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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names


By Jeff A. Benner

Mount Sinai (sinai - see Exodus 19:20) is the mountain that Israel met with God upon leaving Egypt. The Hebrew word Sinai (Strong's #5514) means "thorn". This word comes from the parent root SN (sin-nun), also meaning thorn. Another word derived from this parent root is seneh (#5572) meaning "thorn bush". The bush that Moses saw burning in Exodus 3:2 is a seneh. It was not just a burning bush, but a burning thorn bush.

Mount Sinai is also called Mount Horeb (hhorev - see Exodus 3:1). The Hebrew word hhorev (#2722) comes from the root hharav (#2717) meaning "to lay waste", "be dried up" as well as "to fight". By definition the words sinai and hhorev are synonymous as a dry wasteland is often filled with thorn bushes. But there is also an interesting connection between the Garden of Eden and Mount Sinai.

When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, God placed a "flaming sword" at its entrance. The Hebrew word for "sword" is hherev (#2719). Hherev (sword/sharp) comes from the same root, hharav (fight/make waste), as the word hhorev (wasteland) which is also called Sinai (thorn/sharp). The burning thorn bush of Exodus is a picture of the flaming sword of Genesis.

Is it possible that the burning bush and the flaming sword are one and the same thing? Was Mount Sinai the entrance into the Garden of Eden?

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