2 Ne 3:1-25

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Home > The Book of Mormon > Second Nephi > Chapters 1-5 > Chapter 3
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Relationship to Chapters 1-5. The relationship of Chapter 3 to the rest of Chapters 1-5 is discussed at Second Nephi 1-5.

Story. Chapter 3 consists of ____ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 3 include:


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  • 2 Ne 3:5-17. These verses are closely aligned with JST Genesis 50:25-35 (though not always word-for-word; it appears that Lehi is mixing paraphrase, quotation, and explication). However, v. 18 has no parallel in JST Genesis 50, and the sole subsequent verse in JST Genesis that quotes Joseph has no parallel in 2 Ne 3. This suggests that in v. 18 Lehi is speaking for himself again: "And the Lord said unto me [Lehi] also [in addition to Joseph of Egypt]: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy [Lehi's] loins" etc.
  • 2 Ne 3:24. This verse has sometimes been interpreted that there will be a great prophet from the descendants of Lehi's son Joseph. Others interpret this as another reference to Joseph Smith, since the rest of the chapter seems to talk very clearly about Joseph Smith. As we read the verses carefully, it is important to note that Lehi does break the narrative to address his son Joseph in verse 23. However, this does not confirm that the "one mighty among them" will be from the seed of Joseph (Lehi's son). Verses 22-23 can be read parenthetically: Lehi pauses the story to tell his son that his seed will be among those who will accept the Book of Mormon translated by Joseph Smith. Verse 24 is a repetition or clarification of the prophecies of Joseph now told in his own words. This reading is strengthened by the words "do that thing which is great." This is referring to some "thing" not mentioned in verses 23-24; presumably, Lehi is referencing the events already described by Joseph as "great" (see verse 7: "of great worth," verse 8: "great in mine eyes," verse 9: "great like unto Moses"). Lehi also describes this person as "mighty." See verse 14, from Joseph's prophecy: "they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded." In verse 24 Lehi also mentions that this great thing will aid in the "restoration unto the house of Israel." See also a reference to Joseph Smith and the House of Israel in verse 13. While it is possible that another prophet from Lehi's son Joseph will also fit this model, it is also appropriate, upon a close reading of the chapter, to read verse 24 as referring to Joseph Smith.

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  • 2 Ne 3: Types and shadows. Lehi blesses his son Joseph by telling him of Joseph of old who prophesied of Moses and the latter-day Joseph. Presumably this blessing to Joseph was more than just information. Presumably it gave him something he could use in his own life. In addition, it compares Moses and Joseph Smith in a way that helps us understand each better. Is this use of types and shadows the way that we are to apply the scriptures to ourselves? Of what types do we see shadows in today’s world?
  • 2 Ne 3:1, 3: Why does Lehi make it a point to keep reminding Joseph that he was born during the time of Lehi's greatest afflictions?
  • 2 Ne 3:5: To what degree has this prophecy been fulfilled? If you think it is still being fulfilled, what would it take for it to be completed?
  • 2 Ne 3:5: Are the latter days mentioned in the prophecy of Joseph referring to the time that Christ visited the Nephites after His resurrection, or to some future time when He will gather in the Lamanites, or both, or some other time and event?
  • 2 Ne 3:5: What is meant by "the spirit of power," why does this not just say "power," what is the difference?
  • 2 Ne 3:7-8: Whom are these verses about? What does it mean to say “he shall do no other work, save the work which I shall command him"?
  • 2 Ne 3:9: Great like unto Moses. In what ways was Moses great? How does the delivering role of the seer being described here relate to the bringing forth of the word and convincing in verse 11ff?
  • 2 Ne 3:11: Why is Joseph Smith here described as a seer rather than a prophet? (How do the two differ, or do they?)
  • 2 Ne 3:11: How did Joseph Smith bring forth the Lord's word to Lehi's son Joseph's descendants?
  • 2 Ne 3:12: Lehi says that the writings of Judah and those of his descendants "shall grow together." What does that metaphor mean?
  • 2 Ne 3:12: What does that metaphor tell us about the relation of the Bible and the Book of Mormon?
  • 2 Ne 3:12: How will they, together, confound false doctrine, rid us of contention, and establish fruit among Lehi's son Joseph's descendants?
  • 2 Ne 3:15: How is the Prophet Joseph like Joseph in Egypt? How did the ancient Joseph bring the Lord's people salvation, and how is that like what modern Joseph did?
  • 2 Ne 3:16: What is “the promise of Moses"?
  • 2 Ne 3:17: How were the ancient Joseph and Moses the same? What is the significance of a rod? What rod did Joseph Smith have?
  • 2 Ne 3:18: How many spokesmen did Joseph Smith have? How does the fact that he had more than one cohere with this verse? What does this tell us about prophecy?
  • 2 Ne 3:23: What does it mean to say that Lehi’s son Joseph is blessed because of the covenant? How is he blessed? Why is it an important blessing to know that your descendants many generations hence will not be destroyed?
    • Suggested answer: As a possible answer, see D&C 107:42 and Abraham 1:4.
  • 2 Ne 3:24: To whom is this verse referring?


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