Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1 Nephi 9-12

1. 1 Nephi 9 reminds me that 1 Nephi is also a book about books.  1:1-2 introduces the record, Lehi's first vision centers around a book, Nephi and the lads go back for a book, Lehi has a vision one of the centers of which is the iron rod, the word of God (remember that this is an Egyptian pun for writing and a reference to the brass plates), now Nephi tees up his dual set of records.

2. 1 Nephi 9 twice uses an interesting word, "ministry".  This word appears a lot in the KJV NT, where it stands in for "diakonia", which, you remember, is one Greek translation of the Hebrew "'avodah", and of the 4 OT appearances, one of them is "'avodah" (Num 4:47).  Remember that "'avodah" is "service" and is the work of the priests in the Temple.  coming between two temple visions, this is an interesting piece of vocabulary (Nephi says his book is about the "ministry of his people", twice).  Also, verses 3-5 here, at least, are a chiasm.  I wonder if this bit is a deliberate chiastic connection between Lehi's temple vision and Nephi's?  Oh, look how 9:1 starts on tent goes to things which can't be written, and then 10:15-16 goes things not written to tent...  who wants to try to diagram out 9:1 to 10:16?

3. 10:13 is interesting, I don't think I've noticed this before.  Does this mean Lehi is teaching that all of scattered Israel will come to a single promised land, along with his party?  Or what does "with one accord" mean?

4. 11:1 -- interesting that he's caught away "into" a mountain... Cf. Matt. 5:1.

5. The temple imagery in this vision is just rife.  For those of you who missed it two years ago, I'm sorry, I won't recap, but see, for instance, verse 7: the image here is the eating of the shewbread before the menorah and the descent of the ritually-clothed high priest through the veil of the temple, down from the Holy of Holies.  In verse 30, the veil opens again, and priests (angels) come out to minister.  Those who say that 2 Nephi is a spiritual barrier preventing the unprepared from getting to the spiritual meat of the BoM are talking nonsense.  The meat is right up front.  Joseph Smith didn't mess around.

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