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REPHIDIM (Ῥαφιδείν), the eleventh encampment of the Israelites after leaving Egypt, the next before Sinai, “where was no water for the people to drink.” (Numb. 33.14.) Moses was accordingly instructed to smite the rock in Horeb, which yielded a supply for the needs of the people, from whose murmurings the place was named Massah and Meribah. Here also it was that the Israelites first encountered the Amalekites, whom they discomfited; and here Moses received his father-in-law Jethro. (Exod. xvii.) Its position, Dr. Robinson surmises, must have been at some point in Wady-esh-Sheikh, not far from the skirts of Horeb (which he takes to be the name of the mountain district), and about a day's march from the particular mountain of Sinai. Such a spot exists where Wady-esh-Sheikh issues from the high central granite cliffs; which locality is more fully described by Burckhardt, and Dr. Wilson, who agrees in the identification, and names the range of rocky mountains Wateiyah. He says that “water from the rock in Horeb could easily flow to this place.” (Robinson, Bib. Res. vol. i. pp. 178, 179; Burckhardt, Travels in Syria, &c.; p. 488; Wilson, Lands of the Bible, vol. i. p. 254.) Dr. Lepsius controverts this position and proposes El-Hessue, only a mile distant from the convent-mountain of Pharán, as the Rephidim (== “the resting-place” ) of the Exodus. This is at the foot of Gebel Serbal, which he regards as the mountain of the law, and finds the stream opened by Moses “in the clear-running and well-flavoured spring of Wádi Firán, which irrigates the fertile soil of El-Hessue, and causes it to exhibit all the riches of the gardens of Farán for the space of half a mile.” (Lepsius, A Tour from Thebes to the Peninsula of Sinai, pp. 74--82.)


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