Thursday, January 23, 2014

A river does NOT run through it

In the book of First Nephi, chapter 2, Lehi takes his family three days into the wilderness away from Jerusalem. They camp in a valley by a river:
 And it came to pass that he called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea; and the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof.
 And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness!
Okay, show me a map of the area so I can see this river: 

Hmmm, not seeing it. What do other sources say?

 The Suez Canal only opened in 1869 and it's at least a five day walk to where it meets the Red Sea, according to modern conditions and as perceived by Google Maps. There are seasonal rivers in Eritrea...but that's in Africa, much more than three days away from Jerusalem. There's the Gulf of Aqaba, but it doesn't look like a river. And the Red Sea itself is quite salty, as Wikipedia announces:
The salinity of the Red Sea is greater than the world average, approximately 4 percent. This is due to several factors:
  1. High rate of evaporation and very little precipitation.
  2. Lack of significant rivers or streams draining into the sea.
  3. Limited connection with the Indian Ocean, which has lower water salinity.
Did you see the part about "lack of significant rivers or streams draining" into it?

If there was a wadi, perhaps, that had seasonal water...but the family stayed camped there while Nephi and his brothers went back for the Brass Plates. If it was only a stream resulting from rainstorms, Lehi was not hoping for much when he wished his son Laman would be "continually running into the fountain of all righteousness." 

Now let's see about rivers mentioned in the Bible, how many of them can be found today? Jordan, check. Tigris and Euphrates, check. The "river in Egypt," aka the Nile, check. Kishon, check. 

Now perhaps there was some river that existed three days distance from Jerusalem and it emptied into the Red Sea, but has since silted over. But this is only one of the examples of how Book of Mormon geography and history look like they were invented for a novel.

No comments:

Post a Comment