Shortly after fleeing their home and beginning their journey into the wilderness, the Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons back for the record of their ancestors, the Brass Plates.  It was nighttime in Jerusalem, and Nephi and his brothers were hiding outside the city walls.  Earlier they had come in from the desert to obtain valuable records inscribed on brass plates, now in possession of Laban who was a military commander and in charge of the city archives.  Laban had already denied them the plates, at the same time regarding them as criminals and demanding their arrest.  Now they secluded themselves outside the city, deciding what to do.  Their father, the prophet Lehi, was far away at the time waiting for his sons to bring him the valuable records.

The sons differed in making a final plan, and eventually it was Nephi who went into the city alone.  Again it was at night, and the streets were deserted and quiet.  “And I was led by the Spirit,” Nephi said, “not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.  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.”

The man turned out to be Laban himself.  He was motionless, and a sword, with a hilt of pure gold and blade of fine steel, lay beside him.  Immediately Nephi was constrained by the Spirit to take the sword and Kill Laban, it being the only way he could obtain the brass plates.  But he refused, thinking that never at any time had he shed the blood of man.  “And I shrunk,” he said, “and would that I might not slay him.” But again the Spirit constrained him, saying it was God who had actually delivered Laban into his hands.

Nephi knew how important it was to get the plates, and how the man in front of him had earlier confiscated the gold and silver, and other precious things, he and his brothers had brought to exchange for the records.  It was then Laban had threatened to kill them and called for their arrest.

As it turned out, Nephi finally slew Laban, and by taking his sword and clothing, he masqueraded his identity at the archives and secured the brass plates.  By way of diligence, as well as cunning and strategy, he obeyed the promptings of the Spirit and was able to fulfill the expectations of his father, who patiently awaited his arrival of the valuable records.  For Nephi it was especially rewarding, because earlier he had said, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the things which he commandeth them.”
Written by Clay McConkie.

Click here "1 Nephi 2 - 4" to read the actual account of this story from the Book of Mormon.

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