Nephi’s Test of Faith – 1 Nephi 3:1-31

1 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father. [Just after receiving the revelation from the previous chapter regarding his relationship with his brothers and their posterity. The original translation did not have the chapter divisions.]

2 And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem.

3 For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass. [Laban was the keeper of the temple treasury, which included all the sacred texts and relics. Refer to “A Witness of the Temporal Dispensations” under the chapter Lehi and Nephi for more information.]

4 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban, and seek the records, and bring them down hither into the wilderness. [The Lord could have commanded only Nephi to go, but it was important that his brothers also go to see the hand of the Lord with Nephi, and the sacred commission of this work.]

5 And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord. [He had already told the older brothers, as it was their expected place of leadership to fulfill their father’s commandments.]

6 Therefore go, my son, and thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured. [An important statement, not only did Nephi remember to include it in his record, but it was a prophesy of his father Lehi.]

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my 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. [This is the mantra that defined Nephi’s life. A true principle to remember when seeking the Lord, as He has also promised that WE WILL FIND HIM IF WE SEEK. Refer to D&C 93:1, D&C 88:63-64, Ether 12]

8 And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord. [Often we don’t receive a witness of our revelations until later, at which time our joy is full.]

9 And I, Nephi, and my brethren took our journey in the wilderness, with our tents, to go up to the land of Jerusalem.

10 And it came to pass that when we had gone up to the land of Jerusalem, I and my brethren did consult one with another. [Approximately two weeks travel with little conversation regarding the matter.]

11 And we cast lots—who of us should go in unto the house of Laban. And it came to pass that the lot fell upon Laman; and Laman went in unto the house of Laban, and he talked with him as he sat in his house. [The Lord gave Laman the first opportunity to receive the blessing in behalf of his family, yet he relied upon himself and what he perceived as his business skills. Such tactics involved manipulation and a position of perceived strength.]

12 And he desired of Laban the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, which contained the genealogy of my father.

13 And behold, it came to pass that 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. [Laban had a grudge against the House of Lehi due to previous affairs with Lehi that brought embarrassment to Laban because of his own dishonesty.]

14 But Laman fled out of his presence, and told the things which Laban had done, unto us. And we began to be exceedingly sorrowful, and my brethren were about to return unto my father in the wilderness.

15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, [an oath] we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.

16 Wherefore, let us be faithful [seek revelation and act upon it] 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. [Lehi had been commanded to leave  his riches, and now they know why.]

17 For he knew that Jerusalem must be destroyed, because of the wickedness of the people.

18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets. Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.

19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers; [Nephi, by revelation, understands the reason for retrieving the records.]

20 And also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto this present time. [The original plates of brass contained “All the holy prophets.” Many of which we do not have the records in the Bible today.]

21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God. [Nephi often uses godly persuasion to teach his family.]

22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.

23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban. [There was a space of time between the last meeting with Laban and the next one. This delayed their return and led to worry and murmuring with Sariah, Lehi’s wife.]

24 And it came to pass that we [All the brothers] went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.

25 And it came to pass that 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. [Thinking that offering an exaggerated amount of treasure for the plates would exonerate them in the eyes of Laban, they were surprised when Laban stole their possessions on continued to seek their lives. Laban attempted to take their property and appear innocent.]

26 And it came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, [Temple treasury guards] and we were obliged to leave behind our property, and it fell into the hands of Laban.

27 And it came to pass that we fled into the wilderness, and the servants of Laban did not overtake us, and we hid ourselves in the cavity of a rock.

28 And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod. [Laman and Lemuel felt they had lost all hope of regaining their wealth and status, blaming their father, Nephi and Sam for their loss.]

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.

30 And after the angel had spoken unto us, he departed. [The angel appeared in the pillar of light or fire, and spoke to their minds. They all saw it, but it was not of the flesh;, therefore, Laman and Lemuel who were carnally-minded instantly began to doubt what they had seen.]

31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, 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? [How often do we doubt the Lord in regards to the promised blessings He has spoken to us? When we murmur we use the words, “How is it possible that the Lord….?”]

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4 Responses to Nephi’s Test of Faith – 1 Nephi 3:1-31

  1. m s says:

    in verse 11: “The Lord gave Laban” or Laman “the first opportunity?” Either seems to make sense, … just checking

    And thank you for doing these!

    Like

  2. MS, Thank you. It was supposed to be Laban. Now fixed in the text.

    Like

  3. Sandy Skinner says:

    PR, can you answer this? In verse 28, “Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, ” and then verse 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, “. Did Sam also go with them ? I used to think it was Laman, Lemuel, and Nephi who were sent, but now I’m not sure… [Sam was with them, but it was Nephi that was beat with the rod because Laman and Lemuel saw him as the reason for their losing the treasures. PR]

    Liked by 2 people

  4. TSJ says:

    Hi PR,

    This may be an insignificant thing but I noticed you used murmuring when you described Sariah in verse 23. I would like to know if both the murmuring that Laman, Lemuel, and Lehi were described as doing is synonymous with the complaining the Sariah is described as doing?

    I may just being overly sensitive but with so little described in the scriptures about women and also how they are often portrayed seemingly negatively, I was hoping to get some clarity.

    This is what I found as the description of the difference for how these two terms are used today:

    “The difference is that to complain is to express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment while murmur is uttering complaints in a low voice or sullen manner; grumbling; complaining.” [That is basically correct. Usually, murmuring is keeping to oneself, while complaining is to voice it. They are closely connected. Both are examples of weak faith and can lead to darkness if not corrected. When we begin to not trust in the Lord murmuring is the first to begin. Even Lehi began to murmur after many years of traveling in the wilderness and lack of food. PR]

    To me the difference is huge. And I would like to know if the Lord viewed all these individuals the same or if Joseph Smith chose the two different words to make a distinction and to highlight the difference?

    Liked by 1 person

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