1 Nephi 4

Current BOM Text


Nephi slays Laban at the Lord’s command and then secures the plates of brass by stratagem—Zoram chooses to join Lehi’s family in the wilderness. About 600–592 B.C. Nephi is commanded by the Lord to kill Laban and take the brass plates—Zoram chooses to join Lehi’s family in the wilderness.
About 600–592 B.C.
And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands? 1 Then I said to my brothers:  “We are going to show faith and go to Jerusalem again like the Lord has commanded.  The Lord is stronger than the entire earth, so of course he is stronger than Laban and his 50 soldiers.  The Lord would be stronger even if he had tens of thousands of soldiers!”
Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea. 2 “With this in mind, let’s go to Jerusalem.  We will be strong like Moses who spoke to the waters of the Red Sea and parted them so that our ancestors come walk through and escape captivity – while the armies of Pharaoh who chased them were drowned.”
Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians. 3 “You know that the principle taught by this story is true.  And you also know that an angel has spoken to you and promised that Lord will make it possible to get the brass plates – so how can you doubt we will be successful?  Let’s go right now; the Lord will protect us – just like He protected our fathers – and He will destroy Laban just like he did the Egyptians.
Now when I had spoken these words, they were yet wroth, and did still continue to murmur; nevertheless they did follow me up until we came without the walls of Jerusalem. 4 After I said this Laman and Lemuel were furious – and they were already doubting and distrusting the promises made by the angel – but they still followed me until we reached the walls of Jerusalem.
And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban. 5 It was night, and I had my brothers hide outside the walls.  After they were hidden, I snuck into the city and made my way to Laban’s house.
And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. 6 I was led by the Spirit; I did not know ahead of time what I would do when I reached Laban’s house.
Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine. 7 I did, however, continue my mission.  When I got close to Laban’s house, I saw a man laying on the ground – he was drunk and unconscious.
And when I came to him I found that it was Laban. 8 When I got closer I discovered that it was Laban.
And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel. 9 I saw his sword and pulled it from his belt.  The handle of the sword was made of pure gold and was beautifully designed.  The blade was made from the most precious steel.
10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him. 10 While I was standing there holding the sword the Spirit told me that Laban had to die – and that I had to do it.  But I did not want to do it.  I said in my heart:  “Never before have I ever killed another man.”  I was scared and hoped desperately that I would not have to do it.
11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property. 11 But the Spirit spoke to me again and said:  “You can see that this is how the Lord has made it possible for you to get the brass plates.”  I did know this, and I also knew that Laban had stolen from me and had tried to kill me.  And I knew that Laban would never obey the Lord’s commandments.
12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; 12 Then the Spirit said to me again:  “Kill him; this is the only way to get the plates.”
13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. 13 “Sometimes the Lord provides a way for the wicked to die so that His righteous things can happen.  It is better, after all, for one man to die than for an entire nation of people to go without the teachings of the prophets on these brass plates.”
14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. 14 When I had heard these words, I remembered what the Lord had said to me in the wilderness:  “As long as your descendants keep the commandments, I will always stay close to them in the land of promise.”
15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. 15 I also thought about how my descendants would not be able to keep the commandments of the Lord if they did not have a record of His words.
16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass. 16 And I knew that the words of the Lord were engraved on those plates of brass.
17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments. 17 I understood that the Lord had allowed Laban to end up in this position so that I could get the plates.
18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword. 18 With this in mind, I obeyed the voice of the Spirit.  I grabbed Laban by the hair and cut off his head with his own sword.
19 And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins. 19 After I had cut off his head I put on his clothes and armor.
20 And after I had done this, I went forth unto the treasury of Laban. And as I went forth towards the treasury of Laban, behold, I saw the servant of Laban who had the keys of the treasury. And I commanded him in the voice of Laban, that he should go with me into the treasury. 20 Next, I went to the vault inside his house.  While I was walking to the vault I saw one of his servants – and this servant had the keys to the vault.  I impersonated Laban’s voice and told this servant to come with me to the vault.
21 And he supposed me to be his master, Laban, for he beheld the garments and also the sword girded about my loins. 21 The servant thought I was Laban because of my clothes and because I carried Laban’s sword.
22 And he spake unto me concerning the elders of the Jews, he knowing that his master, Laban, had been out by night among them. 22 Because the servant thought I was Laban, he began to speak to me about the meetings Laban had been at that night with other religious leaders.
23 And I spake unto him as if it had been Laban. 23 I spoke back to the servant as if I were Laban.
24 And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren, who were without the walls. 24 I also told the servant that I was going to take the brass plates from the vault and meet up with my brothers outside the city walls.
25 And I also bade him that he should follow me. 25 I asked the servant to come with me.
26 And he, supposing that I spake of the brethren of the church, and that I was truly that Laban whom I had slain, wherefore he did follow me. 26 The servant thought I was speaking of the brothers of the church – so he followed me.
27 And he spake unto me many times concerning the elders of the Jews, as I went forth unto my brethren, who were without the walls. 27 As we walked, the servant talked a lot about the religious leaders Laban had been meeting with that night.
28 And it came to pass that when Laman saw me he was exceedingly frightened, and also Lemuel and Sam. And they fled from before my presence; for they supposed it was Laban, and that he had slain me and had sought to take away their lives also. 28 When I approached the area where my brothers were hiding, they saw me and became very afraid.  They began to run away because they thought Laban had killed me and was now coming to kill them.
29 And it came to pass that I called after them, and they did hear me; wherefore they did cease to flee from my presence. 29 When I saw them start to run I shouted that it was OK – and when they heard my voice they stopped running.
30 And it came to pass that when the servant of Laban beheld my brethren he began to tremble, and was about to flee from before me and return to the city of Jerusalem. 30 When the servant saw my brothers and heard my voice he became very afraid and tried to run back to Jerusalem.
31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee. 31 But I was a large man, and I had also been given a great deal of strength from the Lord – so I grabbed the servant and held him down so that he could not run away.
32 And it came to pass that I spake with him, that if he would hearken unto my words, as the Lord liveth, and as I live, even so that if he would hearken unto our words, we would spare his life. 32 I told the servant that if he would join with me and commit himself to this mission from the Lord, that I would not harm him.
33 And I spake unto him, even with an oath, that he need not fear; that he should be a free man like unto us if he would go down in the wilderness with us. 33 I made the servant a promise so that he would not fear for his life.  I promised him that, if he came with us into the wilderness, he would be a free man and an equal.
34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us. 34 I said to him:  “Isn’t obvious that the Lord has commanded us to get these plates?  For this reason we are doing exactly what He asks.  If you come with us into the wilderness, you will always have a place with us.”
35 And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth. 35 The servant was happy to hear what I said; he promised to come with us into the wilderness and live with us for the rest of his life.  His name was Zoram.
36 Now we were desirous that he should tarry with us for this cause, that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness, lest they should pursue us and destroy us. 36 It was important to my brothers and I that Zoram come with us because we did not want anyone in Jerusalem to know where we went.  We were afraid we might be followed and killed.
37 And it came to pass that when Zoram had made an oath unto us, our fears did cease concerning him. 37 But when Zoram made his promise to us, we stopped worrying about this and about him
38 And it came to pass that we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed unto the tent of our father. 38 We then took the plates of brass and Zoram and began our journey back to our father’s tent.