As Lehi’s family is traveling through the wilderness, Nephi writes:
Lehi’s family traveled through the wilderness toward their promised land just as their Israelite forefathers had traveled through their wilderness under Moses toward their land of promise. The Lord told Nephi that his family did not need fire because he would be the “light” that would lead them. He led them by the “director” or brass ball. Alma, looking back on the wilderness journey, observes:
The hidden surprise here is that the word director in our English Book of Mormon was probably translated from the Hebrew word urim (as in Urim and Thummim) in Alma’s original writing . Besides indicating the sacred Urim and Thummim, urim also means “fire” and suggests “light.” By using the word director (urim), Alma is making a poetic allusion back to Nephi’s mention of the Lord as the fire and light that guided their fathers to the promised land. He is simultaneously making a second allusion to the Pillar of Fire and Moses’s Urim and Thummim that guided the ancient Israelite forefathers in their wilderness (Exodus 13:21). Alma was a poet, and his poetry makes more sense in Hebrew.
1. Stan Spencer, “Reflections of Urim: Hebrew Poetry Sheds Light on the Directors-Interpreters Mystery,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 14 (2015): 187-199.