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Study Notes

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1. I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days
2. Yea, I make a record in the language of my father which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians
3. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.
4. For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem  must be destroyed.
5. Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people
6. And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly.
7. And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen. 
8. And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens  open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.
9. And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.

Nephi

Onomasticon

The most likely derivation of the name is EGYPTIAN nfr "good, beautiful." (JG)[1] The final r in EGYPTIAN had dropped out of pronunciation about a thousand years earlier,[2] and it is attested as a personal name at the time of LEHI.[3]

In Semitic languages, two directions exist for seeking the etymology of this important Book of Mormon name, nph/ or nv̄ por n aleph p. Historical and current LDS pronunciation of the name would favor the latter, reading the ph as one phoneme [f], rather than as two, [p] and [h/]. However, I am unaware of any root in Semitic corresponding with nv̄/ʿp. Both npḥ, “to breathe, blow” (JATJH), and nph, “to discard, banish, reject” (JH) exist in West Semitic, though the latter is not attested in North-west Semitic (JH). Nap_pnu means “anblasen, entzünden; aufgehen” and appears in the form niphu “Aufleuchten, Entbrennen” and refers metaphorically to sun up and star up. It occurs in the feminine names i-na-ni-ip-pni-ša-al-si-iš andi-na-nippni(SAR)-ša-al-si-iš (Stamm, ANG, 200). The form may be related to the biblical Zimri/Omri and Book of MormonLEHI/LIMHI, etc. (PN). The root also occurs in the Akkadian term nappahu "smith".

An equally or even more promising derivation would come from EGYPTIAN nfw (later nfy), “captain, skipper, chief of sailors” (Coptic ne(e)fneeb), from meaning “breathe, blow at” (RFSJHJAT).[4] Nibley wrote that “Nfy was the name of an EGYPTIANcaptain,” implying a PN rather than a word meaning “captain” (LID, 27; see also ABM, 234); the term nfy is attested as anEGYPTIAN name but not after the New Kingdom.[5] See also EGYPTIAN nfʿ=i, “I am driven away” (passive sdm=f) (EHA). If correct, the name could be metonymic, in view of NEPHI’s forced departure from his homeland (JAT). This is unlikely because the so-called passive sdm=f is a circumstantial past passive meaning in this case "since I had been driven away." It would have to be a dependent clause and is not nominalized...Read more at onoma.lib.byu.edu

Additional Resources

John Sears Tanner, “Nephi1,” in Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis L. Largey (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003), 583–586.

Russell M. Nelson, “Nephi, son of Lehi,” in Heroes From the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1995), 1–15.

Noel B. Reynolds, “Nephi1” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992), 3:1003–1005.

Rodney Turner, “The Prophet Nephi,” in First Nephi, the Doctrinal Foundation, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, Vol. 1, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1988), 79–97.

Stephen D. Ricks, “Lehi and Local Color,” FARMS Review 21/2 (2009): 171.

Paul Y. Hoskisson, “What’s in a Name?—Nephi,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/2 (2000): 64–65.

John Gee, “Four Suggestions on the Origin of the Name Nephi,” in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s, ed. John W. Welch and Melvin J. Thorne, (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1999), 1–5.

John Gee, “Notes and Communications: A Note on the Name Nephi,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1/1 (1992): 189–191.

Born

Family

Lehi's family:
Sariah (wife)
Laman
Lemuel
Sam
Nephi
Jacob

Family and ancestry were of vital importance to identity in the Ancient Near East. It is of note that Nephi takes time at the beginning of his record to describe his lineage as a means to establishing legitimacy in his record.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Central Notes

Children

Lehi's children:
Laman
Lemuel
Sam
Nephi
Jacob
Joseph

Children in the Book of Mormon are mentioned to establish lineage, to serve as subjects for teaching, and to stress the importance of family ties. The family we have the most information on is the family of Lehi. Lehi's family establishes the tribal system that will populate the Book of Mormon lands. The relationships of Lehi's children are foundational to the rest of Nephite and Lamanite history.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Central Notes

Goodly

Definition

What does goodly mean?

Goodly has a few definitions in the 1828 edition of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language. The first two definitions include the following:

  1. "Being of a handsome form; beeautiful; graceful; as a goodly person; goodly raiment; goodly houses."
  2. "Pleasant; agreeable; desirable; as goodly days."

What do "goodly parents" have to do with education and learning language?

"Nephi began his record with a note about his goodly parents. The adjective goodly may mean distinguished, esteemed, or respected --- an allusion to both moral and spiritual status...Nephi gave particular credit to his father, from whom he had received a proper education and learned of the goodness and mysteries of God...It appears to be a characteristic of goodly parents to spend significant time and energy teaching their children the things of God" (Ogden and Skinner, Book of Mormon, 1:11-13).

Word Play

In Hebrew and Egyptian writings, wordplay on proper names is common. In Egyptian, Nephi’s name (nfr) meant “good, fine, goodly.” Nephi appears to be punning on his name with his repetition of “goodly” and “goodness.”

Matthew L. Bowen, “Nephi’s Good Inclusio,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 17 (2016): 181–195.

Matthew L. Bowen, “Internal Textual Evidence for the Egyptian Origin of Nephi’s Name,” Insights 22/11 (2002): 2.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Economics

Hugh Nibley suggested, “The opening verse of the Book of Mormon explains the expression ‘goodly parents’ not so much in a moral sense as in a social one. Nephi tells us he came of a good family and ‘therefore’ received a good traditional education.” As such, “goodly” may be an expression of the family’s wealth and social status, something that is attested to in the fact that Lehi leaves behind a substantial amount of riches (see 1 Nephi 2:4), enough that Nephi thought it might be able to persuade Laban to part with the brass plates (see 1 Nephi 3:22–24).

Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 47.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Artwork

Lehi's Family

Parents

Family

Lehi's family:
Sariah (wife)
Laman
Lemuel
Sam
Nephi
Jacob
Joseph

Family and ancestry were of vital importance to identity in the Ancient Near East. It is of note that Nephi takes time at the beginning of his record to describe his lineage as a means to establishing legitimacy in his record.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Central Notes

Taught

Education

Education has been defined as, "teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible, but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization)". Formal education in this sense can be traced in Ancient Israel and Judah to around 1300 BCE with adoption of the Torah, which means "teaching", "instruction", "scribe" or "law" in Hebrew.

Three Torah commandments (numbers 10, 11, 17) command provision of education in general society:

  • Number 10 - To read the Shema twice daily, as it is written "and thou shalt talk of them . . . when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6,7).
  • Number 11 - To learn Torah and to teach it, as it is written "thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (Deuteronomy 6,7).
  • Number 17 - For every man to write a Torah scroll for himself, as it is written "write ye this song for you" (Deuteronomy 31,19).

Thus the father was obligated as the sole teacher of his children in Jewish history (Deut. xi. 19)...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

 

Fathers and Mothers as Teachers

Education in Ancient Israel was a family matter. It was the responsibility of the parents to rear their children in literacy, labor skills, and an ultimate trade. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque ut dignissim urna, sed venenatis leo. Etiam eu neque aliquet, iaculis eros sit amet, efficitur enim. Sed laoreet dui at auctor auctor. Suspendisse potenti. Curabitur nulla tortor, ornare ut lacus vel, vehicula iaculis massa

Women not only taught their children literacy and labor skills but were also a critical part of their religious education.28 Children learned the proper observance of important features of ancient Israelite religion by watching their mother’s daily ritual of washing herself, offering sacrifice with her husband, and praying. A good deal of this religious teaching would also have taken place on the Sabbath, when both women and men laid aside their daily chores to worship. The Sabbath was a day of rejoicing and rest, particularly for the labor-weary woman. Both she and her husband spent the day reading from the Torah, singing hymns of praise, and teaching their children the beliefs and rituals of their religion. Children living in Jerusalem around 600 BC probably would have observed their mother attending local assemblies or gatherings to worship alongside their father. Women actively participated in religious festivals and national celebrations (Deuteronomy 31:12)—singing and dancing—and brought sacrifices of thanksgiving to the temple, teaching their children through their example...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Ariel E. Bybee, "A Woman's World in Lehi's Jerusalem" in Glimpses into Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch (Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004), 141.

Father

Education

Education has been defined as, "teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible, but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization)". Formal education in this sense can be traced in Ancient Israel and Judah to around 1300 BCE with adoption of the Torah, which means "teaching", "instruction", "scribe" or "law" in Hebrew.

Three Torah commandments (numbers 10, 11, 17) command provision of education in general society:

  • Number 10 - To read the Shema twice daily, as it is written "and thou shalt talk of them . . . when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6,7).
  • Number 11 - To learn Torah and to teach it, as it is written "thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (Deuteronomy 6,7).
  • Number 17 - For every man to write a Torah scroll for himself, as it is written "write ye this song for you" (Deuteronomy 31,19).

Thus the father was obligated as the sole teacher of his children in Jewish history (Deut. xi. 19)...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Mysteries

Hebrew Language

The mysteries, from the Greek μύστηριον (mystērion), are commonly understood to be the Greek for the Hebrew סוד (sôd), which designated the divine council, and its decrees (its “secrets,” or “mysteries”)

In the Hebrew Bible, there are multiple descriptions of Yahweh presiding over a great assembly of Heavenly Hosts. Some interpret these assemblies as examples of Divine Council:

"The Old Testament description of the 'divine assembly' all suggest that this metaphor for the organization of the divine world was consistent with that of Mesopotamia and Canaan. One difference, however, should be noted. In the Old Testament, the identities of the members of the assembly are far more obscure than those found in other descriptions of these groups, as in their polytheistic environment. Israelite writers sought to express both the uniqueness and the superiority of their God Yahweh."

The Book of Psalms (Psalm 82:1), states "1 God (אֱלֹהִ֔ים elohim) stands in the divine assembly (בַּעֲדַת-אֵל ); He judges among the gods (אֱלֹהִ֔ים elohim)" (אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת־אֵל בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט). The meaning of the two occurrences of "elohim" has been debated by scholars, with some suggesting both words refer to YHWH, while others propose that God rules over a divine assembly of other Gods or angels. Some translations of the passage render "God (elohim) stands in the congregation of the mighty to judge the heart as God (elohim)" (the Hebrew is "beqerev elohim", "in the midst of gods", and the word "qerev" if it were in the plural would mean "internal organs"). Later in this Psalm, the word "gods" is used (in the KJV): Psalm 82:6 - "I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High." Instead of "gods", another version has "godlike beings", but here again, the word is elohim/elohiym (Strong's H430). This passage is quoted in the New Testament in John 10:34...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

William J. Hamblin, “The Sôd of YHWH and the Endowment,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 4 (2013): 147–154.

David E. Bokovoy, “‘Thou Knowest That I Believe’: Invoking the Spirit of the Lord as Council Witness in 1 Nephi 11,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 1 (2012): 1–23.

John W. Welch, “Lehi’s Council Vision and the Mysteries of God,” in Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research, John W. Welch, ed. (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), 24–25.

 

God

Hebrew Parallelism

This particular verse forms what is called a "parallelism" in Hebrew poetry. Poetic parallelisms are words, phrases, or sentences that correspond, compare, contrast, or repeat. In this verse there are three phrases that exhibit parallelistic patterns:

and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days,
nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days;
yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God

Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Donald W. Parry, Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon: The Complete Text Reformatted, (Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2007).

Donald W. Parry, "Research and Perspectives: Hebrew Literary Patterns in the Book of Mormon", Ensign October 1989.

Record

Scribes

A scribe is a person who writes books or documents by hand in hieroglyphics, cuneiform or other scripts and may help keep track of records for priests and government. Scribes in Ancient Israel, as in most of the ancient world, were distinguished professionals who could exercise functions we would associate with lawyers, government ministers, judges, or even financiers, as early as the 11th century BCE.[9] Some scribes copied documents, but this was not necessarily part of their job.

 ...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Temple

The “mysteries” were associated with the temple in ancient Israel. Hugh Nibley pointed out that in some ancient religions, the initiate was expected to make a record of their experiences after going through the mysteries. Nephi seems to be acting according to this expectation, since after mentioning the mysteries, he writes, “therefore, I make a record of my proceedings in my days."

Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Transcripts of Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988–1990, Semester 1 (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications and FARMS, 2004), 13.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Word Play

Joseph Spencer suggested that the final line of 1 Ne. 1:1 could be an allusion to the Book of the Dead, for which the Egyptian title is rhw nw prt m hrw, “the book (or record) of going forth (proceeding) by day.”

Joseph M. Spencer, An Other Testament (Salem, Oregon: Salt Press, 2012), 64 n. 11.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Transcripts of Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988–1990, Semester 1 (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications and FARMS, 2004), 13.

Joseph M. Spencer, An Other Testament (Salem, Oregon: Salt Press, 2012), 64 n. 11.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Language of my Father

Hebrew Language

It is thought that the primary language of Nephi and his family would have been the Hebrew spoken in Israel during the late 7th century BCE Hebrew is a Canaanite Semitic language spoken by the Israelites in the area known as Israel, roughly west of the Jordan River and east of the Mediterranean Sea. The term "Hebrew" was not used for the language in the Bible, which referred to Canaanite or Judahite, but the name was used in Greek and Mishnaic Hebrew texts. Biblical Hebrew is attested from about the 10th century BCE, and persisted through and beyond the Jewish Second Temple period (which in 70 CE ended by Roman destruction). Biblical Hebrew eventually developed into Mishnaic Hebrew, which was spoken until the 2nd century CE. Biblical Hebrew is best-attested in the Hebrew Bible, the collection of Judaic religious and historical texts which reflect various stages of the Hebrew language in its consonantal skeleton, as well as a vocalic system which was added later, in the Middle Ages by the Masoretes. There is also some evidence of regional dialectal variation, including differences between Biblical Hebrew as spoken in the northern Kingdom of Israel and in the southern Kingdom of Judah.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Dana M. Pike, "Israelite Inscriptions from the Time of Jeremiah and Lehi," in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

Language of the Egyptians

Egyptian Language

The written language of the Book of Mormon appears to be an amalgamation of Hebrew and Egyptian. The Egyptian language is a northern Afro-Asiatic language closely related to the Berber and Semitic languages. It has the second longest history of any language (after Sumerian), having been written from c. 3200 BC to the Middle Ages and remaining as a spoken language for longer. The phases of ancient Egyptian are Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian (Classical Egyptian), Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. Egyptian writings do not show dialect differences before Coptic, but it was probably spoken in regional dialects around Memphis and later Thebes.

Hieroglyphic writing dates from c. 3000 BC, and is composed of hundreds of symbols. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative; and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic, which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction (though typically written from right to left), hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows. A new form of writing, Demotic, became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

KnoWhy

KnoWhy #4, January 5, 2016

As an Israelite, how might Nephi have learned Egyptian?

It is now undisputed among scholars that Israelite texts at the time of Nephi employed numbers and signs from an ancient Egyptian script called hieratic.

In 2001, biblical scholars Phillip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager wrote, “Documents from the kingdoms of both Israel and Judah … of the eighth and seventh centuries [BC] contain Egyptian hieratic signs (cursive hieroglyphics) and numerals;” curiously, those hieratic signs “had ceased to be used in Egypt after the tenth century [BC].” So far, there are over 200 samples of hieratic found in the regions of Israel and Judah.

The intermixing of Egyptian and Semitic languages, including Hebrew, writing were discussed by LDS scholars John A. Tvedtnes and Stephen D. Ricks in 1996. Coming 600 years before Lehi’s day, they point out, “a number of northwest Semitic texts are included in Egyptian magical papyri. These are mostly incantations that, instead of being translated from the original Semitic language into Egyptian, were merely transcribed in Egyptian hieratic.”...Read More at KnoWhy.org

By Mine Own Hand

Scribes

A scribe is a person who writes books or documents by hand in hieroglyphics, cuneiform or other scripts and may help keep track of records for priests and government. Scribes in Ancient Israel, as in most of the ancient world, were distinguished professionals who could exercise functions we would associate with lawyers, government ministers, judges, or even financiers, as early as the 11th century BCE.[9] Some scribes copied documents, but this was not necessarily part of their job.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

I, Nephi

Colophons

The way Nephi certifies that he is the writer and indicates so in the first person, is an example of a literary colophon. The term colophon derives from the Late Latin colophōn, from the Greek κολοφών (meaning "summit" or "finishing touch"). It should not be confused with Colophon, an ancient city in Asia Minor, after which "colophony", or rosin (ronnel), is named.

The term is also applied to clay tablet inscriptions appended by a scribe to the end of an Ancient Near East (e.g., Early/Middle/Late Babylonian, Assyrian, Canaanite) text such as a chapter, book, manuscript, or record. The colophon usually contained facts relative to the text such as associated person(s) (e.g., the scribe, owner, or commissioner of the tablet), literary contents (e.g., a title, "catch phrases" (repeated phrases), or number of lines), and occasion or purpose of writing. Colophons and catch phrases helped the reader organize and identify various tablets, and keep related tablets together. Positionally, colophons on ancient tablets are comparable to a signature line in modern times. Bibliographically, however, they more closely resemble the imprint page in a modern book.

Examples of colophons in ancient literature may be found in the compilation The Ancient Near East: Supplementary Texts and Pictures Relating to the Old Testament (2nd ed., 1969). Colophons are also found in the Pentateuch, where an understanding of this ancient literary convention illuminates passages that are otherwise unclear or incoherent. Examples are Numbers 3:1, where a later (and incorrect) chapter division makes this verse a heading for the following chapter instead of interpreting it properly as a colophon or summary for the preceding two chapters, and Genesis 37:2a, a colophon that concludes the histories (toledot) of Jacob.

An extensive study of the eleven colophons found in the book of Genesis was done by Percy John Wiseman. Wiseman's study of the Genesis colophons, sometimes described as the Wiseman hypothesis, has a detailed examination of the catch phrases mentioned above that were used in literature of the second millennium B.C. and earlier in tying together the various accounts in a series of tablets....Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Thomas W. Mackay, Mormon as Editor: A Study in Colphons, Headers, and Source Indicators," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/3 (1993):90-109.

"Colophons in the Book of Mormon," Insights: An Ancient Window 10/3 (1990).

And it came to pass

Hebrew Literature

Why does the Book of Mormon repeatedly use the phrase "it came to pass"?

Biblical scholars have long known that the phrase "it came to pass" is a good translation of a common Hebrew element. Hugh Nibley points out that "it happened that" or "it came to pass" are also "standard Egyptian practice." "In Egyptian," according to Hugh Nibley, "these expressions were not merely adornments . . . they are a grammatical necessity and may not be omitted. At any rate they are much commoner in Egyptian than in the Bible, just as they are much commoner in the Book of Mormon. However bad they are in English, they are nothing to be laughed at in Egyptian" (Since Cumorah, 150).

The English translation of the Hebrew word wayehi (often used to connect two ideas or events), “and it came to pass,” appears some 727 times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. The expression is rarely found in Hebrew poetic, literary, or prophetic writings. Most often, it appears in the Old Testament narratives, such as the books by Moses recounting the history of the children of Israel.

As in the Old Testament, the expression in the Book of Mormon (where it appears some 1,404 times) occurs in the narrative selections and is clearly missing in the more literary parts, such as the psalm of Nephi (see 2 Ne. 4:20–25); the direct speeches of King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma, and Jesus Christ; and the several epistles.

But why does the phrase “and it came to pass” appear in the Book of Mormon so much more often, page for page, than it does in the Old Testament? The answer is twofold. First, the Book of Mormon contains much more narrative, chapter for chapter, than the Bible. Second, but equally important, the translators of the King James Version did not always render wayehi as “and it came to pass.” Instead, they were at liberty to draw from a multitude of similar expressions like “and it happened,” “and … became,” or “and … was.”

Wayehi is found about 1,204 times in the Hebrew Bible, but it was translated only 727 times as “and it came to pass” in the King James Version. Joseph Smith did not introduce such variety into the translation of the Book of Mormon. He retained the precision of “and it came to pass,” which better performs the transitional function of the Hebrew word.

The Prophet Joseph Smith may not have used the phrase at all—or at least not consistently—in the Book of Mormon had he created that record. The discriminating use of the Hebraic phrase in the Book of Mormon is further evidence that the record is what it says it is—a translation from a language (reformed Egyptian) with ties to the Hebrew language. (See Morm. 9:32–33.)...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Donald W. Parry, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Dec. 1992.

Robert F. Smith, " 'It Came to Pass' in the Bible and the Book of Mormon" (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1980).

Brant A.Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon. (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007). 

Paul Y. Hoskisson, John W. Welch, Robert F. Smith, Bruce W. Warren, Roger R. Keller, David Fox, and Deloy Pack, "Words and Phrases," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992).

Commencement of the first year

Chronology

The Book of Mormon contains a chronology that is internally consistent over the thousand-year nephite history, with precise Nephite dates for several events, including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, its chronology has not been unequivocally tied to other calendars because of uncertainties in biblical dates and lack of details about the Nephite calendars. Even less information exists about jaredite chronology (Sorenson, 1969).

INTERNAL NEPHITE CHRONOLOGY. Nephites kept careful track of time from at least three reference points: 1. Years were counted from the time Lehi left Jerusalem (Enos 1:25; Mosiah 6:4); not only was this an important date of origin, but also an angel had said that the Savior would come "in 600 years" from that time (1 Ne. 19:8).

2. Time was also measured from the commencement of the reign of the judges (c. 91 B.C.; cf. 3 Ne. 1:1), which marked a major political reform ending five centuries of Nephite kingship (Jacob 1:9-11; Alma 1:1), during which the years of each king's reign were probably counted according to typical ancient practices (1 Ne. 1:4; Mosiah 29:46).

3. The Nephites later reckoned time from the sign of the birth of Christ (3 Ne. 2:8).

The Book of Mormon links all three systems in several passages that are apparently consistent. Table 1 lists several events using the Nephite systems....Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Textual Variants

The original manuscript is not extant here. While copying into the printer's manuscript, Oliver Cowdery initially wrote "in the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah", but then he corrected the manuscript by supralinearly inserting "first year of the". There is no change in the level of ink flow, which implies that the correction was immediate and reflects the reading of the original manuscript rather than editing on the part of Oliver. There really would have been no motiveation for the scribe to have added this particular information about the year unless these words were in O.

The shorter expression is found twice in 1 Nephi 5:12-13, both times as "from the beginning even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah". There is no need in this later passage to refer to "the first year" of his reign. Elsewhere, the text often refers to the commencement of a particular year in the reign of the judges, as in the following example:

Alma 4:20
and thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi...

Generally, I will comment in this volume on manuscript corrections that suggest either editing or scribal difficulties. Such difficulties often provide evidence for determining the original text for that passage and elsewhere. If a manuscript correction appears to be immediate and only the result of the scrib'es desire to copy his text correctly, that correction will probably be silently passed over.

Summary: Accept the supralinear insertion "first year of the " in the printer's manuscript for 1 Nephi 1:4 since apparently the scribe's only motivation here was to accurately copy the text from O into P.

Royal Skousen, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon: Part One: Title Page, Witness Statements, 1 Nephi 1 - 2 Nephi 10. Volume IV of The Critical Text of the Book of Mormon. Provo, Ut.: FARMS, 2004, 56.

Additional Resources

Zedekiah

Onomasticon

Etymology

The PN ZEDEKIAH is from the HEBREW ṣidqîyāhû "the Lord/Yahweh is (my) right, righteousness, justice, salvation" or "the right, righteousness, justice, salvation of the Lord" (HALOT).

See also Zedekiah / Zedeciah Variants

Variants

Zedeciah, Zedekeah

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Chronology

First year of the reign of Zedekiah. The Book of Mormon dates the first year of the reign of Zedekiah to six hundred years before the birth of Christ, the same year Lehi departed from Jerusalem (1 Ne. 1:4; 10:4; 19:8; 2 Ne. 25:19; superscription of 3 Nephi). Based on a series of correlations between the biblical text, ancient Near Eastern texts, and scientifically verifiable astronomical events, scholars date the beginning of the reign of king Zedekiah to 597 B.C. 

David R. Seely, “Chronology, Book of Mormon,” Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Dennis Largey, ed. (Salt Lake City; Deseret Book, 2003), 198.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Politics

Zedekiah1 King of Judah who reigned from about 600 B.C. to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. ­(biblical scholarship identifies the first year of the reign of Zedekiah as 597 B.C.; the Book of Mormon places the beginning of his reign at about 600 B.C.; see Chronology, Book of Mormon). His wicked reign is recounted in 2 Kings 24:17–25:7; 2 Chronicles 36:11–13; and in Jeremiah 21:1–25:14; 37–39; 52:1–11. Nephi1 began his record in the "first year" of Zedekiah's reign (1 Ne. 1:4), and the commencement of his reign is recorded on the brass plates (1 Ne. 5:13). A son of the righteous king Josiah, Nebuchadnezzar placed him on the throne to replace his nephew Jehoiachin who was deported to Babylon along with many of the leading citizens of Judah following a rebellion against Babylon (2 Kgs. 24:8–17). Zedekiah was a weak and vacillating king. He owed his allegiance to Babylon and yet was continuously pressured by his advisers to revolt and restore the independent Davidic empire as his father Josiah had attempted to do. On several occasions Zedekiah summoned the prophet Jeremiah1 to ascertain the word of the Lord. Jeremiah repeatedly told him it was the Lord's will to submit to Babylonian authority to spare Jerusalem from destruction and exile (Jer. 37:1–10, 16–21; 38:14–28). Zedekiah allowed Jeremiah to be imprisoned but spared his life (Jer. 37:11–21).

Eventually Zedekiah conspired with his neighbors and rebelled against Babylon. Babylon responded in 586 B.C. by destroying Jerusalem as prophesied by Jeremiah and Lehi1 (1 Ne. 1:4) and taking many of its inhabitants into exile. They captured Zedekiah in Jericho as he fled from Jerusalem, took him to Riblah in Syria where Nebuchadnezzar had all of his captured sons killed before him, put out his eyes, and took him to Babylon in chains where he died (Jer. 39:4–7; 52:7-11) Mulek, Zedekiah's only surviving son, escaped and journeyed with a group of people to the promised land in the Americas where they became a people named after him (Omni 1:15; Hel. 6:10; 8:21).  

David R. Seely, “Zedekiah1,” Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Dennis Largey, ed. (Salt Lake City; Deseret Book, 2003), 198.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

David Rolph Seely and Robert D. Hunt, "Dramatis Personae: The World of Lehi (ca. 700 - 592 BC)", in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004, 63.

S. Kent Brown and David Ralph Seely, “Jeremiah’s Imprisonment and the Date of Lehi’s Departure,” The Religious Educator, vol. 2, no. 1 (2001).

John Pratt, “Book of Mormon Chronology,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, et al. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1992. 1:169-171.

Spackman, Randall P. “Introduction to Book of Mormon Chronology: The Principal Prophecies, Calendars, and Dates.” Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1993.

King

Politics

After two hundred years of only marginal success in occupying and holding lands in the Land of Israel, the Hebrews united to form a single state under a single monarch. During the early centuries in what the Romans later called Palestine, the Hebrews were ruled loosely by "judges," who seemed to exercise a limited amount of judicial, legislative, and even military control over the otherwise independent Hebrew tribes. At times, various "deliverers" would lead some or all of the tribes against non-Hebrew oppressors or aggressors, and then fade again into history. Still, the tribes faced down the constant threat of invasion and oppression, and they still had not even remained firm in their Yahweh religion.

...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Judah

Onomasticon

Etymology

JUDAH is used to refer to a biblical PN, GN, and gentilic but is not used elsewhere in the Book of Mormon as a PN, GN, or gentilic.

Cf. Book of Mormon JUDEA

See also Judah / Juda Variant

Variants
juda

...Read More at the BYU Onomasticon

Geography

Designates the southern kingdom of Israelites (931-586 B.C.). As Israelites settled Canaan,the tribe of Judah was allotted most of the territory south of Jerusalem and Jericho, bounded on the east by the Dead Sea and on the west by the Mediterranean coastal plain that was inhabited by the Philistines. Following the division of the united Israelite kingdom at the death of Solomon (1 Kgs. 12; 931 B.C.), the southern kingdom was called Judah due to the size and significance of the tribe of Judah (Bible Map 10). Jerusalem, the capital of united Israel, remained the political and religious capital of Judah after the division of the kingdom. According to the Bible, Hezekiah (715–687 B.C. ; contemporary with Isaiah) and Josiah (640–609 B.C.) were the two most righteous kings of Judah (2 Kgs. 18:1–5; 2 Chr. 34:1–7; 35:24–26). Judah was a vassal to Assyria and then to Babylon during most of the time between 732 and 586 B.C. The last Davidic king to rule in Jerusalem was Zedekiah1, a contemporary of Jeremiah1 and Lehi1 (2 Kgs. 24:17; 1 Ne. 1:4). He was placed on the throne by the Babylonians (597 B.C.) when they deported thousands of Israelites from Judah to Babylonia, including king Jehoiachin and the future prophets Daniel and Ezekiel (2 Kgs. 25). The kingdom of Judah ceased to exist in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians destroyed the temple and much of Jerusalem, and deported many more Israelites (2 Kgs. 25; 1 Ne. 10:3; 2 Ne. 1:4). The remnants of this kingdom became known as the ­Jews. 

Daniel M. Peterson, “Judah,” Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Dennis Largey, ed. (Salt Lake City; Deseret Book, 2003), 198.

...Read More at the Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Aaron P. Schade, "The Kingdom of Judah: Politics, Prophets, and Scribes in the Late Preexilic Period," in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

Lehi

Onomasticon

Etymology

Jeffrey Chadwick would tie LEHI to ʾblḥy in the SAMARIA papyri (see Frank Moore Cross, “Personal Names in the Samaria Papyri,” BASOR 344, 2006: 76 (75–90).

Nibley notes the discovery in Elath in 1940 of a potsherd bearing the PN lḥy. He also points out that Nelson Glueck has detected the same root in many compound names found inscribed on stones in Arabia. E.g., the PN lḥytn, “Lehi hath given” appears on a *Lihyanite monument (ABM, 239). Lynn M. Hilton has tied the tribal name lḥyān to Book of Mormon LEHI, who passed through the Arabian peninsula after his flight from JERUSALEM (NPSEHA **). Nibley notes one Minaean and 8 Thamudian examples of the PN lḥy, and indicates that it exists as a PN also in Arabic (ABM 58–59, 239, fn. 26 to Chap. 22); a variant lḥyn also exists (Alessia Prioletta, Inscriptions from the Southern Highlands of Yemen [Rome: Bretschneider, 2013], 246). There is also a Hadrami example of the PN lḥy in ANET, 670 (JAT), and the PN lwḥy appears in writings from the Jewish colony at Elephantine (14:3) (EHA). Nibley further notes the existence of a site known in Arabic as bêt-la*hi, “house of LEHI,” in the vicinity of Gaza (ABM, 58–59 and ABM, 239). There is also a ḥirbet bêt lahi (spelled in English texts “Lei,” though the local inhabitants pronounce it lahi) near Mareshah which has been discussed by Joseph Ginat, who connected a cave in the area with that of 1 Nephi 3 (NPSEHA *) (JAT).

...Read More at the BYU Onomasticon

Prophets

Prophecy

The prophets that may have been active at or around the time of Lehi include: Zephaniah (ca. 640-609 B.C.), Jeremiah (626-580 B.C.), Huldah (ca. 621 B.C.), Nahum (ca. 630-612 B.C.), Habakkuk (ca. 622-605 B.C.), Uriah (ca. 609 B.C.). Lehi and Nephi may also have known the prophets Daniel and Ezekiel, who were exiled to Babylon around 606 B.C.

Additional Resources

David Rolph Seely and Robert D. Hunt, "Dramitis Personae: The World of Lehi (ca. 700 - 592 BC)," in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

David Rolph Seely and Jo Ann H. Seely, "Lehi and Jeremiah: Prophets, Priests, and Patriarchs," in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

Great City

Intertextuality

The Book of Mormon refers to itself and to biblical texts in often quite subtle ways, which is difficult to explain if one imagines that Joseph Smith simply made it up on the fly in the space of just slightly more than two months.

“Intertextuality” is a word used to describe ways in which various texts refer to, or play off of, each other, often without explicitly indicating it. For example, a 2012 book titled “Seven Habits of Highly Fulfilled People” unmistakably alludes to Stephen Covey’s famous 1990 best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Sometimes, authors hope that their audiences will keep the other text in mind.

The Book of Mormon contains numerous such examples, and probably quite a few remain to be discovered. John Welch has shown that legal language in the Book of Mormon tends to be highly consistent, perhaps indicating its dependence on underlying legal materials. Royal Skousen’s superb studies of the book’s textual history have established what he calls its “systematic nature”; its terminology and phrasing tend to be very consistent.

In this verse, Nephi refers to that "great city." Interestingly, this is an epithet applied to the holy city of Jerusalem in the Psalms. Particularly, in Psalm 48, the author extols the great city of his God just as Nephi similarly lauds Jerusalem...Read More at Book of Mormon Notes

Jerusalem

Onomasticon

Etymology

In contrast to the popular beliefs based on hasty, superficial but untenable derivations, there is still quite a discussion about the etymology of “JERUSALEM” among those who study onomastica. For a rigorous discussion of the etymology of “JERUSALEM” see *.

...Read more at the BYU Onomasticon

Geography

Jerusalem is located 14 miles west of the Dead Sea, 33 miles east of the Mediterranean. Bethlehem lies about 5 miles to the southeast. The city is situated on an uneven rocky plateau at an elevation of 2,550 feet. It is 3,800 feet above the level of the Dead Sea. It is poetically called "beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth" (Ps 48:2). Its location has helped to give it prestige and protection. Jerusalem stands at a point where three steep-sided little ravines join to form one valley. They are the Kidron, Tyropoeon, and Hinnom valleys. The Kidron runs north and south and lies on the east of the city. Between it and the Tyropoeon Valley (also north-south) a long, narrow spur extends southward; on this stood the Jebusite town conquered by David. Then a western hill (now known as Zion) stands between the Tyropoeon and the Hinnom, which runs north and south and then curves in an easterly direction to join the other two valleys. To the east of the Kidron rises the Mount of Olives.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Destroyed

Prophecies

The Assyrians conquered and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel in about 722 BC (about 2700 years ago). The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC (about 2600 years ago). Jerusalem and the Temple were later rebuilt but were destroyed again, this time by the Romans 70 AD. In 135 AD, the Romans again attacked and destroyed Jerusalem.

Below is a partial list of Biblical prophecies that foretold the destruction of the land of Israel.

  • Daniel 9:24-26
    Daniel foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple
  • Deuteronomy 28:49-52
    The Bible foreshadowed Rome's destruction of Israel
  • Deuteronomy 29:23
    Israel would become a wasteland
  • Luke 19:41-44
    Jesus explained why Jerusalem would be destroyed
  • Luke 21:23-24
    Jerusalem will be trampled upon
  • Matthew 24:1-2
    Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed
  • Micah 3:11-12
    Zion would be "plowed like a field"

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

David Rolph Seely and Fred E. Woods, "How Could Jerusalem, 'That Great City,' Be Destroyed?", in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

The LORD

Deity Divine Names

In the Bible, whenever "the LORD" is seen, it is often a translation of the Hebrew tetragrammaton or "YHWH". The Book of Mormon reflects this sort of vocabulary.

The name of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה‎). It is frequently anglicized as Jehovah and Yahweh and written in most editions of the Bible as "the Lord" owing to the Jewish tradition of reading it as Adonai ("My Lords") out of respect.

Rabbinic Judaism describes seven names which are so holy that, once written, should not be erased: YHWH, El ("God"), Elohim ("Gods"), Eloah ("God"), El Shaddai, and Tzevaot or Sabaoth ("Of Hosts"). Other names are considered mere epithets or titles reflecting different aspects of God,[1] but chumrah sometimes dictates especial care such as the writing of "G-d" instead of "God" in English or saying Ṭēt-Vav (טו, lit. "9-6") instead of Yōd-Hē (יה, lit. "10-5" but also "Jah") for the number fifteen in Hebrew.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

On Behalf of His People

Religious Practices: Intercessory Prayer

Intercession or intercessory prayer is the act of praying to God on behalf of others. In Western Christianity, intercession forms a distinct form of prayer, alongside Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving.

The Apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy specified that intercession prayers can be made for those in authority.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
— 1 Timothy 2:1-2

The most famous intercessory prayer comes in John 17, when Jesus offers the Great Intercessory Prayer after the Last Supper in John. In the prayer, he pleads that his disciples may be one in God.

In this verse, Nephi refers to Lehi performing intercession for the people of Jerusalem. In this sense, Lehi acts as an advocate unto God, as Jesus Christ acts as an advocate for all of humanity.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Pillar of Fire

Definition

What was the "pillar of fire" that "dwelt upon a rock"?

"The pillar of fire'dwelt upon' a rock --- the Hebrew verb shakhan means to be situated or rest upon (compare Deuteronomy 33:16, 'dwelth in the bush'). Another form of the word is Shekhinah, which refers to the divine Presence. The pillar of fire was actually the presence and glory of the Lord. Joseph Smith also saw a pillar of fire, or 'pillar of light' (Joseph Smith--History 1:16)" (Ogden and Skinner, Book of Mormon, 1:15).

Intertextuality

“Intertextuality” is a word used to describe ways in which various texts refer to, or play off of, each other, often without explicitly indicating it. For example, a 2012 book titled “Seven Habits of Highly Fulfilled People” unmistakably alludes to Stephen Covey’s famous 1990 best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Sometimes, authors hope that their audiences will keep the other text in mind.

A Pillar of Fire was one of the manifestations of the presence of the God of Israel in the Torah, the five books of Moses which appear at the beginning of the Old Testament Bible. According to Exodus, the pillar of fire provided light so that the Israelites could travel by night during the Exodus from Egypt (claimed to be the 18th Dynasty; see dating of the Exodus). The pillar of fire is traditionally paired with the manifestation of the divine presence by day as the Pillar of Cloud. This was so they "could travel by day or night".

The Book of Mormon contains numerous such examples, and probably quite a few remain to be discovered. John Welch has shown that legal language in the Book of Mormon tends to be highly consistent, perhaps indicating its dependence on underlying legal materials. Royal Skousen’s superb studies of the book’s textual history have established what he calls its “systematic nature”; its terminology and phrasing tend to be very consistent.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Artwork

Lehi's Vision

Rock

Deity Symbols

(Heb. tsur צור), employed as a symbol of God in the Old Testament ( 1 Samuel 2:2 ; 2 Sam 22:3 ; Isaiah 17:10 ; Psalms 28:1 ; Psalms 31:2 Psalms 31:3 ; 89:26 ; 95:1 ); also in the New Testament ( Matthew 16:18 ; Romans 9:33 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4 ). In Daniel 2:45 the Chaldaic form of the Hebrew word is translated "mountain." It ought to be translated "rock," as in Habakkuk 1:12 in the Revised Version. The "rock" from which the stone is cut there signifies the divine origin of Christ. (See STONE .)

Here, Nephi describes the pillar of fire appearing upon a rock in from of Lehi. By appearing over a rock, Nephi points to the symbolism of the rock in Biblical imagery.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Saw and Heard

Prophecy

In the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, we find that prophets experience prophecy in a variety of ways. Sometimes they experience visions, at other times they simply hear the voice of the Lord. In this verse, it is clear that Lehi is having both a visual and an auditory experience.

Maimonides, in his The Guide for the Perplexed, outlines twelve modes of prophecy[21] from lesser to greater degree of clarity:

  • Inspired actions
  • Inspired words
  • Allegorical dream revelations
  • Auditory dream revelations
  • Audiovisual dream revelations/human speaker
  • Audiovisual dream revelations/angelic speaker
  • Audiovisual dream revelations/Divine speaker
  • Allegorical waking vision
  • Auditory waking revelation
  • Audiovisual waking revelation/human speaker
  • Audiovisual waking revelation/angelic speaker
  • Audiovisual waking revelation/Divine speaker (that refers implicitly to Moses)

 

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Saw and Heard

Word Pair

Ancient Semitic poetry with its semantic parallelism makes use of conventional pairings of words. Pairs found in parallel in poetry are often found together in prose also.

 

Words form such a pair when they:

  • belong to the same grammatical class (verbs, nouns etc.);
  • are habitually found together and
  • are found in parallel
  • Such pairs can become the structural or thematic center of a passage

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

House

Economics

The word "Economics" comes from the Greek word οἰκονομία, which literally means "order of the house" or "law of the house". When Nephi refers to his house, he refers not only to the physical dwelling, but to the entire system that constitutes the household. Each family member had specific roles and responsibilities in Ancient Israel. While young men worked to provide for the family, women had the duty to keep the household in order by preparing food, educating her children, and managing finances at times.

Regarding the profession of Lehi, some scholars suggest that Lehi and Nephi were trained as metalsmiths. This trade would have been in plentiful demand in Jerusalem in the late 7th scentury. Such a vocation would have been ideal for Lehi’s ancestors to learn since it would not require the ownership or rental of property outside the city. Like most professionals of that age, Nephi would have apprenticed with and learned the metalworking trade from his father. Lehi had likely learned it from his father, who in turn learned it from his father, the man who came to Judah as a refugee, who had learned it in order to survive as a landless resident of Jerusalem’s Mishneh.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Additional Resources

Jeffrey R. Chadwick, "Lehi's House at Jerusalem and the Land of His Inheritance", in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W.Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

Bed

Artifacts

It is known, however, that the ancient Hebrews were acquainted with the movable bed. Saul, for example, ordered David to be brought to him in his bed (I Sam. xix. 15; comp. II Kings iv. 10). Og's bedstead was made of iron (Deut. iii. 11); bedsteads of wood, ivory, and gold (i.e., wooden bedsteads inlaid with ivory and gold), sent to the King of Egypt from Palestine either as gifts or as tribute, are mentioned as early as the El-Amarna tablets (thirteenth century B.C.). Hence also the Canaanites had such articles of luxury; and although the ancient Hebrews probably at first knew nothing of them, they were introduced among them later on. The prophet Amos censures the nobles and the wealthy for using beds inlaid with ivory (Amos vi. 4). Many kinds of coverings were spread upon these bedsteads; the poor contenting themselves with a coarse cloak or a goat-skin, and the rich indulging in pillows and bolsters of Egyptian linen, damask, purple embroidered coverings, or costly rugs (ib. iii. 12; Prov. vii. 16; Cant. iii. 10), upon which, as is still customary in the East, the sleepers lay without removing their clothing.

This resting-place, therefore, was not a bed in the accepted sense of the word, but a couch, on which the old and the sick reclined in the daytime (Gen. xlvii. 31; I Sam. xix. 13 et seq.), and which served also at times as a seat during meals (Ezek. xxiii. 41). Such a couch-like seat may be referred to in I Sam. xx. 25. As it is not known whether it was customary to sit with the legs crossed under the body according to the Oriental fashion of to-day, or whether the legs were allowed to hang down as when one sits in a chair, no accurate idea can be formed as to the height or breadth of these couches. Later on, the custom of reclining during meals (Amos iii. 12, vi. 4) was introduced.

The simplest form of bed is represented by that used by the modern Egyptians, consisting of a latticed frame made of the ribs of palm-leaves and about 1 1/2 feet high, or by the Sudanese angareb, with wooden frames 1 1/2 feet in height, with ropes stretched lengthwise and crosswise, on which a mattress is laid. The pictures of Egyptian beds that have been preserved may give an idea of the beds used. Mosquito-netting (κωυωπῖου) was probably introduced into Palestine during the Hellenistic period (Judith x. 4, xiii. 9, xvi. 19). As the bed took the place of the modern sofa, there was no other comfortable piece of furniture for sitting in or reclining upon except chairs.

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Spirit

Deity

While the usage of "Spirit" as deity is generally though of as a Christian phenomenon, the Hebrew Bible uses the term "the spirit" several times. Most of these attestations use the word "spirit" as a personification of wisdom more than as a designation for deity. The Book of Mormon prophets liberally use the word "spirit" to denote deity, or at least a member of the Godhead.

The term "ruacḥ haqodesh" does not occur in the Torah, but occurs once in Psalm 51:11 and twice in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 63:10,11) with a possessive suffix. Those are the only three times that the phrase "holy spirit" is used in the Hebrew Scriptures, although ruach (רוח, literally "breath" or "wind") in various combinations with "God" is used often, and qodesh ("holiness") is also used often. Ruacḥ, much like the English word breath, can mean either wind or some invisible moving force ("spirit").

The first Hebrew Scripture use of the phrase ruacḥ haqodesh (but in a modified form as explained above) in Psalm 51 contains a triple parallelism:

10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit (רוּחַ נָכֹון) within me." 11 "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit (רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ) from me." 12 "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with a (רוּחַ נְדִיבָה) free spirit."

The other two times that the expression occurs, in Isaiah 63 (R.V.), read:

10 "But they rebelled, and grieved his holy spirit (רוּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ); therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them." 11 "Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? where is he who put his holy spirit (רוּחַ קָדְשֽׁוֹ) in the midst of them?"

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Vision

Prophecy

A vision from God is a form of revelation whereby God discloses himself and his will. It is a visual mode of divine communication, in contrast with hearing words spoken or receiving impressions to the mind. LDS experience is consistent with biblical precedent in affirming that visions constitute a mark of divine approval. Such heavenly manifestations informed and directed Old Testament prophets (e.g., Daniel, Isaiah) and New Testament apostles (e.g., Peter, Paul). They have similarly been part of the foundation of revelation upon which Latter-day Saint prophets and apostles have asserted their testimony of the Lord. The visions of Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon prophets are comparable with those of the other testamental epochs. These historic periods of testimony-the Old, the New, the Book of Mormon, and the Latter-day-show similar patterns of revelation from God. Each of these dispensations of the gospel has included visions that communicated the mind and will of the Lord for that time.

An experience of a vision in Old Testament times is "The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend" (Ex. 33:11). Similarly, Moses "saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence" (Moses 1:2). The vision of Stephen in Acts 7:55-56is no less vivid: "He, being full of the Holy Ghost…said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Comparable is the vision of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded in D&C 76:19: "The Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened…. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father." Each vision is unequivocal and is accompanied by the Spirit of the Lord (see Visions of Joseph Smith).

These distinctive testimonies anchor all the rest of God's communion by a visual link with an ordinarily unseen world that directs the destiny of humankind. They provide a vivid sense of the nature of God and his design for the world that gives coherence to all other scripture and inspiration. Spiritual illumination, visual and otherwise, is contingent upon faith and trust in the Lord and obedience to him. When people reject or stray from the will of the Lord, they withdraw from his spirit (Mosiah 2:36), and visions cease. And, as declared in Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

...Read more at Book of Mormon Notes

Heavens

Cosmology

In the Old Testament the word shamayim represented both the sky/atmosphere, and the dwelling place of God. The raqia or firmament - the visible sky - was a solid inverted bowl over the earth, coloured blue from the heavenly ocean above it. Rain, snow, wind and hail were kept in storehouses outside the raqia, which had "windows" to allow them in - the waters for Noah's flood entered when the "windows of heaven" were opened. Heaven extended down to and was coterminous with (i.e. it touched) the farthest edges of the earth (e.g. Deuteronomy 4:32); humans looking up from earth saw the floor of heaven, which was made of clear blue lapis-lazuli (Exodus 24:9-10), as was God's throne (Ezekiel 1:26).

Grammatically the word shamayim can be either dual (two) or plural (more than two), without ruling out the singular (one). As a result it is not clear whether there were one, two, or more heavens in the Old Testament, but most likely there was only one, and phrases such as "heaven of heavens" were meant to stress the vastness of God's realm.

The Babylonians had a more complex idea of heaven, and during the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE) the influence of Babylonian cosmology led to the idea of a plurality of heavens among Jews. This continued into the New Testament: Revelation apparently has only one heaven, but the Epistle to the Hebrews and the epistles to the Colossians and the Ephesians have more than one, although they don't specify how many.[38] The apostle Paul tells of his visit to the third heaven, the place, according to contemporary thought, where the garden of Paradise is to be found.

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God sitting upon his throne

Prophecy

How is Lehi's vision of a heavenly council consistent with the visions of other ancient prophets?

Lehi's vision of "God seated on his throne among the council of his heavenly hosts" is "fully consistent with the spiritual experiences of other Israelite prophets of his day." Many prophets "expressed their visions in terms of participating in an assembly in heaven and receiving the judgments of that council concerning God's will about the destiny of man adn the world (see, for example, 1 Kings 22:19-22; Isaiah 6:1-10; 40:1-8; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Zechariah 1:8-13; 3:1-7; 6:1-8; Jeremiah 23:18)" ("Welch, "Lehi's Council Vision," 24).

Theophany

Modern scholarship has identified a motif called a "throne vision" or "throne theophany" — the word "theophany" simply means a "manifestation of God" — that repeatedly occurs in ancient stories of prophetic calls.

Such visions, which are recorded in Isaiah 6, the apocryphal "Ascension of Isaiah," 4 Ezra, Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4, the Ethiopic and Slavonic books of Enoch, and many other texts, take their name from their description of God sitting upon his throne (sometimes, technically, in a "throne chariot").

Lehi "was carried away in a vision, even that he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God" (1 Nephi 1:8).

In these accounts, a "historical prologue" typically provides the background for the theophany, and place, time and surrounding events play a significant role.

"Despite the overwhelming glory of the sacred locale," one scholar writes about Isaiah 6, "the historical moment is just as important to the prophet's proclamation. The year was a year of transition, crisis and import; it was the year of the king's death."

Nephi describes the religious turmoil in Jerusalem that preceded Lehi's throne theophany: "For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, … and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed" (1 Nephi 1:4).

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Angels

Angelology

Angelology is that branch of theology which treats of angels. Angels (from αγγελōς = messenger, Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ) are according to the usual conception superhuman beings dwelling in heaven, who, on occasion, reveal to man God's will and execute His commands. In one form or another, the belief in angels appears in the earliest stages of Jewish history, and continues to live in the spiritual world of the Jews and those professing the religions that sprang from Judaism; namely, Christianity and Mohammedanism. It can not be denied that the belief in such beings was also held by other peoples and other religions; but here the concern is only with Jewish Angelology, which can hardly be said to have ever been reduced to a complete system, such as is maintained by the Catholic Church (Oswald, "Angelologie, die Lehre von den Guten und Bösen Engeln im Sinne der Katholischen Kirche," Paderborn, 1883). To admit of a comprehensive survey of the historical development of Angelology, the subject may best be treated according to three periods: (1) the Biblical, (2) the Talmudical and Midrashic, and (3) the Medieval.

The Biblical name for angel, , meaning, according to derivation, simply "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as ("angel of the Lord," or "angel of God" Zech. xii. 8). Other appellations are , or ("Sons of God," Gen. vi. 4; Job, i. 6 [R. V. v. 1]; Ps. xxix. 1 [R. V. margin]); and ("the Holy Ones" [perhaps equivalent to "fiery ones," "unapproachable"; see Holiness. K.], Ps. lxxxix. 6, 8 [R. V. 5, 7]).

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Attitude of singing and praising their God

Intertextuality

In Alma 36, Alma describes his conversion. At one point, he reports, “methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God” (36:22). Twenty-one of these words are quoted verbatim from 1 Nephi 1:8, where Lehi “thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.” These two passages are far apart. Yet, as Professor Welch points out, it’s “highly unlikely that Joseph Smith asked Oliver Cowdery to read back to him what he had translated earlier so that he could get the quote exactly the same. If that had happened, Oliver Cowdery would undoubtedly have questioned him and lost faith in the translation.”

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Additional Resources

John W. Welch. "The Calling of Lehi as a Prophet in the World of Jerusalem", in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Edited by Jo Ann H. Seely, David Rolph Seely, and John W. Welch. Provo, Ut.: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2004.

John W. Welch. "Textual Consistency," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon. Provo, Ut.: FARMS, 1992.

"Intertextuality Between 1 Nephi 1 and Alma 36". in Charting the Book of Mormon.

One

Textual Variants

Royal Skousen has determined that the word "one" was in the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon lowercase, while in subsequent editions it was capitalized.

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One

Descending

Jesus Christ

Prophecies concerning the birth, mortal ministry, and post-Resurrection ministry of Jesus Christ permeate the Bible. Moreover, the latter-day scriptures used by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-the Book of Mormon, which bears the modern subtitle "Another Testament of Jesus Christ," the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price-contain numerous prophetic utterances about the messiah that in general are clearer than those in the Bible. For Latter-day Saints, these four volumes of scripture constitute the principal sources for the prophecies about Jesus' life and mission. This article reviews the prophecies concerning Jesus most often referred to by Latter-day Saints.

The New Testament teaches that the divinity of Jesus Christ was recognized by some during his own lifetime, as well as by God's ancient prophets. For example, Andrew announced to his brother Simon Peter that he had found the Messiah (John 1:41). The Book of Mormon prophets Abinadi and Nephi 2, son of Helaman 2, taught that all of God's prophets, including Moses and Abraham, "have testified of the coming of Christ" (Mosiah 13:33; Hel. 8:16-22; cf. Jacob 4:4).

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One

Intertextuality

First Vision

“Intertextuality” is a word used to describe ways in which various texts refer to, or play off of, each other, often without explicitly indicating it. For example, a 2012 book titled “Seven Habits of Highly Fulfilled People” unmistakably alludes to Stephen Covey’s famous 1990 best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Sometimes, authors hope that their audiences will keep the other text in mind.

The Book of Mormon contains numerous such examples, and probably quite a few remain to be discovered. In this verse there appears to be some connection with the verbiage of Nephi and Joseph Smith's own experience as recorded in Joseph Smith--History:

16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

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A Great Knowledge

Temple

Joseph Spencer has suggested the Nephi emphasized four themes as he introduced himself which coincide with the main themes of ancient temple worship. Spencer believes themes make the basic structure of Nephi’s record.

I, Nephi, 
[Creation:] having been born of goodly parents, 
therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and 
[Fall:] having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, 
nevertheless, 
[Atonement:] having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, 
[Veil:] having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make 
a record of my proceedings in my days.

Joseph M. Spencer, An Other Testament (Salem, Oregon: Salt Press, 2012).

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Prayed

Artwork

Lehi praying to the Lord"

Lehi praying to the Lord"