Evidence #81 | September 19, 2020

Many Prophets

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Scripture Central

Abstract

Nephi’s description of “many prophets” who were calling the people to repentance close to the reign of King Zedekiah is corroborated by the Bible.

Nephi stated that at the time he lived in Jerusalem, there were “many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed” (1 Nephi 1:4). As shown in the following chart,1 at least nine biblical prophets were active during the late-7th/early-6th centuries BC, a remarkably high number.

Biblical Prophets Active CA. 620–580 BC

ProphetsYears Active
Zephaniah

ca. 640–609 BC

Nahum

ca. 630–605 BC

Jeremiah

ca. 626–580 BC

Habakkuk

ca. 622–605 (alt. 609–598) BC

Huldah

ca. 621 BC

Urijah

ca. 609 BC

Daniel

ca. 606–539 BC

Ezekiel

ca. 594–574 BC

Obadiah

ca. 585–555 BC

In addition, it appears that other unnamed prophets were active during this time as well (see Jeremiah 25:42 Chronicles 36:15–16). Just as Nephi reported, at least some of these known prophets warned the people about the impending destruction of Jerusalem if they would not repent. For example, Jeremiah declared, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words” (Jeremiah 19:15). 

Habakkuk similarly warned that the Chaldeans (Babylonians) would afflict Israel: “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs” (Habakkuk 1:6). As explained by John W. Welch, “Prophetic messages of judgment and destruction were in fact common among the so-called classical prophets of Israel who are known to have been active at this time.”2

Conclusion

While this information can be gleaned from a careful reading of the Bible, it is nevertheless a consistent detail that should not be overlooked when assessing the Book of Mormon’s historical accuracy.

Book of Mormon Central, “Who Were the ‘Many Prophets’ in Jerusalem During Lehi’s Time? (1 Nephi 1:4),” KnoWhy 441 (June 14, 2018).

John W. Welch, “The Calling of Lehi as a Prophet in the World of Jerusalem,” in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, ed. John W. Welch, David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann H. Seely (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 421–448.

David Rolph Seely and Robert D. Hunt, “Dramatis Personae: The World of Lehi (ca. 700–562 B.C.),” in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, ed. John W. Welch, David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann H. Seely (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 41–64.

1 Nephi 1:4

1 Nephi 1:4

Footnotes
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