“Prophecies Which Had Been Spoken by the Mouths of Their Fathers”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Lehi taught his sons (1 Nephi 1:1), Jacob taught his son (Enos 1:1), and King Benjamin taught his sons (Mosiah 1:2). They learned the language and teachings of the scriptures. Were it not for the study of those sacred writings they would have “suffered in ignorance and “dwindled in unbelief.” If we want to profit and prosper in life, we, too, must have the scriptures “before our eyes” and “search them diligently.”

It is curious that the plates of brass taken out of Jerusalem, from which Lehi and all the succeeding prophets taught, were written in the Egyptian language (see also 1 Nephi 1:2). Historical records attest that both Hebrew and Egyptian were known in Israel during Lehi’s day, and Lehi himself was a descendant of Joseph, who centuries before lived out most of his life using the Egyptian language, so perhaps this “stick of Joseph” was meant to be continued in that language. In addition, there were strong commercial and cultural ties between Judah and Egypt in the late seventh century b.c., when Egypt was growing in strength. The Book of Mormon itself reveals that Mormon and Moroni were writing in what they called “reformed Egyptian” (Mormon 9:32).

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1