him if he was gong to kill him also. Pharaoh heard of the incident and tried to kill Moses. Moses fled to Midian. There he married Zipporah.

Moses and his brother Aaron meet with Pharaoh and plead for the Hebrew’s release.
Through a series of denials, there were many plagues. At the first meeting Moses went in and simply asked for the Hebrews to be freed. At this point, Pharaoh ordered the Hebrews to get their own straw.

During the second meeting, Moses Rod became a serpent.

After the third meeting, the Nile River turned to blood. Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh on the shore of the Nile River. Aaron had earlier turned his walking stick into a snake but the King’s magicians had been able to duplicate that. Moses told Pharaoh that he would show him God’s power. Aaron held his stick over the river and the water turned into blood. The fish all died and there was blood everywhere in Egypt where there should have been water. The king’s magicians were able to duplicate the feat and Pharaoh refused Moses’ request.

Seven days later, the fourth meeting resulted in the plague of the frogs. God told Moses: “Go to the king and tell him that the Lord says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can worship me. If you refuse, I will punish your country by covering it with frogs.’” So Aaron held his walking stick over the river and an abundance of frogs came out onto the land. They were everywhere, even in the palace. The magicians were able to repeat the trick but Pharaoh had to summon Moses and ask him to get rid of the frogs. Pharaoh promised to let the people go if Moses would ask his God to remove the frogs. The frogs were removed but the king changed his mind and refused to let Moses lead them out.

The fifth meeting resulted in the plague of the gnats. Aaron struck the ground with his stick and all the dust of Egypt was turned into gnats. There were gnats everywhere and the magicians of Egypt could not duplicate it. The magicians told Pharaoh that God had done it but he refused to let the people go.

The sixth meeting resulted in the plague of the flies. Moses and Aaron approached the king again to let the Israelites go and worship in the desert. He threatened the Pharaoh with an infestation of flies if he didn’t comply. This time a distinction was made between the Egyptians and the Jews. The flies would not bother the Jews. The next day God sent flies everywhere in Egypt except Goshen, where the Israelites were. Pharaoh promised to let the people go if Moses would just get rid of the flies. Moses prayed to God and every fly died. The King remained stubborn and still would not let them go.

The seventh meeting resulted in a plague on the cattle of Egypt. This plague caused the death of all of the Egyptian’s livestock, horses, sheep, camels, goats, donkeys and cattle. None of the Israelite’s animals were touched. The king remained steadfast and would not let them go.

The eighth meeting resulted in the plague of boils. The Lord told Moses to take a handful of ashes from a furnace and throw the ashes up into the air. The ash spread all over Egypt and everyone had boils and open sores. The magicians would not come to the king because they were too sore with their boils. The king remained adamant because now God was making him stubborn.

The ninth meeting resulted in the plague of hail. A massive hailstorm was next on the agenda. The king was warned that everyone should stay inside to avoid being killed by hailstones. The hail destroyed the crops in the field and killed the people who didn’t heed the warning. It hailed everywhere in Egypt except Goshen. Pharaoh begged Moses to ask God to stop the hail and he would let the people go. Moses prayed and the hail stopped but Pharaoh still would not let them go.

The tenth meeting resulted in the plague of locusts. Moses and Aaron went to see Pharaoh again. Pharaoh was willing to let the Jewish men go into the desert to worship, but not the women and children. Moses refused and the king denied his request. So God sent a cloud of locusts that covered the land and ate everything that the hail had not destroyed. “Not a green thing was left on any tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.” God continued to harden Pharaoh’s heart and he would not let the people go.

The eleventh meeting resulted in the plague of darkness. God told Moses to raise his hand toward the sky and darkness would fall on Egypt. There was total darkness in all of Egypt for three days. Only the children of Israel had light. Pharaoh offered to let the people go but not their animals. Moses refused that offer and the king told him that he never wanted to see him again.

The twelfth meeting resulted in the death of all firstborn males. Moses told the king that every firstborn would be killed. Everyone from the Pharaoh’s son to the slave woman’s son would die. God instructed Moses to tell his people to make sure every household had a lamb or goat, a one-year-old male without any defects. On the given day, they were to slaughter, cook and eat the animal and put its blood on their doorposts. The angel of death would see the blood when he came to kill the firstborn and would “pass over” when he saw the blood. All of the firstborn of people and animals of the Egyptians died that night and Pharaoh sent the Israelites away.

After the plague of the firstborn, Pharaoh permitted Moses and the Hebrew nation to leave Egypt. They could not take any short cuts to the Promised Land. The shortest route was known as the Way of the Philistines. It was just a ten day journey (216 miles). This primary highway may have had Egyptian forts, making usage of the highway improbable for the Hebrews to use. There were two other primary highways that could have been taken, but were not. One was the Way of Shur, and the other was the Way to Arabia. But Moses chose to lead 600,000 men plus women, children and livestock through the barren wilderness. There were probably two to three million people following Moses.

The first seven days involved traveling day and night to Succoth where they gathered the bones of Joseph. Then they marched to Etham where they were accompanied by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. Then, they marched to Pi Hahiroth on the banks of the Red Sea. Pharaoh was in pursuit of the Hebrews and caught up with them there. He found the Hebrews trapped in the desert between him, the sea, and the mountains.

The Hebrews complained loudly to Moses. Why did they have to die in the desert? It would have been better to be slaves in Egypt. Moses told them to watch what the Lord would do. The cloud settled between the Hebrews and the Egyptian army while the wind dried up the Red Sea during the night. There was darkness on the Egyptian side and light on the Hebrew side. That night they crossed the red sea. After all of the Hebrews made it to the other side, the cloud lifted. The Egyptian army followed through the opening in the sea where they drowned.

They arrived at Marah after 3 days of traveling without water. There, the water was bitter. Moses threw a piece of wood into the water and it became sweet. Then, they arrived at Elim which had 12 springs of water and 70 palms, where they camped. Wilderness of Sin. There, they bitterly complained to Moses about lack of food. They said that in Egypt they were surrounded by pots of food all of the time. God sent Quail and Manna sent by God.

Then, they marched 39 days to Rephidam. Again, there was no water and they bitterly complained, asking “is God among us or not.” Moses took the elders and walked on beyond the people to Horeb where he struck the rock and got water. While here they were attacked by the Amelikites. Joshua led the fighters to battle. Moses stood on a hill and held his hands in the air. They won that battle.

They camped in Desert of Sinai near Mount Sinai. Moses father in law, Jethro came to visit Moses. Jethro recommended that Moses appoint judges over 1000’s, 100’s, 50’s and 10’s.
Then, they marched toward Mt. Sinai for about 3 days. It was a total of 49 days to Mt. Sinai from Egypt. They camped in the desert in front of the mountain. Moses met God on the mountain where there was thunder, lightning, trembling and trumpet blasts. It was at this point that the Ten Commandments were given. Moses went up on mountain for 40 days where he received the tablets. People thought he had disappeared. They asked Aaron to make gods who will lead them. Aaron made an idol shaped like a golden calf. The people worshiped it and sacrificed to it. God threatened to destroy them all. Moses came down and broke the tablets and destroyed the idol. Moses asked the people who believed in him to come to him. Only the Levites came to him. He ordered them to go through the Hebrew camp and kill everyone they can. They killed 3000 people. God put a plague upon the people. Moses went up to the mountain again for another 40 days and came back down with new tablets of the commandments. Then, the camped on a plain two miles east on fertile ground and good pasture. There, the tabernacle and ark were constructed. Their stay at Mount Sinai was about 11 months.

Then, they began their trip to Kadesh Barnea. During that trip they complained about the bland manna. They wanted meat. God sent quail again. God killed the complainers while they were eating the quail. They traveled eleven days to the Desert of Paran. Spies were sent out for forty days. Ten spies came back with a bad report. Only Joshua and Caleb had a good report. The spies with the bad report were struck dead. After that, a group of community leaders defied Moses. They were swallowed up in the earth.

For the next thirty-seven years, the Hebrew nation wandered about in the wilderness. They went to Rimmon Perez, Libnah, Rissah, Keheathah, Mt. Shepher, Haradan, Makhelcth, Tabath, Terah, Michkah, Mosercth, Jaskan, Hagidgad, Jorathah, Abronah, Ezon Geber, and Kadesh where Miraim died. Moses disobeyed God.

In the Fortieth year, they went to Mt Hor at the boundary of Edom where Aaron died. Then, they went around Edom and through Moab. Then, they went to Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, Dbon Gad, Ihe Abahim (border of Moab), Almon Diblatham, Abarim before Nebo, and the Plains of Moab across from Jordan and Jericho

Go to for additional information about The Journey: Searching for the Promised Land by Larry J. Tate.

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