CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 9.
CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 9 translated from Hebrew.
This chapter is another monologue from Nephi. He again puts down his writing-on-metal-plates pen and looks up to talk to us directly. The story is on pause, while he takes a minute to explain the process of writing.
Basically, he is talking about how his writing is going to be organized. There are two sets of plates, he says. One is a more secular history (“the larger plates”), and one contains more sacred things (“the smaller plates”).
The larger plates of the secular history include the reigns of the kings and the wars and contentions of the people. The smaller plates of the “sacred things” are more about the ministry to the people and other teachings.
This is very much like the Old Testament, where we have entire books that are histories of people, and accounts of their wars and the story of different kingdoms, and other books that are just the work and words and messages of prophets.
But for some reason, Nephi says, the Lord wants me to organize my writing this way and make two copies of my record, each containing a different perspective of the same events. And so he does.
In verse 5, he says “the Lord hath commanded me to make these plats for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.”
So Nephi is saying, “I don’t understand why we have to do it this way, but it is the way the Lord said to do it, so I am doing it.”
We have the benefit of hindsight, long after the life of Nephi, and we know what that “wise purpose” was, in part, the lost pages.
The Lord already knew all this would go down the way it did, and He provided a way for Nephi’s writings to be protected. He prepared the way, long before anyone understood why.
But there are also two accounts he is sharing, and he describes it like this:
This document will be about the ministry of my people:
how we nourished each other,
and how that brought us peace
(when we behaved as covenant keepers),
and that by this (covenant-keeping),
we are claimed as His holy people.
Upon the other tablets
I am engraving,
I will record
the kings of my people,
the history of this kingdom,
the details of its wars,
and the story of
what kind of people we will become.
Verse six closes the chapter with this:
“The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.”
I love this chapter, because it reflects one of my all time favorite Hebrew names for God:
Jehovah-Jireh, or, The God who provides what you need before you know you need it.