Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, March 10

Book of Mormon | “Are Laman and Lemuel Half-brothers to Nephi, and maybe Sam?” by grego

Book of Mormon | Are Laman and Lemuel Half-brothers to Nephi, and maybe Sam?


I have had an impression/ hunch/ feeling the past few times of reading that Laman and Lemuel are half-brothers to Nephi, and maybe Sam. I think this might have to do with some of the things that happen in 1 and 2 Nephi, and the blessings Lehi gives his children.

I don’t know if there is much to support this, but that’s been my impression.

I have thought about the fight between Laman and Lemuel vs. Nephi over leadership. Laman, the firstborn, should have had it. But, it is given to Nephi. Seen in the context of Jerusalem 600BC, we’re likely talking birthright.
I have commented previously about Sam and why he might have been “left out”/ “passed over” due to temporal limitations. Or, he could have been Nephi’s half-brother, too.

I don’t know if it would be Lehi or Sariah who remarried; but in this context, it would likely have been Lehi who married Sariah, whose firstborn was Nephi. (Perhaps this is why Lehi is always “talking to” his older children, and not Sariah.) Laman lost the birthright, and Lehi gave it to Nephi.

I read recently this, on
“Nibley goes on to explain that Laman and Lemuel were Arabic names and that Nephi and Sam were Egyptian names (see p. 46).”

Nibley also points out that Laman/Lemuel, Sam/Nephi, Jacob/Joseph are like paired brothers.

Then, about the names of Laman and Lemuel: “The only example of the name of Laman to be found anywhere to the writer’s knowledge is its attribution to an ancient Mukam, or sacred place, in Palestine. Most of these Mukams are of unknown, and many of them of prehistoric, date. In Israel only the tribe of Manasseh built them. It is a striking coincidence that Conder saw in the name Leimun, as he renders it (the vowels must be supplied by guesswork), a possible corruption of the name Lemuel, thus bringing these two names, so closely associated in the Book of Mormon, into the most intimate relationship, and that in the one instance in which the name of Laman appears.” (Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites, p. 45)

Were Laman and Lemuel perhaps twins??


  1. I appreciate you sharing you thoughts! Do you think Lehi could have had multiple wives and he had a similar story to Abraham and Sarah and Nephi is like Isaac? I’m curious what you think.

    Comment by Anne — 2013, November 11 @ 2:29 pm

  2. I don’t think Lehi had concurrent wives. I think if Laman and Lemuel and Nephi are from different mothers, someone died, and there was a remarriage. I think it’s more like Joseph inheriting the birthright over all his other brothers.

    Comment by grego — 2013, November 16 @ 9:18 am

  3. Your suggestion is even more interesting when you look at the details of the Popul Vuh twin heroes story and realize that they had two older half-brothers who mistreated them. The Book of Mormon tells us that the Lamanites believed some wrong “traditions of their fathers” but still kept in their cultural memory the lie that their people had been wronged early on by their brethren in not being given the government. (Alma 54:17)

    Comment by cdegtaylor — 2015, May 14 @ 3:43 pm

  4. What is interesting is that they do not talk of any offspring from Sam, that is to say, no Samuelites are ever recorded in the Book of Mormon? That tells me two things that his family chose to call themselves Nephites or better, Sam never had any sons to carry on his lineage but was blessed with daughters and his genealogy became infused with Nephi, Jacob or Zoram?

    Comment by Clay Pendleton — 2016, August 9 @ 1:29 am

  5. Hi Clay, here’s some more about that:

    “2 Nephi 4:11 And after he had made an end of speaking unto them, he spake unto Sam, saying: Blessed art thou, and thy seed; for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days.

    It seems there are no Samites because Sam’s seed are grouped in with Nephi’s seed.

    Notice, however, that while Lehi gives all blessings and speeches according to “birth” order (Laman, Lemuel, Zoram, Jacob, Joseph, children of Laman and Lemuel needed in addition to Laman and Lemuel’s blessings, speaking to Ishmael’s household), the last blessing is this one to Sam. Perhaps Sam had no sons, but only daughters? Or he didn’t have any children at the time? Or does this have anything to do with with the other possibilities I wrote about previously? ”

    I think you might be right when you say maybe Sam only had daughters. :)

    Comment by grego — 2016, August 11 @ 7:26 pm

  6. That perhaps is so that Sam’s lineage called themselves after the order of his brother Nephi or he didn’t have any children or only daughters. But it’s still puzzling that if he died before his brother Nephi Jacob does not think its important to mention it, since Sam was a considered a righteous man. Also Jacob even records in Jacob 1:13 – Now the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites; nevertheless, they were called Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites. It shows that they were still interested in their lineage history because they called themselves after their family head. So why is Sam not mentioned? Very strange?

    Comment by Clay Pendleton — 2016, August 12 @ 1:48 am

  7. Yes, interesting. I think it was just like Lehi said–his seed were already called Nephi’s.

    Comment by grego — 2016, August 12 @ 3:33 pm

  8. Has anyone ever noticed how unique the name of Nephi is? Most names in the Book of Mormon carry over many normal Hebrew Old Testament names but I’ve never run across the name of Nephi in other documents or writings of antiquitiy. In the Torah as well as in the KJV Old Testament writings of Genesis it talks about Giants. In the Hebrew Torah, Giants is referred to be the Nephilim – also recorded in Numbers 13:33. Nephi was considered to be large in stature and perhaps Lehi name him as such after Giants or Nephi – short for Nephilim?

    Comment by Clay Pendleton — 2016, August 22 @ 1:31 am

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