“My Father Dwelt in a Tent”

Brant Gardner

Socio-Cultural information: Verse 15's terse "and my father dwelt in a tent" says worlds in its brevity. The verse comes at a literary ending point, where the basic story of the flight into the wilderness comes to an end. The culmination of the story of leaving Jerusalem, of leaving the land of inheritance and their wealth, is that his father "dwelt in a tent".

Nibley discusses at length the cultural meaning of a tent for the Bedouin. It is the focus of their life, and their way of life, with strong oaths prominently featuring the image of the tent as the seat of the family (Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, Deseret Book 1952, p. 57-58).

When Nephi notes that his father dwelt in a tent, his gives notice that they have adopted a nomadic style of life. The intent of the family is not simply to create a temporary dwelling while awaiting construction of a new home just outside of Jerusalem. They are in the tent as a way of living for a time to come. They will travel. They do not now have a permanent home.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon