The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

Horeb or Sinai?

On which mountain did Moses meet with God… Mt. Sinai or Mt. Horeb? Actually, both names seem to be mentioned interchangeably in most Bibles.

For example, Exodus 34:2 Moses was told:

‘So, be ready to climb Mount Sinai in the morning, then stand there [and wait] for Me on top of the Mountain.’

But notice that at Exodus 33:6, the IsraElites were said to be gathered at Mount Horeb. Why were both names used?

Well, Horeb may not have actually been a name, but a description that has been mistranslated as a name! This has happened with several other words in the Bible.

Ho’reb is a Hebrew word for dry, which aptly describes this land in the Sin (pronounced Seen and/or Sheen) Desert, near the southern tip of Arabia. It’s close to where Jehovah/Yahweh empowered Moses to strike the rock and bring out water for the people to drink, since there was no other water source there.

Sinai, on the other hand, may have received its name from its prominent place toward the end of the Sin Desert. However, Hebrew scholars say that Sinai means bush, referring to the burning bush where God spoke to Moses.

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