Places in the Bible Today:



Translated NamesDesert of Shur, Shur, Wilderness of Shur
Typesregion or settlement
Notescould denote a line of border fortresses extending from the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean Sea or the cliffs running the length of the Gulf of Suez; also called the wilderness of Etham; see for an extended discussion on the location of Shur
Geo Data KML (for Google Earth)
GeoJSON (for GIS applications)

3 Possible Identifications

  1. region around Ar Ruwaysat (modern): 55% confidence
    1. satellite view of the region around Ar Ruwaysatregion around Ar Ruwaysat

  2. about 30 km around Wadi as Sakriyat (modern): less than 10% confidence
    1. satellite view of the region around Wadi as Sakriyatabout 30 km around Wadi as Sakriyat

  3. Tel Sharuhen (modern): less than 10% confidence
    1. panorama of Tel SharuhenTel Sharuhen

Verses (6)

Gen-Deut (4)
Gen 16:7, 20:1, 25:18
Exod 15:22
1Sam-Esth (2)
1Sam 15:7, 27:8

Linked Data Identifiers

Logos FactbookShur (2007)Shur
OpenBible.infoacdbce0 (Shur)
UBS Names Databaseot ID_2834


  1. Aharoni, Land of the Bible (1979)
  2. Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (1992): Shur, Wilderness of (place)
  3. Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (1990): Shur
  4. Barnes, Historical Atlas of the Bible (2010)
  5. Biblica: The Bible Atlas (2007)
  6. Carta Bible Atlas, 5th Edition (2011)
  7. CEB Bible Map Guide (2011)
  8. Discovery House Bible Atlas (2015)
  9. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (2000): Shur
  10. ESV Bible Atlas (2010)
  11. Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1984): Exod 15:22-23
  12. Grollenberg, Atlas of the Bible (1957): Shur
  13. HarperCollins Atlas of Bible History (2008)
  14. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (2011): Shur, Wilderness of
  15. HarperCollins Concise Atlas of the Bible (1991)
  16. Holman Bible Atlas (1999)
  17. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2003)
  18. Hudson, Bible Atlas and Companion (2008)
  19. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1979): Shur
  20. IVP Atlas of Bible History (2006)
  21. Kregel Bible Atlas (2003)
  22. Matthews, Genesis (1996, 2005): 16:7
  23. National Geographic, The Biblical World (2007)
  24. New Bible Atlas (1985)
  25. New Bible Dictionary (1996): Shur
  26. New Moody Atlas of the Bible (2009)
  27. New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (1988)
  28. Oxford Bible Atlas, Fourth Edition (2007)
  29. Penguin Historical Atlas of the Bible Lands (2009)
  30. Reader’s Digest Atlas of the Bible (1981)
  31. Rogerson, New Atlas of the Bible (1985)
  32. Sacred Bridge (2014)
  33. Schlegel, Satellite Bible Atlas (2016)
  34. Student Bible Atlas (2015)
  35. Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis (2001): 16:7
  36. Wenham, Genesis (1987, 1994): 16:7
  37. Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible (1956)
  38. Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia (1975): Shur
  39. Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible (2010)
  40. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (2009): Gen 20:1

Confidence Trends over Time

This chart indicates how confidence in the identifications is changing over time. Each dot (connected by a dotted line) reflects the confidence of an identification over the preceding ten years (e.g., the 2009 dot reflects scholarship from 2000 to 2009), and the corresponding solid line reflects a best-fit line for the identification. Confidences that cluster near or below 0% indicate low confidence. Because of the small dataset, it's best to use this chart for general trends; if one identification is trending much higher than the others (in this case, region around Ar Ruwaysat), then you can probably have higher confidence in the identification. This chart only reflects the sources I consulted (listed above), not an exhaustive review of the literature.

Thumbnail Image Credits

Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, The devious diesel


This page attempts to identify all the possible locations where this biblical place could be. The confidence levels add up to less than 100%, indicating that the modern location is uncertain. It's best to think about the confidences in relative rather than absolute terms. Often they reflect different schools of thought, each confident in their identifications.

The isobands you see on the map (gray areas with dark borders) attempt to give you confidence where a region is. Because many ancient regions aren't precisely defined, I consulted atlases to determine where the biblical region is located and used that data to build the isobands. The smaller isobands reflect more confidence that the given isoband is in the region, while the larger isobands reflect less confidence. Isobands are a kind of contour line that here indicate confidence levels.