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1 Nephi 6

Through the Wilderness to the Promised Land

     (1 Nephi )


1 Nephi 6:4 For the Fulness of Mine Intent Is That I May Persuade Men to Come unto the God of Abraham:


     According to Walter Kaiser, no person is more central to the message of the Torah than the decisive role played by the patriarch Abraham in the book of Genesis. Even from a casual reading of this first of the five books of the Torah, it is clear that Abraham is a central figure. Abraham's narrative stretches from Genesis 11-25, framed on either side by two genealogies (Genesis 11:10-26; 25:12-18).

     To show how important this man and his story is to the theme of Genesis, let alone to the whole of the canon of Scripture, note the distinctive pattern that oscillates back and forth between the divine promise of a "seed," or heir, and the persistent complications that threaten to frustrate that promise from being realized.204

     1. Problem            Sarah is barren (Gen 11:30)

     2. Promise            God promises a seed (12:2)

     3. Complication      Sarah is abducted (12:10-13:1)

       4. Promise            God promises an heir (15:1-21)

     5. Complication      Ishmael is born (16:1-16)

     6. Promise            God promises Isaac (17:1-18:15)

     7. Complication      Sarah is abducted (20:1-18)

     8. Fulfillment            Isaac is confirmed as heir (21:1-21)

     9. Complication      Abraham must sacrifice Isaac (22:1-10)

     10. Resolution            God intervenes (22:11-19)


     The message of the story falls apart without the wholeness of the solution that comes for each emergency faced. Now this is the same promise that is at the heart of the message of the entire Bible. [Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant?, pp. 132-133]

     Note* God's covenant deliverance (and destruction) of his people is also the heart of the message of the Book of Mormon. The reader should note especially that the first book of Nephi is a testament to Nephi and Lehi's covenant deliverance not only from the captivity and bondage associated with the fall of Jerusalem, but their deliverance from Laban, desert travel, starvation, Laman & Lemuel, sea travel, etc. Mormon would use this covenant theme to "finish [his] record upon" (Words of Mormon 1:5). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 15:18; 22:9; 2 Nephi 29:14; Jacob 4:5; Helaman 8:17; 8:18; 3 Nephi 20:25; 20:27]


1 Nephi 6:4 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:


     Walter Kaiser notes that Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) declared around the turn of the century that "no historical knowledge" of the patriarchs could be obtained from Genesis, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were a mere "glorified mirage" projected backward into Hebrew history.za205 However, from the 1940's to the 1960's a successful rebuttal was made to Wellhausen's challenge to the historical veracity of the patriarchs. Two scholars set the stories of the three ancient patriarchs into the background of the ancient Near East: William Foxwell Albright (1891-1971) and Cyrus Herzi Gordon (1908-2001).206 After skepticism continued, these two scholars, along with Ephraim A. Speiser mounted an impressive number of parallels between the patriarchal stories and second millennium laws and social customs. Given this evidence, Roland de Vaux declared "that these traditions have a firm historical basis," while John Bright concluded, "We can assert with full confidence that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were actual historical individuals."207 [Water C. Kaiser Jr., The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant?, pp. 84-85]


1 Nephi 6:6 They Shall Not Occupy These Plates with Things Which Are Not of Worth unto the Children of Men:


     Note* Nephi states that he would "give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men" (1 Nephi 6:6). In view of this statement, students of the Book of Mormon should be very wary of discounting the geographical or cultural phrases as having just "incidental" worth in connecting the doctrinal passages. If they have "worth" then we should seek to discover that worth. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]