Sunday, November 10, 2013

Where did Lehi Live Before Departing into the Wilderness? Part VIII

Continuing with Chadwick’s article sent to us by one of our readers, the “comments” are Chadwick’s writing regarding his belief in where Lehi’s home and property were located, the “response” is our reply mostly based on the scriptural record.    
    Comment: Now, at last, I may present, or least recapitulate, some tentative conclusions about Lehi and the land of his inheritance—tentative because they are based on a series of plausible assumptions: 1) Since his tribal heritage was Manasseh, Lehi's land of inheritance was probably located in the ancient tribal land of Manasseh and was probably a plot abandoned by his great-grandparents, who were forced to flee as refugees from Israel to Judah around 724 BC to avoid death or deportation at the hands of the invading armies of Assyria.”
Response: As stated by Chadwick, this is all assumptive. We do not know that his grandparents held a deed of land in Manasseh originally issued 500 years earlier; we do not know that his great-grandparents were forced to flee in 724 B.C. In fact, we do not know if his great-grandparents, or grandparents, were the ones to abandon the property—after all, it could have been more distance ancestors that left the area around 900 B.C. due to reasons given in previous posts, or even earlier over that 500 year period for reasons unknown to us. 
    Comment:  2) “Lehi's refugee ancestors (likely his great-grandparents) probably brought with them the deed to the property they left behind in Manasseh when they fled south to Jerusalem in Judah, and that deed had probably been passed down to Lehi's parents and finally to Lehi.”
    Response: One one  begins to speculate, there is no end to the possible scenarios one can create, especially when they follow the words, likely, plausable, possibly and probably. In reality, there is absolutely no suggestion of any kind that Lehi had a deed to property anywhere, especially in a land 50 to 60 miles away—a land he would never have seen, and may well have known nothing about, especially when he did not even know his genealogy and, in fact, it was one of the reasons he wanted the brass plates so he could learn the genealogy of his forefathers (1 Nephi 3:3). When he received the plates and read through them, he “also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph” (1 Nephi 5:14), which must have been a surprise to him the way the story unfolds at Nephi’s hand. Certainly, if he knew he was of Manasseh, he would have known he was descended from Manasseh’s father, Joseph, yet Lehi had not known that for Nephi wrote further: “yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine” (1 Nephi 5:14). That is, they knew the story of Joseph, but not that Lehi’s genealogy was through that erstwhile man of Jewish lore. Surely, if Lehi had possessed a titled deed to land in the territory granted anciently to Manasseh, he would have know why and thus, who is forefathers were.
Comment: “Lehi's refugee great-grandparents cannot have settled anywhere else in Judah but Jerusalem, or else they would not have survived the Assyrian attack of 701 BC—had they been killed or deported in that episode, as virtually all Judeans outside Jerusalem were, Lehi would not have been born at Jerusalem in the mid-seventh century BC. In no case was the land of inheritance likely to have been within the traditional borders of Judah itself (not near Jerusalem and not near the so-called Beit-Lei area in southwest Judah) because of the ramifications of the Assyrian attack and deportation of Judah.”
    Response: His grandparents or parents could have owned property outside Jerusalem, but when the Assyrian attacks came, they moved into the city for protection. We simply do not know this history and cannot make assumptive guesses about it with any hope of accuracy. Nor can anyone, notwithstanding their field of endeavor, credentials, or studies, today make positive statements like "as virtually all Judeans outside Jerusalem were [deported to Assyria]," as Chadwick so effortlessly does. "Most," "nearly all," may be likely statements, but "virtually all" cannot be stated 2700 years after the fact, especially since Judean and Assyrian records state conflicting reports on what happened in this siege of Jerusalem.
    Comment: “Neither Lehi's grandparents nor his parents would have been able to travel north from Jerusalem to lay claim to their family land since it was part of the Assyrian province of Samaria and was occupied and farmed by gentiles called Samaritans.”
     Response: If his parents or grandparents could not travel north to any holdings in Manasseh because it was under Assyrian control, then why would Lehi have later bothered? He became a wealthy man from his obvious business and dealings with the Egyptians and/or Arbas to the south. Why would he have traveled north to Manasseh when such travel "could not have" taken place? And, more importantly, why would he have taken his gold and silver north to a so-called ancient homeland to which it is claimed he held title, when that area was occupied by unfriendly people? This type of convoluted thinking goes far beyond scholarly effort and into the realm of fiction intended to prove an unprovable point as to Lehi's "land of inheritance" where his gold and silver were located, to be in a land 50 miles or more northward from Jerusalem, as Chadwick wants us to believe.
    Comment: “However, by the time Lehi was an adult, the Assyrians had completely withdrawn not only from Judah, but also from Samaria and the Galilee, and Judah's subsequent extension of control over Samaria meant that Lehi could lay claim to the property whose deed he would have inherited from his great-grandfather through his grandfather and father.”
Response: Again, why would he do so? His life, his family, and his wealth surrounded the area of Jerusalem--what would have prompted him to go north, yet live at Jerusalem "all his days"? Again, this is all assumptive. Yet, to carry this reasoning further, it should be kept in mind that his wealth would not have come from land in Manasseh that had been overrun by the Assyrians, occupied by Samaritans, and out of his or his family's control for upwards of 100 years or more, nor could he have sold it under the Jewish law, so of what value would it have been to him since his business and dealings seem obvious to have been connected in the south? In addition, Jerusalem not only contained the temple (a major issue in Jewish life), but was not only a major city, but provided walled protection if another attack came--after all, while we know looking back on history that Assyria's star had fallen, those in Jerusalem would not have and no doubt feared another attack at some point.
    In addition, there is another point. If his grandfather owned property, it would have passed on to his son(s), with the oldest obtaining a double amount of the property according to his birthright (the right of the first born)—again, after so many years, what would have been left? But even so, how much property would there have been for Lehi to inherit? Was it enough for him to be interested in sufficient to travel 50 to 75 miles one way from where he “lived all his days” at Jerusalem? There is also the possibility that whichever ancestor fled from this land in the past during the Assyrian attacks, did they have time and means to obtain the deed, and then transport it? When people flee for their lives, they don’t always take the time to gather everything, even important papers.
    Comment: “Because Lehi's sons could apparently travel to and operate on this land of inheritance freely and without fear (see 1 Nephi 3:22), that property was most likely in western Manasseh rather than in the Manassite areas east of Jordan since it was only the area west of Jordan where Judah had reasserted control (eastern areas were controlled by Ammon).”
Response: It took about two weeks to travel down to the valley (Valley of Lemuel) where Lehi camped. It would have taken the boys that long to get back to Jerusalem. When it came time for Nephi’s suggestion “let us go down to the land of our father's inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches” (1 Nephi 3:16), about a month would have passed since the family left that home. What would have prompted Nephi to think that gold, silver and all manner of riches would have still been there? Why would he think it had not been stolen? After all, if Lehi lived in Jerusalem as Chadwick claims, what or who would have protected that wealth from the Assyrian stragglers, defectors, etc., from the Samaritans, or anyone else in the area? And if someone was protecting it, why would they have released Lehi’s wealth to his sons—an event, by the way, not mentioned in the scriptural record in any way--in fact, Lehi's flight into the desert seems to have been a carefully guarded secret. Or lastly, what was the condition of that wealth that it was left alone while Lehi lived at Jerusalem?
    Comment: “That Lehi could now claim and control his ancestral property in western Manasseh does not mean he maintained a house or household on the property—all indications are that his domestic residence was always at Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 1:4).”
    Response: Does that mean he had it buried on the property, or was it sitting there within a chest or something? Seriously this wealth was “exceedingly great,” that is, large enough to cause Laban, a wealthy man himself to “lust after it,” and want to commit murder to get it (1 Nephi 3:25). When one speculates, one ought to use a little bit of common sense.
    Comment: “Lehi's land of inheritance was quite probably farmed by gentile Samaritans whose fathers had paid rent to the Assyrian administration during its tenure of control over the province of Samaria and who themselves were probably under the necessity of paying rent to Lehi after Judah asserted control in Samaria (such rental receipts would have added to Lehi's personal wealth).”
    Response: Wow! One assumption after another! In order to be a little realistic, the question arises then of how Lehi gained his “exceedingly great” wealth and riches? Certainly not from rentals. And it could not have been from those who owned his ancient property, for it was taken over and controlled by the invading Assyrians, who would have in the blink of an eye, taken any wealth to themselves. So if Lehi, who lived all his days at Jerusalem, gained his own wealth in some type of business dealings around Jerusalem, why would he have transported that wealth and riches to this ancestral land in Manasseh, at least 50 miles away, when his residence was at Jerusalem "all his days"?
(See the next post, “Where did Lehi Live Before Departing into the Wilderness? Part IX,” for more of Chadwick’s comments regarding where Lehi lived before he and his family went into the wilderness)

No comments:

Post a Comment