Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, January 18

“Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Concrete Claim to Leadership Angers Laman and Lemuel; They Lead a Coup to Counter (1 Nephi 16)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Concrete Claim to Leadership Angers Laman and Lemuel; They Lead a Coup to Counter (1 Nephi 16)

grego
(c)2012

Let’s take a look at a few things in 1 Nephi 16 today.

They are commanded to start out, and all is going ok until this:
1 Nephi 16:18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
 19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
 20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
 21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
 22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
 23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto myfather: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
 24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.
 25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
 26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
 27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
 28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
 29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
 30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
 31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
 32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.
 33 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time.

Everyone is starving. Laman and Lemuel’s bows have been ruined, so they are relying on Nephi’s bow; but it breaks. Oh, Nephi! Now we don’t have food! (Reminds me of how players on basketball teams blame the last person throwing the free throw wh misses for their loss, when in fact he was the one who had the highest field goal percentage throughout the game!) Did Laman and Lemuel get any food? Nope. For such cool guys, that kind of stinks, huh? I guess they weren’t very proficient with the sling. But Nephi doesn’t quit, as his brothers already did when their bows lost their spring and just relied on him. He makes a new bow, and a new arrow. Others long ago have explained he needs to make a new arrow because of the difference in the bows.) Today, it hit me : ONE arrow!! Wow, forget David and his FIVE stones.
With one arrow, Nephi was going to provide food for the entire family (at least 18 adults)–Laman and Lemuel must have been laughing and ridiculing him!–had it not been that they themselves were starving and hoping it would work. Contrast this with the ridicule and scorn they heap on Nephi when they are in Bountiful, the land of plenty, and Nephi starts building a ship. Why? They had it good, they weren’t interested in the promised land or a boat. They just follow the supposition that most people only hope others succeed when it means their own survival and betterment.
So Nephi gets directions of where to go, goes, and brings back food for the entire family; no one is hungry.
This time, Nephi does not just get the plates that seem to have nothing to do with their immediate temporal welfare; he actually saves his brothers and their families, and his father’s entire family, from starvation. I believe this is a claim to “ownership”/ dominion over his brothers and family that has been overlooked. Right, notice that Laman and Lemuel were nowhere to be found on Nephi’s hunting trip, just like they were nowhere around when Nephi slew Laban and got the plates. Yes, another fulfillment of the prophecy about his ruling over and teaching his brothers:
1 Nephi 2:21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
 22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.
and 1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

1 Nephi 16:34 And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom.
 35 And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness; and they did murmur against my father, because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, saying: Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger.
 36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem.
 37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

After Ishmael dies and is buried, where is the leadership in his family–with his (old) wife, or the oldest son? Or, more likely: with Ishmael gone, were Lehi and Nephi the only ones standing in the way of Laman and Lemuel taking over the leadership of both families; and they figured that with the help of Ishmael’s sons, the coup would be easier to pull off, and would even build unity among them? I wonder if Laman and Lemuel were feeling the weight of the forthcoming change in family leadership, and try to take this opportunity to strengthen Ishmael’s sons’ ties/ bonds with them instead of Lehi and Nephi.
Do you think Laman and Lemuel would have been able to remember how to get back across the desert to arrive safely back in Jerusalem, as Ishmaels’ daughters hoped? Nahom was a long way away from Jerusalem. Or had they forgotten that the Liahona had led them? Did they think it would work for them, after they had killed Lehi and Nephi? Didn’t Nephi speak against them, and the Liahona (not in his possession, so he couldn’t have pulled a fraud) more or less confirm his words to them, and they trembled because of them (1 Nephi 16:27)? (Frankly, I think they would think that…)
So even though this has happened:
1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

they lie to the sons of Ishmael and say:
 38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

So, in irony, the voice of the Lord comes–now everyone hears it openly; but instead of telling them they will be rulers and teachers, it tells them to repent!:
 39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.

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