Monday, April 13, 2015

The Israelites and the Golden Calf near Mount Sinai

This is probably my last of a string of posts on the Jebel Musa or Mount Sinai area. In a previous post I gave the portions of Exodus 32 dealing with Aaron and the Israelites building the golden calf and then worshipping it. It should be no surprise that there is tradition relating to this on the ground in the area. 

The broad valley away from the Saint Catherine Monastery side of Jebel Musa is known as the Plain of El-Raha (the resting place). Tradition has it that this is where the Israelites camped while Moses was dealing with God on Mount Sinai. 
In the distance is the valley where the Israelites camped.
At the mouth of the Wadi El-Deir is a small hill called Nabi Haruun or Aaron's Hill. Tradition has it that Aaron's Hill is where the golden calf was set-up and worshipped. Today there is a Muslim shrine and a small Christian chapel dedicated to Aaron. I did not have an opportunity to inspect them, other than from a distance. 
Aaron's Hill is in the background with the Muslim shrine and Christian chapel on top. Interesting structures are in the foreground which I have no idea about. 
A little closer view of the shrine and chapel. 
Nearby, closer to the Jebel Musa massife, is a rock in the shape of a calf. The Bedouin call it El-Bagara or the cow and believe it was the mould used for the idol which was made of gold from earrings collected from the Israelite women by Aaron. 
The golden calf in rock. I had a hard time seeing it at first.
This more closely cropped photo makes it a little easier. 
The information from this post came from 


  1. That golden calf rock is really interesting. What would you say the dimensions are?

    1. Good question. It was pretty big.

  2. That cow rock is a surprise.
    Such a stark, barren land. Too bad they couldn't hold out for the much nicer promised land.