Could scholars have discovered Lehi’s Trail and the Valley of Lemuel based on the description of Lehi’s journey in the Book of Mormon?
We think we have evidence for the Valley of Lemuel, as described in 1 Nephi 2, and it’s in modern-day northwestern Arabia, Wadi Tayyib al-Ism. . This is what Wadi Tayyib al-Ism looks like today in modern Arabia, and it’s the correct distance from Jerusalem, it’s got the right geological features, with the mountains on the side, and it’s the right kind of river that Lehi describes. . The Book of Mormon describes how once Lehi left Jerusalem, they traveled to the Red Sea. Then they traveled along the borders of the Red Sea for three days before setting up camp in the Valley of Lemuel. . So what this tells us is that we’re looking for a location that about a three-days’ journey from the northern tip of the Red Sea, which is in modern-day Aqaba. . Because daily travel in ancient Arabia usually ranged from between 15 to 25 miles a day, Wadi Tayyib al-Ism fall right within the range of a three-day journey, at about 74 miles from Aqaba. . Lehi describes the Valley of Lemuel as being “firm” and “steadfast,” as demonstrated by Wadi Tayyib al-Ism’s 2000-ft cliffs, flanking it on each side. . Lehi also describes how the River Laman was continually flowing into the fountain of all righteousness, likely referring to how this river was continually or even perennially flowing into the Red Sea. . Now this requirement is a little tricky, since as late as 1984, geological surveys claimed that Saudi Arabia had no perennially running rivers. There are a lot of wadis in Saudi Arabia, which are dry river beds that flood during the rainy season but dry up during the summer. . Wadi Tayyib al-Ism is one of, if not the only, river in northwestern Saudi Arabia that continually flows all year round and reaches the Red Sea. . Also keep in mind that the water flow in antiquity would have been a lot greater than it is today, now that it’s encumbered by modern irrigation practices, and also some scholars believe that the coast of the Red Sea has receded as much as 500 meters since antiquity. . And here’s a picture of Wadi Tayyib al-Ism during the rainy season, which I would dare say it is continually flowing. . So Wadi Tayyib al-Ism contains the only river that is running year-round in northwest Arabia, and it exists within that narrow 30-mile window where the Valley of Lemuel should be located. . Obviously it is impossible to prove that this is THE Valley of Lemuel in the Book of Mormon, but it does demonstrate that what Nephi describes in 1 Nephi 2 really could have existed. A valley, with a river, in the right place, with the right features. . And if you want to learn more, you can go to the ScripturePlus app in 1 Nephi 2:6 and read KnoWhy 286. . #lds #prolds #bookofmormon #bookofmormonarchaeology #archaeology #churchofjesuschrist #nephi #lehi #valleyoflemuel