Chapter Four

God’s View   of All Who Remained in Jerusalem After Zedekiah’s Appointment
as King of Judah

God cursed them all!

     Finding the historical beginning point of the BkM is the first important step towards verifying the stories written within its pages. The BkM begins with the book of First Nephi, which starts Nephi’s story at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah.   First Nephi 1:4 states:

“For it came to pass   in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah   , king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in   all his days   ); . . .”  

We should take note that it is the commencement, the beginning, of Zedekiah’s reign and that the story places the participants in the city of Jerusalem. We should also take note of the fact that Lehi did not become a Jerusalem resident at the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign. Rather, he allegedly had been a resident all of his life. The Bible has much to say about the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants in the book of the Prophet Jeremiah prior to Zedekiah’s reign when Lehi allegedly dwelt there. For the moment, let’s just establish a specific beginning point in the Bible for the story of the BkM.  
     In the Holy Bible we find the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign in Second Kings 24:17:

“And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.”

Some points of interest to be noted here are that it was Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who appointed Zedekiah to be king, and his name was not originally Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar seems to have had a habit of changing names. Daniel and his three friends were renamed after being deported to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar’s first siege of Jerusalem roughly eight years prior to this event.9   This writer does not understand the full significance of why names were changed, but we will see it more as we continue to study the events surrounding Zedekiah’s appointment as king. Sometimes it takes a little digging to overlap events and put changed names together, but we should not let it confuse our search for historical truth. Suffice it to say that Nebuchadnezzar named and appointed Zedekiah as king of Judah.  
     From this point we can begin to compare the history recorded in the Bible surrounding Zedekiah’s appointment and the history recorded in the BkM. If the BkM is true, then it must agree with the history recorded in the Bible. Let’s begin by considering the events recorded in the seven verses preceding the mention of Zedekiah’s appointment as king of Judah.  
     Just prior to Zedekiah’s appointment as king, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had surrounded the city of Jerusalem with his armies and laid siege against it:
“At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.
And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.
And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour,   even   ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.
And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land,   those   carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
And all the men of might,   even   seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all   that were   strong   and   apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.”10

The deportation of 10,000 captives chronicled here records the second siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It was neither the first or the last. Nine years later Nebuchadnezzar once again besieged the city of Jerusalem and eventually deported Zedekiah before destroying the city.11 The first siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar is recorded in Daniel 1:1 and II Kings 24:1 in the Bible. On the surface it would appear that Jerusalem was a thorn in Nebuchadnezzar’s side. The truth of the matter is that Jerusalem was a thorn in God’s foot so to speak. These sieges and deportations were God’s judgments upon the residents of Jerusalem. God used Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to accomplish His own goals. Chapter eleven will consider God’s warnings to the Jerusalem residents and his calls to repentance through the Prophet Jeremiah that led to these deportations.  For the moment let’s see what we can learn from the events surrounding this second siege and deportation of Jerusalem residents by Nebuchadnezzar.  
     This siege of Jerusalem that Lehi and his family as Jerusalem residents would have just experienced, left Jerusalem fairly empty as recorded above in II Kings 24:14. Nebuchadnezzar deported everybody in the city except “the poorest sort of the people of the land”. The rest were carried away to Babylon.   There were no mighty men left in Jerusalem to put up arms should Nebuchadnezzar decide to return again. There were no smiths or craftsmen left in Jerusalem to form weapons in the future, and there were no treasures with which weapons could be purchased   .   Nebuchadnezzar attempted to end his problems with Jerusalem during this second siege by clearing the city of every potential problem person and material, but he would make one more siege and deportation before God was satisfied.  
     Among those that remained in Jerusalem were Jeremiah the prophet, Zedekiah the king, and allegedly Lehi, Nephi, and their family according to the book of First Nephi. It is evident as we study through his writings that the Prophet Jeremiah remained by God’s desire because God wasn’t finished speaking through him yet. Of the rest who remained in Jerusalem we read God’s opinions in Jeremiah 24:1-10 below. Notice carefully the two groups mentioned by God: those who were deported to Babylon, and those who remained in Jerusalem:

“The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs   were   set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah [Jehoiachin] the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
One basket   had   very good figs,   even   like the figs   that are   first ripe: and the other basket   had   very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said,   Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like   these good figs   , so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for   their   good.
For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull   them   down; and I will plant them, and not pluck   them   up.
And I will give them an heart to know me, that I   am   the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
And   as the evil figs   , which cannot be eaten,   they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes,   and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land   , and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:
And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth   for   their   hurt,   to be   a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and   a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.
And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.”12

     The reader should notice above that God stated that He, God, sent to Babylon for their own good those who were deported during this second deportation.  God recorded that he had future plans of good will for those people, and his intentions were to bring them back eventually and give them a new heart. There would be better fellowship between them in the future, which is what God wanted in the first place. They were not sinless people as will be discovered in future chapters, but apparently God saw some potential good in their hearts and set them aside in Babylon for their safe keeping.  
     Another point of interest is that   those who remained in the city after the deportation were considered so evil that God had no further use for them   . God’s intentions towards these people were for their hurt, not for their good. God intended to drive them into all the kingdoms of the earth   to be a curse   among other nations. This would have included Lehi, Nephi, and their family members if they had truly lived in Jerusalem after Zedekiah’s appointment as king. When the BkM presents Lehi and his family as (apparently) the only godly people left in Jerusalem,   God’s view of Lehi’s family, including Nephi, does not agree   .  Whose record is true?  If Lehi and Nephi never truly existed and the BkM is merely a fairy-tale of 1830 origin, the Bible record is the only trustworthy account we should believe.  God has told us through the events recorded in the book of Jeremiah that the BkM is merely a fairy-tale.  Accordingly, we should trust the Bible rather than the BkM.
     When we dig deeper into Jeremiah’s writings about the residents of Jerusalem during the period immediately preceding Zedekiah’s reign we will discover just what kind of people lived in Jerusalem during the time Lehi supposedly lived there.   We will learn that God had only bad things to say about ˜ALL’ of them from more than thirty years prior to Zedekiah’s appointment   . Those thirty years could have covered Nephi’s entire lifetime and thirty years of Lehi’s and are illuminated in the first twenty chapters of the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah. In future chapters we will consider his record, but for now let’s concentrate on what we can learn from the deportation recorded in II Kings 24:10-17 immediately prior to Zedekiah’s appointment as king of Judah. Chapter five will reveal that had Nephi truly lived in Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar would have deported him to Babylon just prior to Zedekiah’s appointment. He would not have been in Jerusalem for the commencement of Zedekiah’s reign.

#9 Daniel 1:1-7,KJV Bible
#10 2 Kings 24:10=17, KJV Bible
#11 Jeremiah 52 & 2 Kings 25, KJV Bible
#12 Jeremiah 24:1-10, KJV Bible