Worst Navigator Ever?

Worst Navigator Ever? April 12, 2017


This is an old joke, and not a particularly funny one, since it misses the key ideas in the story entirely. But I was still struck by the different impact the meme makes by weaving a map app into the picture, complete with estimated travel time.


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  • Willem J. de Wit

    The 9.5 hours drive / 6 days walk presuppose that you can take the road indicated on the map. However, the road that crosses Sinai directly from West to East is no longer considered to be safe. For security reasons, people who don’t have the Egyptian nationality (even if they have a permit to work in Egypt and have lived there for many years) are not allowed to take buses on this road. They can take the much longer route from Suez to Sharm el-Sheikh (the south point of Sinai) and then from there to the Tabah border crossing (near Eilat).
    But that’s not all: since a few days, the Tabah border crossing has been closed. So, even if you have made the detour on the Sinai peninsula you cannot enter “the promised land”.
    The lesson: perhaps Moses wasn’t such a bad navigator after all.

  • John MacDonald

    It’s not odd that Moses didn’t have accurate directions, but the fact that no one of the entire group of Jews who escaped Egypt had the proper directions gives me pause.

    • Ian Robinson

      Moses lived out there for forty years, managing herds, I expect he knew it well and followed water holes and food supplies in season. The quail are twice-annual migrations. As a regular desert traveller myself, who often is surprised at city-based versions of what ‘should have’ happened, I think the text of Deuteronomy in particular shows good connection with the land they were travelling in.

      • Gary

        I think my least favorite bible book explains the 40 years. Nothing to do with being physically lost.

        Assuming the Exodus actually occurred, it pays to not complain “Are we there yet?”

        They had to wait till all the people older than 20 had died, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. Including Moses. Takecabout “Tough Love”.

        Num 14:
        26And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 27How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, that murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 28Say unto them, As I live, saith Jehovah, surely as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, that have murmured against me, 30surely ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31But your little ones, that ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have rejected. 32But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. 33And your children shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your whoredoms, until your dead bodies be consumed in the wilderness. 34After the number of the days in which ye spied out the land, even forty days, for every day a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my alienation. 35I, Jehovah, have spoken, surely this will I do unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

  • Wasn’t God the navigator? Leading them around the dessert with a cloud and a fiery pillar?

    But then, His navigation was intentional, however circular.

  • Brad Matthies

    I wonder if Zipporah busted his chops for not asking for directions?

  • arcseconds

    From one angle, I suppose this is just throwing stones, but still I think this joke is kinda funny, in as much as the dramatic and all-important events in the exodus are re-cast as Moses being hopelessly lost in a not terribly large area for a ludicrous length of time.

    There’s also perhaps a useful point to be made that if we read this as literal history, and 40 years as a literal length of time, it does seem rather ridiculous.