A Summary of the First Six Chapters of the Book of First Nephi
The events beginning Nephi’s story in the Book of Mormon.
Allegedly written by a young Jerusalem resident named Nephi who claimed to have been highly favored of the Lord all of his days, the book of I Nephi begins a chronicle of the events surrounding his family from the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign.
Nephi records that during the first year of Zedekiah’s reign many prophets visited Jerusalem warning the people that they must repent or the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Nephi’s father Lehi having been a resident of Jerusalem all of his life eventually began to pray unto the Lord with all of his heart. Confronted by a pillar of fire before him, Lehi returned to his house in Jerusalem with trembling and shaking where he continued to see visions. In those visions, one whose luster was above that of the sun at noonday gave him a book and told him to read it. Lehi read about Jerusalem’s abominations, her future destruction, and the people of the city being carried away captive to Babylon. After recording numerous visions and dreams, Lehi ultimately became a prophet in Jerusalem himself. He began to warn of God’s coming judgment and confronted the people with their wickedness. This brought upon Lehi the anger of the people who then sought to kill him.
Being warned by God in a dream to take his family and depart, Lehi is recorded as having abandoned his house, gold, silver, and precious things as he fled into the wilderness with only his family, provisions, and tents. Arriving at the borders near the shore of the Red Sea with his wife Sariah, his sons Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi, they pitched their tent in a valley by the side of a river of water. After building an altar of stones, Lehi made an offering unto the Lord and gave thanks.
Having left all of their precious things in Jerusalem, Laman and Lemuel, the two oldest sons, began to murmur against Lehi concerning their departure from Jerusalem and flight into the wilderness. Nephi, unlike his brothers, began to desire to know the mysteries of God and chose to believe the messages Lehi had prophesied. He began to cry unto the Lord for his brothers. One day the Lord spoke to Nephi and praised him for his faith and lowliness of heart. God then told him of a land of promise that was choice above all others that he had prepared for Nephi if Nephi would keep God’s commandments.
In time Lehi dreamed a dream in which the Lord commanded him to send his four sons back into Jerusalem to retrieve some brass plates that would be important to them when they arrived in the new land. Upon their return to Jerusalem the brothers cast lots and determined that Laman the oldest brother would visit a man named Laban to request the plates of brass. Laman fled and returned to his brothers when Laban became angry, thrust him out, accused him of being a robber, and threatened to slay him. After hearing of the situation, Nephi decided to return to their father’s house in Jerusalem and retrieve their gold, silver, and precious things to trade with Laban for the brass plates. Their second attempt with Laban fared no better than the first, and this time they all fled from the servants of Laban as their exceeding great amounts of gold, silver and all manner of riches fell into Laban’s hands. Hiding themselves in the cavity of a rock, the brothers were able to elude their pursuers.
Again they were instructed by an angel to return to Jerusalem where Laban would be given into their hands by the Lord’s power. After some discussion about Laban being a mighty man who could command fifty or even slay fifty, Nephi reminded the brothers that God was greater than all and would give them deliverance like he did Moses at the Red Sea.
Arriving by night outside the walls of Jerusalem, Nephi recorded that he crept in alone and discovered Laban fallen down drunk outside of his house. Drawing forth Laban’s pure gold hilted sword, Nephi cut off Laban’s head. Donning Laban’s garments, armor, and sword, Nephi then approached Zoram, Laban’s servant who had the keys to the treasury. Nephi pretended to be Laban and was successful in deceiving him into thinking that he was. After procuring the brass plates, Nephi persuaded Zoram that he, Nephi, would carry the plates to his brothers waiting outside the walls while the servant followed. With the brass plates in hand and Zoram following, the four brothers returned to their father and mother in the wilderness.
Upon his sons’ safe return with the brass plates, Lehi again offered sacrifice and burnt offerings. While reading the plates, he discovered that he was of the tribe of Joseph and prophesied of good things to come in the land of promise.