Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:5:1:Exodus background to 1 Nephi

Exodus motif: The Exodus as a Background

Exodus motif: The Exodus as a Background

It is important to understand that Nephi wrote this record of his family's journey at least thirty years after they had left Jerusalem (see 2 Nephi 5:28-31). In his writing, he most likely referred to what had been put down on the larger, "historical" plates or on perishable materials. He could pick and choose information from those earlier sources and shape it any way he saw fit. The result was not a day-to-day or even a year-to-year account of what had happened. Rather, it was a record that highlighted certain events and put special emphasis on "the things of God."

One of the most important "things of God" for the children of Israel was the Exodus from Egypt. That event more than any other defined them as a people. Their journey to the promised land in Canaan is recalled time and again throughout the Old Testament. Not surprisingly, then, Nephi would be reminded of the Exodus while his group made their own wilderness journey through Arabia. He was familiar with the Exodus both in story form as he might have heard it from his father and through annual Israelite rituals such as the Passover as they were acted out. He also knew about it from reading the brass plates, which included "the five book of Moses" (1 Nephi 5:10-12). He taught his brothers from those writings "that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old" (1 Nephi 19:22-23). He might even have referred to the account of the Exodus written on the brass plates as he wrote on the small plates.[1]


  1. Terrence L. Szink, "Nephi and the Exodus," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co.; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), Chapter 5.