Jabal al-Lawz/Jabal Maqla in Saudi Arabia

criteria for biblical mount sinai

The Doubting Thomas Research Foundation has conducted in-person research at Jabal Maqla in Saudi Arabia to examine the evidence. At this time, we believe that this is the most likely location for Mount Sinai.

Jabal Maqla is sometimes described as a peak on the mountain range of Jabal al-Lawz in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Others refer to Jabal Maqla as an independent mountain.

Supporters of the Jabal Maqla/Jabal al-Lawz candidacy point to a multitude of topographical features that match the Biblical description of Mount Sinai, as well as archaeological findings in recent decades that line up well with what is described in the book of Exodus.

The findings have been argued to match the golden calf worship site, as well as the altar and 12 pillars constructed by Moses at the foot of the mountain. They also include inscriptions, potentially Hebrew in origin, using an ancient alphabetic script known as Thamudic, among several other findings in the area.

Additionally, possible routes have been proposed from Red Sea crossing candidates along the Gulf of Aqaba to the mountain.

Many advocates of this candidacy point to a split rock along a possible northern route to the mountain that arguably matches the "Rock of Horeb" story in the book of Exodus where God instructed Moses to strike a rock, causing streams of water to pour out as a water source for the thirsty Israelites.

There is also a location that proponents argue is a match for Elim with its 12 wells and many palms.

Researchers who support Jabal Maqla as Mount Sinai disagree over the exact spot where the Red Sea Crossing is said to have taken place. The most favored candidate is Egypt’s Nuweiba Beach, followed by the Straits of Tiran by Sharm el-Sheikh at the bottom of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

This site is the candidate that is currently most favored by the Doubting Thomas Research Foundation (DTRF), the non-profit educational organization that established this website. It has much evidence supporting it and continued research definitely needs to be done.

In saying this though, DTRF would like to state that its assessment is subject to change as more is learned and discussed.

DTRF continually researches the historicity of the Exodus, along with other Biblical topics, synthesizing/harmonizing Biblical history and science with current historical and scientific understandings.

Criticisms

Like other candidates for Biblical Mount Sinai, Jabal al-Lawz/Jabal Maqla is not without some criticisms.

Yalkut Shimoni, a Jewish compilation of older interpretations and explanations of the Bible, states that Moses traveled for 40 days with Jethro's sheep before he reached Mount Sinai. This timeframe would reasonably lead one to believe that the mountain is a long distance from the city of Midian, and not in close proximity.

At Jabal Maqla, there is evidence of the golden calf stand and altar across from the mountain. However, Rabbi Alexander Hool, author of Searching for Sinai: The Location of Revelation, believes that any evidence of the calf worship would have been destroyed according to the guidelines in Exodus 34:13.

Rabbi Hool also claims that the Rock of Horeb, which Moses struck to bring forth water for the Israelites, was not a large object, but a small one which the Israelites brought with them throughout all 40 years of the wilderness wanderings.

It should be noted though that these extra-Biblical traditions/interpretations may not be accurate, although we respect those who have made them.

Three of the biggest opponents of the theory are Dr. Jim Hoffmeier, Egyptologist-David Rohl, and Gordon Franz. Hoffmeier and Rohl defend the traditional site at St. Catherine's mountain in the southern Sinai Peninsula, and Franz believes Mount Sinai is Jebel Sin-Bishar in the Western Sinai Peninsula.

Proponents

Doubting Thomas Research Foundation

Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration (BASE) Institute

Dr. Glen Fritz, author of The Lost Sea of the Exodus and The Exodus Mysteries: Of Midian, Sinai, and Jabal al-Lawz

Joel Richardson, author of Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia: The True Mount Sinai Revealed

Jim and Penny Caldwell, Biblical Researchers & Explorers

Andrew Jones, Biblical Researcher & Explorer

The Ron Wyatt family

Dr. Robert Stewart, Ph.D., Professor of New Geneva Theological Center

The late Hershel Shanks, former Editor, Bible Archeology Review

Dr. Charles Whittaker, Louisiana Baptist University

Dr. Lennart Moller, author of The Exodus Case

Dr. Miles Jones, author of The Writing of God

Archaeologist-Steven Rudd, author of Exodus Route Restored

Last updated February 27th, 2021

8 thoughts on “Jabal al-Lawz/Jabal Maqla in Saudi Arabia”

  1. Hola soy de bogota colombia,un gran creyente de los relatos biblicos,los animo a seguir adelante en esta gran investigación qué por fin muestra al mundo estos sitios arqueológicos, maravillosos ,Que maravilla poder ver las 70 palmeras y los 12 posos en elim,la roca qué Moisés parte para qué el pueblo bebiera agua,todo coincide perfectamente,la parte ennegrecida de la montaña,todo esto es increible!Dios todo poderoso los bendiga y permita qué puedan seguir trabajando para desenterrar estas verdades a la humanidad!

  2. St. Catherine’s is incorrect as it fails in every way to match the Bible. Like the early ‘church’ after Yeshua, Christendom created their own version of everything,
    including removing the Jewish heritage of the faith, such as observing the Sabbath, and created councils devoid of any Hebrew presence, to determine the faith. St. Catherine’s is no where near Timna which was 45 kilometers away from Mt. Sinai and should be 11 days from Kadesh Barnea.

  3. St. Catherine’s is incorrect as it fails in every way to match the Bible. Like the early ‘church’ after Yeshua, Christendom created their own version of everything,
    including removing the Jewish heritage of the faith, such as observing the Sabbath, and created councils devoid of any Hebrew presence, to determine the faith. St. Catherine’s is no where near Timna which was 45 kilometers away from Mt. Sinai and should be 11 days from Kadesh Barnea.

  4. Nathaniel Hinckson

    If one looks through a simple eye it if obvious Jabal al Lawz has to be Mt. Sinai. The first evidence that struck me was the blackened top of the mountain which, at first, I thought was cloud shadow. But on further research I learned that the top is literally black as though it was burnt. This is in keeping with what is described in Exodus. This, along with the split rock and other artifacts along with the drawings and writings on rocks and the underwater bridge across the Gulf of Aqaba (at first I wondered why cross there when one could walk around the north of that gulf, but then the bible explained why) how many pieces of evidence does one require before one realizes this has to be Mt. Sinai? I suspect most of these critics have ulterior motives for not wanting Mt. Sinai to be located there. Some are just out to prove the bible to be anything but what it is.

  5. I totally agree that Mt Sinai is to be found in the Hejaz. However, I believe a much more convincing candidate for Mt Sinai is Jabal Dabbagh. Its “twin peak”, Jabal Harb, is the mountain on which Moses sat with his arms raised while the Israelites did battle with the Amalekites on the vast flat plain at its base. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y41Krgi_-I)

    1. Logan Kiesewetter

      Hi Rod! Logan with the research team here. Thanks so much for your feedback and for writing in! The video you shared in your comment was actually filmed and posted by one of our other researchers, Andrew Jones.

      We also know Rabbi Alexander Hool, who has proposed the Jabal Harb, Mount Sinai connection.

      While we advocate for Jabal al-Maqla being Sinai and feel it has the strongest evidence in its favor, we are not opposed to investigating and visiting other candidates, especially candidates in the Hejaz region. That’s one of the reasons our researcher, Andrew, went to Jabal Harb and filmed it in 2018 and again in 2019. He actually sent Rabbi Hool photos of the site too.

      We want to be as thorough as possible in our research and investigations and one of the best ways to do that is to go to some of these locations firsthand.

      Again, thanks so much for your feedback! This is a site we would like to return to. Even so, respectfully, we do still feel Maqla to be the best candidate.

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