Evidence #377 | November 7, 2022

Olive Tree Intertextuality

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Scripture Central

Abstract

Several chapters in the Book of Mormon introduce, contextualize, or interpret Zenos’s allegory of the olive tree. When viewed together, they contain a surprisingly complex network of intertextual relationships.

One of the texts, presumably recorded on the brass plates, that seems to have been especially important to Lehi and his family was the allegory of the olive tree, originally written by a prophet named Zenos and then recorded in Jacob 5. The manner in which this allegory is introduced, contextualized, and interpreted in several Book of Mormon texts—namely 1 Nephi 10, 1 Nephi 15, Jacob 4, and Jacob 6—results in a surprisingly complex network of intertextual relationships.

Overview of Relevant Texts

The reader’s first introduction to olive tree symbolism in the Nephite record comes in 1 Nephi 10, in which Nephi summarizes his father’s prophecies about the house of Israel in connection with the olive tree allegory. Five chapters later in 1 Nephi 15, Nephi elaborates and expands upon his father’s prior teachings. This is given in response to questions posed to Nephi by his brothers.

Readers then hear nothing about the olive tree until Jacob 5, which contains the entire allegory. What can easily be overlooked is that the writings leading up to the allegory (contained in Jacob 3–4) already begin to interact extensively with Lehi’s and Nephi’s prior statements surrounding this topic. In Jacob 6, after recording the allegory itself, Jacob provides further commentary which relates to his own prior statements (Jacob 4) as well as with Nephi’s and Lehi’s statement (1 Nephi 10; 15). Thus, we see a series of developments and expansions of ideas articulated by Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob.

Nephi’s Expansion of Lehi’s Statements

The first of these expansions comes in 1 Nephi 15. Nephi stated, “I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them” (1 Nephi 15:2). This statement returns to the narrative that Nephi had digressed from more than four chapters (5,000 + words) earlier, as shown in the following chart:1

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 15

And after this manner of language did my father prophesy and speak unto my brethren, and also many more things which I do not write in this book (10:15)

And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them. For he truly spake many great things unto them (15:2–3)

Nephi then explains that his father’s sayings were “hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord” (1 Nephi 15:3). This statement and several others concerning the nature of revelation hark back to Nephi’s previous discussion, where he left off explaining that in response to Lehi’s prophecies he sought his own revelation from the Lord:

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 15

I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him (10:17)

For he that diligently seeketh shall find (10:19)

For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought (15:3)

And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us (15:8–9)

Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you (15:11)

In other words, Nephi knew that the Lord could give his brothers specific knowledge about Lehi’s prophecies because he had just experienced a series of revelations himself.

As for the particular matter which was causing their disputations, Nephi’s brothers explained, “Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles” (1 Nephi 15:7). Again, this language unmistakably relates back to Lehi’s prophecies, as does Nephi’s response which follows. Notice, in the following chart, how Nephi closely reiterates portions of Lehi’s original statements and then explains and expands upon their meaning:

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 15

Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth (10:12)

Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel? (15:12)

And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer (10:14)

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles (15:7)

And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, … then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed (15:13)

And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer  (15:14)

Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God? (15:15)

Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive tree, into the true olive tree (15:16)

And this is what our father meaneth; and he meaneth that it will not come to pass until after they are scattered by the Gentiles (15:17)

 

One particularly interesting example of Nephi’s expansion comes from the way he builds on Lehi’s prophecy that the scattered branches of Israel would “come to the knowledge of the true Messiah” (1 Nephi 10:14). Nephi explains that this would involve their coming to “the knowledge of their forefathers” and also “to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer” and also “to the knowledge of their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 15:14). In addition, Nephi provides additional labels related to the “true Messiah,” such as “the true vine” and “the true fold of God” and “the true olive tree” (vv. 15–16). Nephi’s answer to his brothers can therefore be seen as a sophisticated commentary which interacts with the key elements of Lehi’s earlier prophecy.

Jacob’s Expansion of Lehi’s and Nephi’s Statements

At the conclusion of his temple sermon recorded in Jacob 2–3, it appears that Jacob begins to immediately model his talking points in relation to Nephi’s writings in 1 Nephi 9:

1 Nephi 9

Jacob 3–4

And all these things did my father … speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates (9:1)

And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates, behold they are not the plates upon which I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi (9:2)

Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people (9:3)

Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people (9:4)

And now I, Jacob, spake many more things unto the people of Nephi, warning them against fornication and lasciviousness, and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them (3:12)

And a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, which now began to be numerous, cannot be written upon these plates; but many of their proceedings are written upon the larger plates, and their wars, and their contentions, and the reigns of their kings (3:13)

These plates are called the plates of Jacob, and they were made by the hand of Nephi. And I make an end of speaking these words (3:14)

Now behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word, (and I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates) and we know that the things which we write upon plates must remain (4:1)

 

These relationships are relevant because they establish that Jacob was already drawing content from close to where Nephi presented his father’s prophecies about the olive tree. Immediately after this, Jacob makes a series of statements that repackage ideas from both 1 Nephi 10 and 1 Nephi 15:

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 15

Jacob 4

 

… and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him … And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God (15:14–15)

Now behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word … but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—Now in this thing we do rejoice (4:1–3)

For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming (4:4)

Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world. And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah (10:4–5)

 

For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us (4:4)

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost (10:19)

 

Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him (4:8)

Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you. (4:18)

… which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who … should manifest himself unto the children of men (10:17)

.. and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men (15:13)

Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son … having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh (4:11)

 

For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord (15:3)

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father (15:7)

… and sought for things that they could not understand. … for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it (4:14)

And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God (10:17)

Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father (15:12)

And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me (4:15)

 

And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? (15:15)

… and he meaneth that it shall come by way of the Gentiles, that the Lord may show his power unto the Gentiles, for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel (15:17)

by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation (4:15)

But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build. And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? (4:16–17)

This development is fascinating because it suggests that Jacob wasn’t simply writing his own prophecies. Rather, he was weaving in and interacting with ideas from 1 Nephi 10 and 1 Nephi 15—the only other two locations in the small plates where the olive tree symbolism was discussed—in preparation for his quotation of Zenos’s entire allegory in Jacob 5.

After delivering the allegory itself, Jacob provides an in interpretive commentary which not only draws upon the contents of the allegory itself but which occasionally revisits ideas from Jacob 4 and also from 1 Nephi 10 and 1 Nephi 15:

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 15

Jacob 4

Jacob 5

Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive tree (10:12)

Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree (15:12)

 

… this is my prophecy—that the things which this prophet Zenos spake, concerning the house of Israel, in the which he likened them unto a tame olive tree, must surely come to pass (6:1)

 

And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel … And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? (15:14–15)

 

And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard (6:2)

For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all (6:7)

 

 

But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people (4:14)

for he remembereth the house of Israel, … and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people (6:4)

 

… and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought (15:3)

And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts (15:4)

How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? (15:10)

If ye will not harden your hearts … surely these things shall be made known unto you. (15:11)

 

… but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God (6:4)

… And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts (6:5)

Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die? (6:6)

For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him (10:18)

wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved (15:14)

Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God? (15:15)

 

but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God (6:4–5)

And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah (10:4–5)

for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel (15:17)

But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old (4:13)

by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation (4:15)

And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it (4:16–17)

Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him (6:8)

 

Conclusion

When viewed in their entirety (see Appendix), these textual relationships are remarkable for several reasons. First, they demonstrate that 1 Nephi 10 and 1 Nephi 15 manifest an awareness of the content of Zenos’s allegory, even though they were dictated by Joseph Smith well before Jacob 5 (as far as the translation timeline goes).2 Even more impressive is the way that these chapters appear to interact with and build upon one another. Nephi’s statements in 1 Nephi 15 reiterate and expand upon his father’s prophecies recorded in 1 Nephi 10, and then Jacob 4 interacts with both of those sources, while Jacob 6 interacts with all three prior sources, including the allegory itself recorded in Jacob 5.

These textual relationships are anything but straightforward. Rather than being repackaged in their original sequential order, content from prior texts is woven into completely new arrangements of ideas, often in conjunction with separate themes and concepts. Jacob’s writings are particularly noteworthy because his apparent reliance on earlier sources is more subtle and yet also more complex, as he borrows from multiple prior texts simultaneously.3 

Not only would such relationships be difficult to fabricate under normal circumstances (assuming that Joseph Smith simply made them up), but they would have been especially challenging to dictate under the circumstances reported by the witnesses to the translation.4 They therefore help support Joseph Smith’s claim that he dictated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.

Noel B. Reynolds, “Nephite Uses and Interpretations of Zenos,” in The Allegory of the Olive Tree, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch (Provo and Salt Lake City, UT: FARMS and Deseret Book, 1994), 21–49.

James E. Faulconer, “The Olive Tree and the Work of God: Jacob 5 and Romans 11,” in The Allegory of the Olive Tree, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch (Provo and Salt Lake City, UT: FARMS and Deseret Book, 1994), 347–366.

John A. Tvedtnes, “Borrowings from the Parable of Zenos,” in The Allegory of the Olive Tree, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch (Provo and Salt Lake City, UT: FARMS and Deseret Book, 1994), 373–426.

1 Nephi 91 Nephi 10 1 Nephi 15 Jacob 3Jacob 4Jacob 5 Jacob 6

1 Nephi 9

1 Nephi 10

1 Nephi 15

Jacob 3

Jacob 4

Jacob 5

Jacob 6

Intertextuality among Olive Tree Texts

1 Nephi 9–10

1 Nephi 15

Jacob 3–4

Jacob 6

And all these things did my father … speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates (9:1)

And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates, behold they are not the plates upon which I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi (9:2)

Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people (9:3)

Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people (9:4)

 

And now I, Jacob, spake many more things unto the people of Nephi, warning them against fornication and lasciviousness, and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them. (3:12)

And a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, which now began to be numerous, cannot be written upon these plates; but many of their proceedings are written upon the larger plates, and their wars, and their contentions, and the reigns of their kings (3:13)

These plates are called the plates of Jacob, and they were made by the hand of Nephi. And I make an end of speaking these words (3:14)

Now behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word, (and I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates) and we know that the things which we write upon plates must remain (4:1)

 

Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world. And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah (10:4–5)

 

For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us (4:4)

But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old (4:13)

 

And after they had slain the Messiah, who should come, and after he had been slain he should rise from the dead, and should make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles. (10:11)

… which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who … should manifest himself unto the children of men. (10:17)

.. and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed (15:13)

Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh. (4:11)

 

Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth (10:12)

Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel? (15:12)

 

… this is my prophecy—that the things which this prophet Zenos spake, concerning the house of Israel, in the which he likened them unto a tame olive tree, must surely come to pass (6:1)

And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer (10:14)

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles (15:7)

And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, … then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed— (15:13)

And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer … (15:14)

… Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God? (15:15)

Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive tree, into the true olive tree (15:16)

And this is what our father meaneth; and he meaneth that it will not come to pass until after they are scattered by the Gentiles (15:17)

 

 

And after this manner of language did my father prophesy and speak unto my brethren, and also many more things which I do not write in this book (10:15)

And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them (15:1)

 

 

And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God (10:17)

Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father (15:12)

And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me (4:15)

 

I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him (10:17)

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them (10:19)

For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought (15:3)

And now I, Nephi, was grieved because … of the things which I had seen (15:4)

And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us (15:8–9)

Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you (15:11)

 

 

For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him (10:18)

wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved (15:14)

Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God? (15:15)

 

but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God (vv. 4–5)

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost (10:19)

 

Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him (4:8)

Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you (4:18)

 

 

For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord (15:3)

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father (15:7)

… and sought for things that they could not understand. … for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it (4:14)

 

 

… and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought (15:3)

And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts (15:4)

How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? (15:10)

If ye will not harden your hearts … surely these things shall be made known unto you (15:11)

 

… but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God (6:4)

… And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts (6:5)

Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die? (6:6)

 

… and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him … And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God (15:14–15)

Now behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word … but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—Now in this thing we do rejoice (4:1–3)

For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming (4:4)

 

 

And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel … And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? (15:14–15)

 

And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard (6:2)

For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire? (6:7)

 

And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? (15:15)

… and he meaneth that it shall come by way of the Gentiles, that the Lord may show his power unto the Gentiles, for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel (15:17)

by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation (4:15)

But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build. And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? (4:16–17)

 

Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him (6:8)

 

 

But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people (4:14)

for he remembereth the house of Israel, … and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people (6:4)

  • 1 Wordcount Based on analysis conducted by Evidence Central staff using the 2013 edition of the Book of Mormon. All charts in this article are color coded for easier identification.
  • 2 Nearly 50 chapters separate 1 Nephi 10 from Jacob 5. Thus, if Joseph Smith were responsible for the contents of the Book of Mormon, he would likely have needed to have a fairly developed awareness of the allegory in Jacob 5 long before he dictated that chapter. For more information about the translation timeline, see Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Rapid Translation,” Evidence# 0013, September 19, 2020, online at evidencecentral.org. See also, Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Lehi’s Familiarity with the Writings of Zenos,” Evidence# 0059, September 19, 2020, online at evidencecentral.org.
  • 3 It is possible that some of these textual relationships might result from Jacob and Nephi both drawing upon a separate source, rather than from Jacob directly alluding to Nephi’s writings. Either way, the textual relationships exist, and it is hard to imagine that they were produced by accident. While various possibilities might explain their existence if the text is what it claims to be, only one solution seems reasonable if Joseph Smith himself authored the contents of the Book of Mormon: he and he alone would be responsible for these sophisticated intertextual relationships.
  • 4 See Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Translation (Main Category),” online at evidencecentral.org.
Complexity
Intertextuality (Internal)
Olive Tree Intertextuality
Book of Mormon

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