- 1 Ne. 10 - structure and content of 1 Nephi 10-22
- The structure of the remaining chapters of First Nephi gets rather complex at this point, with the narrative thread of events quickly giving way to long blocks of extended quotation and commentary that have little connection to the narrative of events. Chapters 10, 15, 19, and 22 are composed of Nephi's commentary on several themes relating the history and fate of "the Jews": the scattering and gathering of the Jews and the place of the Nephites and Lamanites in that process. 1 Nephi 10 and 15 bracket Nephi's extended vision reported in chapters 11 through 14. 1 Nephi 19 and 22 bracket Nephi's quotation in chapters 20 and 21 of Isaiah 48 and 49, and present additional commentary on the latter-day gathering of the Jews. Only chapters 16 through 18 continue the narration of events begun in the first seven chapter.
The traditional Mormon view is that Nephi quoted Isaiah 48 and 49 from the brass plates (see 1 Nephi 5:11-13 for the narrative's summary of the contents of the brass plates), with various explanations for why the wording of the quoted material follows the King James Version text so closely. Second Nephi quotes even larger blocks of Isaiah text: 2 Nephi 7 and 8 quote Isaiah 50 and 51, while 2 Nephi 12 through 24 quote eleven full chapters of Isaiah 2 through 14.
- 1 Ne. 10:3 - the Babylonian captivity
That after they [the Jews] should be destroyed, even that great city Jerusalem, and many be carried away captive into Babylon, according to the own due time of the Lord, they should return again, yea, even be brought back out of captivity; and after they should be brought back out of captivity they should possess again the land of their inheritance.This single verse summarizes the deportation of many Jews from Judea to Babylon in 597 and again in 587, the two generations that they remained in Babylon, and the return of some of these Jews to Palestine under the sponsorship of Cyrus of Persia starting in 538 BC. Several key prophetic books — Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Second and Third Isaiah — as well as the Ezra-Nehemiah narrative are rooted in the traumatic exile and subsequent triumphant return of the Jews of Judea.
- 1 Ne. 10:7-8 - quoting the New Testament
And he spake also concerning a prophet who should come before the Messiah, to prepare the way of the Lord —Verse 8 appears to depend on Matthew 3:3 and John 1:26-27. Likewise, the two succeeding verses, noting that this prophet in the wilderness "should baptize in Bethabara" and that he "baptized the Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world," appear to depend on John 1:28-29.
Yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
Similarly, verses 18 and 19 quote or paraphrase several New Testament verses: "For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever" is from Heb. 13:8; "prepared for all men from the foundation of the world" echoes Matt. 25:34; "he that diligently seeketh shall find" paraphrases Matt. 7:7 and Luke 11:9. This ability of Nephi to quote or paraphrase verses from the New Testament is rarely discussed by LDS scholars. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, for example, provides the following abbreviated discussion:
Because the main Book of Mormon colony left Jerusalem approximately six hundred years before the beginning of the New Testament period, Book of Mormon writers did not have access to New Testament records. However, they had access to two important sources of doctrines paralleling some of the New Testament: the resurrected Christ and divine revelation. The resurrected Christ delivered to his hearers in the Americas a sermon essentially the same as the one he had delivered near the Sea of Galilee. ... Mormon's important teachings about baptism and about faith, hope, and charity parallel New Testament teachings, especially those of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.The most helpful and detailed discussion of the question is found in Blake Ostler's 1987 article "The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source."
Victor L. Ludlow, "Bible," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillan Pub. Co.: 1992.
Blake Ostler, "The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source," Dialogue 20, No. 1 (Spring 1987):66-123.