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Why does the Book of Mormon seem to know that the image of the olive tree was well known and significant in ancient Israel?

Jacob 5 is the longest chapter in the Book of Mormon and contains the allegory of the scattering and gathering of Israel. This chapter is well-known for being quite complicated and not easy to understand, however it is perfectly accurate in terms of Israelite symbolism. It also is consistent with other ancient parables and allegories from Near East, Greek, Egyptian and Israelite cultures.

David Rolph Seely remarks:

The prophecy of Zenos in Jacob 5 is a sophisticated extended comparison using elements of simile, metaphor, parable, and allegory. . . . While Jacob 5 is unique in its sophistication, there is evidence in the ancient Near East that Zenos’s allegory of the olive tree does not come out of a vacuum. There are other known examples in ancient Near Eastern literature of extended comparisons such as fables, parables, and perhaps even allegories, but there is nothing of the length and scope of Jacob 5

David Rolph Seely – The Allegory of the Olive Tree and the Use of Related Figurative Language in the Ancient Near East and the Old Testament

How would Joseph Smith manage to compose the allegory of the olive tree so consistently with other ancient parables?


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