Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chiasmus IV: Six Book of Mormon Stories from 1 Nephi

In the articles I'm posting about Hebrew Poetry in the Book of mormon, several stories are mentioned. Here is a brief synopsis of each story with a reference to where you can read it in the Book of Mormon.

Lehi takes his family into the wilderness (1 Nephi 2:1-7)

The Lord was pleased with Lehi and one night spoke to him in a dream. He told Lehi to take his family and leave Jerusalem. Lehi obeyed the Lord.

Lehi’s family packed food and tents. They left their house and their gold and silver and traveled into the wilderness.

Lehi and his wife, Sariah, had four sons. Their names were Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi.

After traveling for three days, Lehi’s family camped in a valley near a river. Lehi built an altar from stones and made an offering to God. He thanked God for saving his family from being destroyed.

The trip to get the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 3:1-5:22)

Lehi told Nephi that the Lord wanted him and his brothers to go back to Jerusalem. They were to get the brass plates from a man named Laban. The brass plates were important records. They told about Lehi’s forefathers and contained the words of God revealed through the prophets. Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi traveled back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates.

Laman went to Laban and asked him for the plates. Laban was angry and would not give Laman the brass plates. Laban wanted to kill Laman, but Laman escaped. Laman told his brothers what had happened. He was afraid and wanted to give up and go back to their father in the wilderness. Nephi said they could not return without the brass plates. He told his brothers to have more faith in the Lord and they would be able to get the brass plates. Nephi and his brothers went to their old home in Jerusalem and gathered their gold and silver to exchange for the plates. They showed Laban their riches and offered to trade them for the plates. When Laban saw their gold and silver, he wanted it for himself and threw them out.

Laban told his men to kill Lehi’s sons. Nephi and his brothers ran and hid in a cave. Laban kept their gold and silver. Laman and Lemuel were angry with Nephi. They beat Nephi and Sam with a stick. An angel appeared and told Laman and Lemuel to stop. He said the Lord would help them get the plates. He also said Nephi would become a leader over his brothers. Nephi told his brothers to have faith in the Lord and not be afraid of Laban and his men. Nephi encouraged his brothers to go back to Jerusalem.

That night Nephi’s brothers hid outside the city wall while Nephi sneaked inside. He walked toward Laban’s house. As Nephi got close to Laban’s house, he saw a drunk man lying on the ground. It was Laban. Nephi saw Laban’s sword and picked it up. The Holy Ghost told Nephi to kill Laban, but Nephi did not want to kill him. The Holy Ghost again told Nephi to kill Laban so Nephi could get the brass plates. Lehi’s family needed the plates so they could learn the gospel. Nephi obeyed the Holy Ghost and killed Laban. Nephi then put on Laban’s clothes and armor.

Nephi went into Laban’s house and was met by Zoram, Laban’s servant. Nephi looked and sounded just like Laban. He told Zoram to get the brass plates. Zoram thought Nephi was Laban, so he gave him the plates. Nephi told Zoram to follow him. Laman, Lemuel, and Sam saw Nephi coming and were scared; they thought he was Laban. They started to run away but stopped when Nephi called to them. Then Zoram realized that Nephi was not Laban, and he tried to run. Nephi caught Zoram and promised not to harm him if he would go with Nephi into the wilderness. Zoram agreed. Nephi and his brothers took Zoram and the brass plates and returned to Lehi and Sariah. They gave the brass plates to Lehi. He and Sariah were happy their sons were safe. They all rejoiced and thanked God. Lehi read the brass plates. They told about Adam and Eve and the Creation of the world. They contained the words of many prophets. Lehi and Nephi were happy because they had obeyed the Lord and had been able to get the brass plates. Lehi’s family packed the brass plates to take with them on their journey so they could teach their children the commandments recorded on the plates.

The trip to bring back Ishmael and his family (1 Nephi 7:1-5)

The Lord wanted Lehi’s sons to have wives who would teach their children the gospel. He told Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael’s family. Nephi and his brothers returned to Jerusalem. They told Ishmael what the Lord wanted him to do. Ishmael believed them, and he and his family went with Lehi’s sons.

Ishmael takes his family into the wilderness(1 Nephi 7:6-22)

While they were traveling in the wilderness, Laman and Lemuel and some of Ishmael’s family became angry. They wanted to go back to Jerusalem. Nephi reminded Laman and Lemuel of all the Lord had done for them. He told them to have greater faith. They were angry at Nephi but did not go back to Jerusalem. Nephi, his brothers, and Zoram later married Ishmael’s daughters.

Building the ship (1 Nephi 17:6-18:4)

After Lehi’s family had camped by the sea for many days, the Lord spoke to Nephi. He told him to build a ship to carry his family to the promised land. Nephi did not know how to make a ship, but the Lord said he would show him. He told Nephi where to find metal to make the tools he would need.

Laman and Lemuel made fun of Nephi for wanting to build a ship. They did not believe that the Lord had shown Nephi how to do it. They refused to help. Nephi told Laman and Lemuel to repent and not be rebellious. He reminded them that they had seen an angel. He also told them that God has the power to do all things. Nephi told Laman and Lemuel to obey their parents and obey God. Nephi said if they would do this, they would be blessed. Laman and Lemuel repented and helped Nephi build the ship. Nephi went to the mountain many times to pray for help. The Lord taught him how to build the ship.

When Nephi and his brothers had finished building the ship, they knew it was a good ship. They thanked God for helping them.

The journey on the ship (1 Nephi 18:5-23)

The Lord told Lehi to take his family onto the ship they had built. They loaded it with fruit, meat, and honey and with seeds to plant in the promised land.

Strong winds blew the ship toward the promised land. Laman, Lemuel, and some of the others began being wicked. When Nephi told them to stop, they got angry and tied him up with ropes. Because of their wickedness, the Liahona stopped working. They did not know which way to steer the ship. A terrible storm blew the ship backward for three days. Lehi told Laman and Lemuel to untie Nephi, but they would not listen. Lehi and Sariah were so upset that they became ill. Nephi’s wife and children cried. They begged Laman and Lemuel to untie Nephi, but they refused. On the fourth day the storm got worse. The ship was about to sink. Laman and Lemuel knew that God had sent the storm. They were afraid they would drown. Finally Laman and Lemuel repented and untied Nephi. Even though his wrists and ankles had become swollen and sore from the ropes, Nephi had not complained. Nephi then picked up the Liahona, and it worked again. Nephi prayed, and the wind stopped. The sea became calm.

Nephi steered the ship, and it sailed again toward the promised land.


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