Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Legend of Ancient Peru—The Four Brothers Part II

Continuing with the legend from the previous post in which the legend itself was covered. Below is the explanation of that last post, and the connection to the Book of Mormon and the events listed there with Lehi arriving in the Land of Promise and how his four adult sons interacted and fit so closely into this legend.1)  Four sons left Jerusalem -- Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi (1 Nephi 2:5);
2)  Sent by their father -- Nephi and his brothers were twice sent by their father Lehi back to Jerusalem, first for the brass plates (1 Nephi 3:4, 9) and later for Ishmael's family (1 Nephi 7:1-2);
3)  Propagators of the truth and militant soldiers of a new and exclusive gospel -- obviously, Nephi, Sam, Jacob, and Joseph were teachers of the truth and expounded on the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Nephi, himself, called Jacob and Joseph to be teachers and priests to his people (2 Nephi 5:26);
4)  Each brother was married to a sister-wife -- Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi each married a daughter of Ishmael (1 Nephi 16:7), thus each wife was a sister to each other wife. In addition, these wives were also descendants of Joseph as were Nephi and his brothers (1 Nephi 5:14; 6:2; 2 Nephi 3:4), thus making the daughters of Ishmael and the sons of Lehi cousins, or brothers and sisters in the tribe of Joseph;
5)  A golden staff of peculiar properties which informed them when their mission was at an end by remaining fixed on an unknown promised land toward which they were journeying -- this part of the legend should be broken down into the following parts:
    a.  Golden staff -- the Liahona was a ball of fine brass of curious workmanship (1 Nephi 16:10);
    b.  Of peculiar properties -- the Liahona had spindles that pointed in directions (1 Nephi 16:10), with words that appeared written on it (1 Nephi 16:27), and worked by the faith of those who used it (1 Nephi 16:28; 18:21).  The instrument also stopped working in the face of wickedness (1 Nephi 18:12);

    c. Fixed on an unknown promised land -- the Liahona was used by Nephi to guide him across the seas to the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:21-23).  About 500 years later, Helaman, while instructing his sons, reminded them that the Liahona pointed the Lehi colony on a straight course to the promised land (Alma 37:44);
    d.  It showed them when their journey was complete -- the 8 to 10 year journey through the wilderness and across the many waters culminated when the Lehi Colony finally reached the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:23).
6)  The oldest and most troublesome of the brothers -- time and again the oldest son, Laman, caused problems from the moment they left Jerusalem (1 Nephi 2:12) to the time they reached the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:11, 18; 2 Nephi 5:2-4), many times threatening to kill Nephi (1 Nephi 7:16; 17:48) and return to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 7:7);
7)  Who had prevailed upon to return to the place of origin -- Lehi asked Laman, as his first-born son, to return to Jerusalem  (1 Nephi 3:2-5) which was their place of origin for Lehi had spent all his days at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4);
8)  To retrieve some golden vessels -- the brothers were sent back to retrieve the brass plates (1 Nephi 3:3) and in so doing, they obtained the gold and silver and all manner of riches from their father's house (1 Nephi 3:16, 22) to use in purchasing the brass plates from Laban (1 Nephi 3:24);
9)  When one of the brothers was near death, he designated his grown son as his heir and successor -- Nephi, upon getting old and ready to die, appointed his successor (Jacob 1:9), as prophet (Jacob 1:1-4), and evidently his son to be king, who the people decided to call Second Nephi (Jacob 1:11).  This parallel is found among the Jaredites, for when the youngest son of Jared was appointed king (Ether 6:27), the record and religious leadership was maintained by the Brother of Jared and his descendants (Ether 1:34; 2:14; 3:25; 4:1).  In fact, the religious record of the Nephites was maintained down through Amaleki (Omni 1:12), a descendant of Jacob, who died without a son, and his brother had gone with Zeniff back to the Land of Nephi (Omni 1:25, 30), so he gave the records to king Benjamin, the political ruler and king (Omni 1:23; Words of Mormon 1:17).  About a thousand years later, through this line we come to Mormon who called himself a pure descendant of Lehi (3 Nephi 5:20) through Nephi (Mormon 1:5).  Thus it seems reasonable that Nephi's political leader, the man who became known as Second Nephi, was one of Nephi's own sons;
10)  These people considered themselves indigenous to the land -- The Nephites separated themselves from the Lamanites and settled a new land which they called the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:7-8).  There they spent about 350 years until Mosiah was told to flee and take those Nephites who would go with him to a land further northward (Omni 1:12).  For 350 years, the Nephites would have considered themselves indigenous to the Land of Nephi—it had been their only home in the land of promise;
11)  Considered themselves unwarlike -- The Nephites were taught never to give an offense or raise the sword except it were against an enemy in the saving of their lives (Alma 48:14).  They were taught to fight only to defend themselves (Alma 43:9-13) and maintained throughout their periods of righteousness a benevolent attitude toward their enemy, the Lamanites, often freeing their captured armies when the Lamanite soldiers covenanted to go in peace and make war no more (Alma 62:16-17);
12)  Chose leaders who were war-leaders -- Nephi was chosen by his people to be their king, but he chose the title of ruler (2 Nephi 5:18-19).  He defended them and led them in many wars (Jacob 1:10), and those who followed him as leaders (Jacob 1:11) were mighty in battle (Omni 1:3, 10; Words of Mormon 1:13).  When the Large Plates of Nephi are finally obtained, we will have a more complete record of the kings and the wars of the people and will learn the role played by Second Nephi, Third Nephi, etc., who obviously served as "war-leaders";
13)  One brother moved further away -- Nephi was told by the Spirit to escape his brothers (2 Nephi 5:5-7) which he did, and settled in the land they called Nephi;
14)  The leading brother of the four was elected to be the war-leader and his great successes earned him the coveted title of capac--chieftan which was an honorific title of true eminence -- Nephi was loved by his people (Jacob 1:10), was elected by them to be their king (2 Nephi 5:18), defended them against the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:34, Jacob 1:10); and achieved high eminence among them (Jacob 1:11)
15)  Appointed one of his brothers to be the "field guardian" of the community -- Nephi appointed his two younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph, as teachers and priests over the land (2 Nephi 5:26) and later Jacob became the prophet (Jacob 1:1, 4);
(See the next post, “A Legend of Ancient Peru—The Four Brothers Part III,” for an explanation of the above legend as well as the connection to the Book of Mormon and the events listed there with Lehi arriving in the Land of Promise and how his four adult sons interacted and fit so closely into this legend)

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