Lehites in Jerusalem and Arabia

A Final Attempt at Getting the Brass Plates

1 Nephi 4:1–3

Nephi, putting his trust in the Lord, convinces his brothers to believe the angel and go back.

And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying:

“Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; 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.

“Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians.

1 Nephi 4:4

Laman and Lemuel are not happy to hear this, but agree to go back with Nephi despite their doubts.

Now when I had spoken these words, they were yet wroth, and did still continue to murmur; nevertheless they did follow me up until we came without the walls of Jerusalem.

1 Nephi 4:5–6

Night had fallen; Nephi tells his brothers to go hide while he goes exploring.

And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And 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.

1 Nephi 4:7–8

As he approaches Laban’s house, Nephi stumbles upon a drunk man lying in the streets. It is Laban.

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 4:9

Nephi notices Laban’s sword.

And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.

1 Nephi 4:10

The Spirit tells Nephi to kill Laban.

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; …

1 Nephi 4:10

Nephi, shocked by the command, does not want to kill anyone.

…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.

1 Nephi 4:11–13

The Spirit assures Nephi that Laban’s death is necessary.

And the Spirit said unto me again:

“Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands.”

Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.

And 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 4:14–17

Nephi thinks things through, and remembers how consequential these records are.

And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that:

“Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments,
they shall prosper in the land of promise.”

Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass. And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause— that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.

1 Nephi 4:18

Following the Spirit’s orders, Nephi decapitates Laban.

Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.