Alan C. Miner

The word “that” is found on the Original Manuscript and conforms to the frequency of use of this phrase in the rest of the Book of Mormon. The word “great” is a Hebraism meaning “important” (see Jeremiah 27:7). [Zarahemla Research Foundation, Study Book of Mormon, p. 3]

“In That Same Year There Came Many Prophets”

According to Kelly Ogden, the cast of prophets at the time of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah was indeed, as the Book of Mormon says, “many.” Lehi, Jeremiah, Huldah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, and one Urijah of Kirjath-jearim (Jeremiah 26:20) were all contemporaries. [D. Kelly Ogden, “Answering the Lord’s Call,” in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 1, p. 20]

“In That Same Year There Came Many Prophets”

According the Gerald Lund, Ezekiel was contemporary with Lehi and could easily have been one of those prophets. We know the names of four of the prophets of that day--Lehi, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel. Lehi’s call was to lead a colony out of Jerusalem to a promised land. Jeremiah’s call was to stay and bear witness of the destruction of Jerusalem. Daniel was called into exile, but he went into the royal courts and there was allowed to get a picture of the grand world view of history. Ezekiel was called to go among the captives and explain to them why this terrible tragedy had happened. [Gerald N. Lund, “Ezekiel: Prophet of Judgment, Prophet of Promise,” in Isaiah and the Prophets , p. 77]

“There Came Many Prophets”

According to David and JoAnn Seely, we may assume that those commissioned by the Lord to prophesy in Jerusalem were acquainted with each other. Orders of the prophets known as the “sons of the prophets” were known in ancient Israel from the time of Saul and Samuel (see 1 Samuel 10:5; 19:20) and at the time of Elijah (see 1 Kings 18:4) and Elisha (see 2 Kings 2:3; 3:11; 4:1,38; 6:1-2). (False prophets were also apparently organized [see 1 Kings 22:6; 2 Kings 23:2; Jeremiah 26:7-8].) It is possible that a group of legitimate prophets also existed in Jerusalem shortly before the exile… . Jeremiah was from the tribe of Levi through Aaron (see Jeremiah 1:1) and was descended from the priestly family of Abiathar… . Nevertheless, Joseph Smith taught that all of the prophets, presumably including Jeremiah, had the Melchizedek Priesthood.. Lehi and his family certainly had the Melchizedek Priesthood, as evidenced by Alma 13, which describes the Nephite priesthood as Melchizedek. It is likely that Lehi and Jeremiah were part of a Melchizedek Priesthood community in Jerusalem, and it is not unlikely that one even received his priesthood authority from the other. [David Rolph and JoAnn H. Seely, “Lehi & Jeremiah: Prophets, Priests & Patriarchs,” in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, FARMS, Vol 8, Num 2, 1999, pp. 27-29] [See the commentary on “brethren of the church” in 1 Nephi 4:26]

“In That Same Year There Came Many Prophets”

Nephi mentions that “in that same year [the first year of the reign of Zedekiah] there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed” (1 Nephi 1:4). Does the Bible confirm who these prophets were and if they preached the same message of destruction for Jerusalem? According to an article by John W. Welch, prophetic messages of judgment and destruction were in fact common among the so-called classical prophets of Israel who are known to have been active at this time. For example during Lehi’s lifetime, Nahum (ca. 612 B.C.) proclaimed the vengeance of the Lord on his enemies … Zephaniah (who also lived during this time) prophesied that God would sweep the earth completely clean … Habakkuk (ca. 609-598 B.C.) prophesied during the reign of Jehoiakim of the destruction of the treacherous and of the overconfident … Jeremiah was also similarly active during and after Lehi’s day. And indeed, there were undoubtedly many other prophets who arose during this time for whom we have no names (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)… It was also typical at this time for these prophets to work largely by themselves. They fulfilled “their missions alone as individuals,” although this does not imply that they were “detached from the mainstream of Israel’s religious tradition.” [John W. Welch, “The Calling of a Prophet” in First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, p. 35]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary