Source:Nibley:CW06:Ch8:6:Lands of inheritance

Lands of inheritance

The importance of "lands of inheritance" in ancient Israel

Such was the old aristocracy of Israel. Eduard Meyer says that all their power and authority went back originally to the first land-allotments made among the leaders of the migratory host when they settled down in their land of promise. Regardless of wealth of influence or ability, no one could belong to the old aristocracy who did not still possess "the land of his inheritance."14 This institution—or attitude—plays a remarkably conspicuous role in the Book of Mormon. Not only does Lehi leave "the land of his inheritance" (1 Nephi 2:4) but whenever his people wish to establish a new society they first of all make sure to allot and define the lands of their inheritance, which first allotment is regarded as inalienable. No matter where a group or family move to in later times, the first land allotted to them is always regarded as "the land of their inheritance," thus Alma 22:28; 54:12—13; Ether 7:16—in these cases the expression "land of first inheritance" is used (Mormon 2:27—28; 1 Nephi 13:15; Alma 35:9,14; 43:12; Jacob 3:4; Alma 62:42; Mormon 3:17). This is a powerful argument for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon both because the existence of such a system is largely the discovery of modern research and because it is set forth in the Book of Mormon very distinctly and yet quite casually.[1]


  1. Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), Chapter 8, references silently removed—consult original for citations (emphasis in original).