The start of the Record of Zeniff
Zeniff is sent to spy on the Lamanites--Zeniff's army rebels against him--Most of the army is killed in a civil war--The Lamanite king (Laman)
gives his land to Zeniff--God helps Zeniff and his army slaughter the Lamanites.
Version - Chapter 13: Zeniff
Chapters 9-22 in the Book of Mosiah are a flashback that recount the Record of Zeniff (Zeniff was the
first guy to leave Zarahemla to try to find the Nephites.)
|9:1 I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and
having had a knowledge of the
land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers' first inheritance, and
having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites that
I might spy out their forces, that our army might come upon them and destroy them -- but when I saw that which was good
among them I was desirous that they should not be destroyed. ||
(9:1-2) I, Zeniff ... having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites|
Zeniff and his men were sent from Zarahemla to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the
Lamanite army. Once Zeniff saw the Lamanites, however, he saw "that which was good among them" and he didn't want them to be destroyed.
Zeniff asked his group's leader to make a treaty with them, but this didn't go so well. The leader commanded that Zeniff be killed
for even suggesting such a thing. Some sided with Zeniff, and this led to infighting where "father fought against father, and brother
fought against brother." Most of the group died in the fighting. The rest of the group returned with Zeniff to Zarahemla to tell the
story to their wives and children.
|9:2 Therefore, I contended with my brethren in the wilderness for I would that our ruler should make a
treaty with them; but he being an austere and a bloodthirsty man commanded that I should be slain; but I was rescued
by the shedding of much blood; for father fought against father, and brother against brother, until the greater number
of our army was destroyed in the wilderness; and we returned, those of us that were spared, to the land of Zarahemla,
to relate that tale to their wives and their children.
|9:3 And yet, I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers,
collected as many as were desirous to
go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey into the wilderness to go up to the land; but
we were smitten
with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God. ||
(9:3-4) We were smitten with famine and sore afflictions.|
Then they decide to go back. They wander in the wilderness, and it is a pretty tough journey,
since they were "slow to remember God." God punishes Zeniff's people with famine and sore afflictions, but they make it there eventually.
|9:4 Nevertheless, after many days' wandering in the wilderness we pitched our tents in the place where our
brethren were slain, which was near to the land of our fathers. ||
|9:5 And it came to pass that
I went again with four of my men into the city, in unto
the king, that I might know of the disposition of the king, and that I might know if I might go in with my people and
possess the land in peace. ||
(9:5-9) He covenanted with me.|
Once they set up camp, Zeniff picks four of his men and goes down to meet the Lamanite king.
It goes surprisingly well. The Lamanite king commands his people to clear the land immediately, and he gives the land to Zeniff and his people.
They start repairing walls and growing crops and stuff.
|9:6 And I went in unto the king, and
he covenanted with me that I might possess the land of Lehi-Nephi, and
the land of Shilom.
|9:7 And he also commanded that his people should depart out of the land, and I and my people went into the
land that we might possess it. ||
|9:8 And we began to build buildings, and to repair the walls of the city,
yea, even the walls of the city
of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom.||
|9:9 And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of
seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat,
and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and
prosper in the land. ||
(9:9) Of wheat, and of barley|
Zeniff and his people plant all kinds of crops, including wheat and barley, neither of which were present
until Europeans brought them to America.
|9:10 Now it was the cunning and the craftiness of king Laman, to bring my people into bondage, that he
yielded up the land that we might possess it. ||
(9:10-15) The cunning and the craftiness of king Laman|
King Laman had a cunning and crafty plan, though. He only gave them the
land so that he could put them in bondage later. Twelve years later, King Laman enacts his plan. Zeniff's people are attacked
by a host of Lamanites. The people rush to Zeniff for protection.
|9:11 Therefore it came to pass, that
after we had dwelt in the land for the space of twelve years that king Laman began to grow uneasy, lest by any means my people should wax strong in the land, and that they could not overpower
them and bring them into bondage.
|9:12 Now they were a lazy and an idolatrous people; therefore they were desirous to bring us into bondage,
that they might glut themselves with the labors of our hands; yea, that they might feast themselves upon the flocks of
our fields. ||
|9:13 Therefore it came to pass that king Laman began to stir
up his people that they should contend with my
people; therefore there began to be wars and contentions in the land. ||
|9:14 For, in the thirteenth year of my reign in the land of Nephi, away on the south of the land of Shilom,
when my people were watering and feeding their flocks, and tilling their lands, a numerous host of Lamanites came upon
them and began to slay them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields. ||
|9:15 Yea, And it came to pass that they fled, all that were not overtaken,
even into the city of Nephi, and did call upon me for protection. ||
|9:16 And it came to pass that
I did arm them with bows, and with
arrows, with swords, and with cimeters and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my
people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle. ||
In the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle.
Unfortunately for the Lamanites, Zeniff
was prepared. He armed his people with all
kinds of weapons (they even invented some) and they cried out mightily to the Lord for help in battle. The Lord heard
them, and they defeated the Lamanites, 3,043 to 279.
(9:16) Swords, and with cimeters
Zeniff arms his people with swords and cimeters. No evidence for these pre-Columbian weapons
has ever been found.
|9:17 Yea, in the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people
did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a
remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers.
|9:18 And God did hear our cries and did answer our prayers; and we did go forth in his might; yea, we did
go forth against the Lamanites, and in one day and a night we did slay three thousand and forty-three; we did slay them
even until we had driven them out of our land. ||
|9:19 And I, myself, with mine own hands, did help to bury their dead. And behold, to our great sorrow and
lamentation, two hundred and seventy-nine of our brethren were slain. ||
And it came to pass (9:5, 11, 13, 15, 16)