Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 079

Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt (1659)

Mount Horeb, Hebrew חֹרֵב, Greek in the Septuagint χωρηβ, Latin in the Vulgate Horeb, is the place at which the book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. It is described in two places (Exodus 3:1, 1 Kings 19:8) as הַר הָאֱלֹהִים the Mountain of God or perhaps Mountain of the gods.

In other biblical passages these events are described as having transpired at Mount Sinai, but though Sinai and Horeb are often considered to have been different names for the same place, there is a body of opinion that they were different locations,[1]. In any case there is no direct evidence that they were identical. Passages earlier in the narrative text than the Israelite encounter with Horeb indicate that the ground of the mountain was considered holy (Exodus 3:5).


Horeb is thought to mean Glowing/Heat;[1] this seems to be a reference to the sun, while Sinai is most likely to derive from the name of Sin, the semitic lunar deity.[1][2][3] and thus Sinai and Horeb would be the mountain of the moon and sun, respectively.[1][2] Some also show the Etymology of Sinai (somech,yud,nun,yud) as being related to the word for bush (somech, nun, hey), hence Sinai being where Moshe saw the 'hasneh beish boeir' or the bush that burns with fire.

In Matityahu Clark's book Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, the root for Horev, ie. Chorev,(Chet, reish, beit) is related to the word for sword 'Cherev' (Chet, reish, beit) showing the meaning of Chorev being as "desolation as after a mighty battle", where the root for Sinai 'Sineh' being (somech, nun, hey) relating to both "bush" and the idea "to fend off an attack". The relationship between "fend off" and "bush" being that this bush has thorns to in fact "fend off" its enemies. Both of these words tend to paint a word picture of a very desolate place that defends itself by the very rough terrain and thorny bushes that surrounding it.


According to the researchers of the Documentary hypothesis, the name Sinai is only used in the Torah by the Jahwist and Priestly Source, whereas Horeb is only used by the Elohist and Deuteronomist.[3][4]

The name Horeb first occurs at Exodus 3:1, with the story of Moses and the Burning Bush.

Exodus 17:6 describes the incident when the Israelites were in the wilderness without water. Moses was upon the rock at Horeb. He struck the rock and obtained drinking water.

The only other use of the name in Exodus is at Exodus 33:6, where Horeb is the location where the Israelites stripped off their ornaments.

In Deuteronomy, Horeb is mentioned several times in the account of the wanderings of the Israelites in the wilderness, Deuteronomy 1:2, 1:6, 1:19.

The account of the delivery to Moses of the Ten Commandments, and references back to it, include mentions of Horeb at Deuteronomy 4:10, 4:15, 5:2,9:8, 18:16, 28:69. There are similar references back at Psalms 106:19 and Malachi 3:22.

At 1 Kings 8:9 2 Chronicles 5:10 it is stated that the Ark of the Covenant contained only the tablets delivered to Moses at Horeb.

At 1 Kings 19:8, Elijah visits Horeb the mount of God.

There are no occurrences of Horeb under that name in the New Testament. At Galatians 4:24-25, in The Epistle of Saint Paul to the Galatians Mount Sinai is mentioned " ... One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar . Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children."


The location of Horeb is unknown. Jewish and Christian scholars have advanced varying opinions as to its whereabouts since biblical times[2]. Elijah is described in 1 Kings 19:8 as traveling to Horeb, in a way which implies that its position was familiar when that was written, but there are no biblical references set any later in time. Further discussion of the location appears in the article Biblical Mount Sinai.


Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Mount Horeb. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Sinai and Horeb". Encyclopædia Biblica. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Mount Horeb". Jewish Encyclopedia. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Matthew Black and H. H. Rowley, ed (1963). "Exodus". Peake's Commentary on the Bible (second edition ed.). Thomas Nelson. pp. section 178c. 
  4. Harris, J. Rendel (1902). "Sinai, Mount". in James Hastings. A Dictionary of the Bible. 

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