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The Nahom Convergence Reexamined: The Eastward Trail, Burial of the Dead, and the Ancient Borders of Nihm

TitleThe Nahom Convergence Reexamined: The Eastward Trail, Burial of the Dead, and the Ancient Borders of Nihm
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsRappleye, Neal
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
Volume60
Pagination1–86
KeywordsArabia; Burial; Ishmael (Ephraimite); Lehi (Prophet); Nahom
Abstract

For decades, several Latter-day Saint scholars have maintained that there is a convergence between the location of Nahom in the Book of Mormon and the Nihm region of Yemen. To establish whether there really is such a convergence, I set out to reexamine where the narrative details of 1 Nephi 16:33–17:1 best fit within the Arabian Peninsula, independent of where the Nihm region or tribe is located. I then review the historical geography of the Nihm tribe, identifying its earliest known borders and academic interpretations of their location in antiquity. My investigation brings in data on ancient Yemen and Arabia that has not been previously considered in discussions about Nahom or Lehi’s journey more generally, and leads to some surprising conclusions. Nonetheless, after establishing both where we should expect to find Nahom and the most likely location of ancient Nihm independent of one another, the two locations are compared and found to substantially overlap, suggesting that the “Nahom convergence” is real. With the convergent relationship established, I then explore four possible scenarios for Lehi’s stop at Nahom, the burial of Ishmael, and the party’s journey eastward toward Bountiful based on the new data presented in this paper.

URLhttps://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/the-nahom-convergence-reexamined-the-eastward-trail-burial-of-the-dead-and-the-ancient-borders-of-nihm/