Desert area of sand or rock—but also sloping ground unsuitable for cereals but possible for grazing cattle or sheep (Exod. 3: 1). It was a much treasured tradition of the Hebrews that their forefathers had wandered for ‘forty years’ following the Exodus from Egypt, after complaining in the wastes of Sinai (Deut. 8: 15). In retrospect this became idealized as a time of incorruption (Hos. 2: 14–15). Jesus spent ‘forty days’ in the wilderness (Matt. 4: 1–11) tempted by Satan to doubt his mission and visited by the wild beasts (Mark 1: 13) who roamed the wildernesses (Ezek. 34: 25). The Qumran monastery was established in the wilderness in the light of Isa. 40: 3; members of the Community were preparing ‘a highway for their God’.