Tuesday, November 5, 2013

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

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: “Lehi's land of inheritance is first alluded to in 1 Nephi 2:4. Later, speaking to his brothers, Nephi called it "the land of our father's inheritance" (1 Nephi 3:16). But the real estate seems to have been destined to be passed on to Lehi's sons, for Nephi also called it "the land of our inheritance" (1 Nephi 3:22).
    Response: In the first instance, Nephi is talking about his father leaving his home and says of it, “And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance” (1 Nephi 2:4). In the second instance, Nephi is quoting his brothers who are griping about their father leading them out of Jerusalem “to leave the land of their inheritance” (1 Nephi 2:11). In the third instance, Nephi is talking to his brothers and says, “go down to the land of our father’s inheritance” (1 Nephi 3:16). In the fourth instance, Nephi is talking as himself, “went down to the land of our inheritance” (1 Nephi 3:22). In the fifth instance, Nephi is quoting his mother, “thou has led us forth from the land of our inheritance” (1 Nephi 5:2). In the next instance, Nephi is referring to the Gentiles who would “obtain the land for their inheritance” (1 Nephi 13:15). As can plainly be seen, in each instance, Nephi is directing is comment from the view of different people, i.e., his father, his brothers, himself, his mother, and the last, a different land of inheritance (the Promised Land) from the view of the Gentiles. In each case about Lehi’s land of inheritance, the viewpoint is accurate and the place is the same. As for passing on the property, it was natural for land to be divided among the sons upon their father’s death; however, under the Law of Primogeniture, bekhor, the oldest son was expected to take over the duties and responsibilities of the father and, therefore, received a double portion (three-fourths with two sons; one-half with three sons, etc.) of his father’s estate for this role, with the remaining being split between the other sons. The comment by Chadwick “the real estate seems to have been destined to be passed on to Lehi's sons” seems superfluous since it was only natural for this to be the case. In fact, it was one of the driving forces between the animosity Laman and Lemuel felt toward Nephi.
    Comment: “The land of inheritance is not to be confused with the land of Jerusalem first mentioned in 1 Nephi 3:9. From the text of 1 Nephi as a whole, two things are obvious about the land of Jerusalem region: (1) The city of Jerusalem is obviously within the boundaries of the land of Jerusalem, and (2) the land of Jerusalem is a totally different region from Lehi's land of inheritance.”
Jerusalem, originally called Jebus, the city of the Jebusites whom David conquered, eliminating the last of the Canaanites within what was known during Lehi’s time as the land of Jerusalem. Note the very small size of the city of David
    Response: Yerushalem (Jerusalem), when mentioned in the Bible, almost always refers to the city, not the land. The land of Jerusalem occupied the highlands of northern Judah, with the city about 2500 feet above sea level. Today, Jerusalem rests upon four hills or mountains and covers a large area, but the original city of David’s time was quite small, having earlier been the city of Jebus, with Solomon expanding the area, building the temple on higher ground north of the city. The mount of Olives is not within the city walls, but in an area referred to today as East Jerusalem, but was no doubt the land of Jerusalem in Old Testament times being outside the city. In fact, outside the old city wall area are three valleys dropping down to lower elevations, with the Valley of Josaphat about 11 miles away, but the Kidron and Hinnom valleys are just down from the walled city. Contrary to Chadwick’s comments, there are numerous areas where Lehi could have had a house with agricultural land in one of these outlying areas.
The Pine Forest in the Judean Hills west of Jerusalem. Today it is surrounded by the Jerusalem neighborhoods Beit HaKerem, Yefe Nof, Ein Kerem, Har Nof, Givat Shaul, and a moshav, Beit Zeit. In the center of this area is a low lying plain among valleys that is “down” from Jerusalem
Cedron (Kidron) Valley from the Old City. It is lower than Jerusalem, not within the city walls, and you would have to go “down to a house in this valley” and “up from there to Jerusalem” during the time of Lehi
Hinnom Valley, lies on the South side below the Old City walls and is a low-lying land (Valley of the Son of Hinnom), called GeHinnom (Gehena), just down from the old city
Aceldama (Hakeldama), meaning the field of blood (Potter’s Field), which is connected to the story of Judas. Today considered part of Jerusalem, in the time of Lehi, it was some distance from the city walls, just beyond the Valley of Hinnom
    Comment: “These observations are demonstrated by a three-step examination of Nephi's text: 1) Nephi and his brothers returned from the valley of Lemuel up to the land of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:9); 2) They then went down to the land of inheritance to collect Lehi's gold and silver (1 Nephi 3:16, 22); and 3) Finally, Nephi and his brothers returned back up again to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:23). It is important to remember that in the idiom of Nephi one always went up to come to the Jerusalem region, and one always went down when exiting the Jerusalem region.”
Jerusalem sits atop these four hills surrounded by valleys, which in turn sits atop the Judean Mountains at about 2500 feet elevation. Most everything is down the hills from there
    Response: This is not rocket science. You go up to Jerusalem because it is on the top of the hills--that is,  on top of the Judean Hills, and you go down from there since everything around Jerusalem is basically at lower levels except for Hebron, which is 23 miles south and sits at 3,300 feet. But just south of there Beersheba drops to under 900 feet. To the north, Jericho is 853 feet, to the west Beit Shemesh is 718 feet, and further west Ashdod is 112 feet. The point is, just about everywhere in the local is considerably lower than Jerusalem—which Jesus called the city on the hill.
    Comment: “This is also the Hebrew idiom employed in the Bible, where persons in both the Old and New Testaments typically are said to go down to leave Jerusalem (see, for example, 2 Samuel 5:17; Luke 10:30; and Acts 8:15) and go up to come to Jerusalem (see, for example, 2 Chronicles 2:16 and Matthew 20:18).”
Response: Once again, Jerusalem was higher than almost anything around it, and especially higher than within a short distance of the city walls. It is this correctness in the statements of the Bible that supports the book’s authenticity. Even the Lord gave a parable of the Good Samaritan by saying “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho (Luke 10:30). If the writer had said “over” or “up” to Jericho from Jerusalem, one could correctly question the authenticity of the story.
    Comment: “Nephi adhered to this Hebrew idiom throughout his account—whenever his party is reported to have gone to Jerusalem, they went up (see 1 Nephi 3:9; 4:4; 5:6; 7:3–4), and whenever the reference is to leaving the Jerusalem region, they went down (see 1 Nephi 2:5; 3:4, 16, 22; 4:35; 5:1; 7:2, 5).”
    Response: This is not a Jewish idiom, it is a statement of direction. Let’s not cloud the issue with comments that are clearly inaccurate and  superfluous.
    Comment: “It should be clear, then, that when Nephi and his brothers go down to the land of inheritance, they are in fact leaving the region of Jerusalem.”
    Response: Nephi talks about going up to Jerusalem because it was upward, and down from Jerusalem because it was downward. That doesn’t seem too difficult to understand evidently for anyone other than Chadwick. Nephi’s statement is simply what it is, the boys went down from Jerusalem, because anywhere from Jerusalem is downward! In order to prove his own view, Chadwick must insert the idea that Nephi and his brothers were leaving the area of Jerusalem, when, in fact, they were merely leaving the city of Jerusalem (where Laban had his home) and traveling down to their father's house or property, then, after obtaining the gold, etc., returning to the city of Jerusalem.

(See the next post, “Where did Lehi Live Before Departing into the Wilderness? Part IV,” for more of Chadwick’s comments regarding where Lehi lived before he and his family went into the wilderness)

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