Jabal al-Lawz/Jabal Maqla in Saudi Arabia
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 appear to match what is described in the book of Exodus. The findings have been argued to match the golden calf worship site, the altar and 12 pillars constructed by Moses at the foot of the mountain, inscriptions of allegedly proto-Hebrew authorship, and other findings along with a possible route from the Red Sea Crossing to the mountain.
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 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. DTRF emphasizes that its assessment is subject to change as more is learned and discussed.
DTRF continually researches the historicity of the Exodus, along with other topics related to synthesizing Biblical history and science with current historical and scientific understandings.
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.
Two of the biggest opponents of the theory are Dr. Jim Hoffmeier and Gordon Franz. Hoffmeier defends 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.
Doubting Thomas Research Foundation
Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration (BASE) Institute
Dr. Glen Fritz, author of The Lost Sea of the Exodus and Fire on the Mountain
Joel Richardson, author of Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia: The True Mount Sinai Revealed
Dr. Robert Stewart, Ph.D., Professor of New Geneva Theological Center
Hershel Shanks, Editor, Bible Archeology Review
Dr. Charles Whittaker, Louisiana Baptist University
Last updated August 6, 2019