Sunday, November 20, 2011

2 Nephi 1-4

1. 1 Nephi started with Lehi's ministry to Jerusalem, whose leaders proved wicked and unyielding, forcing Lehi's party to flee into the wilderness.  2 Nephi opens on Lehi again, preaching to his sons, the older of whom will prove wicked and unyielding, forcing Nephi's party to flee into the wilderness.

2. 1:10 gives off temple echoes, with its knowledge of the creation and its language about covenants; so does 1:15, and 1:24 (a "glorious view" is a same thing as a "view of glory", which is entrance into the Holy of Holies and seeing God on his chariot throne), and 2:4 (beholding the glory, and one eternal round-type language).  See also seeking the glory of God (1:25 -- is this different from desiring to know the mysteries?  I don't think so) and knowing the greatness of God (2:2).  See also 4:16 and 4:25 and especially 4:33.

3. Whom is Lehi quoting in 1:20?  Or is this revelation to Lehi?  (It gets quoted a lot subsequently in the BoM, but I think this is its first appearance.)

4. Lehi's exhortation to his sons to rise out of the dust (1:13-14, 21-23) also has a temple echo: Genesis 3:14.  It also echoes what Nephi preached in 1 Nephi 22:23.  The chains in this passage also echo Isaiah 3:19, where "chains" are one of the ornaments of the haughty and wanton daughters of Zion who will be punished -- remember Laman and Lemuel's recurring fascination with the wealth they've left behind.

5. 2:1 -- Jacob and Joseph are spoken to apart from Lehi's oldest four sons, and after the sons of Ishmael and Zoram.  This makes me wonder further if Jacob and Joseph are born to an unnamed second wife.  I can't find any mention of Sariah's death, or any mention of her at all after 1 Nephi 8, unless 1 Nephi 18:19 is a reference to her... which would be begging the question.

6. 2 Nephi 2 is full of temple doctrine.  We start with the Day of Atonement (Christ sacrifices himself like the high priest sacrifices the Yahweh goat, to atone), and work backward into endowment narrative (the two trees, the serpent, etc.).  These are the same two rites reported in visions in 1 Nephi 8 and 11ff, and we are taking them in reverse order -- in other words, 1 Nephi 8 reports a Sabbath/endowment vision, and 1 Nephi 11 is a Day of Atonement vision, and in 2 Nephi 2 we hear doctrine about the Day of Atonement, and then are told the endowment story.  These rites are then tied together by the ideas of free will and probation, upon which Lehi preaches extensively.

7. 2:30 whom is Lehi quoting, about choosing the good part?

8. 3:24 doing wonders is a Moses echo, so bookends with 3:9.

9. 4:3-10.  Nephi is recording Lehi's blessings later, after the split from the Laman-Lemuel group (5:30).  It's interesting that he meticulously records Lehi's blessings to Laman and Lemuel's children -- it gives the sense of being an olive branch held out, a hope of reconciliation with the people from whom they've split.

10. Lehi dies and Laman and Lemuel want to kill him again.  This is a low point for Nephi, and I find it beautiful that this is where he records his own great psalm (the second half of 2 Nephi 4).

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