Source:Echoes:Ch5:3:Lehi's route south

Lehi's desert journey: The Route South

Lehi's desert journey: The Route South

If family members traveled south from Jerusalem, starting toward Bethlehem, at least two routes were available. One was the trade route that led south to Hebron, then to Arad and down through the Zohar Valley into the Arabah Valley, which continues the Jordan Valley southward.5 This trail would have been the most direct and would have led them toward the tip of the eastern arm of the Red Sea where Aqaba and Eilat are now located. In this connection one should not discount the possibility that the family generally followed a trade route not only for this segment of the journey but for later segments too. Even though Nephi's narrative of the journey does not specifically mention meeting other people, the party surely would have done so. And Nephi offers hints that family members ran into others as they traveled.6

A second southward trail open to them would have carried them down into the Arabah Valley next to the Dead Sea. It was the so-called ascent of Ziz (see 2 Chronicles 20:16 Revised Standard Version), which connected the area near Tekoa, birthplace of the prophet Amos, and Ein Gedi, which lay on the west shore of the Dead Sea. Tekoa lies south and slightly east of Jerusalem, and the party could have reached the neighborhood by traveling through or near Bethlehem. From here the trail descends eastward through rugged country to the oasis of Ein Gedi. At that point the party would have turned south toward the Red Sea, keeping at first to the west shore of the Dead Sea.7[1]

Notes

  1. ↑ S. Kent Brown, "New Light from Arabia on Lehi's Trail," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 5, references silently removed—consult original for citations.