1 Nephi 5

1 Nephi 5: Nephi, Laman, Lemuel and Zoram return to Lehi with the Brass Plates

                Upon returning to Sariah and Lehi in the wilderness, Sariah [the mother] was filled with joy; “For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 5:2)

However, Lehi [the father] comforted her in the wilderness while they were away, saying; “…I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.” (1 Nephi 5:4)

After seeing her sons returned safely to her in the wilderness, Sariah exclaimed; “…Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them…” (1 Nephi 5:8) Sariah was overwhelmed with joy and filled with the Spirit of the Lord, because she now believed that Lehi was a prophet of God.

They all rejoiced and offered sacrifices unto the Lord, they then searched through the plates to find; “…that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents; And also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah;” (1 Nephi 5:11-13) Nephi and his family now had the first five books of the Bible that we know today, they would be blessed with this information in their day of prophets that had lived before them, as we are blessed by the Book of Mormon and Bible today in modern times.

Lehi learns that his geneology goes back to Joseph, who was the son of Jacob who was the very same Joseph who was sold into Egypt (See Genesis 37) “…Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine.” (1 Nephi 5:14)

They also discover that Laban was a descendant of Joseph, wherefore he and his fathers had kept the records. Lehi was filled with the Spirit and began to prophecy exclaiming that these plates of brass would go forth among all nations, and tongues!

Nephi explains that they; “…had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children. Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise.” (1 Nephi 4:21-22)

1 Nephi 3

1 Nephi 3: The Brass Plates

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                Nephi comes out from his tent, after having spoken with God… he explains that he has ‘dreamed a dream’ in which him and his brothers are to return to Jerusalem to obtain Brass Plates from a man named Laban; “…Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass.” (1 Nephi 3:3) Nephi’s brothers murmur and tell Nephi that he asks too much of them. However, Nephi explains that it is not his command, but the commandment of God for them to retrieve these Brass Plates.

Nephi speaks to his father; “…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7) Lehi, after having heard these words was filled with joy… because he knew that Nephi had been commanded of God to do these things, and he felt blessed. Nephi showed great character and faith in following the commandments of God no matter how difficult. This example can be used for all!

Nephi and His brothers Travel to Jerusalem

 

Nephi and his brothers pack up their tents and head back towards Jerusalem, and while journeying they cast lots to see who would go into the house of Laban to retrieve the Brass Plates. The Lot is cast upon Laman. Laman enters the house of Laban and requests the Brass Plates, however Laban is angered; “…Laban was angry, and thrust him out from his presence; and he would not that he should have the records. Wherefore, he said unto him: Behold thou art a robber, and I will slay thee.” (1 Nephi 3:13)

Laman was able to flee from his presences and return to his brethren outside of the house. Nephi’s brothers are determined to flee Jerusalem; however Nephi reminds them that God had commanded them to obtain the records. Nephi speaks to his brothers; “…As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us. Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 3:15-16) Nephi reminds them that with God, all is possible. Nephi derives a plan to return to the house of their father to take their inheritance (gold and silver) to please Laban and essentially buy the plates from him. Nephi explains to his brothers that after Jerusalem is destroyed, it would be up to them to preserve the record of their children.

Nephi and his brothers retrieve their inheritances and return to speak with Laban. This time Laban became greedy and desired both the Brass Plates and the precious metals; “…when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.” (1 Nephi 3:25) Nephi and his brothers AGAIN flee from the house of Laban. Because they were faithful, the Lord did protect them and the servants of Laban were unsuccessful of overtaking them in the wilderness and destroying them.

After two unsuccessful attempts, Laman and Lemuel became angered and they spoke hard words and beat both Nephi and Sam with rods. As they were being beaten by their brothers; “…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 3:29)

Even after having seen an angel of the Lord, both Laman and Lemuel began to murmur again saying; “…How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?” (1 Nephi 3:31) Both Laman and Lemuel had yet to come to believe in the Lord and His great power!

Numbers 21-22

Numbers 21-22

Chapter 21: Serpent of Brass

Israel destroys those Canaanites who fight against them. They are then plagued by fiery serpents, Moses lifts up a serpent of brass to save those from the fiery serpent. Israel defeats the Amorites and destroys the people of Bashan, occupying their lands.

The Edomites threaten Israel with war, assumedly because the Israelites were an easy target. However the Edomites did not know that the Lord was with Israel. The King of Arad also decides to kill and capture some of them. Israel makes a vow with the Lord that if he delivers them from the King of Arad, that they will destroy the people of Arad and their cities, the Israelites destroy the Aradites and their cities and rename the city “Hormah” (destruction in Hebrew).

The Israelites continue their journey, carefully avoiding the Edomites. The children of Israel start to murmur against the Lord and complain to Moses about how they were taken out of Egypt, only to die in the desert. They complain about the food and having little to no water.

The Lord gets upset, and without warning, sends venomous snakes to the congregation of Israel. Many Israelites die from the snake bites. The people repent and plead with Moses to ask God to remove the snakes from among them. Moses pleads with the Lord and he commands Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who looks at the snake will be saved and will not suffer or die from the snake bites.

Israel continues their journeys through different parts of the land and stop by the river of Arnon, which is on the border of Moab. We learn in verse 14 about a Lost Book of the Bible; “the book of the wars of the Lord” – This goes to show that the Bible is not a complete set of books. God commanded many of his servants throughout time to write their histories, including what the LDS church has concerning the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, including modern day revelations from modern prophets.

They then travel to Beer, which was the place where the Lord spoke to Moses, and said: “…Gather the people together, and I will give them water” (Numbers 21:16)

The Israelites break out into song about the area. Verses 17-20.

Before they continue to pass through the territory of Sihon, the king of the Amorites they send out messengers to tell him of their passing, basically asking for permission. He responds by sending a huge army to kill them, but the Israelites triumph and kill them all. They also destroy the people of Bashan and occupy their lands.

Chapter 22: Balak Offers Money and Cattle

From the last chapter we learn that the Israelites were able to conquer and destroy those who were in their way. Moab was filled with fear at the site of the Israelites, with this fear the king of Moab; Balak comes up with a plan. He decides to contact Balaam, and hire him to put a curse on the children of Israel. Balaam is known throughout the land for cursing and blessing those who he wishes.

Balak sends some people to Balaam to try and persuade him with riches to curse the Israelites. But the Lord tells Balaam to not curse the Israelites, because they are a blessed people. The Lord tells Balaam that he can go with the men that Balak had sent, but that he must only do as the Lord commands him.

Balaam saddles up his donkey and heads off with the men that Balak had sent. Although the Lord gets angry with him and sends an angel to stop him. The donkey sees the angel with a sword blocking the passage. The donkey runs off the road and Balaam hits the donkey for not doing what it was supposed to do. Then he continues on the journey, when the donkey sees the angel again, this time between two vineyard walls, so the donkey (trying to avoid the angel) scoots along the wall hurting Balaams leg, so he again beats the donkey for disobeying.

Balaam continues his journey, but this time the angel of the Lord appears in a narrow area, so the donkey can’t run off the road or scoot around. So the donkey lies down. Balaam who is angry beats the donkey again, this time the Lord gives the donkey the ability to talk:

 “And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.” (Numbers 22:28-30)

Then the angel appears before the eyes of Balaam and he realizes that the donkey was just trying to save his life, because the angel would have killed him otherwise. The Lord then lets him go freely to Moab, on the condition that he speak only as the Lord commands him. In Moab he meets up with Balak who runs out to greet him and asks him why his journey took so long.