Source:Nibley:CW06:Ch18:2:Camping and movement in the desert

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Camping and movement in the desert

Camping and movement in the desert

Lehi's party is described as moving through the desert for a few days (three or four, one would estimate) and then camping "for the space of a time." This is exactly the way the Arabs move....
The number of days spent camping at any one place varies (as in the Book of Mormon) with circumstances. "From ten to twelve days is the average time a Bedouin encampment of ordinary size will remain on the same ground," according to Jennings-Bramley, who, however, observes, "I have known them to stay in one spot for as long as five or six months."15 The usual thing is to camp as long as possible in one place until "it is soiled by the beasts, and the multiplication of fleas becomes intolerable, and the surroundings afford no more pastureage, [then] the tents are pulled down and the men decamp."16 "On the Syrian and Arabic plain," according to Burckhardt, "the Bedouins encamp in summer . . . near wells, where they remain often for a whole month."17 Lehi's time schedule thus seems to be a fairly normal one, and the eight years he took to cross Arabia argue neither very fast nor very slow progress—the BanÄ« Hilāl took twenty-seven years to go a not much greater distance. After reaching the seashore, Lehi's people simply camped there "for the space of many days," until a revelation again put them in motion.[1]


  1. Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), Chapter 18, references silently removed—consult original for citations.