24 October 2010

1 Nephi 16: A group marriage, magic brass ball, and broken steel bow

After Nephi finished preaching to his evil older brothers, they all got down to more important matters.

Like sex.

Remember how Lehi's family left Jerusalem to "go into the wilderness" and somehow ended up more than 400 kilometers away on the shores of the Red Sea; then they remembered they forgot something (Lehi's brass plates), so Nephi and his brothers had to go back to Jerusalem to get them; and then when they got back from that trip (after murdering Laban with God's help and stealing the plates) they remembered that they forgot to bring any women (except for their mom); So they went back to get some?

Well they got some alright (Ishmael's daughters), but they never got around to doing anything with them because Lehi, Nephi, God, and the camp-following angels wouldn't STFU.

So when it finally came to pass that he, Nephi, made an end of his speaking, Nephi, his brothers, and Zoram (Laban's servant) all got married to Ishmael's nameless daughters.

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. 1 Nephi 16: 7

It was a group wedding with Lehi serving as the Reverend Moon, saying stuff like, "Do you [Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Zoram] take what's her name here to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

After getting that all taken care of, God showed Lehi something really interesting.

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. 1 Nephi 16: 10

A magic brass ball of curious workmanship that was designed and made by God himself! God's magic ball had two spindles on it, one pointing the way to go and the other pointing in some other direction.

Here's what it looked like.

So now that they had their magic ball, they packed up camp, gathered seeds of every kind, crossed the River Laman, and took off in whatever direction God's brass ball pointed. After traveling for four days in a SSE direction, they set up camp at a place they called Shazer.

And it came to pass that we did ... take seed of every kind ... across the river Laman. 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 Shazer. 1 Nephi 16: 11-13

They followed God's magic ball around for four more days in "the more fertile parts of the wilderness," killing stuff for food with their bows and arrows and slings.

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. And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness. 1 Nephi 16: 15-16

And then it came to pass that Nephi broke his steel bow.

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. 1 Nephi 16: 18

Of course steel didn't exist at the time, wouldn't work well for a bow anyway, and would be hard to break. But, oh well. This is the Book of Mormon.

Apparently none of the other bows worked either, because after Nephi broke his no one else could kill a thing.

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 food. 1 Nephi 16: 19

So everyone "began to murmur exceedingly." Heck even Nephi's dad Lehi "began to murmur against the Lord."

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. 1 Nephi 16: 20

So Nephi made another bow and arrow out of wood and a straight stick.

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? 1 Nephi 16: 23a

But Nephi didn't know where to hunt with his new bow. So he asked his dad (when he had stopped murmuring).

And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food? 1 Nephi 16: 23b

Lehi inquired of the Lord (Hey God. Where should we go to kill some animals?) Then voice of the Lord came to Lehi telling him to look on the magic ball where he'd find a text message from God.

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. 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. 1 Nephi 16: 25-26

And it came to pass that when they saw the text message from God they did fear and tremble exceedingly.

And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly 1 Nephi 16: 27

Now the magic brass ball didn't work like a magic 8 ball. Magic 8 balls work all of the time for everyone, whereas the brass ball only works if you believe it will work. And, of course, Nephi believed anything and everything, the crazier the better.

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 unto them. 1 Nephi 16: 28

So the pointers pointed in just the right directions if you believed that they pointed in just the right directions.

But the coolest thing of all was the text messages. They "changed from time to time" according to the faith of the person reading the message.

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 unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things. 1 Nephi 16: 29

The message on the brass ball told Nephi to go to the top of the mountain.

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. 1 Nephi 16: 30

So Nephi went to the mountain top and killed wild beasts.

And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families. 1 Nephi 16: 31

(Stay with me here. The chapter's almost done, I promise.)
After eating the wild beasts, they traveled many days.

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. 1 Nephi 16: 33

Then Ishmael dies, his daughters mourn exceedingly, and Nephi's brothers and Ishmael's sons decide to kill Nephi and Lehi.

And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly ... And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi. 1 Nephi 16: 34-37

But then "the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them" and gave them some food. So they decided not to kill Nephi and Lehi.

And it came to pass that ... the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them ... did bless us again with food, that we did not perish. 1 Nephi 16: 37

And with that the chapter finally comes to an end.


Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 1 Nephi 17: The Trip to Bountiful

3 comments:

twillight said...

One thing the BoM clearly differs from the Bible, is the chance for potentialy artifacts. I mean: golden book, brass plates, brass globes, iron bows - all could be shown int a BoM-museum. But nooooo, everything was "took back by god" (or his angels), lost during time, was thrown away, maybe even stolne by the catholic church... Darn, BoM-people are very unlucky :D

busterggi said...

I can hardly wait to find out what happened to the magic ball - surely Yahweh wouldn't let his personal work be destroyed or get lost.

Luftritter said...

This one made me giggle.
God's magic orb looks a lot like the Holy Hand Grenade.