BOOK OF MORMON

 

1 Nephi - Chapter 18 Critique

 

Setting: This portion of 1 Nephi supposedly occurred in 590 B.C. during the last years of the kingdom of Judah before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

 

Verses 1-2: AND it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.

Note: There are no forests on the Arabian Peninsula.

The Arabian Peninsula has an area of about 1,160,000 square miles (3,004,000 square kilometers). Most of it is dry wasteland. Rain seldom falls in some parts, and temperatures in the interior may rise to 130 F (54 C). 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

 

Verses 3-5: And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things. And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down into the ship.

Note: God spoke directly to Noah the builder of the ark.

Genesis 7:1-3 Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth."

 

Verses 6-7: And it came to pass that on the morrow, after we had prepared all things, much fruits and meat from the wilderness, and honey in abundance, and provisions according to that which the Lord had commanded us, we did go down into the ship, with all our loading and our seeds, and whatsoever thing we had brought with us, every one according to his age; wherefore, we did all go down into the ship, with our wives and our children. And now, my father had begat two sons in the wilderness; the elder was called Jacob and the younger Joseph.

Note: The Arabian Peninsula is a barren wilderness.

Job 39:6 Whose home I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwelling?

 

Verse 8: And it came to pass after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land.

Note: Ancient and modern ships are provisioned after the ship has been launched.

After a ship has been launched, a tug pulls it to an outfitting pier. There, workers complete the superstructure and add the interior furnishings. The ship then makes its builder's trials with observers aboard from the company that ordered the ship. They make sure that all the equipment is in good working order and that the ship performs maneuvering, speed, and other tests according to the specifications. 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

 

Verse 9: And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness.

Note: God used death to cleanse the Jews of hypocrites.

Exodus 31:15-16 "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant."

Note: These Jews never kept the Sabbath.

 

Verses 10-11: And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us. And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.

Note: God used death to cleanse the Jews of hypocrites.

Exodus 35:2-3 "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day."

Note: These Jews never kept the Sabbath.

 

Verses 12-13: And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.

Note: The mariners compass did not exist in 600 BCE.

Chinese and Mediterranean navigators probably first used magnetic compasses to guide their ships in about the 1000's or 1100's. These compasses were simple pieces of magnetic iron, usually floated on straw or cork in a bowl of water. In about the 1300's, the compass card was marked off into 32 points of direction. During the following years, navigators learned more about deviation or variation of compasses in various parts of the world, and came to use magnetic compasses with greater accuracy. 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

Note: Solomon Spaulding was no seaman.

 

Verses 14-15: And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.

Note: God used death to cleanse the Jews of hypocrites.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God."

 

Verses 16-17: Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions. Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.

Note: God used death to cleanse the Jews of hypocrites.

Exodus 21:17 "And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."

 

Verses 18-19: Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave. And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.

Note: God used death to cleanse the Jews of hypocrites.

Leviticus 20:9 "For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him."

 

Verse 20: And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.

Note: Rebellious Israelites were not allowed to enter the promised land.

Numbers 20:23-24 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying: "Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah."

 

Verses 21-22: And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.

Note: The mariners compass did not exist in 600 BCE.

Sea travel remained slow and difficult throughout ancient times. Sailors lacked navigation instruments. As a result, they usually stayed within sight of land. The ships were hard to steer because they had no rudder. 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

 

Verses 23-24: And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land. And it came to pass that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.

Note: Much plant life was unique in America opposed to Europe and Asia before 1492.

American Indians had developed advanced systems of agriculture by the time the first European explorers arrived. In various parts of the Americas, Indian farmers grew cocoa beans, corn, peanuts, peppers, rubber trees, squash, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and tomatoes. Europeans first learned of these crops, and how best to grow them, from the Indians. The Europeans, in turn, brought their seeds, livestock, and farming tools and methods to the regions they explored and settled. 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

Note: Solomon Spaulding was not a historian.

 

Verse 25: And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.

Note: Cattle was unknown in the Americas prior to European settlement.

American cattle. Some historians believe that cattle were first brought to the Americas by Norwegian Vikings in the early 1000's. In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought long-horned cattle from Spain to Santo Domingo (now part of the West Indies) on his second voyage to America. Descendants of these cattle later were taken into Mexico and eventually into Texas. They were ancestors of the famous Texas longhorns. 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

Note: Horses and donkeys were unknown in the Americas prior to European settlement.

Horses in early America. The first European colonists found no horses in North America. Christopher Columbus had brought horses with him on his second voyage to the New World. But most American Indians did not know about horses until Spanish conquerors brought them to Mexico in 1519. Horses that the Spanish explorers left behind probably became the ancestors of the American wild horses. 2001 World Book Encyclopedia.

Note: Solomon Spaulding was not a historian.

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