- 2 Nephi 3 – Lehi’s Instructions to Joseph; Lehi’s son Joseph is taught about Joseph of Egypt. Joseph of Egypt prophesied about two others named Joseph, Joseph Smith Jr., and Joseph Smith Sr.
- 2 Nephi 4 – Lehi leaves his blessing upon his posterity and dies; “Psalm of Nephi”
- 2 Nephi 5 – Nephites separate from Lamanites, found land of Nephi
2 Nephi 3
3-5 – Joseph’s seed; see footnote to JST Gen 50:24-38 – Joseph’s prophecies;
7 – The Lord reveals to Joseph of Egypt information about a future “choice seer.” See footnote 7a
12 – The stick of Joseph and Judah together; these books together confound false doctrine; notice the footnote to Ezekiel 37:17
13-15 – Interesting that Joseph Smith was a “Jr” and yet not a firstborn
Three Newspaper clippings from Joseph Smith’s day about Joseph Smith:
Joe Smith is undoubtedly one of the greatest characters of the age. He indicates as much talent, originality and moral courage as Mahomet, Odin or any of the great spirits that have hitherto produced revolutions of past ages. . . . While modern philosophy, which believes in nothing but what you can touch, is overspreading the Atlantic States, Joe Smith is creating a spiritual system, combined also with morals and industry, that may change the destiny of the race. (New York Herald, 1842, cited in Times and Seasons, 7:443)
This Joe Smith must be set down as an extraordinary character, a prophet-hero, as Carlyle might call him. He is one of the great men of this age, and in future history will rank with those who, in one way or another, have stamped their impress strongly on society….few in this age have done such deeds, and performed such apparent miracles. It is no small thing, in the blaze of this nineteenth century, to give to men a new revelation, found a new religion, establish new forms of worship, to build a city, with new laws, institutions, and orders of architecture,–to establish ecclesiastic, civil and military jurisdiction, found colleges, send out missionaries, and make proselytes in two hemispheres’ yet all this has been done by Joe Smith, and that against every sort of opposition, ridicule and persecution. This sect has its martyrs also; and the spirit in which they were imprisoned and murdered in Missouri, does not appear to have differed much from that which has attended religious persecutions in all ages of the world. (New York Times, September 4, 1843, cited in History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.1, p.3)
It cannot be denied that Joseph Smith was one of the most extraordinary persons of his time, a man of rude genius, who accomplished a much greater work than he knew; and whose name, whatever he may have been whilst living, will take its place among the notabilities of the world. (London Morning Chronicle, 1851, cited in B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930], 2:349.
18 – Elder Bruce R. McConkie suggests the meaning of this verse as follows:
“And I, behold, I will give unto him [Mormon] that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins [the Nephites], unto the fruit of thy loins [the Lamanites]; and the spokesman of thy loins [Joseph Smith] shall declare it.” That is, Mormon wrote the Book of Mormon, but what he wrote was taken from the writings of the Nephite prophets; and these writings, compiled into one book, were translated by Joseph Smith and sent forth by him unto the Lamanites unto whom, as the title page of the Book of Mormon attests, they were originally written. And further, they are sent forth to all the seed of Joseph, whether in the Lamanite branch of Israel or not. – Elder Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.426.
2 Nephi 4 – Lehi’s blessings upon his posterity, and the “Psalm of Nephi”
3-11 – Lehi’s blessings to his posterity
- The children of Laman (3-7)
- Keep the commandments and prosper
- Your posterity will not all die
- The sons and daughters of Lemuel (8-9)
- Same as the blessing to the children of Laman
- The sons of Ishmael (10)
- These blessings were not enumerated
- Sam (11)
- Inherit the land
- His seed to be numbered with Nephi’s seed
17-23 “Psalm of Nephi:”
Nephi lamented, “O wretched man that I am!” Most of us would love to be as “wretched” as Nephi. In verses 18 and 19 he speaks of the temptations that have encompassed him round about, and when he desired to rejoice, he was reminded of his sins. Would we say to Nephi,”Come on, Nephi, don’t have low self-esteem.” Of course not. This was one of Nephi’s greatest moments. Someone once said, “The nearer you get to God, the further away you realize you really are.” How does Nephi process these feelings? Does he say, “But I’m great, I was saved for this day, I think I’ll write plays and songs about my chosen-ness and how awesome I am!” No. Watch the pronouns as he continues: (20) My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. (21) He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. (22) He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me. (23) Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time. Notice Nephi’s focus was not in himself, but on God and what “He” had done. Perhaps the most important element of appropriate self-confidence is confidence and faith in God.
“This is a true psalm in both form and idea. Its rhythm is comparable to the noble cadence of David’s poems. It not only praises God, but lays bare to us the very depths of Nephi’s soul” (Sidney B. Sperry, Our Book of Mormon, 111.)
How can we apply Nephi’s Psalm to our lives?
Blessings to those who “know in whom they have trusted:”
- God will support them (20)
- He will lead them through their afflictions (20)
- He will preserve them (20)
- He will fill them with love (21)
- He will confound their enemies (22)
- He will hear their prayers (23)
- He will give them knowledge (23)
- Angels may administer to them (24)
- He can bless them with visions (25)
2 Nephi 5 Nephites and Lamanites separate
17 – “I Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands”
Here’s an excerpt from “Farm Wisdom for City Folks”
As we begin 2 Nephi, events in the storyline of the Book of Mormon require that the Nephites and Lamanites separate. After Lehi dies, Nephi is warned that he should take those who follow him to a safer place. As you know, Nephi leads them to a new land which they call the land of Nephi.
Notice one of the very first things that Nephi does for his people: “I Nephi did cause my people to be industrious and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). Why would he do that? Why didn’t he say, “I Nephi did cause my people to relax for a while,” or “I did cause my people to rest from their labors for a time”? Perhaps it’s because he knows he’s starting a whole new society with his believers. What should he do? Again, “I did cause my people to be industrious and to labor with their hands.” Why would he do that? Why would he find it important enough to mention? That has to mean something.
Elder John Longden quoted Herndon who made this interesting observation: “Satan selects his disciples when they are idle. Jesus selected His when they were busy at their work” (Conference Report, April 1966, 39). Disciples of Jesus work.
Before he was sustained as the President of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson was the Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Benson made this observation:
Today we are witnessing a trend in all countries. A trend away from the work ethic to the welfare ethic. To put it another way, you young people have no doubt heard some express that it is their right to be supported by another man’s labor. That philosophy is wrong. It has proved the ruination of character in individuals and the downfall of nations (Ezra Taft Benson, LDS Church News, September 4, 1993).
27 – “We lived after the manner of happiness” Happiness is a mode of travel, not a destination.
“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 255-56.)