|THE SINAI INSCRIPTIONS TRANSLATED
On one of the natural routes that the Hebrews would have chosen when entering the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt there were found six ancient inscriptions on different cliffs in the Wadi Sidri. Dr. A. P. Stanley describes finding the first inscription in the Wadi Sidri, "A stair of rock, the Nukb Badera, brought us into a glorious Wadi [Sidri] enclosed between red granite mountains....In the midst of the Wadi Sidri, just where the granite was exchanged for sandstone, I caught sight of the first inscription" (A. P. Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, [London: John Murray, 1905], p. 70). Another writer, Golius, translated the word Sidri as "a way that leads up from the water, as at a landing place". These inscriptions, listed below, are numbered as they were in Rev. Forster's book, Sinai Photographed.
#1 The wind blowing, the sea dividing into parts, they pass over.
#4 The Hebrews flee through the sea; the sea is turned into dry land.
#5 The waters permitted and dismissed to flow,
burst rushing unawares upon the astonished men,
congregated from all quarters banded together
to slay treacherously being lifted up with pride.
#10 The leader divides asunder the sea, its waves roaring.
The people enter, and pass through the midst of the waters.
#41 Moses causes the people to haste like a fleet-winged she-ostrich crying aloud;
the cloud shining bright,
a mighty army propelled into the Red sea is gathered into one;
they go jumping and skipping.
Journeying through the open channel,
taking flight from the face of the enemy.
The surge of the sea is divided.
#23 The people flee, the tribes descend into the deep,
The people enter the waters.
The people enter and penetrate through the midst.
The people are filled with stupor and perturbation.
Jehovah is their keeper and companion.
#8 Their enemies weep for the dead, the virgins are wailing.
The sea flowing down overwhelmed them.
The waters were let loose to flow again.
#21 The people depart fugitive.
A mighty army is submerged in the deep sea,
the only way of escape for the congregated people.
Now, consider the biblical account of this event (Exodus 14:21-31):
21. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25. And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fought for them against the Egyptians.
26. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.
Again, the context of the inscriptions is not that of Christians or Hebrews quoting the scriptures but rather of eyewitness account.
And there are other inscriptions:
The Hebrews Murmur Against Moses / God Provides Water Miraculously.
#77 Pilgrims fugitive through the sea find a place of refuge at Sidri.
Lighting upon plain ground they proceed on their pilgrimage full of terror.
#17 The Hebrews pass over the sea into the wide waterless desert,
famishing with hunger and thirst.
#46 The people clamor vociferously. The people anger Moses.
Swerving from the right way, they thirst for water insatiably.
The water flows, gently gushing out of the stony rock.
Out of the rock a murmur of abundant waters.
Out of the hard stone a springing well.
Like the wild asses braying,
the Hebrews swallow down enormously and greedily.
Greedy of food like infants,
they plunge into sin against Jehovah.
#39 The people drink, winding on their way,
drinking with prone mouth,
Jehovah gives them drink again and again.
#58 The people sore athirst, drink vehemently.
They quaff the water-spring without pause, ever drinking.
Reprobate beside the gushing well-spring.
God Judges The People's Gluttony.
#28 The people have drink to satiety. In crowds they swill.
Flesh they strip from the bone, mangling it.
Replete with food, they are obstreperous.
Surfeited, they cram themselves; clamoring, they vomit.
The people are drinking water to repletion.
The tribes, weeping for the dead, cry aloud with downcast eyes.
The dove mourns, devoured by grief.
The hungry ass kicks; the tempted men, brought to destruction, perish. Apostasy from the faith leads them to the tomb.
#34 Devouring flesh ravenously, drinking wine greedily.
Dancing, shouting, they play.
#24 Congregating on all sides to ensnare them,
the people voraciously devour the quails.
Binding the bow against them, bringing them down.
Eagerly and enormously eating the half raw flesh,
the pilgrims become plague-stricken.
William Houghton, in his article in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, stated: "The quail migrates in immense numbers. (See Pliny, H. N. X. 23) Tourneyfort says that all the islands of the Archipelago at certain seasons of the year are covered with these birds. Col. Sykes states"...160,000 quails have been netted in one season on this little island; according to Temminck, 100,000 have been taken near Nettuno in one day." The Israelites would have had little difficulty in capturing large quantities of these birds, as they are known to arrive at places sometimes so completely exhausted by their flight as to be readily taken, not in nets only, but by hand. Sykes says, 'The arrive in spring on the shores of Provence so fatigued that for the first few days they allow themselves to be taken by the hand.' It is interesting to note the time specified by Moses; 'it was at even' that they began to arrive, and they no doubt continued to come all the night" - William Houghton, Smith's Dictionary of the Bible [Boston: D. Lothrop & Co.. 1878] p.2,650.
Kilbroth Hattaavah on Sarbut-el-Khadem.
So what happened to the bodies of all the Hebrew escaped slaves who died from this plague? well, in 1761, Barthold Niebuhr, a German explorer, found a huge cemetery with tombs and a sepulcher atop an inaccessible mountain called Sarbut-el-Khaden. Inscriptions were found on the tombs and inside the sepulcher. (Voyage en Arabie, tom. i. p. 191). Niebuhr offered his doubts that the inscriptions were made by Egyptians as no carved inscriptions were ever found in Egypt; rather they were partial to painting images on plaster. He also found legible inscriptions not only on the tombs but also within a small temple carved out of rock, all found to be of the same written language as the Hebrew Exodus inscriptions. In another book, Niebuhr remarked "the wonderful preservation of the inscriptions upon this soft sandstone, exposed as they have been to the air and weather during the lapse of so many ages. On some of the stones they are quite perfect" (Niebuhr, Biblical Researches, vol. i. pp. 113-114). He found, as in the other Sinai inscriptions, that the heiroglyph-like writings were significantly different in form from Egyptian hieroglyphics, yet sharing similarities nonetheless. Also, no mention of Egyptian gods or common Egyptian symbols are to be found in the mountain-top graveyard.
In addition to all of this, Niebuhr found numerous engravings of quails on the tombstones "standing, flying and apparently, even trussed and cooked" (Rev. Charles Forster, Sinai Photographed [London: Richard Bentley, 1862], p. 62) and noted that the Bedouins refer to this graveyard as the "Turbet es Yahoud" (grave of the Jews).
When Dr. Stewart later later explored this huge graveyard, he made molds of the inscriptions there which were later translated by Rev. Charles Forster to appear in his 1962 book Sinai Photographed (p. 84):
"The apostates smitten with disease by God,
by means of feathered fowls.
Smitten by God with disease in the sandy plain,
(when) exceeding the bounds of moderation.
Sickening, smitten by God with disease;
thier marrows corrupted by God by means of the feathered fowls.
The people, given over to destruction, cry aloud.
God pours down deep sleep,
messenger of death, upon the pilgrims.
The tomb is the end of life to the sick,
smitten with disease by God."
#48 Miriam, Prophetess of lying lips an ddecietful tongue.
She causes the tribes to conspire against the pillar and prince of the people.
Convoked for tumult, perverted, full of strife,
the people revile the meek and generous man.
They lead with reproaches the blessed one of God.
The Plague of Fiery Serpents
#47 Bitten and destroyed by fiery, hissing serpents,
the Hebrews are wounded for their crimes.
Jehovah makes a stream flow from the stony rock.
Despite the overwhelming confirmation of the Old Testament scriptures in these inscriptions (or, perhaps, because of it) critics continued to reject the validity of the translations of Rev. Charles Forster. Finally, in a last attempt to discredit his work, they simply stated that they could not be convinced of the accuracy and authenticity of his translations unless a bilingual transcription could be produced. In other words, they demanded an inscription such as that of the Rosetta Stone, which allowed the translation and confirmation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Needless to say, this was an impossible demand as anyone familiar with the Rosetta Stone, and the great unlikelihood of it's discovery, will agree.
And yet, surprisingly, another Sinai explorer named Pierce Butler discovered, in 1860, a trilingual inscription in a cave in the Djebel Maghara mountain. This inscription described the same event in three languages - including that of the Sinai Incriptions. Translations from this set of inscriptions have proven Rev. Charles Forster's work to be completely accurate and reliable.
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