Lehi Dwelt at Jerusalem

K. Douglas Bassett

Alma 10:3; Alma 7:10; Lehi in the Desert, Nibley, pp. 4-6; An Approach to the Book of Mormon, Nibley, 1957 edition, pp. 85-86; Ensign, Aug. 1984, pp. 51-52

“Lehi and his family were living at Jerusalem. (See 1 Ne. 1:4,7 and 2 Ne. 25:6). The preposition ‘at’ in this case could mean on, in, within, close by, or near. Lehi could have lived several miles away and still lived at Jerusalem. It is recorded at least 33 times throughout the Book of Mormon that Lehi and Nephi went out from “the land of Jerusalem.” Any satellite towns or villages that surrounded larger population or political centers were regarded in ancient times as belonging to those larger centers. That Lehi and his family lived outside of Jerusalem proper is also evidenced in the account of the sons’ attempt to obtain the plates with their abandoned wealth: ‘We went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things. And after we gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban’ (1 Ne. 3:22-23).” (Kelly Ogden, Studies in Scripture, ed by K. Jackson, 7:19-20)
“Lehi was of the house of Joseph through his son Manasseh (Alma 10:3). The land apportioned by the prophet Joshua to the sons of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim) was north of Jerusalem and south of the Sea of Galilee in the area generally known as Samaria at the time of Christ… . [Lehi] was also a wealthy man. He may have had property in Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 1:4), but he definitely owned some outside of Jerusalem in the land of his inheritance (1 Nephi 3:16)… . When his four sons collected their father’s gold, silver, and precious things in an attempt to purchase the plates of brass from Laban, they got it outside of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:16, 25).” (Donl Peterson, First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, BYU Religious Studies Center, p. 56)

Latter-Day Commentary on the Book of Mormon