There is a chiastic structure in 1 Nephi Ch. 2. After God commands Lehi to depart.

Book of Mormon Chiasmus

The correspondence between departing into the wilderness and departing into the wilderness is sure. So is the correspondence between house and tents. Everything between those is more fungible.

There is some warrant for grouping gold, silver, and precious things. They are offered as a group to Laban in the next chapter. However you correspond those middle elements, though, you are going to get a parallel between family on the one side and land (patrimony) or gold and silver or precious things on the other. That’s what struck me when I noticed the chiastic structure. The real patrimony and the real treasure is family.

Again, depending on how you correspond the middle elements, “land of inheritance” tends to stick out. I paired it with “provisions” above, since land is for farming and herding. But that is by far the weakest correspondence there. It is interesting that the high point of the rest of this departure section is God’s revelation that he is leading them to a new land of inheritance.

And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.

It is almost as if Nephi deliberately sets up expectations that something will be paired with land, but those expectations hang fire, until they are finally met later in the chapter.

Regardless, I think the best correspondence is to simply pair all the elements that Lehi left behind with all of them that he took. Put land, gold, silver and precious things in parallel with family and provisions. That captures the ancient view of the land of inheritance, that was deeply tied to the family line. It was both practically the source of provisions but also something loved and cherished. Gold and silver and wealth would also have been a patrimony, but also useful. Family is both practical and commonplace, like the dirt of the land, but also wonderful and beautiful and enduring like the land is. Provisions, the simple family meal, is both a practical routine and one of the deep joys of life.

This is a lot to hang from one verse. But the verse prepends it all pretty well. Either Nephi is a literary genius or else he has an authentically ancient worldview where linkages that interest us would be commonplace to him, or both.

There is another interesting chiasmus that starts the chapter off. As with the prior diagram, I have highlighted the interesting correspondence in red.

Book of Mormon Chiasmus 2

How is fleeing for your life a blessing? As the end element of the chiasmus and the revelation from God that ends this section both indicate, the blessing is being sent out into the wilderness, which makes a new land of promise possible.

The trial was the blessing.

Everything bad I feared about my mission came to pass. It was a cross I had to carry. In carrying it, I found comradeship with Christ. The trial was the blessing.

This is a manly creed.

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