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Part 4: "Travel Nearly Eastward From That Time Forth"

TitlePart 4: "Travel Nearly Eastward From That Time Forth"
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWarren P. Aston
Book TitleLehi and Sariah in Arabia: The Old World Setting of the Book of Mormon
PublisherXlibris Publishing
CityBloomington, IN
KeywordsArabia; Bondage; Lehi's Trail; Servitude; Wilderness
The Lehite journey across Arabia falls naturally into three major thrusts: from Jerusalem down to the Valley of Lemuel, from there down to Nahom, and then across to Bountiful. After an extended stay at the valley and the two short stops that followed, travel to the vicinity of Nahom probably took a few weeks at most. With their arrival at Nahom, perhaps intending a stay of at least a year, some 1,400 miles/2,250 km had been covered since leaving Jerusalem. Some 600 miles/970 km still separated them, though, from their destination on the coast, the place they would name “Bountiful.”
Nephi’s account explicitly tells us that the final stage from Nahom across to Bountiful was the most arduous of the journey. The group was now in the Jauf Valley at the southern edge of the Empty Quarter, a place of vast shifting dunes avoided even by the Bedouin. Anciently - and still today - this is the first opportunity for travel across the Arabia peninsula in an easterly direction.
However, while it offers traversable terrain, the stony desert plateau eastward from Nahom remains a forbidding prospect to any traveler. It offers no water or fodder sources, or any crop-growing opportunities. In the twenty-first century it remains without wells, roads, or settlements. With only short-term camping feasible, the leg from the Nahom to Bountiful was thus not only the most difficult, but the longest non-stop stage of the entire land journey.