Holyland Tour in Focus: Egypt
The Holy Family in Egypt
The Holy Family Church, also known as The Hanging Church
The gospel of Matthew (2:13-15) tells us that after the wise men had started back home, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
St. Matthew also tells us that (2:19-21) “after Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’” The journey to Egypt lasted no more than two years, and perhaps as little as a few weeks or months.
Moses’ story is told in the Book of Exodus, but it starts in Genesis with the story of Abraham and his family with whom God makes a covenant. Generations later the Biblical Moses draws the extended family together in the form of a nation with a structure and code of law, given to him on Mount Sinai
First stop out of Egypt, on the exodus, after crossing the sea
Exodus 15:22-26 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
The Great Pyramids of Giza
In the early centuries, and again in the closing stages of ancient Egypt, the capital is at Memphis, near modern-day Cairo. But at the peak of Egyptian power, during the period from about 2000 to 1200 BC, the city of Thebes – several hundred kilometres up the Nile – is a place of greater importance.
The pyramids remain today to show the early greatness of Memphis, in the period known as the Old Kingdom. Similarly the temples of Karnak and Luxor are witness to the extravagant wealth of Thebes during the eras described as the Middle Kingdom and the New Empire.
The most colossal sculpture of the ancient world is the Egyptian sphinx. The great lion with a human face is carved from the centre of a limestone quarry, after the tons of stone which once surrounded it have been hacked and dragged away to form the greatest of the three nearby pyramids, that of the pharaoh Khufu.
The sphinx lies guarding the pyramids at Giza. Its face is believed to bear the features of Khafre, son of Khufu, whose own pyramid is only slightly more modest than that of his father.
The bush at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, which monastic tradition identifies as being the burning bush
While Moses was keeping the flock of his father in law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb (Mt. Sinai), the mountain of God. There the angel of the of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up. When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called him out of the bush “Moses, Moses”. And he said, “Here I am” Then he said “Come no closer. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.
The Ten Commandments
And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tablets of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
Mount Sinai is a 2,285-metre (7,498 ft) moderately high mountain near the city of Saint Catherine in the Sinai region.
It is next to Mount Catherine (at 2,629 m or 8,625 ft, the highest peak in Egypt). It is surrounded on all sides by higher peaks of the mountain range.
The biblical Mount Sinai was one of the most important sacred places in the Abrahamic religions.
According to Bedouin tradition, it was the mountain where God gave laws to the Israelites. However, the earliest Christian traditions place this event at the nearby Mount Serbal, at the foot of which a monastery was founded in the 4th century; it was only in the 6th century that the monastery moved to the foot of Mount Catherine, following the guidance of Josephus’s earlier claim that Sinai was the highest mountain in the area
According to the Book of Exodus, Mount Sinai (Hebrew: הר סיני, Har Sinai) is the mountain at which the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. In the Book of Deuteronomy, these events are described as having transpired at Mount Horeb. 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. “Sinai” and “Horeb” are generally considered to refer to the same place, although there is a small body of opinion that the two names may refer to different locations.
It seems strange, almost, to speak of a mountain like Mt. Sinai in clerical terms. There is so much mystery surrounding the mountain, so much spiritual projection and adulation that one can easily forget that it is, after all, a mountain, and climbing it requires an individual to be in moderate shape. It takes about 3 hours to climb the 7,498-foot peak following the Path of Moses, a stairway of nearly 4,000 steps. Therefore one should bring good hiking shoes and plenty of water, the latter of which Moses he probably brought when he climbed it.
How far and how long is to walk to the top of Mt. Sinai?
* Starting point is at the foot of Mt. Sinai at 2:30 AM
* Distance is about 13 Kilometers and about 3 hours hike.
* First part of the walking is about 750 steps – a truly knee-and-lung test as it is sandy, rough and continuously winding up. There is an option to take/ride a camel which cost around US$ 25.00 per way. Only one rider is allowed each camel. Camel walks non stop and just a bit faster thank hikers. Unlike the hikers, breaks or stops from time to time are needed to rest and breath.
There are about 4-5 mini store vendors along the way where one can have coffee, tea and chocolate snacks to regain energy.
* Second part is the remaining 750 steps
From this point on, Camels are not allowed anymore due to rocky and narrow steps and only the hikers could safely make it. Hikers are expected to arrive at around 5:30 AM just in time for the beautiful sunrise.
* Watching from the summit as the sun starts to reveal for the first time to your tired eyes the splendour of Sinai’s mountains and valleys is simply reward enough
* At around 6:00 AM, start to walk back downhill and this time, it is just
What to bring:
* Jackets & Warmers: Weather temperature is low at time of hike
* Flash lights: This will enable you to see the paths
* Water: Hikers are encouraged to take one sip at a time. Take note that there no toilets along the way. Should you need make a pee, find yourself a place somewhere on sides of the pathways.
* Chocolates: Though there mini store along the way but they costs a lot more.
(Exodus 32:25) Aaron called the people together and told them that the golden calf was the god who delivered them from Egypt. The people offered sacrifices and then engaged in pagan rituals, including orgies to worship this new god.
Join a tour for only US$ 3,373++! Click here to know more
Next stop: ISRAEL