Jacob, or Israel, has a pervasive presence throughout the Book of Mormon as a representative of the founding patriarchal lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and as the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Lehi is identified as a descendant of Jacob through his son Joseph —and specifically through the line of Manasseh, son of Joseph. Lehi, in blessing his youngest son, Joseph, related the prophecies of Joseph of Egypt concerning a seer who would come forth to do a marvelous work in the last days:
Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers”.
The record from the loins of Joseph. Thus, four Josephs are alluded to in this passage: Joseph the son of Jacob, Joseph the son of Lehi, Joseph Smith Sr., and the seer of modern times, Joseph Smith Jr.—all of them part of the house of Israel through Joseph of Egypt.
During the upheavals that occurred at the time of the death of the Savior, Mormon commented on the genealogical relationships as evidence of the fulfillment of prophecy. “Behold, our father Jacob also testified concerning a remnant of the seed of Joseph. And behold, are not we a remnant of the seed of Joseph? And these things which testify of us, are they not written upon the plates of brass which our father Lehi brought out of Jerusalem?”. Jacob declared in his blessing upon the head of his son Joseph: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall”. It is the branch of Joseph that extended over the wall separating the continents in Lehi’s day and took root in the Promised Land. When the resurrected Lord appeared to the Saints in ancient America, He referred to the covenant promises given to Jacob. “And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O house of Israel. And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you”.