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Library Tour through 1 Nephi 16
1 And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my
brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more
than we are able to bear.
2 And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things
against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and
testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh
the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.
3 And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth,
and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not
murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.
4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence,
to keep the commandments of the Lord.
5 And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that
I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.
6 Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley
which he called Lemuel.
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife;
and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also Zoram took
the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife.
8 And thus my father had fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been
given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.
9 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and
commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness.
10 And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to
the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of
curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles;
and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.
11 And it came to pass that we did gather together whatsoever things we should carry
into the wilderness, and all the remainder of our provisions which the Lord had given
unto us; and we did take seed of every kind that we might carry into the wilderness.
12 And it came to pass that we did take our tents and depart into the wilderness,
across the river Laman.
13 And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast
direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place
14 And it came to pass that we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into
the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our
families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer.
And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping
in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red
15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food
by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings.
16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile
parts of the wilderness.
17 And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents for
the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families.
Idioms are unique to individual languages, where the total expression is different
from or more than the meanings of the individual words. English examples are “he
is in a pickle” or “bite the bullet.” The Book of Mormon does not feature such enigmatic
idioms, probably because the writers were aware that their words would have to be
translated. But the Bible and Book of Mormon do use idioms. Those who are well-read
in these books do not immediately recognize them as idioms, because of their familiarity
Dr. Duke lists some idioms found in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as “go
the way of all the earth.” He also gives a list of idioms unique to the Book of
Mormon, such as “for the space of a time.”
18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break
my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren
were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being
much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to
murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness;
and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all
exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because
of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly
difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they
had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight
stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling
and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves
because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was
truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought
down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball,
and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon
the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons
of Ishmael and our wives.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball,
that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read,
which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written
and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave
And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain,
according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food
for our families.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I
had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their
joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did
give thanks unto him.
33 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same
course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days
we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time.
34 And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called
35 And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because
of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness;
and they did murmur against my father, because he had brought them out of the land
of Jerusalem, saying: Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness,
and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all
these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger.
36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were
desirous to return again to Jerusalem.
37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay
our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler
and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.
38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered
unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things,
and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking,
perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has
led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may
do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother
Laman stir up their hearts to anger.
39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord
came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after
they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and
did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that
we did not perish.