2 Nephi 1 to 5 – “We Lived After the Manner of Happiness”

February 3, 2020 to February 9, 2020

Our understanding of the way to overcome the effects of the Fall draws from the doctrine Lehi taught in 2 Nephi 2. Nephi responds to his trials with a psalm of comfort and hope despite his grief, recorded in 2 Nephi 4.

“The Psalm of Nephi: A Lyric Reading,” Steven P. Sondrup, BYU Studies, Vol. 21, no. 3
One of the most beautiful passages in all of scripture is Nephi’s psalm in 2 Nephi 4, written shortly after Nephi’s father Lehi had died. The sensitive reading presented here unfolds the intent, emotion, and beauty of Nephi’s eloquent words.

“Lehi’s Last Will and Testament: A Legal Approach,” John W. Welch, The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure
John Welch takes the whole of 2 Nephi 1-4 and examines it in light of ancient Israelite family laws and customs. His analysis finds that Lehi’s final address to his family serves very much like a last will and testament and fits well in the ancient Israelite legal traditions.

“Lehi and the Covenant of the Promised Land: A Modern Appraisal,” Alan K. Parrish, The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi: The Doctrinal Structure
When Lehi in his old age addresses his children in the first few chapters of 2 Nephi, he speaks of the promised land. The promised land came with many blessings, as well as stipulations. This article details and explores Lehi’s teachings on the promised land, and how the people on this continent can take claim on those blessings.

“Adam’s Fall in the Book of Mormon, Second Temple Judaism, and Early Christianity,” Stephen D. Ricks, The Disciple as Scholar: Essays on Scripture and the Ancient World in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson
Stephen Ricks outlines the doctrines of the Fall that are taught in Lehi’s speech in 2 Nephi 2. He then goes through and traces attestations of Adam and Eve throughout second-temple Jewish literature to discern parallels and overlaps. He concludes by comparing it with modern Christian interpretations of the fall and how its perception has evolved through the millennia.

“The Fall of Man and His Redemption,” Gerald N. Lund, The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi: The Doctrinal Structure
While Lehi gives various counsel to all his children, his address to Jacob is primarily a doctrinal exposition. In 2 Nephi 2, Lehi expounds to Jacob on the Fall of man and the need for a redeemer. This article methodically goes through Lehi’s discussion on the Fall to point out how 2 Nephi 2 shapes our understanding of the Fall and the Atonement.

“Evaluating the Sources of 2 Nephi 1:13-15: Shakespeare and the Book of Mormon,” Robert F. Smith, Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22, no. 2
The Book of Mormon has been criticized for seemingly drawing 2 Nephi 1:14 from Shakespeare. However, Robert Smith in this article shows how the idea that death is a place “from whence no traveler can return” is attested much earlier. He draws on parallels both from biblical sources as well as the broader ancient Near East to show its prevalence in Lehi’s time.

As always, we recommend the rich resources presented at bookofmormoncentral.com.