1 Nephi 2:6 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
he pitched his [tent 0ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST|tents > tent 1] in a valley

It is quite clear here that the earliest text (the original manuscript) has the singular tent. When copying from 𝓞 to 𝓟, Oliver Cowdery initially copied the singular tent as the plural tents, but then he immediately crossed out the plural s.

There is no doubt that the singular tent is correct here in 1 Nephi 2:6. There are 16 references to a leader’s tent in the Book of Mormon, including 13 for Lehi (such as “and my father dwelt in a tent” in 1 Nephi 2:15 and “we did again travel on our journey toward the tent of our father” in 1 Nephi 7:21). But when referring to a group of people, the text consistently uses the plural tents, such as “we did take our tents and departed into the wilderness” in 1 Nephi 16:12 and “they pitched their tents round about” in Mosiah 2:5.

The only special case of usage occurs when the text uses the name of a general to stand for his entire army. In such cases, we always get “his tents” (four times). Note in the following list that for three cases the preceding sentence has a plural subject that refers to a different army and in each of those cases we have “their tents”:

Of course, Lehi’s party is not an army, so it would be incorrect to say “Lehi pitched his tents”.

Summary: The text consistently refers to a leader’s individual tent, as here in 1 Nephi 2:6 (“he pitched his tent”); we get “his tents” only when a general’s name is used to stand for him and his army.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 1