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Lesson 5 - Lehi's Affairs, 1. The Jews and the Caravan Trade

TitleLesson 5 - Lehi's Affairs, 1. The Jews and the Caravan Trade
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1957
AuthorsNibley, Hugh W.
Manual TitleAn Approach to the Book of Mormon
PublisherThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsAncient Near East; Arabia; Jerusalem (Old World); Lehi (Prophet); Trade

Only within the last few years has it been realized that the ancient Hebrews were not the primitive agricultural people that scholars had always supposed they were, but among other things that they were always very active in trade and commerce. Their commercial contracts reached for many hundreds of miles in all directions, which meant an extensive caravan trade entailing constant dealings with the Arabs. In Lehi’s day the Arabs had suddenly become very aggressive and were pushing Jewish merchants out of their favored positions in the deserts and towns of the north. To carry on large-scale mercantile activities with distant places it was necessary for merchants to have certain personal and official connections in the cities in which they did business; here we mention the nature of such connections. Jewish merchants were very active in Arabia in Lehi’s day, diligently spreading their religion wherever they went, and settling down not only as tradesmen in the towns but as permanent cultivators and colonizers in the open country. Lehi’s activity in this regard is more or less typical, and closely resembles that of his predecessor Jonadab ben Rekhab.