In the Wilderness

Forty Years in the Wilderness – Edward Reese

The following chronology of the 40 years in the wilderness is taken from the Reese Chronological Bible, by Edward Reese; published by Bethany House (1977). The outline was combined with other time sensitive scriptures and years that follow the timeline.

Left Egypt: 14th-21st Day / 1st Month
(Ex. 12:18)


3 days journey after crossing Red Sea
(Ex. 15:15) – YEAR 2453

2. Journeyed To The Wilderness of Shur Ex.15:22
3. To Marah (in Shur; also called Wilderness of Etham) Num.33:8; Ex.15:23-26
4. From Marah to Elim Ex.15:27; Num.33:9
5. From Elim to Wilderness of Sin Num.33:10-11; Ex.16:1
a. Murmuring About Lack of Food Ex.16:2-3
b. Manna Promised Ex.16:4-13
c. Manna Provided Ex.16:14-22, 31-36

15th Day / 2nd Month / 1st Year
(16:1) – YEAR 2453

d. Law of the Sabbath Ex.16:23-30
6. Journeyed From Wilderness of Sin to Rephidim Ex.17:1; Num.33:12-14
a. Murmuring About Lack of Water Ex.17:2-4
b. Water From Rock at Horeb Ex.17:5-7
c. Conflict With Amalek Ex.17:8-16
d. Relatives Visit Moses Ex.18:1-12
e. Jethro’s Wise Council Ex.18:13-27
15. Journeyed From Rephidim To Sinai Ex.19:1-2; Num.33:15

3rd Month / 1st Year
(19:1) – YEAR 2453


1. Giving of The Law (Trip1) Ex.19:3-8
a. Covenant Reviewed and Preliminary Instructions Ex.19:9-15
b. Moses to Prepare Israel For Meeting With God (Trip 2) Ex.19:16-25
c. Moses Refrains Israel From Mount (Trip 3) Ex.20:1-10, 11-20
d. Ten Commandments Given Ex.20:21-26
e. Instructions For The Altar (Trip 4)
f. Various Laws Given Ex.21:1-11
1. Masters and Servants Ex.21:12-32
2. Injuries to Persons Ex.21:33-36; 22:1-15
3. Rights of property and Possessions Ex.22:16-31; 33:1-9
4. Laws Involving Others Ex.23:10-13
5. Land and The Sabbath Ex.23:14-19
6. Three National Feasts
2. God’s Covenant With Israel Ex.23:20-33
a. Future Conquest Ex.24:3-8
b. Altar Built Ex.24:1-2, 9-15
3. Moses Goes To The Mount (Trip 5) Ex.24:16-18
a. Instruction Begins After 7 Days Ex.25:1-30; Lev.5:5-9; Ex.25:31-27:21;
b. Materials For Tabernacle Items Described Lev.24:1-4; Ex.30:1-31:11
c. Priesthood Items Ex.28:1
(Garments of The Priests) Ex.28:2-43
(Consecration of The Priests) Ex.29:1-25
(Food For The Priests) Ex.29:26-37
(Continual Burnt Offerings) Ex. 29:38-46
(Sabbath Rest) Ex.31:12-18
4. Returned To A Sinning People
a. Golden Calf Ex.32:1-6
b. Moses’ Anger / Tablets Broken Ex.32:7-29
c. Moses’ Plea and God’s Answer (Trip 6) Ex.32:30-35
d. Temporary Tabernacle Erected Ex.33:7-11
e. Moses Communes With God Ex.33:12-23
f. Instruction To Hew Stone Ex.34:1-3
5. 40 More Days on Mount
a. Tables Remade (Trip 7) Ex.34:4
b. Directions Renewed Ex.34:5-28
6. Law of The Land Given
a. Sabbatic Year Lev.25:1-7
b. Years of Jubilee Lev.25:8-24
c. Redemption of Inheritance Lev.25:25-34
d. Care of The Poor Lev.25:35-46
e. Redemption of Poor Lev.25:37-55
7. Other Laws Given
a. Conditions For Blessings Lev.26:1-13
b. Warnings of Chastisement Lev.26:14-31
c. Dispersion Predicted Lev.26:32-39
d. Covenant Remains (Conditional) Lev.26:40-46
e. Dedicated Persons and Things (Tax) Lev.27:1-25
f. Three Items That Are The Lords Lev.27:26-34
g. Moses’ Face Shines With God’s Glory Ex.34:29-35
8. Tabernacle Built
a. Materials Given By People For Tabernacle Ex.35:4-29; 36:1-7
b. Tabernacle Items Ex.37:1-24; 36:8-38:7; 38:9-20;37:25-28; 38:8; 37:29; Ex.35:30-35
c. Priesthood Items Ex.39:1-31; Ex.35:1-3
d. Summary of The Building of The Tabernacle Ex.38:21-31; 39:32-43
9. Trumpets Used To Alert Congregations Num.10:1-10
10. Tabernacle Readied For Service Ex.40:1-15

1st Day / 1st Month / 2nd Year
(40:1-15) – YEAR 2454

11. Instructions & Duties Prior To Leaving Wild. Of Sinai
a. To Tribe of Levi Num.3:5-13
b. To Families of Levi Num.3:14-24
c. Responsibilities of Levi’s Sons Num.3:25-39
d. First Born Redeemed Num.3:40-51
e. Cleansing of The Levites Num.8:5-26
f. Office of Eleazar Num.4:16-20
g. Service of the Kohathites Num. 4:1-15
h. Service of The Gershonites Num.4:21-28
i. Service of The Meratites Num.4:29-33
j. Numbering The Priests Num.4:34-49
12. Tabernacle Completed Ex.40:16-33
13. Aaron Lights Lamps Over Against The Candlestick Num.8:1-4
14. Cloud of God Covers Tabernacle Ex.40:34-35
15. Gifts and Offerings Brought To The Tabernacle Num.7:1-88
16. Moses Enters the Tabernacle Num.7:89
17. Ministry of the Sons of Aaron Lev.3:1-3; 7:35-36
18. Consecration of Aaron Lev.8:1-36
19. Ministry of Priests Begin Lev.9:1-24
20. Strange Fire of Nabab and Abihu Causes Death Lev.10:1-7; Num3:4
21. Laws About Sacrifice (Day of Atonement) Lev.16:1-34
22. Necessity of Blood Sacrifice Lev.17:1-16
23. Various Offerings Described:
Sacrifice System and Priests Duties Lev.7:37-38
a. Burnt Offerings Lev.1:1-17; 6:8-13
b. Meat Offerings Lev.2:1-16; 6:14-23
c. Peace Offerings Lev.3:1-17; 7:11-34
d. Sin Offerings Lev.4:1-35; 6:24-30
e. Trespass Offering Lev.5:1-19; 6:1-7; 7:1-10
24. Instructions About Offerings Lev.10:8-20
25. Laws For The People
a. Food: Clean and Unclean Meat Lev.11:1-47
b. Motherhood (Law and Cleansing) Lev.12:1-8
c. Leprosy Lev.13:1-59
d. Cleansing of Leprosy Lev.14:1-57
e. General Cleansing Lev.15:1-33
26. Moral Instructions
a. Nakedness and Immorality Lev.18:1-30
b. Familiar Spirits Lev.20:1-6, 27
27. National Feast Day Instructions Lev.23:1-3
a. Passover Lev.23:4-5
b. Unleavened Bread Lev.23:6-8
c. First-Fruits Lev.23:9-14
d. Wave-Loaves (Pentecost) Lev.23:15-22
e. Trumpets Lev.23:23-25
f. Day of Atonement Lev.23:26-32
g. Tabernacles Lev.23:33-44
28. Conduct of God’s People Lev.19:1-37; Lev.20:7-26
29. Instructions About Priests and Their Duties
a. Spiritual and Physical Qualifications Lev.21:1-24
b. Separation Lev.22:1-16
c. Sacrifices For Altars Must Be Perfect Lev.22:17-33
30. Death Penalties
a. Blasphemy Lev.24:10-16; 23
b. Murder Lev.24:17-22
31. Camp Laws Explained Num.5:1-31
32. Vow of Nazarites Num.6:1-27
33. God Reminds Israel to Keep The Passover Num.9:1-4
34. First Passover Held Num. 9:5-14
35. Preparations For Leaving Sinai
a. Numbering the People Num.1:1-54

1st Day / 2nd Month / 2nd Year
(Num.1:1-54) – YEAR 2454

b. Arrangement of The Camp
1. General Order Num.2:1-2, 17, 32
2. Eastern Division Num.2:3-9
3. Southern Division Num.2:10-16
4. Western Division Num.2:18-24
5. Northern Division Num.2:25-31
c. Journey to Resume Exodus 33:1-6
d. Passover Held Again Num.9:11
e. Moses Recommissioned Deut.1:6-18

1. Trip Starts Num.10:11,13

20th Day / 2nd Month / 2nd Year
(Num.10:11,13) – YEAR 2454

2. Order of The Divisions Num.10:14-28
3. Moses Seeks Relatives Support Num.10:12, 29-29-32
4. Cloud Leads Them Ex.40:36-38; Num.9:15-23
5. Fire at Teberah Num.10:33-36; Num.11:1-3
6. Arrival at Kirbroth Num.33:16
a. Murmuring About Manna Num.11:4-9
b. Moses Complains Num.11:10-15
c. Seventy Elders Chosen Num.11:16-25
d. Prophecy in The Camp Num.11:26-30
e. Plague of Quails Num.11:31-34
7. From Kibroth to Hazeroth Num.11:35; 33:17
8. Miriam’s Leprosy Num.12:1-15
9. From Hazeroth to Kadesh-Barnea Num.33:18-36; Num.12:16; Deut.1:19-20

It appears that the time from the Exodus to the leaving from Kadesh-Barnea is close to 1.5 year.

The time of wandering after leaving Kadesh-Barnea is 38 years.

The time after the wanderings is at least 1 year.

This adds up to 40.5 years.

There is a theory that suggests that the 40 years in the wilderness did not officially begin until after the spies had returned from scouting out the land for 40 days. Thus, the first 1.5 years of Israel being out of Egypt is not included in the 40 years because that judgment had not been defined yet. If this is accurate then all dates beyond 2493 are to be moved up 1 year.
a. Spies Sent Out Num.13:1-24; Deut.1:21-24
b. Spies Return Num.13:25-33; Deut.1:25-33

(… returned after 40 days …)

c. Unbelief of Israel Num.14:1-24
d. Generations Cursed To Die in Wilderness Num.14:25-38; Deut.1:34-40
e. Defeat at Hormah Num.14:39-45; Deut.1:41-44
1. Repentance To Late Deut.1:45-46

(… many days …)

2. Earliest Psalm Psalm 90
3. (Possible Location of Psalm 91)
f. Instructions
1. Offerings Num.15:1-31
2. Separation Num.15:37-41
g. Man Stoned For Work on Sabbath Num.15:32-36
h. Korah’s Rebellion and Resulting Plague Num.16:1-50
i . Budding of Aarons Rod Num.17:1-13
j. Levite Responsibilities Num.18:1-32
k. Red Heifer Ordinance (Instructions About Dead) Num.19:1-22
2. Years of Wandering (Apx. 38 Years) Deut.2:14

(38 of 40 Years in Wilderness)

3. Birth of Salmon (36th Gen) (Husband of Rahab)
4. From Kadesh to Plains
a. Death of Miriam (Apx. 125 years) Num.20:1

1st Month – YEAR 2493

b. Complaining People Num.20:2-6
c. Water From Meribah (Rock After Murmuring) Num.20:7-13
d. Birth of Moses’ Grandchildren 1 Chron 23:16-17
e. Permission to Pass Through Edom Denied Num.20:14-21
f. To Mt. Hor Num.20:22; 33:37
g. Death of Aaron (123 Years) Num.20:23-28,38-39; Deut.10:6-7

1st Day / 5th Month – YEAR 2493

h. Mourning for Aaron Num.20:29

6th Month

i. Victory at Hormah Num.33:40; 21:1-3
j. Southward From Mt. Hor, Around Edom up to Moab Deut.2:1-12; Num.21:4; 33:41-42
1. Serpent of Brass Num.21:5-9
2. To Oboth and Ije-Abarim Num.21:12-122; 33:43-44
k. Northward Through Moab Num.21:12-15; Deut.2:13-18; Num.33:45
1. Victory over Amorites
(1). In Gilead, over Sihon The King Num.21:16; 33:46-47; 21:17-32; Deut.2:19-37
(2). In Bashan, over Og The King Deut.3:1-11; Num.21:33-35
5. Settling Down In Plains of Moab, East of Jordan Num.22:1; 33:48-49
a. Balak Seeks Curse Num.22:2-21
b. Baalam’s Ass Talks Num.22:22-41
c. Baalam’s Prophecy Num.23:1-30; 24:1-25
d. Compromise With Moab in Marriage and Idolatry Num.25:1-9
e. Midianities To Be Slain Num.25:10-18
f. Second Numbering of The People (New Generation) Num.26:1-65
g. Diverse Laws Given or Renewed
(1). Inheritance Law Num.27:1-11
(2). Passover Num.28:1-31
(3). Feasts of Trumpets and Tabernacle Num.29:1-40
(4). Laws About Vows Num.30:1-16
h. Midianities Slain Num.31:1-54
i. 2 1/2 Tribes Settle East of Jordan Num.32:1-42; Deut.3:12-17; Joshua 13:8-32
j. Recap of Victories Joshua 12:1-6
k. Command For Conquest West of Jordan Num.33:50-56; Deut.3:18-29
(1). Boundaries Given Num.34:1-15
(2). Men Chosen To Divide the Land Num.34:16-29
(3). Cities of Refuge Promised Num.35:1-34; Deut.4:41-49; 19:1-13
(4). Inheritance Law Reviewed Num.36:1-12
1. Review of Jewish Law and History
(1). Introduction Deut.1:1-5

1st Day / 11th Month – YEAR 2493

(2). Trip Reviewed Deut.1:6-3:29
(3). Exhortation To Obey Deut.4:1-40
(4). Events at Sinai Reviewed Deut.5:1-33
(5). The First Commandment Deut.6:1-25
(6). Godly Separation Required Deut.7:1-26
(7). Warnings, Admonitions and Exhortations Deut.8:1-20; 9:1-29; 10:1-22
(8). Results of Obedience Deut.11:1-32; 12:32
l. Instructions For Holy Conduct
(1). Punishment of The Wicked Deut.13:1-18
(2). Separation Expected Deut.14:1-29
(3). Sabbatic Year and Annual Feasts Deut.15:1-23; 16:1-17
(4). Government To Have Judges and Other Directives Deut.16:18-22;Deut.17:1-20;18:1-14
(5). The Prophet To Come Deut.18:15-22
(6). National Laws Deut.19:14-21
(7). Future Wars Deut.20:1-20
(8). Various Instructions Deut.21:1-23; 25:1-19
(9). Second Table of Laws Deut.22:1-30
(10). Regulations of The Congregations Deut.23:1-25
(11). Divorce and Other Personal Laws Deut.24:1-22
(12). First fruits Offerings Deut.26:1-11
(13). Obedience and Prayer Deut.26:12-19
m. Commandments, Blessings and Warnings Deut.27:1-26
n. Prophecy About Israel’s Future Deut.28:1-68
o. Palestinian Covenant Deut.29:1-29; 30:1-20; Num.36:13
p. Joshua Replaces Moses Num.27:15-23
q. Final Words of Moses
(1). To The People Deut.31:1-6
(2). To Joshua Deut. 31:7-8, 23
(3). To The Priests Deut.31:9-13
(4). To The Levites Deut.31:24-29
r. Song By Moses
(1). Commanded By God Deut.31:14-30
(2). Spoken To The People Deut.32:1-47
s. Moses Goes To Mt. Nebo Num. 27:12-14; Deut.32:48-52

(30days mourning after death)
(Very late; Maybe 10th or 11th Month)

t. Final Words To The Tribes Deut.33:1, 6-25, 2-5; 26-29; Ps.91
u. Death of Moses (120 Years) Deut.34:1-7
v. Thirty Days of Mourning Ends Deut.34:8, 10-12

YEAR 2493

(Maybe 11th or 12th Month)

w. Joshua, the New Leader Deut.34:9
6. Psalms Summing Up Previous History Ps.78:12-66; 105:16-45; 106:1-33; 135:1-20

YEAR 2493

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