The Nabateans: The Ancient Merchants

Erick Stakelbeck of The Watchman brings us this informative clip (4:48) explaining that in the times of Jesus, there existed an ethnic group called the Nabateans. They had a unique economic niche: they traded spices and luxury products everywhere from the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and India to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea (and from there of course to Rome). It was an arduous, desert trail with few sources of water or convenient places for merchants to encamp. Its main advantage was that it was far shorter than other ancient merchant trails (like the Silk Trail) enabling the Nabateans to claim a competitive advantage over other travelling merchants. Being the only ones who could meet the challenges of the road, the Nabateans were able to build a significant local economic empire. In this clip, archaeologist Dr. Danny “The Digger” Herman suggests a connection between the Nabatean people and Biblical story of Abraham’s three guests who arrive to announce the news of the upcoming birth of Abraham’s son Isaac.