Image of Nahom from The New Era
From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
In 1 Nephi chapter 7, not long after their departure into the wilderness, Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to bring Ishmael and his daughters (which later become the wives of Lehi’s sons). In chapter 16 Ishmael died during their journey through the Arabian Peninsula and in verse 34 we read that Ishmael was buried “in the place that was called Nahom.” Ancient Hebrew did not use vowels, so NHM could have been translated with the use of various vowel sounds including Nahom as found in the Book of Mormon.
In the late twentieth century, a non-LDS German archaeological team was excavating an ancient temple in southern Arabia when they discovered the inscription of a man belonging to the tribe of NHM. A few years later, two more altars from the same excavation were also found to contain the tribal inscription of NHM. Since this area had been utilized for more than 2500 years (and was actively used during the days of Lehi,) non-LDS scholars have suggested that—in typical Near Eastern Fashion—NHM was not only a tribal name, but the name of a territory in which this tribe lived. This becomes even more interesting when we recognize that NHM was the largest burial site in all of ancient Arabia, and starting in around 600 BC (the same time that the Lehites fled Jerusalem,) anyone could be buried there.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.