1 Nephi 1

1 Nephi 1:1

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

Nephi's Name

John Gee, a doctor of Egyptology from Yale University, published a paper regarding the etymology of the name "Nephi" in 1992. It is one of the earliest inquiries into whether the name was in use at the time of Lehi. In this paper, Gee traces Nephi to the Egyptian "NFR".

Nephi is an attested Syro-Palestinian Semitic form of an attested Egyptian man's name dating from the Late Period in Egypt. It is appropriate that Nephi notes early the connections between Egypt and Israel at his time (1 Nephi 1:3), for his own name is Egyptian. It is the proper form of a proper name of the proper gender from the proper place and proper time. [1]

In a similar paper, entitled Internal Textual Evidence for the Egyptian Origin of Nephi's Name, Matthew L. Bowen gives insight into the history of Nephi's name.

A proposed etymology of the Book of Mormon name Nephi is that it derives from the ancient Egyptian word nfr, which as an adjective means "good," "fine," or "goodly" and as a noun denotes "kindness" or "goodness." By Lehi's time, this word was probably pronounced "nefe" (NEH-fee). Two Book of Mormon passages contain strong evidence for such an etymology.[2]

Bowen suggests that the meaning of Nephi's name could have been a play on the world "goodly" found later in the verse. If the suggested etymology is correct, the verse would literally read "I, goodness, having been born of goodly parents…."

Goodly Parents

Hugh Nibley wrote:

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 [5]

This particular passage is consistent with other texts of Nephi's time. It was common for ancient authors to briefly describe how they learned to write, a skill that was not common in that time. This description often included an illusion to the families wealth, the substance that would allow the hire of a scholar and tutor.

1 Nephi 1:2

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

Language

1 Nephi 1:3

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:4

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:5

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

Lehi As A Trader

Lehi was very rich, and he was a trader, for his wealth was in the form of "all manner of riches" (1 Nephi 3:16) such as had to be brought from many places. His world was a world of travelers and merchants. The princes of the Delta were merchants, 21 the princes of the Syrian and Palestinian cities were also, as the Amarna tablets show, merchants; the story of Wenamon tells us that the princes of Phoenicia and Philistia were merchants; the Arab princes of the desert were merchants; and the merchants of Egypt and Babylonia would meet in their tents to transact business; 22 the two wisest of the Greeks, Lehi's great contemporaries Solon and Thales, both traveled extensively in the East—on business. Very significant is the casual notice that Lehi once had a vision in a desert place "as he went forth" (1 Nephi 1:5), as he went he prayed, we are told, and as he prayed a vision came to him. The effect of the vision was to make him hasten back "to his own house at Jerusalem" (1 Nephi 1:17), where he had yet greater visions, showing that it was not necessary for him to "go forth" either to pray or to have visions; he did not go forth expecting a vision—for when a vision came he immediately returned home—but one came to him in the course of a regular journey as he went about his business and forced him to change his plans.[6]

This insight may not be new to most studiers of the Book of Mormon; however, it does provide access to some interesting evidence for the Book of Mormon. For instance, it may help to explain the Greek names Timothy the Disciple and Lachoneus son of Lachoneus that are found later in the book. The FAIR Wiki states:

Wrote Hugh Nibley of this Old World name

The occurrence of the names Timothy and Lachoneus in the Book of Mormon is strictly in order, however odd it may seem at first glance. Since the fourteenth century B.C. at latest, Syria and Palestine had been in constant contact with the Aegean world, and since the middle of the seventh century Greek mercenaries and merchants, closely bound to Egyptian interests (the best Egyptian mercenaries were Greeks), swarmed throughout the Near East. Lehi's people…could not have avoided considerable contact with these people in Egypt and especially in Sidon, which Greek poets even in that day were celebrating as the great world center of trade. It is interesting to note in passing that Timothy is an Ionian name, since the Greeks in Palestine were Ionians (hence the Hebrew name for Greeks: "Sons of Javanim"), and—since "Lachoneus" means "a Laconian"—that the oldest Greek traders were Laconians, who had colonies in Cyprus (BM Akish) and of course traded with Palestine.


Lehi or Mulek's group would have then known—or even contained—people named "Lachoneus," a proper Greek name of the proper sort in the proper timeframe.[7]

1 Nephi 1:6

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

Word-Play and Range of Meaning - 'dwelt' agrees with Hebrew word for sat

1 Nephi 1:7

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:8

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:9

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:10

Verse Text

And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:11

Verse Text

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 book, and bade him that he should read.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:12

Verse Text

And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:13

Verse Text

And he read, saying: Wo, 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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:14

Verse Text

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: Great 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!

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:15

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:16

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:17

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:18

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:19

Verse Text

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 the Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

1 Nephi 1:20

Verse Text

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.

Evidence

No evidence has yet been submitted for this verse.

Bibliography
5. Nibley, Hugh. An Approach to the Book of Mormon (The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 6).3rd ed., Deseret/FARMS, Salt Lake City & Provo, 1988.P. 47.
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