Life of Lehi Timeline

In my research of the Lachish Letters, I created a timeline of Lehi’s life. I was fascinated by some fairly obvious details the timeline revealed, which I had never heard discussed, but which add light and motive to Lehi’s actions. I will give you a link below where you can download and print “Life of Lehi Timeline.pdf”.

Lehi and his family lived through an earlier Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 601 BC. This was four years before Lehi left Jerusalem. Historically, Israel had been political allies with Egypt, who began a war with Babylon in about 610 BC. Babylon attacked and easily occupied Jerusalem, but did not destroy it. They wanted tribute money to help with the war with Egypt. Babylon installed King Zedekiah on the throne of Israel and demanded a heavy tribute.

It was during this little window of “peace” from 601 to 597 BC, that Lehi began to preach. The Lord instructed him to preach that Babylon was going to destroy Jerusalem and take everyone captive into Babylon. This was considered sedition, or even treason by King Zedekiah, as well as by Babylon, their new master. It is little wonder that “the Jews” tried to kill him, his preaching scared the people and demoralized the army. We learn of this fact in the Lachish letters, discussed in the previous Un-Blog. It isn’t unreasonable to assume that Babylon ordered Zedekiah to silence the prophets.

Lehi left Jerusalem in 597 BC (the fist year of the reign of Zedekiah). Six years later, in 591 BC Israel switched allegiance from Babylon to Egypt in defiance of Jeremiah’s warnings, and Lehi’s prophecies. One year later, Egypt was defeated, and Babylon laid Siege to Jerusalem in retaliation.

siege is a war tactic where an army surrounds a city and literally starves them into defeat. Two years later Jerusalem surrendered. The city was burned to the ground and the temple destroyed.

According to the timeline, the same year the siege began, Lehi and his family were boarding the ship to the Promised Land.

The main assumption I made in developing this timeline was that Sariah would not have been much older than 45 when her two sons, Jacob and Joseph, were born in the wilderness. I also assumed Nephi would have been at least 14 when they left Jerusalem, with his older brothers each born two years ahead of each other. I don’t expect this to be accurate, but close enough for the purposes of a timeline of almost 3000 years ago. The timeline you see below is the result.

You can download “Life of Lehi Timeline” in PDF form.

Brother John

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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4 Responses to Life of Lehi Timeline

  1. jnlowe says:

    Thank you. I am new to your posts and am enjoying them (and sharing them) immensely!


  2. Steve Hansen says:

    When one looks at prophetic warnings received by the people of Jerusalem, the land of Lehi-Nephi, Ammonihah, Zarahemla, and others as related in the Book of Mormon, one may wonder, “Where are the prophets and their warnings about the impending destruction of our wicked society unless we repent.” For that I look at the missionaries the Church sends out, modern Jeremiahs and Abinadais and Almas and Samuel’s. They carry one prophetic warning to the nations. A book written anciently especially for our time. The Book of Mormon! The precious book gives all of us the opportunity to learn what awaits those who ignore the fates of the Jaredites and the Nephites. “What?” we might say, “Learn from the mistakes of others? What can those who lived so long ago possibly have to teach us?” Just wait and see…


  3. loralcl says:

    Wonderful and thank you. I had always assumed the Lehi sons, Laman down to Nephi, were between 19 and 28 since they all marry weeks to a few months after the beginning of the Book of Mormon. I have heard conflicting comments about the marrying age of Jewish/Israelite males. Some claim they could marry as young as 19 and other accounts say that 30 years old was more common, espcially among the wealthier, higher class, which they would have been. Have you heard anything that seems more authoritative? It is a minor point, but helps me to better visualize some of the family conflicts and personal trials Nephi and his wife endured and where Jacob and Joseph fit in.
    Thank you.


    • I’ve heard both opinions. I didn’t take that approach. I figured Saraih’s biological clock had to tick pretty much as it does today, so her maximum age would have been 45 or so to have Jacob and Joseph. That pushes the ages of the boys back a little, but it all fits nicely, even with secular history. It’s just for interest. I was actually more interested in seeing the world of Lehi, what was going on politically and religiously in his era. It gave some great insights into why he was called to do what he did.


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