In the year 507 B.C., a new king ascended the throne in the city of Jerusalem.  His name was Zedikiah, son of Josiah.  The city at that time was in dire straits, the previous two rulers having been conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  The second of these ruled only a short time, and then he and his family and ten thousand people were taken captive.

Zedekiah now had the opportunity of saving his nation.  The prophet Jeremiah made it very clear how to do this by submitting to the Babylonians.  Indeed the Israelite king had taken an oath and covenant with Nebuchadnezzar that he would cooperate.  Yet time would tell whether or not Zedikiah would keep his promise.

In the mean time, several prophets moved in and out of Jerusalem, warning the people that unless they were more devout in their allegiance to God, the city would be destroyed.  One of these was a man named Lehi, a contemporary of Jeremiah, yet known only by way of modern scripture.  In his preaching to the people, his life was eventually threatened, so much so that the Lord commanded him to leave the city.

The scriptural account of the prophet's departure constitues an interesting saga, one in which he immediately took his wife and family and vacated the place where he had lived all of his life.  Leaving all personal wealth behind, he took nothing with him except tents and provisions as he left Jerusalem, most likely under cover of night.  His journey led him south along the Dead Sea area, and from there across an inhospitable desert to a place near the shores of the Red Sea.

Again the departure of Lehi from a doomed city is an interesting drama and is chronicled in the pages of The Book of Mormon.  (Background information for this story can be found in 2 Kings 25 and 2 Chronicles 36.)  Several years later, the prophet did receive word that Jerusalem had indeed been destroyed.  Many people were taken captive by the Babylonians on that occasion, as had occurred during the previous invasion by Nebuchadnezzar.  Jeremiah and Lehi turned out to be right!  Submit to the enemy, and live; ignore the prophets and rebel, and die!
Written by Clay McConkie.

Click here "1 Nephi 1:4-20" to read the actual account of this story from the Book of Mormon.


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