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.)
(9:1-2) 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
cool story to their wives and children.
(9:1) "I, Zeniff, ... 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."
(9:2) "Therefore, I contended with my brethren hat 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."
(9:3-4) 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.
(9:3) "I ... collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey ... 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."
(9:4) "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, 11, 13, 15, 16) And it came to pass
(9:5-9) 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.
(9:5) "I went again with four of my men into the city, in unto the king."
(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 ... 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."
Zeniff and his people plant all kinds of crops, including wheat and barley, neither of which were present
until Europeans brought them to America.
(9:10-15) 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.
(9:10) "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."
(9:11-13) "After we had dwelt in the land for the space of twelve years ... 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."
(9:15) "Yea, And it came to pass that they ... did call upon me for protection."
(9:16-19) Unfortunately for the Lamanites, Zeniff is prepared. He arms his people with all
kinds of weapons (they even invent some) and they cried out mightily to the Lord for help in battle. The Lord hears
them, and they defeat the Lamanites, 3,043 to 279.
(9:16) "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."
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."
(9:18) "And God did hear our cries and did answer our prayers ... and in one day and a night we did slay three thousand and
(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."