Where in the TaNaCH, in its pshat reading, does it show that the 42 stops in Numbers 33 were divided as follows:

"Hence journeys 1 through 11 were in the first year following the Exodus, and journeys 32–42 in the fortieth year, meaning that there were 19 journeys in the intervening 38 years."1

The pshat reading of Numbers 33 does not appear to bear this calculation out, and therefore I assume, this calculation is from other TaNaCH passages; yes, the pshat reading of Numbers 33 shows 42 stops during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

To make matters complicated, this quote "journeys 1 through 11" (equals 11 journeys), plus "journeys 32–42" (equals 11 journeys"), plus "19 journeys" DOES NOT equal 42, but 41. Why? Is this a typo?

The following are related questions, but these do not answer my main and only question above:

Why did the Torah list all the stops the Jews made in the Wilderness?

Why is there a paragraph break in the middle of the list of travels?

  • Rashi here breaks it up somewhat differently - journeys 1-14 in the first year, 20 journeys in the middle 38 years, and journeys 35-42 in the final year
    – Joel K
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 8:24
  • @JoelK Either way, I would ask the same question: "Where in the TaNaCH, in its pshat reading, does it show that the 42 stops in Numbers 33 were divided as follows" (by Rashi).
    – ninamag
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 8:27
  • I'm not sure that question is answerable. This seems to me to be drush - based on a close reading of various verses in Sefer Bamidbar - but probably not peshat.
    – Joel K
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 8:35
  • @JoelK you can suggest a partial peshat answer, for example, how did the Chabad quote come up with 11 stops in the first year, or if you wish, how did Rashi come up with 14 stops in the first year.
    – ninamag
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 9:33
  • @JoelK Rashi wrote, "Deduct fourteen of them, for they all took place in the first year, before the decree ...." (from where does he source this? It sounds like a peshat source.) chabad.org/parshah/torahreading_cdo/aid/2495784/p/1/showrashi/…
    – ninamag
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


To answer your second question, I don't think it's a typo. I think it depends on whether you count Ramesses. It's considered a stop in the overall 42, but they didn't actually travel there. That's where they left Egypt from.

On your first question, the first 11 encampments being in the first year is based on the verses that say that Bnei Yisrael were still in the Sinai Desert after the start of the second year (the second Passover):

"The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, on the first new moon of the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt, saying: Let the Israelite people offer the passover sacrifice at its set time..." (Bamidbar 9:1-2)

Turning over to the list of encampments, we see that there ten before Sinai (not including Ramesses, which is where they left Egypt from), and Sinai makes eleven: Sukkot, Etam, Pi Hachirot, Marah, Eilim, Yam Suf, Sin Desert, Dofkah, Alush, Refidim, Sinai Desert.

The last set of journeys start off from Etzion Gaver, as Etzion Gaver was in the edge of Edom (and see Chizkuni here), where they were for most of the forty years:

"Thus, after you had remained at Kadesh all that long time, we marched back into the wilderness by the way of the Sea of Reeds, as the LORD had spoken to me, and skirted the hill country of Seir a long time. Then the LORD said to me: You have been skirting this hill country long enough; now turn north." (Devarim 1:46-2:3)


"The Israelites arrived in a body at the wilderness of Zin on the first month, and the people stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there." (Bamidbar 20:1)


"Now we are in Kadesh, the town on the border of your territory." (Bamidbar 20:16)

Now, evidently, Chabad and other commentators hold that the journey to Etzion Gaver also happened in the fortieth year, so we can add that to the list. And so we get the last eleven: Etzion Gaver, Kadesh, Hor Hahar, Tzalmonah, Punon, Ovot, Iyei Ha'avarim, Divon Gad, Almon Divlataim, Harei Ha'avarim, Arvot Moav.

And so we have nineteen journeys remaining: Kivrot Ha'taavah, Chatzerot, Ritmah, Rimon Paretz, Livnah, Rissah, Kehelatah, Har Shafer, Charadah, Makhelot, Tachat, Tarach, Mitkah, Chashmonah, Moserot, Bnei Ya'akan, Chor Hagidgad, Yotvatah, Evronah.

For more info, I recommend checking out the Wikipedia table (in Hebrew) here.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .