1 Nephi 1 to 7 – “I Will Go and Do”

January 6, 2020 to January 12, 2020

Nephi kept a record of his family’s many struggles to testify of God and his power. He hoped we would learn to trust God as he did.

“Into Arabia: Lehi and Sariah’s Escape from Jerusalem, Perspectives Suggested by New Fieldwork”, Warren P. Aston, BYU Studies, Vol. 58, no. 4
Based on his explorations of the terrain from Jerusalem to the Red Sea, the author proposes a likely route Lehi and his family took as they fled Jerusalem. He also proposes a location for the Book of Mormon’s valley of Lemuel.


“Dating the Departure of Lehi from Jerusalem”, Jeffrey R. Chadwick, BYU Studies, Vol. 57, no. 2
Jeffrey R. Chadwick introduces a variety of evidence to show that Lehi’s departure can be dated to sometime in late 605 BC. Much of this evidence results from an understanding of the state of affairs in ancient Judah during the reigns of Judean kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah.


“The Throne-Theophany and Prophetic Commission in 1 Nephi: A Form-Critical Analysis,” Blake T. Ostler, BYU Studies, Vol. 26, no. 4
Lehi’s vision in 1 Nephi 1 follows the Hebrew pattern of God’s call to a prophet. The commissions of Isaiah and Ezekiel included a vison of the council of God and God on his throne (a throne-theophany). Other common parallels are the divine confrontation, Lehi’s reaction, a commission, and a protest and reassurance.


“The Calling of a Prophet,” John W. Welch, The Book of Mormon: First Nephi, the Doctrinal Foundation
Chapter 1 of 1 Nephi reports in very brief but significant terms the essential facts about the call and public ministry of the prophet Lehi. Lehi’s comtemporaries should have recognized the timing of Lehi’s message at the coronation of a king, that Lehi was not alone in his message, and that Lehi spoke with authority.


“Lehi and Jeremiah: Prophets, Priests, and Patriarchs,” David Rolph Seely and Jo Ann H. Seely, in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem
Lehi, in his brief ministry in Jerusalem, delivered the same message that Jeremiah had delivered for almost thirty years before Lehi’s call, and he would suffer the same rejection and persecution. Their respective lives and records, preserved in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, richly complement each other.


“How Could Jerusalem, ‘That Great City,’ Be Destroyed?” David Rolph Seely and Fred E. Woods, Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem
Nephi’s brothers rebelled against Lehi’s teaching that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Many  inhabitants of Jerusalem believed that God would preserve their city, and the city was fortified and prepared for siege. The assurances of false prophets added to the incorrect belief that their city was invincible.


Chart 7-94: “1 Nephi and the Exodus,” Charting the Book of Mormon
Lehi’s group saw themselves as reenacting the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. This chart shows twenty-seven parallels between the narratives in 1 Nephi and Exodus.


“Lehi’s Altar and Sacrifice in the Wilderness,” David Rolph Seely, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 10, no. 1
Lehi built an altar in the wilderness, yet Deuteronomy 12 appears to strictly forbid the building of altars and the making of sacrifice outside the place the Lord had chosen for that purpose. Here are three possible explanations why Lehi was not breaking the law of Moses.


Chart 9-115: “When Is It Better for One Man to Perish Than an Entire Nation?” in Charting the Book of Mormon
Ancient Israelite law authorized the slaying of a particular man at least two other times when a whole people faced destruction. This chart compares Nephi’s situation with two similar incidents found in the Bible: the beheading of the rebel Sheba and the execution of King Jehoiakim.
“Nephi’s Jerusalem and Laban’s Sword,” William J. Adams Jr., Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2
Archaeology has revealed few ancient Middle Eastern swords, but one found in Vered Jericho shows one example. It is three feet long, made of bronze and iron, giving us insight into Laban’s sword.


“Sword of Laban as a Symbol of Divine Authority and Kingship,”  Brett L. Holbrook, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 1
The sword of Laban can be compared to the sword of Goliath, which David used to slay him. Laban’s sword was preserved and revered throughout Nephite history.


“1 and 2 Nephi: An Inspiring Whole,” by Frederick W. Axelgard, BYU Studies
Seeking an overarching framework in 1 and 2 Nephi reveals one heavily historical section (1 Nephi 1 to 2 Nephi 5) and one exclusively spiritual section. A final section (2 Nephi 6-33) functions as a genuine conclusion.


“Learning Nephi’s Language: Creating a Context for 1 Nephi 1,” Neal Rappleye, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Vol. 16
Nephi wrote using “the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” (1 Nephi 1:2).  It is reasonable to suggest that Nephi’s language is part of a centuries-old and widespread scribal tradition in Judah of writing in hieratic Egyptian.


Book of Mormon Central
Our friends at Book of Mormon Central have compiled many resources and videos that will be helpful in the 2020 Come, Follow Me scripture study program. See their resources here.