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Sinai


"Of Sin (the moon god), called also Horeb, the name of the" mountain district which was reached by the Hebrews in the third month after the Exodus. Here they remained encamped for about a "whole year. Their journey from the Red Sea to this encampment," "including all the windings of the route, was about 150 miles." "The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus, together with the whole" "of Leviticus and Num. ch. 1-11, contain a record of all the" transactions which occurred while they were here. From Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-13) the Israelites journeyed forward through the Wady "Solaf and Wady esh-Sheikh into the plain of er-Rahah, "the" "desert of Sinai," about 2 miles long and half a mile broad, and" "encamped there "before the mountain." The part of the mountain" "range, a protruding lower bluff, known as the Ras Sasafeh" "(Sufsafeh), rises almost perpendicularly from this plain, and is" in all probability the Sinai of history. Dean Stanley thus "describes the scene:, "The plain itself is not broken and uneven" "and narrowly shut in, like almost all others in the range, but" "presents a long retiring sweep, within which the people could" "remove and stand afar off. The cliff, rising like a huge altar" "in front of the whole congregation, and visible against the sky" "in lonely grandeur from end to end of the whole plain, is the" "very image of the `mount that might be touched,' and from which" the voice of God might be heard far and wide over the plain "below." This was the scene of the giving of the law. From the" Ras Sufsafeh the law was proclaimed to the people encamped below in the plain of er-Rahah. During the lengthened period of their encampment here the Israelites passed through a very memorable experience. An immense change passed over them. They are now an "organized nation, bound by covenant engagement to serve the Lord" "their God, their ever-present divine Leader and Protector. At" "length, in the second month of the second year of the Exodus," they move their camp and march forward according to a prescribed "order. After three days they reach the "wilderness of Paran," "the "et-Tih", i.e., "the desert", and here they make their first" encampment. At this time a spirit of discontent broke out "amongst them, and the Lord manifested his displeasure by a fire" which fell on the encampment and inflicted injury on them. Moses "called the place Taberah (q.v.), Num. 11:1-3. The journey" between Sinai and the southern boundary of the Promised Land (about 150 miles) at Kadesh was accomplished in about a year. (See MAP facing page 204.)

"Usually designated by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet," is one of the most valuable of ancient MSS. of the Greek New Testament. On the occasion of a third visit to the convent of "St. Catherine, on Mount Sinai, in 1859, it was discovered by Dr." Tischendorf. He had on a previous visit in 1844 obtained "forty-three parchment leaves of the LXX., which he deposited in" "the university library of Leipsic, under the title of the Codex" "Frederico-Augustanus, after his royal patron the king of Saxony." In the year referred to (1859) the emperor of Russia sent him to "prosecute his search for MSS., which he was convinced were still" to be found in the Sinai convent. The story of his finding the manuscript of the New Testament has all the interest of a romance. He reached the convent on 31st January; but his inquiries appeared to be fruitless. On the 4th February he had "resolved to return home without having gained his object. "On" "that day, when walking with the provisor of the convent, he" spoke with much regret of his ill-success. Returning from their "promenade, Tischendorf accompanied the monk to his room, and" there had displayed to him what his companion called a copy of "the LXX., which he, the ghostly brother, owned. The MS. was" "wrapped up in a piece of cloth, and on its being unrolled, to" the surprise and delight of the critic the very document presented itself which he had given up all hope of seeing. His "object had been to complete the fragmentary LXX. of 1844, which" he had declared to be the most ancient of all Greek codices on "vellum that are extant; but he found not only that, but a copy" "of the Greek New Testament attached, of the same age, and" "perfectly complete, not wanting a single page or paragraph." "This precious fragment, after some negotiations, he obtained" "possession of, and conveyed it to the Emperor Alexander, who" "fully appreciated its importance, and caused it to be published" "as nearly as possible in facsimile, so as to exhibit correctly" the ancient handwriting. The entire codex consists of 346 1/2 folios. Of these 199 belong to the Old Testament and 147 1/2 to "the New, along with two ancient documents called the Epistle of" Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. The books of the New "Testament stand thus: the four Gospels, the epistles of Paul," "the Acts of the Apostles, the Catholic Epistles, the Apocalypse" of John. It is shown by Tischendorf that this codex was written "in the fourth century, and is thus of about the same age as the" Vatican codex; but while the latter wants the greater part of "Matthew and sundry leaves here and there besides, the Sinaiticus" is the only copy of the New Testament in uncial characters which is complete. Thus it is the oldest extant MS. copy of the New Testament. Both the Vatican and the Sinai codices were probably written in Egypt. (See [592]VATICANUS.)


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Definition of Sinai:
"a bush; enmity"