Elim in the Sinai Wilderness

Second stop in the Sinai wilderness, after crossing the Red Sea,
during Israel's exodus from Egypt.


The oasis at Wadi Gharandel

During the Exodus, the second stop for the Israelites, having crossed the Rea Sea, was Elim. The travel list found in the book of Numbers provides context for this location.

Numbers 33:8-14 They left Pi Hahiroth and passed through the sea into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert of Etham, they camped at Marah. 9 They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. 10 They left Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11 They left the Red Sea and camped in the Desert of Sin. 12 They left the Desert of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13 They left Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14 They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. (NIV)

While not many details were provided for this stop, the text specifically notes that there were a dozen springs and seventy palms trees at this oasis. While this sounds like good shade and lots of water, it would have been minimal to the large host that had departed Egypt.

Exodus 15:27-16:1 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water. 16:1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. (NIV)

Even in season, date palms would not have provided enough food for all the people traveling with Moses. The wells had provided them with enough water to continue on, but the people began to complain for lack of food immediately following their departure from Elim (Exodus 16:2-3). This set the stage for God's great miracle of providing them meat (quail) and bread (manna) to eat.

Elim has been identified as Wadi Gharandel - a location that still has many palms to this day. The very name Elim has "great palm trees" as its meaning.

Many palms but no visible springs remain