There are 5 thoughts on “The Nahom Convergence Reexamined: The Eastward Trail, Burial of the Dead, and the Ancient Borders of Nihm”.

  1. Just wanted to express appreciation to you for the effort and scholarship to write this complex article with all meaningful references. The only thing that concerned me was the notion that Lehi stayed close to the Frankinsense Trail where his location could be discovered and found by his enemies (e.g. King Zedekiah, Laban’s family).

  2. Neal Rappleye has produced a veritable tour de force that greatly contributes to the literature on the Arabian journey that commences the Book of Mormon. His paper demonstrates a keen mastery of the sources and very adequately summarizes the contributions and ideas of those (LDS and non-LDS) who have addressed Nephi’s account.

    I note only one small omission: it comes in Map 1 depicting the incense trade routes, but somehow leaves off the major trail from Shabwa to Qana (the modern Bir Ali) which was the largest port in southern Arabia; incense from Dhofar was usually shipped down the coast to Qana for shipment via the land route at times when the trade route from Sumhurum (at Khor Rori) was not in use.
    However, the major leg between Shabwa and Qana, does appear on the maps that follow (Maps 2, 4 and 6), despite being mostly obscured by the key panel.

    If there is anything that stands out above all else in Rappleye’s paper, it is that having all the data assembled in one place makes it abundantly clear that we must not – at this stage – be overly dogmatic about the possible variations in locations and with potential routes. All are minor. The macro-level clearly favors the historicity of Nephi’s text and are beyond dispute. More forensic detail will emerge when more fieldwork can be done, particularly in Yemen. For now, this paper takes its place as a foundational study that will be valuable for a long time to come.

  3. re pp. 6-12,
    Neal Rappleye goes to great lengths to make a completely unnecessary connection to the famous Incense Trail. Nibley and several others have mistakenly claimed that Lehi took that Incense Trail, a very heavily travelled caravan road to and from Arabia Felix – supplying expensive frankincense and myrrh to the myriad of temples throughout the Mediterranean world – a trade which had been in full operation for at least four centuries before the time of Lehi. South Arabia at that time was perhaps the richest country in the world.

    The very last place Lehi would want to be found was on that Incense Trail. Why? Because then the Judahite authorities could easily arrest him and extradite him back to Jerusalem for execution. As recently pointed out by Jack Welch, just such a fate overtook the Prophet Uriah ben-Shemaiah of Qiryat-Yearim, who was executed by Judahite officials, after fleeing for his life to Egypt, during the 608-598 BC reign of King Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:20-23). @5:18

    Moreover, the Book of Mormon text itself repeatedly emphasizes that Clan Lehi stayed close to the Red Sea seashore, not up on the high plateau Incense Trail out of sight of the Red Sea:

    1 Nephi 2:5 “the borders near the shore of the Red Sea . . . the borders which are nearer the Red Sea”; 2:8 “it emptied into the Red Sea; and the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof”; 1 Nephi 16:13 “nearly a southsoutheast direction”; 16:14 “in the borders near the Red Sea”; 16:33 “traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning” 17:1 “we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth”

    Only at the end of their trek, just before Nahom, do they go up into the high plateau. Shortly after burying Ishmael, they soon disappear into a rugged and forbidding wilderness area on their way to Bountiful. The text does not suggest that they spent time hobnobbing with rich South Arabians.

    • The Lehites ate raw meat in the wilderness because the Lord told them not to make fire (1 Nephi 17:2, 12); obviously so others would not locate them from the smoke in the daytime and by the firelight at night. Caravans of less than 100 camels were prime targets for marauding. desert pirates.

      • Not-a-scholar here, but that was my first thought. Arranging for a group of Jews to 1) rely on raw meat and 2) get their food by hunting is the exact opposite of Mosaic law. For the Lord to give these personal, exceptional commandments to this group must have meant they were in some extenuating circumstances where they just had to succeed in order to carry out God’s will. Which means they must have had to avoid contact with other people and highly populated areas. Glad to see my non-scholarly thoughts addressed in these comments.

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