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The Book of Mormon > First Nephi
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 Historical setting
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Babylon invaded Judah three times. First Nephi begins in 597 BC soon after the second of these three invasions.
In 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated the combined armies of Assyria and Egypt and then succeeded his father as king. Later that year he also invaded Judah for the first time and besieged Jerusalem. The Jewish king Jehoiakim (r. 609-598 BC) submitted (2 Kgs 24:1). That same year Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would serve Babylon for 70 years (Jer 25:1, 11-12). In February 604 BC Nebuchadnezzar returned home to Babylon with Jewish captives, including Daniel and his friends (Dan 1:1-3, 6; 2:1).
When king Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon, it invaded for the second time, conquering Jerusalem on 16 March 597 BC and installing Zedekiah (r. 597-587 BC) as the new Jewish king. Following this second invasion, most of the Jew eites were carried off and resettled elsewhere (2 Kgs 24:1-17). The Book of Mormon then begins at Jerusalem during the first year of the new king Zedekiah's reign as many prophets warn that the city will be destroyed if the people do not repent (1 Ne 1:4).
By August 594 BC king Zedekiah was plotting to rebel against Babylon (2 Kgs 24:20), contrary to the counsel of Jeremiah (Jer 27:12-22) and Ezekiel (Ezek 17:13-16). Nebuchadnezzar responded by invading Judah for the third time and in 589 BC again laying siege to Jerusalem.(2 Kgs 24:20). The Babylonians again entered Jerusalem after a two and a half year siege, destroyed the Temple of Solomon on 28 August 587 BC, and carried away the inhabitants of the city (2 Kgs 25:1-17). After Lehi and his family spend eight years in the wilderness and then voyage to America, he refers to the destruction of Jerusalem as an accomplished fact (2 Ne 1:4).
A broader treatment of the history of ancient Israel is found at Old Testament: Historical Overview.
After arriving in America, Nephi made his first set of plates, the large plates, on which he kept a political history of reigns and wars. Later he made a second set of plates, the small plates, which are what we have in First Nephi through Omni (1 Ne 19:1-6; 2 Ne ___; W of M 1:__) REFINE.
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The relationship of the book of First Nephi to the rest of the Book of Mormon is discussed at Book of Mormon: Unities. The book of First Nephi can be outlined broadly as follows:
- I. Two witnesses: Lehi and Nephi (1-2)
- I. Two witnesses: Zenos and Isaiah (19-22)
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 Direct address to the reader
Nephi several times directly addresses the reader or expressly draws a conclusion for the reader. These are points that Nephi makes sure cannot be overlooked, and these points should therefore have a significant influence on the interpretation of the entire book of Ether
- 1 Ne 1:1 -
- 1 Ne 1:20 - Nephi tells us that he will show us in the remainder of his book that the Lord delivers those who come unto him.
- 1 Ne 17:3 - At the conclusion of the land journey Nephi tells us that we can see, from their travels in the wilderness, that God always provides a way for people to accomplish his commandments (compare 1 Ne 3:7).
 Points to ponder
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 I have a question
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 Relation to other scriptures
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 Related scriptures
The relationship of First Nephi to the rest of the Book of Mormon is discussed at Book of Mormon: Unities.
 Parallel passages
 Previous editions
The original 1830 edition of First Nephi was divided into only seven chapters (I-VII). For the 1879 edition Parley Pratt further divided those seven into the twenty two chapters (1-22) still used today. • I: 1-5 • II: 6-9 • III: 10-14 • IV: 15 • V: ch.16-19:21 • VI: 19:22-ch.21 • VII: 22
 Complete outline and page map
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- ■ Lehi receives two visions and preaches at Jerusalem (Chapter 1)
- a. purpose, explanation, and preaching narrative (1:1-4)
- a. explanation, preaching narrative, and purpose (1:16-20)
- ■ Lehi and Nephi testify in the wilderness (First Nephi 2)
- A. Returning to Jerusalem for the brass plates (Chapter 3-4)
- a. Lehi instructs his sons to return to Jerusalem and obtain the plates (3:1-8)
- a. Nephi persuades his brothers to purchase the plates (3:15-21)
- a. an angel instructs the brothers to make a third attempt (3:28-4:3)
- A. Returning to Jerusalem for wives (Chapter 7)
- • the dark and dreary wilderness (8:2-9)
- • the tree with desirable fruit (8:10-18)
- • the iron rod, mist of darkness, and spacious building (8:19-28)
- • two groups who seek after the tree and the building (8:29-35)
- • Lehi exhorts Laman and Lemuel (8:36-9:1)
- ◯ the small plates explained in contrast to the brass plates (9:2-6)
■ "And now I, Nephi, proceed to give an account upon these plates of my proceedings and my reign and ministry" (10:1)
- A. Lehi's explanation prompts Nephi to seek his own revelation (Chapter 10)
- B. Vision: Nephite history (Chapter 12)
- • Christ visits Nephite (12:1-12)
- • final Nephite destruction (12:13-23)
- B. Vision: Nephite history (Chapter 12)
- B. Vision: Gentile history (Chapter 13-14)
- • the great and abominable church (13:1-9)
- • gentile colonists scatter Lamanites and prosper (13:10-19)
- • Bible circulates among gentiles after parts of gospel and covenants removed (13:20-29)
- • Book of Mormon, restoration of the gospel, House of Israel in last days (13:30-14:17) - need to further subdivide
- • John will write the remainder of the vision (14:18-30)
- B. Vision: Gentile history (Chapter 13-14)
- A. Nephi's explanation prompts brothers to repent (Chapter 15)
- A. The land journey (Chapter 16)
- B. Building the boat (Chapter 17) (17:7-18:4)
- A. The water journey (Chapter 18) (18:5-25)
- ◯ The small plates explained in contrast to the brass plates (Chapter 19a) (19:1-6)
- ■ Nephi explains the prophecies (Chapter 22) (22:1-31)
This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
 Cited references
- Finegan, Jack. Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and and Problems of Chronology in the Bible, revised ed. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Pub., 1998. (ISBN 1565631439). BS637.2 .F5 1998. One of the two standard references for assigning specific dates to Old Testament events.
- Steinmann. Andrew E. From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011. (ISBN 0758627998). BS637.3 .S74 2011.
 Other resources
- Axelgard, Frederick. "1 and 2 Nephi: An Inspiring Whole." BYUS 26:4 ():53-66.
- Book of Mormon, 1830 edition: First Nephi
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "1 Nephi 1-5," "1 Nephi 6-11," "1 Nephi 12-15," "1 Nephi 16-18," "1 Nephi 19-22," ." In Book of Mormon Institute Manual (PDF version), ch. 2-6, p. 12-48. Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2009.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.
- ↑ Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, 141, 158-59.
- ↑ Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, 257-58, 264; Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, 141, 162, 167.
- ↑ The consensus date for the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple has been 17 August 586 BC. Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, 258-59. Steinmann appears, however, to be correct in building upon that earlier work to advocate a date one year earlier, 28 August 587 BC, discussing especially Ezek 26:1-2. Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, 136-38, 159-69, 174.