Jer. 34:7; “When the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.”
The Book of Mormon is replete with stories of the Nephites’ encounters with various trials and persecutions. One of the events worthy of exploration is the route Lehi and the family took leaving Jerusalem.
As it stands today, the following account is the extent of what we’re told regarding his departure from Jerusalem –
“3 And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.
4 And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.
6 And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.
8 And it came to pass that he called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea…”
With this in mind, we have a few questions about Lehi’s timing and the route he took –
The distance between Jerusalem and the Gulf of Aqaba (northern inlet of the Red Sea), is roughly 155 miles. The average traveling distance at that time was about 12 – 15 miles per day on foot. Fifteen miles per day was only possible if you were really hoofin’ it, and walking well past dark. Imagine carrying all the provisions and the tents!
The BoM doesn’t give any indication they were traveling on camels, or using any other mode of transportation. This means they were covering vast amounts of real estate at 51.6 miles per day! Remember, the text said they only traveled for three days. Even if they were using camels, records show you could travel 28-30 miles a day, which brings us up to only 90 miles at best.
On a side note, keep in mind Lehi sent his kids back to Jerusalem twice! Once for the records of the temple when they killed Laban and stole the records from the temple, and the second time to fetch themselves some wives from the tribe of Ishmael. See 1 Nephi 4:17-19 & 1 Nephi 7:6.
Does this sound plausible to you?
Why isn’t there definitive proof this supposed righteous Jewish family existed in any recorded annals outside the Book of Mormon? The mention of Lehi owning gold, silver and ‘other precious things’, is indicative of someone with wealth.
Virtually all of the Israelites at that time were desperately poor. Anyone with money, or an education, was marched off into captivity. Why was Lehi’s family exempt from this during the Babylonian takeover taking place from BC 605 – 586?
Why doesn’t the Book of Mormon give details about the eventual fall of Jerusalem like Jeremiah did? Jer. 34:7
Did Lehi and his family take the Procession Street of Babylon to make their way out?
What about any of the ancient Levant Routes? These were well known travel highways for commerce and travelers alike, from the Assyrian to the Persian Empire Periods. However, the Book of Mormon is silent on this, as well as many other details.
Why weren’t any of these well documented travel routes mentioned in the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon narrative makes it difficult to believe they would’ve traveled in such a small group over a large area, in such a relatively short amount of time.
Compounding their problem is the absolute silence about any of these major trade routes, the fall of Jerusalem, or other major events like the famous battle of Carchemish in BC 607 when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt. Weren’t they supposedly traveling through the area at the time? Why didn’t they give a quick shout out to this monumental event in history?
Even if you take away the major historical events, their travel time alone discredits the entire story. If you’re LDS, we’re imploring you to take a closer look at these things and please, don’t just take my word for it! Do the research and find out for yourself.
Now is not the time to bank on whether or not you had a feeling the Book of Mormon is true! The Lord has given us the blessing of having information at our fingertips, so check it out.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18