The First of 40

Mapping Israel’s journey in the desert

We all know that God’s people wandered in the desert for 40 years (and made 42 stops along the way). Here’s a look at the first year of their journey from slavery to the Promised Land.

 
 
  1. Israel’s flight began in the region known as Goshen, an area of rich pasture on the edge of the Nile River.

  2. God led Israel south to Succoth, a name derived from the root sakak (“to cover” or “to weave.”)

  3. At Etham, God instructed Moses to “turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth” so that God might “be honored through Pharaoh and all his army” (Ex. 14:2-4).

  4. After finding no water for three days, they arrived in Marah, where the water was undrinkable until God sweetened it (Ex. 15:22-25).

  5. The exact location of Elim (Ex. 15:27) isn’t clear. However, it is known that Israel left Elim one and a half months after they departed Egypt (Ex. 16:1).

  6. In Rephidim—the same place Israel fought a major battle against the Amalekites—God provided water from a stone (Ex. 17:1-16).

  7. Three months after their exodus began, the Israelites reached Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments and the people worshipped an idol (Ex. 19:1; Ex. 20:1; Ex. 32:1).

    During this time, “on the first of the second month, in the second year after they’d come out of the land of Egypt,” a census was conducted, and Israel observed the Passover for the first time since their departure (Num. 1:1-54; Num. 9:1-14).

 

Where did Israel cross? In Hebrew, the place was called Yam Suf, traditionally translated as “Red Sea.” However, some scholars believe the phrase should be translated “Sea of Reeds”—a reference to brackish wetlands near the Lake of Tanis or Lake Bardawil. Whichever way they traveled, their crossing was possible only because God miraculously made a way.

Destroying Idols. Moses dealt with his people’s idolatry by burning the golden calf, grinding it to powder, and scattering it in a stream. According to Douglas K. Stuart, “By putting the powder into their water supply, he saw to it that [the calf was] … corrupted and defiled, and therefore was ruined permanently as material fit for an idol.”

 

Map by Metaleap Creative

Related Topics:  Gods Will

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2 Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.

3 For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, `They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'

4 Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." And they did so.

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.

23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, What shall we drink?"

25 Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.

27 Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters.

1 Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.

1 Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink.

2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, Give us water that we may drink." And Moses said to them, Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?"

3 But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?"

4 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me."

5 Then the LORD said to Moses, Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.

6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?"

8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.

9 So Moses said to Joshua, Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand."

10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.

12 But Moses' hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.

13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

14 Then the LORD said to Moses, Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."

15 Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner;

16 and he said, The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation."

1 In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

1 Then God spoke all these words, saying,

1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,

2 Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head

3 from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies.

4 With you, moreover, there shall be a man of each tribe, each one head of his father's household.

5 These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur;

6 of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai;

7 of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab;

8 of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar;

9 of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon;

10 of the sons of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur;

11 of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni;

12 of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai;

13 of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran;

14 of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel;

15 of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.

16 These are they who were called of the congregation, the leaders of their fathers' tribes; they were the heads of divisions of Israel."

17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name,

18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month. Then they registered by ancestry in their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, head by head,

19 just as the LORD had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

20 Now the sons of Reuben, Israel's firstborn, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

21 their numbered men of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500.

22 Of the sons of Simeon, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, their numbered men, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

23 their numbered men of the tribe of Simeon were 59,300.

24 Of the sons of Gad, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

25 their numbered men of the tribe of Gad were 45,650.

26 Of the sons of Judah, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

27 their numbered men of the tribe of Judah were 74,600.

28 Of the sons of Issachar, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

29 their numbered men of the tribe of Issachar were 54,400.

30 Of the sons of Zebulun, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

31 their numbered men of the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400.

32 Of the sons of Joseph, namely, of the sons of Ephraim, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

33 their numbered men of the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500.

34 Of the sons of Manasseh, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

35 their numbered men of the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.

36 Of the sons of Benjamin, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

37 their numbered men of the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400.

38 Of the sons of Dan, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

39 their numbered men of the tribe of Dan were 62,700.

40 Of the sons of Asher, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

41 their numbered men of the tribe of Asher were 41,500.

42 Of the sons of Naphtali, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,

43 their numbered men of the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.

44 These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each of whom was of his father's household.

45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel,

46 even all the numbered men were 603,550.

47 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe.

48 For the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying,

49 Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their census among the sons of Israel.

50 But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it; they shall also camp around the tabernacle.

51 So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman who comes near shall be put to death.

52 The sons of Israel shall camp, each man by his own camp, and each man by his own standard, according to their armies.

53 But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the testimony."

54 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which the LORD had commanded Moses, so they did.

1 Thus the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,

2 Now, let the sons of Israel observe the Passover at its appointed time.

3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances."

4 So Moses told the sons of Israel to observe the Passover.

5 They observed the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the sons of Israel did.

6 But there were some men who were unclean because of the dead person, so that they could not observe Passover on that day; so they came before Moses and Aaron on that day.

7 Those men said to him, Though we are unclean because of the dead person, why are we restrained from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the sons of Israel?"

8 Moses therefore said to them, Wait, and I will listen to what the LORD will command concerning you."

9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

10 Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, `If any one of you or of your generations becomes unclean because of a dead person, or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Passover to the LORD.

11 In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Passover they shall observe it.

13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin.

14 If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.'"

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