A whole generation of millions were brought to Kadesh Barnea to die. Where are all the bodies? They haven’t found them because Kadesh Barnea is not in the Sinai Peninsula. The scholars and the historians are looking in the wrong places. Kadesh Barnea is south of Edom. When you loo at the fact that Israel left the Faiyum, crossed the Gulf of Suez, then took the Derek Seir to the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat on a current map), encountered the Amalekites who were based in Petra, then down to Midian and Sinai, you will see that the traditional site of Kadesh Barnea doesn’t work.
Kadesh Barnea is south of Edom and north of Mount Sinai, in the vicinity of the Red Sea. They were also near a highway called the “King’s Highway” (Num 21.22). They would travel north, east of the King’s Highway. The King’s Highway starts at Wadi Rum and then went north. It was a trade route that Moses wanted to take, but Sihom the king of the Amorites would not let him. He came to battle Israel (Num 21.23) and was defeated.
Wadi rum is a huge area and this is Kadesh Barnea, or the “Holy Desert of Wandering.” It fits all the descriptions. Deut 8.15-16 speaks of Wadi Rum. It was famous for serpents, vipers and scorpions. It is where the Bronze Serpent incident happened in Num 21.6-9. Lawrence of Arabia said the Beduin had a remedy for snakenite. They bound a plaster of snake-skin on the would, and read the Koran over the victim till he died (“Lawrence of Arabia” By R. H. Kiernan). Horned vipers (“fiery serpents”) are all over the area, and scorpions. You can go to the Internet and search “Wadi Rum” to see pictures of what this area looks like. This is where Israel was.
In Judges 11.13, the king of the sons of the Amorites accused Israel of taking away their land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan; therefore they wanted this area back peacefully. Jepthah told him Israel didn’t take the land, he says they came up from Egypt and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and then came to Kadesh Barnea. However, the king of Edom would not let them pass through, neither did the king of Moab, so they returned to Kadesh Barnea. This tells us that Kadesh Barnea is near the Red Sea. Kadesh Barnea (Wadi Rum) is a very large area and it could easily accommodate two million people.
In Num 20.1 we learn of the death of Miriam at Kadesh Barnea (Wadi Rum). Josephus tells us in Antiquities, Book 4, Chapter 4, Paragraph 6, about her death, “Then it was that Miriam, the sister of Moses, came to her end, having completed her fortieth year since she left Egypt, on the first day of the lunar month Xanthicus (Nisan). They then made a public funeral for her, at great expense. She was buried upon a certain mountain, which they call Sin; and when they had mourned for her thirty days, Moses purified the people after this manner: he brought a heifer that had never been used to the plough or to husbandry, that was complete in all its parts and entirely of a red color, at a little distance from the camp, into a place perfectly clean. This heifer was slain by the high priest, and her blood sprinkled with his finger seven times before the tabernacle of God; after this, the entire heifer was burnt in that state together with its skin and entrails; and they threw cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet wool, into the midst of the fire; then a clean man gathered all her ashes together, and laid them in a place perfectly clean.” Miriam’s burial place is near Petra, the old Arabian capital city, and Aaron is buried not far off.
So, Miriam dies as they are leaving Kadesh Barnea and they have the Ashes of the Red Heifer ceremony. In Num 20.22 they set out from Kadesh Barnea and they come to the borders of Edom and then to Mount Hor (Deut 2.3-6, 28-29). In Num 20.24-29 we have the death of Aaron. This was also described by Josephus and Antiquities, Book 4, Chapter 4, Paragraph 7, “Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the mourning of his sister, as it has been now described, was over, he caused the army to remove and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia; and when he came to a place which the Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was formerly called Arce, but is now the name of Petra, at this place, which was encompassed with high mountains, Aaron went up one of them in the sight of the whole army, Moses having before told him that he was to die, for this place was over-against them. He put off his pontifical garments, and delivered them to Eleazar his son, to whom the high priesthood belonged, because he was the elder brother; and died while the multitude looked upon him. He died in the same year wherein he lost his sister, having lived in all a hundred and twenty-three years. He died on the first day of that lunar month which is called by the Athenians Heca tombeon, by the Macedonians Lous, but by the Hebrews Abba.”
Aaron dies at Petra, on a nearby mountain. Petra goes on for ten miles at least. Mount Hor is there and that is where he died (Num 20.27-28). From there they head north along the King’s Highway and in Num 21.12 they camp in the Zered Valley. In Num 21.13 they come to the Arnon Valley, then to Mount Nebo. In Num 21.25 they come to Heshbon, then to Jericho (Num 22.1).
Now, why is all this important? We know Messiah will come from the “east” but all this seems to be south of Jerusalem. However, “east” in the Bible lokks like this. If you draw a straight line north to south through Jerusalem, it goes straight to Mount Sinai (Jebel Al Lawz). Everything east of that line is considered east. That would include the areas that we have just been discussing.
People interpret the Bible using western thought, not Hebraic thought. We need to interpret the Scriptures using their train of thinking. That means Wadi Rum, Petra, the Zered Valley, the Arnon Valley, Mount Nebo, Heshbon and Jericho are east. When Yeshua comes “like lightning from the east” we think “due east.” However, that is not necessarily the case. He will not be coming from “due east” but from the “southeast” (like the Azazel bridge). Isa 63.1 says the Messiah will come from Edom (east).
The Jabbok Valley relates to prophecy. Jacob came there and that is where Peniel, Sukkot and Mahanaim is. David builds a fortress there and fled from Absalom to go there. We also have a place called Pella there. Believers in Yeshua fled there when the Romans came (Luke 19, Luke 21). It was near Pella that Elijah was hidden for 1260 days (time, times and a half a time, three and a half months, 42 months) during the famine.
From 132-135 A. D. during the Bar Kochba revolt against Rome, believers in Yeshua left the army and went to Pella. They left the army because Bar Kochba was declared the Messiah and these believers were not going to fight for a false Messiah, so they would not support him. In Part 74 we will discuss why all of this is important and why this fits into prophecy and why the Exodus is important to understand, and how knowing that will help us understand how all of this will apply in the future.