The Annotated Book of Mormon : I Nephi : 1

1:1 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. The name "Nephi" may have been derived from the Apocrypha, with which Joseph Smith appears to have been familiar. (See this page for a list of possible sources for Book of Mormon names).

II Maccabees 1:36 And Neemias called this thing Naphthar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.

1:2 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. Although claims of Egyptian or Hebrew script in the New World are often advanced by amateur archaeologists, there are no substantiated examples of Old World scripts in pre-columbian America.

Only four main types of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican writing systems are known: (Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Maya). Of these, only Zapotec and Maya are truly textual systems. (Aztec and Mixtec consisted of little more than dates and place names).

Mayan script has been deciphered to the point where most inscriptions can now be read. The consensus is that both the Mayan script and language are indigenous to the Americas, i.e. they have no discernable connection to any Old World system. Zapotec remains undeciphered, but an examination of the actual script shows structural similarities to Maya, and, again, no discernable connection to any Old World script.

1:3 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.  
1:4 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. The name "Lehi" is mentioned in Judges 15:9 as a place name. Another possibility is "Levi".

A further anomaly - Zedekiah was actually installed as king by Nebuchadnezzar after the first Babylonian deportation. (See II Kings 24:8-17). It is very strange that Nephi fails to mention that the city had already been beseiged once by Nebuchadnezzar, and that he had carried away ten thousand captives before this point. Further, the Bible claims that the Babylonians carried off all the noblemen and craftsmen (II Kings 24:14), leaving only the poorest people of the land behind. How did Lehi and his family escape this first deportation, not to mention Laban and his family?

1:5 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.  
1:6 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.  
1:7 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. Lehi's vision is very similar to John's vision at the start of the book of Revelation. He uses the same language in a number of cases, and follows the same general structure. (More information).
1:8 And being thus 1overcome 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, 2surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. [1] Revelation 4:2-4: And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
2] Revelation 5:11: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne...and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.
1:9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his 1luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. [1] Revelation 1:16: ...and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
1:10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.  
1:11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a 1book, and bade him that he should read. [1] Revelation 10:2: And he had in his hand a little book open...
1:12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.  
1:13 And he read, saying: 1Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem--that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon. [1] Revelation 8:13: ...Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth...
1:14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: 1Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish! [1] Revelation 15:3: ...Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty...
1:15 And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him.  
1:16 And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.  
1:17 But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life.  
1:18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.  
1:19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a 1Messiah, and also the redemption of the world. Topic: Anachronistic Concepts
[1] As with most religious concepts, the idea of the Messiah evolved slowly over time. In 600 BC, when the Lehites left Jerusalem, the concept of a semi-divine being who would bring salvation to mankind did not exist in Judaism, and is not present in the Old Testament, despite the imaginative attempts of the New Testament writers to make it so.

The English word messiah is actually derived from the Greek messias, which is in turn an adaptation of the Aramaic meshiha. The Aramaic is a translation of the Hebrew ha-mashi'ah, meaning 'the anointed [King]'.

The concept of the Messiah in Judaism first began with the idea that the throne of David would be established forever (II Sam 7:13). Following the split of the Kingdom after the death of Solomon, the focus shifted to the hope that the line of David would be re-established over all Israel. These hopes were dashed when the Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrians in the eighth century BC, and the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians in 600 BC.

This was the beginning of the concept of the Messiah, a future King of Israel who would restore the land to autonomous rule. The Messiah was thus an earthly King, who would wield political power in Israel and restore the line of David (Isaiah 9:6-7). The Old Testament refers to at least two historical individuals who were considered for the role of Messiah - Cyrus, king of the Persians (Isaiah 45:1) and Zerubbabel (Haggai 2:23).

Following the Old Testament period, the concept of the Messiah shifted to an eschatological context. The Messiah took on the role of both King and Priest, as exemplified by the Dead Sea sect. It was this concept that the early Christians reworked into the idea of a divine ruler, sent by God to save mankind from their sins.

The Messiah in the Book of Mormon, it hardly needs to be said, is taken directly from the New Testament. This is nowhere more obvious than in the fact that the word Christ is used so many times for the Messiah. Technically, Christ is a Greek synonym for Messiah (which makes its appearance in the Book of Mormon problematic), and was used extensively in the New Testament, where, in the phrase 'Lord Jesus Christ', it evolved into a personal name (II Timothy 2:19). The author of the Book of Mormon, like so many Christians, seems to have been unaware of the true etymology of the word, and uses it as a personal name (II Nephi 10:3), as does the New Testament on occasion.  

1:20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.  

Top Previous Next

Book Reviews
More Reviews
Some More
history of science
popular science
science fiction
discussion list
what's new
link here