“River of Water”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Having arrived at the shores of the Red Sea, Lehi and his party decided to continue on for another three days, after which they established camp “in a valley by the side of a river of water.” The phrase “river of water” seems redundant to western ears, since we are accustomed to thinking of rivers as consisting only of water. In the Near East, however, most rivers are not perennial but contain water only in the rainy season, for relatively few days of the year. Usually such a riverbed is dry and sandy and quite passable for travel. If Lehi’s family pitched their tents near a flowing stream, that may tell us something about what time of year it was; perhaps it was spring, the time of winter runoff.

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1