1 Nephi 7

1 Nephi 7: Return to Jerusalem to get Ishmael

                Lehi is commanded by the Lord that his sons should return to Jerusalem to find wives that they might raise children unto the Lord in the Promised Land.

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness… it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord… the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.” (1 Nephi 7: 2;3-4)

As they journeyed back from Jerusalem into the wilderness; Laman and Lemuel along with two of the daughters of Ishmael and two of his sons did rebel against Nephi.  Nephi was troubled because of this and spoke to them; “…Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you” (1 Nephi 7:8)

                Nephi then asks them how they can deny having seen an Angel of the Lord or forget seeing the hand of the Lord in delivering them from Laban. Nephi asks; “…how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” (1 Nephi 7:12) Nephi explains to them that if they work hard and exercise faith in the Lord, they will obtain the Promised Land. Nephi warns that if they return to Jerusalem, they would perish.

After speaking these words, Laman and Lemuel were upset with Nephi insomuch that they bound him with cords “….they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.” (1 Nephi 7:16) Nephi prayed to the Lord that he would have strength to break free from these cords, and upon saying these words to the Lord; “…behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.” (1 Nephi 7:18) This however only enraged Laman and Lemuel even more! They moved towards Nephi to take his life when;  “…one of the daughters of Ishmael, yea, and also her mother, and one of the sons of Ishmael, did plead with my brethren, insomuch that they did soften their hearts; and they did cease striving to take away my life.” (1 Nephi 7:19) Laman and Lemuel agreed to not take the life of Nephi and in doing so were brought to sorrow and did plead with Nephi that he might forgive them. Nephi accepted their forgiveness and they continued their journey into the wilderness to the camp where Lehi was waiting. There, they gave thanks to the Lord and offered burnt sacrifices to Him.

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!

1 Nephi 2

1 Nephi 2: Lehi Leaves Jerusalem

 

The Lord God speaks to Lehi in a drew and commands him that he should depart from Jerusalem and take his family into the wilderness.

“…it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him… he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 1:3-4)

After three days of traveling Lehi and his family (Sariah – his wife, Laman, Lemuel and Sam – his sons) pitched tents near a river river, near the border of the Red Sea. Lehi calls the river ‘Laman’ and speaks to Laman saying; “…O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness! And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!” (1 Nephi 1:9-10)

Lehi spoke to his two sons Laman and Lemuel because of their stiffneckedness, for their murmurings [complaining] because they did not want to leave Jerusalem, which was the land of their inheritance. They also did not want to leave behind worldly possessions such as gold and silver. Laman and Lemuel believed that their father was a foolish man who follows the foolish imaginations of his heart. They complained to their father; “…because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them. Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.” (1 Nephi 1:12-13)

Lehi, being overcome with the Spirit of the Lord did confound them that they did not wish to murmur against their father again. Nephi explains that he believed his father, but that he had some doubt and prayed to the Lord to help him understand and remove any doubt he had about his father. Nephi explains;

“…I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 1:16)

Nephi speaks to his younger brother Sam and tells him everything that he had seen, and he did believe on the words of Nephi. Laman and Lemuel however did not believe the words of Nephi. Nevertheless, Nephi prays to God that they might come to the same knowledge that he had obtained and believe on the words of his father Lehi. The Lord responds to Nephi’s prayer; “…Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart… inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.” (1 Nephi 1:19-20)

The Lord promises Nephi that if he continues to have faith and keep the commandments of God that he would be led to the Promised Land. The Lord also promises that Nephi would be delivered from his brothers if they tried to hurt him.

1 Nephi 1: Lehi Warns the People

1 Nephi 1: Lehi Warns the People

From the Beginning of the Book of 1 Nephi:

“An account of Lehi and his wife Sariah, and his four sons, being called, (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The Lord warns Lehi to depart out of the land of Jerusalem, because he prophesieth unto the people concerning their iniquity and they seek to destroy his life. He taketh three days’ journey into the wilderness with his family. Nephi taketh his brethren and returneth to the land of Jerusalem after the record of the Jews. The account of their sufferings. They take the daughters of Ishmael to wife. They take their families and depart into the wilderness. Their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness. The course of their travels. They come to the large waters. Nephi’s brethren rebel against him. He confoundeth them, and buildeth a ship. They call the name of the place Bountiful. They cross the large waters into the promised land, and so forth. This is according to the account of Nephi; or in other words, I, Nephi, wrote this record.” (1 Nephi: Introduction)

Nephi makes a record of his people; “…in the language of my father [Lehi], which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians… I make it according to my knowledge.” (1 Nephi 1:2-3) He makes this record during the first year of the reign of King Zedekiah, who was ruler of Judah. Nephi opens this book with his own introduction;

“I, NEPHI, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been favored of the Lord in all my days; yea having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.” (1 Nephi 1:1)

                Nephi proceeds to tell how his father, Lehi, prayed to God on behalf of his brethren in Jerusalem where he is overcome with what the Lord tells him.

“…being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God… it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven… he also saw twelve others following him… And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read.” (1 Nephi 1:8-11)

Lehi read the book and was filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and because of this he was saddened because of the abominations he had seen in Jerusalem, exclaiming; “…Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations!” (1 Nephi 1:13)

Nephi explains that his father read many things concerning Jerusalem, mainly that it should be destroyed for their wickedness. Nephi made it clear that although Lehi wrote many things, he would not make a full record of those things in his writings. Nephi did say that his father “…had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thypower, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!” (1 Nephi 1:14)

Nephi explains that his purpose for writing is to abridge the records of his father and then to continue to write his own record in his own time; “…I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, uponplates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life.” (1 Nephi 1:17)

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                Nephi explains that Lehi (his father) preached these words to the Jews, but they rejected him because of the things he testified of.