Nephi Was Not 'Highly Favored of the Lord in All
God condemned all of the children in Jerusalem during that time.
“I, NEPHI, . . . having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; . . .”45
The casual reader of the BkM might find Nephi to be a very likeable young man. He seems to have had an unfaltering faith in God, strength beyond measure, and a moral foundation that supported his every right move. It is almost as if he was superhuman … or maybe too good to be true. God’s Holy Bible will verify that he really was too good to be true. Through the Prophet Jeremiah we will discover that God said there were no children or young men highly favored of the Lord in Jerusalem in those days. In fact, Jeremiah wasn’t allowed to marry and have children because of the judgments of God that were about to fall on the children born there:
“Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.
For thus saith the LORD
concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land;
They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried;
they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for
I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD,
lovingkindness and mercies.
Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall
lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:”46
Nephi might have been born in the land of Israel or Judah, or maybe even in the city of Jerusalem itself had he truly existed. Notice that the above-cited condemnation was not just towards the city of Jerusalem, but rather, toward all the people of the land. These next verses specify the children and young men of Jerusalem itself where Nephi allegedly had lived:
“For who shall have pity upon thee,
O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?
Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.
And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land;
I will bereave
of children, I will destroy my people,since
they return not from their ways.
Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of
the young men
a spoiler at noonday: I have caused
to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.
She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while
yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and
the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.”47
Nephi’s age is never actually recorded by the author of the BkM although I Nephi 2:16 declares him to be “exceedingly young”. Whether he was a child or young man matters not in light of God’s following indictments:
Jer. 2:29 Wherefore will ye plead with me?
ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.
In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
Jer. 6:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out uponthe children
abroad, and upon
the assembly of young men
together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with
him that is
full of days.”
Jer. 6:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others,
fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.”
the least of them
even unto the greatest of them
given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
Jer. 6:21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and
together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
Jer. 7:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead
dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
Jer. 8:10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others,
their fields to them that shall inherit
forevery one from the least
even unto the greatest
is given to covetousness,
from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
Jer. 9:21 For death is come up into our windows,
is entered into our palaces,
to cut off the childrenfrom without,
the young men
from the streets.
Jer. 13:13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill
all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and
all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.
Jer. 13:14 And I will dash them one against another,
even the fathers
together, saith the LORD:
I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
(God had no intentions of sparing Nephi or his father Lehi had they truly existed!)
Jer. 14:16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor
their sons, nor their daughters: for
I will pour their wickedness upon them.
Jer. 17:1 The sin of Judah
written with a pen of iron,
with the point of a diamond:
graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
Jer. 17:2 Whilst
remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
(This verse may refer to the people of Judah as Judah's children or it may actually refer to the little children. Let the reader decide!)
Jer. 18:21 Therefore
deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their
by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of
their children, and
widows; and let their men be put to death;
their young men
by the sword in battle.
Jer. 19:8 And I will make
desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.
And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.
Nephi claimed to have been highly favored of the Lord in all his days, but the profusion of verses throughout the book of Jeremiah during that period, Jeremiah chapters one through twenty, which would have covered his lifetime, speak differently. Just prior to the beginning of the story in I Nephi God once again declared his intent against all Judah in Jeremiah chapter twenty, the last chapter before Zedekiah appears:
Jer. 20:4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold
I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.
Jer. 20:5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
The time frame surrounding these last two verses is just prior to Nebuchadnezzar’s second siege of Jerusalem recorded in II Kings 24:10-17. Notice God’s future intent in the words “I will”. The siege and deportation of ten thousand Jerusalem residents including Nephi and Lehi (had they truly existed) loomed upon the near horizon. Zedekiah appears as king of Judah first in chapter twenty-one of the book of Jeremiah, so the siege of II Kings 24:10-17 must fit in between Jeremiah chapters twenty and twenty-one.
The last two verses listed do not specifically record anything about children or young men, but both are included in the “all Judah” mentioned. Jerusalem was the center hub of Judah as will be seen in chapter fourteen, and all Judah included the city of Jerusalem among many others. As lifelong Jerusalem residents Lehi and Nephi would have been dwelling in Jerusalem during this period surrounding Jeremiah 20:4-5 listed above. God said he would give all Judah, which would have included Nephi as a young man and his father, Lehi, into the hand of the king of Babylon.
There was not enough time between Jeremiah chapters twenty and twenty-one for Nephi’s lifetime to fit allowing his birth and boyhood between the two chapters. By a consideration of all that God had to say about the children and young men in Jerusalem during that era, this writer believes there were no children highly favored of the Lord in Jerusalem during the thirty years preceding Zedekiah’s reign. Nephi’s story holds no water against the flood of verses found in God’s Holy Bible. Once again we have seen that Nephi could not possibly have existed in Jerusalem as recorded in the BkM. According to God’s record Nephi was nothing more than a fictional character. This writer will place his faith in God’s record rather than in Joseph Smith’s story.
We have seen in chapter nine that there were no 'good' people in Jerusalem during the thirty years preceding Zedekiah’s reign, and in this chapter we discovered there were no 'good' children in Jerusalem then either. Now let’s see what God had to say about the prophets and priests in Jerusalem prior to Zedekiah’s reign and the beginning point of the story called the BkM.
#45 1 Nephi 1:1, BkM
#46 Jeremiah 16:2-6, KJV Bible
#47 Jeremiah 15:5-9, KJV Bible