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Where would Joseph Smith have gotten the idea of slippery treasures?

In Helaman 13, Samuel the Lamanite says multiple times that the Nephite treasures would become “slippery”, such as in verse 31:

And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them.

While it may seem odd to a modern audience to describe treasures as being “slippery”, this concept is at home in the ancient world including texts likely known by Israelites. 

Kevin Barney comments:

it seems more than coincidental—yet not surprising—that the concept of slippery, disappearing treasures is found both in an Egyptian text known to the ancient Israelites and in the Book of Mormon, a record with cultural, linguistic, and literary roots in the ancient Near East.

Kevin L. Barney, “‘Slippery Treasures’ in the Book of Mormon: A Concept from the Ancient World,” Insights, June 2000, 2. 

How would Joseph Smith know about treasure becoming slippery due to the land being cursed?


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