Annotated Book of Mormon
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1 Nephi Chapter 5

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Book of Mormon Annotations

Chapter 5

 

1 And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.

There are only three Book of Mormon women named:  Sariah, Abish, and Isabel-the Harlot.

(Biblical women named in the Book of Mormon: Eve, Mary, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife)

2 For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.

 

3 And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father.

 

4 And it had come to pass that my father spake unto her, saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.

 

5 But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.

 

6 And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews.

There are only three Book of Mormon women named:  Sariah, Abish, and Isabel-the Harlot.

(Biblical women named in the Book of Mormon: Eve, Mary, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife)

7 And when we had returned to the tent of my father, behold their joy was full, and my mother was comforted.

 

8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.

 

9 And it came to pass that they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel.

 

10 And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.

1 Ne 5:10-13

The events of the reign of Zedekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem can be a little confusing. I initially thought it was anachronistic to mention the reign of Zedekiah before the destruction of Jerusalem, but it’s not. There was a siege of Jerusalem by Babylon that resulted in Babylonian takeover of Jerusalem in about the Spring of 597 BCE and Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, installed Zedekiah as King at that point. Well, Zedekiah, the puppet King, revolted against Babylon because he trusted an alliance with Egypt would keep Jerusalem safe. Then, after another siege, in about 587 BCE, Jerusalem fell to Babylon, and Jerusalem was destroyed
(Zedekiah).

11 And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents;

Annotation for 1 Ne 5:10-13 above

12 And also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah;

Annotation for 1 Ne 5:10-13 above

13 And also the prophecies of the holy prophets, from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah; and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah.

Annotation for 1 Ne 5:10-13 above

14 And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine.

1 Ne 5:14 and 2 Ne 3:4 declare Lehi is a descendant of Joseph, and Alma 10:3 specifies that he descended from Manasseh. It is also claimed that Ishmael was of the Tribe of Ephraim. “The Prophet Joseph informed us . . . That Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim” (Apostle Erastus Snow, Journal of Discourses, 23:184). And, “we know that Ishmael, who was the other founder of the colony, was a descendant of Ephraim. This we learn from the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 3, 197). This presents a couple of challenges.

Priestly rights and responsibilities in the House of Israel were almost exclusively the responsibility of Levites. “Before Moses died, the Melchizedek Priesthood and the higher law of the gospel were withdrawn from the Israelites because of their disobedience . . . The lesser priesthood was called the Aaronic Priesthood, after Aaron, but is sometimes referred to as the Levitical Priesthood because all those who possessed it in ancient times belonged to the tribe of Levi” (Levitical Priesthood).

 

However, FairMormon says, “The Old Testament records numerous non-Levitical offerings. Gideon and Samuel were Ephraimites; Saul was a Benjamite; David and Solomon were of Judah” (FairMormon ). This issue seems complicated, and there is at least some reason to think there is a good defense for non-Levites offering sacrifice.

The other challenge is that since millions of descendants of Lehi and Ishmael are reported to have lived and died in pre-Columbian Americas, we would expect significant DNA evidence to support the claim. Yet, there is no such evidence. This is why many of the verses claiming lineage from the House of Israel are annotated to highlight this issue.

15 And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them.

 

16 And thus my father, Lehi, did discover the genealogy of his fathers. And Laban also was a descendant of Joseph, wherefore he and his fathers had kept the records.

 

17 And now when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the Spirit, and began to prophesy concerning his seed—

 

18 That these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed.

1 Ne 5:18-19

So where are these plates? I thought “the plates of brass” could mean a portion of the Old Testament, but in 1 Ne 13:23 we learn that the Bible as foretold in 1 Ne 13 is not as complete as the plates of brass.
 
One group thinks they found the plates:
“With these five exceptions all the other chapters of this book were translated from the plates of Laban, taken from the house of Laban, in Jerusalem, in the days of Zedekiah, king of Judah”
(The Book of the Law of the Lord).
 
This verse comes to mind about the followers of James Strang:
“But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught” (2 Ne 33:2).
But I wonder how many of the Brighamite branch of the restoration “harden their hearts” and “cast away” the James Strang translation of the plates of Laban.

19 Wherefore, he said that these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed any more by time. And he prophesied many things concerning his seed.

Annotation for 1 Ne 5:18-19 above

20 And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the commandments wherewith the Lord had commanded us.

Except perhaps not for the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” See 1 Ne 4:18.

21 And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.

If God is mightier than all the earth (1 Ne 4:1) and can make his will known to man through the Spirit (1 Ne 4:10-12), then would the brass plates actually be needed to preserve the commandments?

22 Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise.

 

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