Chapter Six
Lehi, Nephi’s Father, Did Not Exist in Jerusalem at the Commencement
of the First Year of the Reign of Zedekiah.
He would have been deported to Babylon with the rest of the wealthy Jerusalem residents.

     First Nephi 1:4 in the BkM declares that Nephi’s father was a Jerusalem resident all of his days. The story begins at the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and we have considered some of the events surrounding the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign in Jerusalem from II Kings 24:10-17 in the Bible. This same record will prove that Lehi, Nephi’s alleged father, did not exist in Jerusalem at that time either. The prophecies of Jeremiah will also prove Lehi’s non-existence in the setting that Joseph Smith recorded. This information becomes very important when we consider in chapter twenty-three that the whole BkM depends upon Lehi’s existence. If Lehi did not exist as the book of I Nephi records, then he can have had no children and the record of their history called the BkM cannot be true. Let’s begin by considering that Lehi would have been deported to Babylon just prior to Zedekiah’s appointment as king and therefore could not have existed in Jerusalem at the commencement of the first year of reign of Zedekiah as I Nephi 1:4 states.
     In chapter one of I Nephi we are told that Lehi prayed unto God and received visions from God concerning the future destruction of Jerusalem and deportation of the Jerusalem residents.23   One might ask why Lehi needed to see visions of the deportation of the Jerusalem residents when, according to the Bible record in II Kings 24, he had just lived through a mass deportation to Babylon. Considering his age Lehi must also have heard the Prophet Jeremiah’s warnings for many years about the pending destruction of Jerusalem. Why would Lehi have waited for so many years before getting involved? We will consider those questions in future chapters, but for now let’s follow the story and see what Lehi is recorded as having done after receiving the alleged visions.
     Having a great concern for his neighbors, Lehi allegedly began to preach God’s warnings throughout Jerusalem during the first year following Zedekiah’s appointment as king. By God’s command and because the people of Jerusalem desired to kill him, he had to flee the city for his own safety “ . . . and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, . . .”24   All of his treasures were allegedly left behind in Jerusalem as the following verses indicate:

“And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, andhis gold, and his silver, and his precious things, . . .”25
“ . . . for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and   their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, . . .”26
“ . . . for behold he left   gold and silver, and   all manner of riches.”27
“ . . . we did gather together   our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.”
“ . . . we went up again unto the house of Laban.”
“ . . . we would give unto him   our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.”
“ . . . when Laban saw   our property, and that   it was exceedingly great, . . .”28

     The vague terms ‘all manner of riches’ and ‘exceedingly great’ leave readers to question the exact amount of gold, silver, and precious things Lehi and his family supposedly owned in Jerusalem at that time. Considering that four brothers carried the treasures, and Nephi who was the youngest of the four no small person himself, one can picture a fair amount.  
     In chapter seventeen we will discover that there could have been no gold, silver, and precious things left in Jerusalem for the brothers to retrieve. The records of the Prophet Jeremiah will show that God himself had appointed all of the treasures of Jerusalem to be taken by Nebuchadnezzar. These prophecies were fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar dethroned Jehoiachin, appointed Zedekiah as king of Judah, and deported 10,000 residents of Jerusalem to Babylon.  
     As wealthy Jerusalem residents Lehi and his family would have been deported to Babylon following the siege Nebuchadnezzar had just laid against Jerusalem. The Bible record seen in II Kings 24:14 states:

“ . . .   none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.”

     If only the poorest sort of the people of the land remained when Zedekiah became the king of Judah as the above verse indicates, then Lehi and his wealthy family could not have existed in Jerusalem during the year following as I Nephi 1:4 states. Chapters one through twenty of the book of Jeremiah will also confirm this fact. If Lehi did not exist in Jerusalem when and where the book of I Nephi states, then the history recorded by the fictitious writer Nephi cannot be true. If Lehi and Nephi were only storybook characters, then the whole BkM, which depends upon their having existed where and when recorded, proves to be merely a fiction novel.
     Lehi is the second person in the BkM to be discovered to have never truly existed. Let’s consider the third person that II Kings 24:10-17 in the Bible eliminates from Smith’s story as having never been a true resident in Jerusalem when stated.

#23  1 Nephi 1:6-14, BkM
#24  1 Nephi 2:4, BkM
#25  Ibid.
#26  1 Nephi 2:11, BkM
#27  1 Nephi 3:16, BkM
#28  1 Nephi 3:22-25, BkM