Exodus 5:3 Then Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”
Three days’ journey? They obviously didn’t measure distance in miles or kilometers. They measured distance by how long it would take to get there. I guess I do the same thing sometimes. So if I were to take a three days’ journey, I would figure 12 hours a day at 60 miles per hour. That equals 720 miles.
I don’t think that’s what Moses had in mind. So what was Moses thinking? Here’s a helpful excerpt from James K. Hoffmeier’s The Archaeology of the Bible.
In the ancient Near East, travel was not measured in miles or kilometers, but by the distance traveled in a day. Nineteenth-century travelers on foot in the deserts of Sinai typically walked for ten to twelve hours a day at a rate of about 2 miles per hour. Thus 20-24 miles could have been covered depending on the terrain. Some think 15-18 miles per day is more realistic. Ancient texts from Mari [a major ancient city in the Near East] report caravans traveling between cities, and the distance traveled works out to be 22 miles per day. If one takes an average from this range of distances, 20 miles can serve as a working figure”
Ok, 20 miles a day multiplied by three days equals 60 miles. Or, in modern terms, Moses wanted to take Israel about an hour out of Egypt!