Bible Meaning: Thorny
Strong's Concordance #H5514, #G4614
The word Horeb (Strong's #H2722) means "desert" or "desolate." It is not entirely clear in the Bible whether Mount Sinai and Mount Horeb reference the same or distinct mountains. The consensus of several commentaries (Holman Bible Dictionary, AMG Concise Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, etc.) is that they both reference the same location (see Exodus 3:1, 17:6, 33:6).
In several Scriptures the same events are stated to have occurred on both Horeb and Sinai (Deuteronomy 1:2, 6, 4:10, 5:2, 9:8, 29:1, 1Kings 8:9, Psalm 106:19, etc.).
Mount Sinai is also called "the mount" (Exodus 19:2), "the mount of the Lord" (Numbers 10:33) and "the mountain of God" (Exodus 3:1).
The mountain is where God gave his holy laws (which included the Ten Commandments) and established the Old Covenant with His people (Exodus 19 - 35). It is also the location where the Israelites, while waiting for Moses, indulged in idolatry by making a golden calf to worship. This grievous sin, carried out with Aaron's approval (Exodus 32), caused Moses to break into pieces the commandments in stone God wrote with his finger.
What is known as the Song of Deborah (Judges 5) recalls God's encounter with his people on Sinai. Psalm 68 written by King David also remembers this momentous event.
The wilderness of Sinai was the area of land around the mount where the Israelites camped (Exodus 19:1, Leviticus 7:38).
New Testament references
Stephen, in his speech before the Sanhedrin in defense of the truth he taught, mentions Sinai (spelled Sina twice in the KJV New Testament) in his discourse (Acts 7:30, 38).
The Apostle Paul references the mount in two major passages of his writings. In Galatians 4, he uses it in his comparison of the Old and New Covenants (verses 24 - 25). In Hebrews 12 Paul references the mountain in his encouragement to fellow Christians to endure to the end their difficult journey in living a righteous life.
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
Exodus 19:11, 18
And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people . . . And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Psalm 68:7 - 8
O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah: The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Galatians 4:22, 24 - 25
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman . . . Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants: the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.