Monday, November 4, 2013

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

Continuing with Chadwick’s article sent to us by one of our readers, the “comments” are Chadwick’s writing, the “response” is our reply. 
Comment: “To his credit, Nibley himself later realized this error and offered a correction in his 1958 work, An Approach to the Book of Mormon: He [Lehi] had "his own house at Jerusalem" (1 Nephi 1:7); yet he was accustomed to "go forth" from the city from time to time (1 Nephi 1:5–7), and his paternal estate, the land of his inheritance, where the bulk of his fortune reposed, was some distance from the town (1 Nephi 3:16, 22; 2:4).” 
    Response: First of all, it is common sense and common knowledge of the day, that men did not live away from their liquid wealth (gold, silver, riches and precious things)—that is pure nonsense. Somehow, men of letters today love it when someone disagrees with the scriptural record and agrees with their “philosophies of men.”
After all, it was not uncommon for even Hugh Nibley (left) as he got older to try and tell us that the scriptures didn’t mean what they said. In his early years (above), he agreed with Nephi’s writing, but later on, he evidently decided he knew more than Nephi and more than Joseph Smith and the Spirit, and began stating that the scriptural record was inaccurate—or at least a common, simple understanding and meaning of the scriptures that was understood by most people was not correct. More than once Nibley stated that members of the Church had to change their way of thinking about the information in the Book of Mormon. It is always amazing that people want to bring matters into the scriptural record of which the scriptures make no comment—it was Nibley along with other Mesoamericanists who claim the Land of Promise was full of other people than those mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Here again, Chadwick, using Nibley as a source, claims there is information about Lehi that is not included in the scriptural record that changes the meaning of the scriptural record itself.
    Comment: Here, Nibley correctly alluded to the fact that Lehi's house at Jerusalem was inside the city itself and that his land of inheritance was a distinctly different location from both his house and Jerusalem.”
    Response: Evidently, unless you agree with Chadwick’s view, you are incorrect. Once you agree with him, then you suddenly become correct. And just as evident, is the fact that what the scriptures tell us is entirely without merit unless they agree with Chadwick’s view. Yet his view is not substantiated by the simple understanding of the scriptural record.
    Comment: “In this conclusion Nibley was certainly correct, although he offered no specifics concerning the questions of the location of the land of inheritance or its direction from Jerusalem, nor did he attempt to locate Lehi's house in any specific location within Jerusalem's walls.”
    Response: Evidently, Nibley, who was usually quite specific in his opinions, did not feel there was sufficient information available within the scriptural record for him to support his view on Lehi’s separate house and property, so he did not present or pursue any details.
    Comment: “We may now address both of those issues by turning to the text of 1 Nephi itself. It seems clear that Nephi meant for readers of his record to understand that his father Lehi lived in the city of Jerusalem itself, not somewhere outside the city walls.”
Response: Actually, it seems quite clear that Nephi wanted his readers to understand that his father did not live within the city walls of Jerusalem. Chadwick is introducing something that he may believe, but cannot be shown by the scriptural record—which shows just the opposite (see the last post for the scriptural quotes denoting Lehi’s home outside the city walls).
    Comment: “In the same verse in which he reported that his father had "dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days," Nephi called Jerusalem "the great city" (1 Nephi 1:4)—in other words, by saying "Jerusalem" Nephi was making reference to the city itself, not merely the land of Jerusalem region in which the city was located.”
Response: For accuracy and clarification, let us re-read this scripture: “For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed” (1 Nephi 1:4). Now let us understand this writing. The statement “my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” is a parenthetical statement (within parentheses), which is a thought enclosed in parentheses that interrupts the normal flow of a sentence. And since the thoughts presented in a parenthetical interruption are not crucial to the sentence, but directly or moderately relate to the primary statement, we can see what this writing meant by taking out the parenthetical statement: “For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.” The great city, Jerusalem, here has nothing to do with where Lehi lived, but about the prophesying of “many prophets” who came into the city of Jerusalem to “prophesy unto the people that they must repent.” If they did not repent, the Lord would destroy the city of Jerusalem. Chadwick’s comment trying to link these two thoughts together is both inaccurate and disingenuous for as a credentialed writer, he knows what a parenthetical sentence is.
Comment: When Lehi "went forth" to pray (1 Nephi 1:5), he was probably exiting the city walls, just as Nephi himself did later when he said, "I went forth unto my brethren, who were without the walls" (1 Nephi 4:27).”
    Response: Actually, when Nephi “went forth” we know he was within the city of Jerusalem, making his way to Laban’s house (1 Nephi 4:7), then he “went forth” to the treasury of Laban (1 Nephi 4:20, used twice), on the fourth occasion, Nephi “went forth” to his brothers who were outside the city walls. When Lehi “went forth,” we are not told where he was or where he went, as in the cases above with Nephi. Lehi, after coming home and “cast himself upon his bed” (1 Nephi 1:7), and after receiving his vision, “went forth among the people” within Jerusalem and prophesied (1 Nephi 1:18). On another occasion, Nephi writes about “One descending out of the midst of heaven,” and “twelve others following him,” and “they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth” (1 Nephi 1:9-11). Consequently, Chadwick’s attempt at correlating “went forth” with leaving the city of Jerusalem cannot be made, for the term was used within and without the city walls, as well as leaving the city. Again, attempts like this are disingenuous, meant to elicit a connection that is totally false.
    Comment: “It is entirely possible that Lehi went eastward from the walls of Jerusalem. Immediately east of Jerusalem is the Mount of Olives, a perfect place for Lehi's private prayer—he would even have been able to gaze over the Temple Mount and Solomon's temple from that location. Perhaps the Mount of Olives was where Nephi and his brothers went to "hide themselves without the walls" (1 Nephi 4:5), although that would more likely have taken place directly adjacent to the city wall. In any event, Lehi's house clearly seems to have been located within the walls of Jerusalem.”
Let us not pass over the probability that Lehi may have traded with camel caravans along the King’s Highway and then transported the goods up to Jerusalem and sold them to city merchants as Lynn and Hope Hilton wrote in the Ensign in 1976
    Response: Once again, surreptitious effort is being made her to link events to a foregone conclusion. But the conclusion is strictly an opinion without scriptural record support. Where Lehi went may have been to the Mount of Olives, it may heave been into a grove of trees, it may have been along his journey down to the King’s Highway where he might have been awaiting the camel caravans coming up out of Arabia, or any number of places. We can all guess, but a guess does not lead to a conclusion—it only leads to another guess. And “where Nephi and his brothers went to hide themselves without the walls” was a cavity of a rock (1 Nephi 3:27), usually defined as a cave.
(See the next post, “Where did Lehi Live Before Departing into the Wilderness? Part III,” for more of Chadwick’s comments regarding where Lehi lived before he and his family went into the wilderness)

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