2 Nephi 3: Joseph Prophesies about Another Joseph

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 38


In 2 Nephi 3, Lehi mentioned four different men named Joseph. His words are directed to his youngest son, Joseph. Lehi spoke of the great prophet Joseph who was sold into Egypt. It was from this Joseph that Lehi’s family descended. Lehi quoted a prophecy Joseph of Egypt made before he died. In that prophecy Joseph spoke of the latter days and of two other men named Joseph who would also be his descendants. As you study this chapter, learn who these two latter-day Josephs are and why they are important.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 3

The fruit of … loins (vv. 5–7, 11–12, 18–19, 21)Descendants
Manifest (v. 5)Shown, made known
Seer (vv. 6–7, 11, 14)A person who can know of things past, present, and future (see Mosiah 8:13–17)
Esteemed (v. 7)Valued, respected
Confounding, confounded (vv. 12, 14)Throwing, or thrown, into disorder; confusing, or confused
Laying down of (v. 12)Stopping
Commence (v. 13)Begin
Hearken (v. 23)Listen and obey
Restoration (v. 24)To bring back (in this case, to bring back Israel to their God, the truth, their covenants, and their lands)

2 Nephi 3:6–21—Where Is Joseph’s Prophecy Found?

The prophecy of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, quoted by Lehi to his son Joseph is not found in the Bible we have today. It was restored, however, to the Prophet Joseph Smith and is found in the Joseph Smith Translation as Genesis 50:24–38. Lehi found it on the brass plates that his sons obtained from Laban in Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 3:3, 19–20; 5:10–16; 2 Nephi 4:1–2).

2 Nephi 3:6–18—The Latter-day Josephs

The ancient prophecy of Joseph referred to a latter-day Joseph who would be a great prophet and a blessing both to Lehi’s descendants and to the whole house of Israel. The prophecy said that this latter-day Joseph would also have a father named Joseph. This latter-day prophet is the Prophet Joseph Smith. Thus, there are four different Josephs spoken of in 2 Nephi 3: Joseph of Egypt; Lehi’s son Joseph; the Prophet Joseph Smith; and Joseph Smith Sr., who was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s father.

Joseph of Egypt
Joseph Smith

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and, if you desire, activity B as you study 2 Nephi 3.

Activity A iconAnalyze the Prophet’s Mission

  1. 1.

    The seer referred to in 2 Nephi 3:6–21 is the Prophet Joseph Smith. List what you learn about his mission from this prophecy. (There are at least 10 things mentioned.) Try to put each in your own words.

  2. 2.

    Select one part of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s mission and explain how it has had an important effect on your life.

Activity B iconA Prophecy Fulfilled in Our Day

There are two books mentioned in 2 Nephi 3:12—one written by Joseph’s descendants (the Book of Mormon) and one written by Judah’s (the Bible).

  1. 1.

    List what the prophecy said these two books together would accomplish.

  2. 2.

    Describe how having both of these books has accomplished the purposes you listed.

  3. 3.

    Read the recent addition to the title of the Book of Mormon. In what ways is this book “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”?

Elder Boyd K. Packer, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said that the Bible and the Book of Mormon “are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy [in Ezekiel 37:15–19] now stands fulfilled” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).