Were Lehi’s House and Land of Inheritance Separate?
I found Jeffrey Chadwick’s article (http//:farms.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?bookid=&chapid=23 ) very insightful, especially with regard to history. While he had a lot to teach, and some good points, I disagree with many of his conclusions–they seemed to be too strong for the evidence, and some things didn’t make much sense to me. I especially disagree about Lehi living in his house in the city of Jerusalem and the “land of inheritance” being a separate land northward (in Manasseh land), for a few reasons:
1. 1 Nephi 5:14 says, “And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph;”
Lehi didn’t know he was a descendant of Joseph until he read the brass plates. I find it highly unlikely that he would have a Manasseh land inheritance, but not know that he was a descendant of Joseph.
2. Sariah says:
1 Nephi 5:2 “For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.”
That just doesn’t sound right if the two are separate and the land is up there. Lehi led them from the land of their inheritance, not from their house? So she didn’t care about the house and furniture and family stuff–just the land up north? What did she miss so much about the land they didn’t even live on or that she may have never even been to? So they left the house and went to the land, then left the land for the desert–what did they get at the land–their tents?
3. 1 Nephi 3:22 “And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.”
While Chadwick reads this as meaning that they went to the land of their inheritance, I read it to mean that they went to their land and house, which were together, outside Jerusalem. I just have a hard time believing that Lehi kept all his wealth buried on his land and not in his house. And the choice of “gather together” instead of “dig up” doesn’t help.
4. A smaller point, but one I think fits a little better in the traditional reading:
1 Nephi 2:11 “Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; 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, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.”
Why would Laman and Lemuel be so worried about losing land, but not a house? Was the plot of land huge and earning a great rent, and their house small? I doubt it. Here it seems that “the land of their inheritance” means the house and the land.
5. 1 Nephi 2:4 “And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.”
I don’t see that the land would even be mentioned here unless there were more of a reason–that it were the house and the land, for example. And it seems that everything was in one place here.
In fact, I don’t even see “land of inheritance” as the strict interpretation that Chadwick gives it. I’ll have a post later about this.