CHAPTER 4

Nephi slays Laban at the Lord’s command and then secures the plates of brass by stratagem—Zoram chooses to join Lehi’s family in the wilderness.

1 I said to my brothers, “Let’s be faithful in keeping the Lord’s commandments and go to Jerusalem again. Remember that the Lord is mightier than the entire earth, so why wouldn’t He be mightier than Laban and his fifty, or even his tens of thousands?

2 So come on, let’s go and be strong like Moses was, where he spoke Truth to the waters of the Red Sea, and they divided into two, letting our ancestors come through out of captivity on dry ground, and when the armies of Pharaoh followed them, the Red Sea came down and drowned them.

3 You know this is true! And you also know that an angel has spoken to you, so how can you doubt? Let’s go to Jerusalem. The Lord is able to deliver us, just like our ancestors, and to destroy Laban, just like the Egyptians.”

4 When I’d said this to them, they were still upset and continued to complain, but they still followed me until we got to the walls of Jerusalem.

5 It was dark out when we got there, and I urged my brothers to hide outside the walls. After they had hidden, I snuck into the city and made my way to Laban’s house.

6 And as I went, I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand what I should do,

7 but still I pressed on, and as I neared Laban’s house, I saw a man, and he fell to the ground in front of me, being drunk with wine.

8 When I came closer, I saw that it was Laban.

9 I noticed his sword and unsheathed it. Its hilt was of pure gold, while the blade was the finest steel, and its workmanship was incredible.

10 The Spirit then compelled me to kill Laban, but I said in my heart, “I’ve never shed the blood of a man.” And I shrunk away and hoped I wouldn’t have to kill him.

11 Then the Spirit said to me, “The Lord has delivered him into your hands.” And I remembered that Laban had tried to kill me, that he wouldn’t listen to the Lord’s commandments, and that he had stolen our property.

12 And the Spirit said to me again, “Kill him, for the Lord has delivered him into your hands.

13 Know that the Lord kills the wicked to bring forth His righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than for a nation to dwindle and perish in unbelief.”

14 When I heard these words, I remembered what the Lord had said to me in the wilderness, saying that, “As long as your descendants will keep my commandments, they will prosper in the land of promise.”

15 And I also thought that they couldn’t keep the Lord’s commandments according to the law of Moses unless they had the law,

16 which I knew was written on the brass plates.

17 And I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands so I might get the records as He had commanded,

18 so I obeyed the voice of the Spirit and took Laban by the hair of his head and cut off his head with his own sword.

19 Then I took Laban’s clothes and put them on, every last bit, and I tightened his armor around my sides.

20 Then I headed to Laban’s treasury, and as I went I saw Laban’s servant who had the keys to it, and I commanded him in Laban’s voice that he should come with me to the treasury.

21 He supposed I was Laban, as he saw the clothes I wore and the sword strapped to my side.

22 He talked to me about the elders of the Jews, knowing that Laban had been among them in the night.

23 And I responded as if I were Laban,

24 and also said that I should carry the brass plates to my older brothers outside the walls.

25 Then I commanded him to follow me there.

26 He supposed that I spoke of the brethren of the church, and still believed that I truly was Laban, so he followed me.

27 And he continued to talk about the elders of the Jews as I made my way to my brothers outside the walls.

28 When my brothers saw me coming, they were terrified, and ran away from me, as they also supposed I was Laban and that he had killed me and wanted to kill them too.

29 I called out to them, and having heard me, they stopped running.

30 When Laban’s servant saw my brothers, he began to shake and was about to run back to Jerusalem.

31 Now I was a man of large stature, and having received much strength of the Lord, I grabbed and held Laban’s servant to stop him from running.

32 I then spoke with him, saying that if he would listen to me, as the Lord lives, and as I live, that if he would listen to us we would spare his life.

33 And I said to him with an oath that he didn’t need to fear, and that he should be a free man like us if he came into the wilderness with us.

34 And I further said to him, “Surely the Lord has commanded us to do this, and won’t we be diligent in keeping the Lord’s commandments? So if you would come down into the wilderness to my father, you will have a place with us.”

35 Then Zoram, which was the name of Laban’s servant, took courage from the words I said, and he promised that he would come down into the wilderness to our father, and also made an oath that he would stay with us from that time forth.

36 The reason we wanted him to stay with us was so the Jews might not know about our journey into the wilderness, for fear that they would pursue and destroy us.

37 So when Zoram made an oath to us, our fears about him stopped.

38 We then began journeying back through the wilderness to take Zoram and the brass plates to our father.

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