1 Nephi 4: Nephi Kills Laban
After seeing the Angel, Nephi speaks to Laman and Lemuel and explains that the Lord is all powerful “…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? 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.” (1 Nephi 4:1-2)
Nephi tells Laman and Lemuel that they both know he is right and they cannot deny. Laman and Lemuel continue to murmur, but still follow Nephi back to Jerusalem to obtain the Brass Plates. Nephi commands his brothers to hide themselves; “… after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban. And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. 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. And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.” (1 Nephi 4:5-8)
Nephi, NOT KNOWING BEFOREHAND WHAT HE WOULD DO, goes into the house and finds Laban drunk and passed out. Nephi did not have a plan, but trusted the Lord to guide him. When he found that Laban was passed out drunk, the Spirit came to him and told him to kill Laban; “…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. And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands… it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; …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.” (1 Nephi 4:10-13) The Lord delivered Laban into the hands of Nephi, who knew that murdering was wrong. However, the Lord commanded Nephi to slay Laban to bring forth His ‘righteous purposes’. So, Nephi slays Laban by cutting off his head with his own sword; “…[Nephi] took Laban by the hair of the head, and I [Nephi] smote off his head with his own sword. 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…” (1 Nephi 4:18-19)
Nephi, now dressed in the clothes of Laban goes towards the treasury to retrieve the Brass Plates when he runs into one of the servants of Laban, who had the keys to the treasury. Nephi; “…commanded him in the voice of Laban, that he should go with [Nephi] into the treasury.” (1 Nephi 4:20) Laban’s servant thought it was his master speaking and therefore opened the treasury. Nephi tells the servant to grab the Brass Plates and commands him to follow him to the outside gates of the house. The servant agrees and flees with ‘Laban’ aka Nephi to meet Nephi’s brothers.
When he approached the outside walls, Laman and Lemuel were exceedingly frightened; “…for they supposed it was Laban, and that he had slain me and had sought to take away their lives also. And it came to pass that I called after them, and they did hear me; wherefore they did cease to flee from my presence.” (1 Nephi 4:28-29) Laban’s servant tries to flee, but Nephi being large in stature holds him and prevents him from running.
Nephi speaks to the servant of Laban [named Zoram] and tells him that if he follows them and makes an oath with them that he would be a free man; “…Zoram had made an oath unto us, our fears did cease concerning him… 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.” (1 Nephi 4:37-38)