The Lehites and Arabia | Dan Peterson – Patheos

A passage that Ive extracted from Gordon Darnell Newby, A History of the Jews of Arabia: From Ancient Times to Their Eclipse under Islam (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1988), 8-9:

When we think of Arabia, we imagine natura maligna at its worst. Even the ancient geographers who called the southern cultivable portion of the peninsula Arabia Felix (Fortunate Arabia) did so with knowledge of the considerable irony of the name. Arabia is a land of extremes. It is a quadrilateral plateau with a spine of mountains on its western side. These mountains are 5,000 feet in average height, with the highest peak, at 12,336 feet, in Yemen. The center of the peninsula is hard desert with numerous oases, but not extant permanent water courses. Around this is a soft, sandy desert that has acted as an effective barrier for the interior. . . .

Little rain falls on Arabia, the greatest amount being in the highlands of Yemen. The average rainfall is less than three inches a year, which falls in just four or five days. Temperatures have been recorded over 120 degrees Fahrenheit and below zero and can range from freezing to over 100 in a single day.

Reading this passage, I cant help but think of Lehi and his party, a tiny band from the Mediterranean world that sought refuge in Arabia when Jerusalem was threatened by Nebuchadnezzar II during the early sixth century BC. They carefully avoided the area that would eventually be known as Arabia Felix, going due east from Nahom to the Old World area that they called Bountiful, traveling behind the mountains that separate Yemen from inner Arabia.

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The Lehites and Arabia | Dan Peterson - Patheos

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