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2 Nephi 3 Lehi's Chiasmus

My Friend is keeping up with my podcast and sent me a message with this amazing information. She said that Lehi's counsel to his son Joseph was written in a Chiasmus. My first thought was "WHAT IS THAT?" SO....I looked it up. The information she found was on a site called "Step By Step through the Book of Mormon." This is a great place to find more info regarding the scriptures. If you want to look a little deeper into each verse.


I quoted Shirley Heater on the pod cast today and also said if you would like to see the pattern of the Chiasmus you could find it here. The info below has been taken from that site.


"Shirley Heater has discovered that Lehi's blessing to his son Joseph (2 Nephi 3) is a beautiful chiastic structure (see verse by verse below).

     Lehi is probably reading this prophecy to his son Joseph directly from the brass plates. Hebrew children were often given a name of significance and then reminded by their parents to live up to the name. In this case, Joseph was undoubtedly named for Joseph of Egypt after Lehi discovered his lineage was through Manasseh, the son of Joseph of Egypt (see 1 Nephi 5:14; Alma 10:3).

     In his final blessing to his son Joseph, Lehi thought it appropriate to remind him of his namesake and of the prophecies connected with the tribe of Joseph which were to be fulfilled at a future time. By reading this prophecy which was originally given to Joseph of Egypt directly by the Lord, Lehi is transmitting the promises given to the first Joseph to his son Joseph. It is exciting to realize that Lehi designed the center point of his last message to his son Joseph to be a restatement of the covenant made by the Lord to Joseph of Egypt: his seed would be restored to a knowledge of the covenants of the Lord as well as their heritage as part of the house of Israel. . . . Lehi's careful chiastic structuring of his son's blessing confirms to us once again that understanding the Hebrew nature of the Book of Mormon is indeed a key to understanding the message of the book!"


Verse #

 1      A speak

 2       B thy brethren

 3       C Joseph

 3       D may the Lord bless thee

 3       E thy seed shall not be utterly destroyed

 4            F  covenants

 4             G Joseph

 5             H Joseph

 5             I remembered in the covenants

 5             J unto them

 5                  K in the latter days

 6                   L a seer shall the Lord my God raise up which shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins 

 7                   M Thus saith the Lord unto me

 9                   N Moses

 9                   O I have said I would raise up

10                        P Moses

11                         Q power

11                         R bring forth my word

12                         S fruit of thy loins

12                         T confounding 

12                              U  bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers

12                              U'  and also to the knowledge of my covenants

14                         T' confounded

14                         S' fruit of my loins

15                         R' the thing which the Lord shall bring forth

15                         Q' power

16                        P' Moses

17                   O' the Lord hath said I will raise up

17                   N' Moses

18                   M' the Lord said unto me also

18                   L' I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins and I will make or him a spokesman

20                  K' after many generations have gone

20             J' by them

21             I' remembering of my covenant

22             H' Joseph

22             G' my father

23            F'  covenant

23       E' thy seed shall not be destroyed

25       D' blessed art thou

25       C' Joseph

25       B' thy brother

25      A' spoken


The chiastic center point (U and U') emphasizes the covenant made to the seed of Joseph of Egypt. [Shirley R. Heater, "Lehi's Blessing to His Son Joseph," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 2, p. 55]


After reading this I was so amused by Chiasmus that I decided to research it a little more. I found a You Tube video that watched on the various Chiasmus they have found in the scriptures. The presentation I watched was by, Stephen Kent Ehat who is a Chiasmus Scholar. He said the Savior taught in this way.


Matthew 19:20 30 But many that are FIRST shall be LAST; and the LAST shall be FIRST. Isaiah has also quoted the Lord “I am the first, and I am the last….” Isaiah 44:6


If the Lord Taught in chiastic structure should I be doing the same with my family. When you put the emphasis on the beginning and the ending. You start srtong and end strong. When you think about it from a teaching perspective. People really remember what you begin with and what you end with the most. Everything in the middle should lead up to the climax.


I began to wonder if "The First Resurrection" is a type of chiastic structure? Will the Last people to live be the first to be resurrected? It kinda makes sense? Well this is all just wonder, and fun. But one thing is for sure. When I googled chiastic structure....this is what I found:


These often symmetrical patterns are commonly found in ancient literature such as the epic poetry of the Iliad and the Odyssey, scholars often find chiastic narrative techniques in the Histories of Herodotus:


He was died around 425BC. Which is the same Time period that Lehi and his family were here on the Earth. This again is proof to me, and to the world that this Book was not just made up. That it really was written by Prophets of Old and has come forth again in the perfect time, in the Lords PreOrdained Time, in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.


George A Horton says….


It should not be surprising to find the Prophet Joseph spoken of in the scriptures. After all, Joseph Smith was called, ordained, and given the keys to begin what Peter called “the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21), and what Paul described as “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” in which God would “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10).


It seems so beautifully prophesied, and everything seems to connect so well in this chapter. Lehi is talking about 3 Joseph's and they all seem pretty amazing. I hope you enjoyed listening to the chapter...and reading more about what Lehi's Chiastic structure looked like. Think about creating your own. What would it look like. Who would you write it for? What a fun Family Home Evening Activity this would be. Make sure you send me a message and let me know how it goes if you do it!






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