Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Family of Ishmael

And here we go, Nephi and his brothers going to get the family of Ishmael to join them in the wilderness.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite stories from the Book of Mormon.  I've been really excited to write this!

Nephi and his brothers had just gotten back from Jerusalem with the brass plates.  It was a long, dangerous journey and Laman and Lemuel constantly complained about it.  A few days after they got back, Lehi came to his sons and told them the Lord had commanded him to send them back to Jerusalem one more time to get Lehi's cousin, Ishmael, and convince him (and his family full of eligible daughters) to join them so they could have families.
Guess who didn't complain this time?
So off the sons went, and as far as we know it wasn't too hard to convince Ishmael.  At least, it wasn't documented if it was.  What we do know is that halfway back to Lehi in the wilderness, Laman and Lemuel had enough.  They, and a few members of Ishmael's family, refused to keep going.  They wanted to go back to Jerusalem because they believed their father was insane and wasn't really having visions. 
Nephi was understandably irritated, and he let them know it.  He basically said fine, if you want to go back to Jerusalem and get yourselves killed, go ahead.  Just don't come crying to us when Jerusalem really is destroyed.  Of course, Laman and Lemuel weren't happy with that.  In fact, they were angry enough to kill.  They tied Nephi up and were planning on just leaving him in the desert to be eaten.
You have to wonder if they remembered what happened last time they tried to beat Nephi up (aka, angel appearing and chewing them out).
Nephi was always described as a strong man.  He could have relied on his strength to save him at this point.  Instead, he prayed to God, and with His help Nephi was able to break his bonds before he could be left to die.
When Laman and Lemuel saw this, they were furious, and this time they weren't content just waiting.  They were going to just kill Nephi themselves, until one of Ishmael's daughters, Ishmael's wife, and one of his sons begged them to stop.  When the pair had finally come to their senses, they begged for forgiveness, and the family returned to Lehi again.

So, this story is a bit shorter than the others, but I love it.  Why?  Let's go back a moment: One of Ishmael's daughters.  Even though it made more sense for Nephi to mention the mother first, it was the daughter he wants us to know right away (for clarification, Nephi is the one writing the record at this point).  The Book of Mormon doesn't say much about Nephi's love life, but a few years ago reading I noticed a cross-reference about this woman to a verse a few chapters later, where Nephi mentions taking a wife.
Now, this is all strictly my own speculations.  THIS IS NOT CHURCH DOCTRINE!  However, I can't help wondering if Nephi owed his life to the woman who would eventually become his wife. :)

Fare thee well, friend!

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