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3 Nephi II (3-5)

Book of Mormon Study Text

CHAPTER II.

3:1 And now it came to pass that in the sixteenth year from the coming of Christ, Lachoneus, the Governor of the land, received an epistle from the leader1 and the Governor of this band of robbers; and these were2 the words which were written, saying:

3:2 Lachoneus, most noble and Chief Governor of the land: behold I write this epistle unto you, and do give unto you exceeding great praise because of your firmness, and also the firmness of your people, in maintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and liberty; yea, ye do stand well, as if ye were supported by the hand of a God, in the defence of your liberty, and your property, and your country, or that which ye do call so. 3:3 And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men, which are at my command, which do now at this time stand in their arms, and do await, with great anxiety, for the word, Go down upon the Nephites and destroy them. 3:4 And I knowing of their unconquerable spirit, having proved them in the field of battle, and knowing of their everlasting hatred towards you, because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them, therefore if they should come down against you, they would visit you with utter destruction; 3:5 therefore I have wrote this epistle, sealing it with mine own hand, feeling for your welfare, because of your firmness in that which ye believe to be right, and your noble spirit in the field of battle; 3:6 therefore I write unto you desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword, and that destruction should come upon you; 3:7 or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us, and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren, that ye may be like unto us; not our slaves, but our brethren, and partners of all our substance. 3:8 And behold, I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed; but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you, with an oath, that on the morrow month, I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand, and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you, yea,3 even until ye shall become extinct. 3:9 And behold, I am Giddianhi, and4 am the Governor of this the secret society of Gadianton; which society, and the works thereof, I know to be good; and they are of ancient date, and they have been handed down unto us. 3:10 And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands, and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and government which have dissented away from you, because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government; and except ye do this, I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi.

3:11 And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle, he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi, in5 demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people, and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had wronged themselves, by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers. 3:12 And6 now behold, this Lachoneus, the Governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the Governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them; 3:13 yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place. 3:14 And he caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceeding great. And he caused that there should be armies, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them which were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about, to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers, day and night; 3:15 yea, he said unto them, As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, that they would7 in no wise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers. 3:16 And so great and marvellous were the words8 and prophecies of Lachoneus, that they did cause fear to come upon all the people, and they did exert themselves in their might, to do according to the words of Lachoneus.

3:17 And it came to pass that Lachoneus did appoint Chief Captains over all the armies of the Nephites, to command them at the time that the robbers should come down out of the wilderness against them. 3:18 Now the chiefest among all the chief9 Captains, and the great Commander of all the armies of the Nephites, was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni. 3:19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites, to appoint for their Chief Captains, save it were in their times of wickedness, some one that had the spirit of revelation, and also of prophecy; therefore this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, and also was the Chief Judge. 3:20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni, Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains, and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them, in their own lands. 3:21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them, the Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them, the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the centre of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore, as the Lord liveth, if we do this, he will deliver them into our hands. 3:22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands, and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed, that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies. 3:23 And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land of Zarahemla and the land Bountiful; yea, to the line which was betwixt10 the land Bountiful and the land Desolation; 3:24 and there were a great many thousand people, which were called Nephites, which did gather themselves together in this land. Now Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land southward, because of the great curse which was upon the land northward; 3:25 and they did fortify themselves against their enemies, and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle. 3:26 And they were exceeding sorrowful because of their enemy.11 And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make weapons of war, of every kind, that they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instructions.12

4:1 And it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year, those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down, and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strong holds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which was in the land south, and which was in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolates.13 4:2 But behold there was no wild beasts nor game in those lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and there was no game for the robbers save it were in the wilderness. 4:3 And the robbers could not exist save it were in the wilderness, for the want of food; for the Nephites had left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks, and their herds, and all their substance, and they were in one body; 4:4 therefore there were no chance for the robbers to plunder and to obtain food, save it were to come up in open battle against the Nephites; and the Nephites being in one body, and having so great a number, and having reserved for themselves provisions, and horses, and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years, in the which time they did hope to destroy the robbers from off the face of the land. And thus the eighteenth year did pass away.

4:5 And it came to pass that in the nineteenth year, Giddianhi found that it was expedient that he should go up to battle against the Nephites, for there was no way that they could subsist, save it were to plunder, and rob, and murder. 4:6 And they durst not spread themselves upon the face of the land, insomuch that they could raise grain, lest the Nephites should come upon them and slay them; therefore Giddianhi gave commandment unto his armies, that in this year they should go up to battle against the Nephites.

4:7 And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood; and their heads were shorn; and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armour, and because of their being dyed in blood. 4:8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them, and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. 4:9 And it came to pass that when the armies of Gaddianhi saw this, they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy; for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear, because of the terror of their armies; 4:10 but in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them, but they did fear their God, and did supplicate him for protection; therefore when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them, they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them; 4:11 and the battle commenced in this the sixth month; and great and terrible was the battle thereof; yea, great and terrible was the slaughter thereof, insomuch that there never was known so great a slaughter among all the people of Lehi since he left Jerusalem. 4:12 And notwithstanding the threatenings and the oaths which Giddianhi had made, behold, the Nephites did beat them, insomuch that they did fall back from before them.

4:13 And it came to pass that Gidgiddoni commanded that his armies should pursue them as far as to the borders of the wilderness, and that they should not spare any that should fall into their hands by the way; and thus they did pursue them, and did slay them, to the borders of the wilderness, even until they had fulfilled the commandment of Gidgiddoni.

4:14 And it came to pass that Giddianhi, who had stood and fought with boldness, was pursued as he fled; and being weary because of his much fighting, he was overtaken and slain. And thus was the end of Giddianhi, the robber.

4:15 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites did return again to their place of security. And it came to pass that this nineteenth year did pass away, and the robbers did not come again to battle; neither did they come again14 in the twentieth year; 4:16 but15 in the twenty and first year they did not come up to battle, but they came up on all sides to lay siege round about the people of Nephi; for they did suppose that if they should cut off the people of Nephi from their lands, and should hem them in on every side, and if they should cut them off from all their outward privileges, that they could cause them to yield themselves up16 according to their wishes. 4:17 Now they had appointed unto themselves another leader, whose name was Zemnarihah; therefore it was Zemnarihah that did cause that this siege should take place. 4:18 But behold this was an advantage unto the Nephites; for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their much provision which they had laid up in store 4:19 and17 because of the scantiness of provisions among the robbers; for behold they had nothing save it were meat for their subsistence, which meat they did obtain in the wilderness. 4:20 And it came to pass that the wild game became scarce in the wilderness, insomuch that the robbers were about to perish with hunger. 4:21 And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their armies, and cutting them off by thousands and by tens of thousands. 4:22 And thus it became the desire of the people of Zemnarihah, to withdraw from their design, because of the great destruction which come18 upon them by night and by day.

4:23 And it came to pass that Zemnarihah did give command unto his people, that they should withdraw themselves from the siege, and to19 march into the farthermost parts of the land, northward. 4:24 And now Gidgiddoni, being aware of their design, and knowing of their weakness because of the want of food, and the great slaughter which had been made among them, therefore he did send out his armies in the night-time, and did cut off the way of their retreat, 4:25 and did place his armies in the way of their retreat; and this did they do in the night-time, and gat20 on their march beyond the robbers, so that on the morrow, when the robbers began their march, they were met by the armies of the Nephites, both in their front and in their rear. 4:26 And the robbers which were on the south, were also cut off in their places of retreat. And all these things were done by command of Gidgiddoni. 4:27 And there were many thousands which did yield themselves up prisoners unto the Nephites; and the remainder of them were slain; 4:28 and their leader, Zemnarihah, was taken, and hanged upon a tree, yea, even upon the top thereof, until he was dead. And when they had hanged him until he was dead, they did fall the tree to the earth, and did cry with a loud voice, saying, 4:29 May the Lord preserve his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart, that they may cause to be fell to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations, even as this man hath been fell to the earth. 4:30 And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying, May the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall call on the name of their God for protection. 4:31 And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing and praising their God, for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies; 4:32 yea, they did cry, Hosanna to the Most High God; and they did cry, Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God. 4:33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction. 5:1 And now behold there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites, which did doubt in the least thing in the words of all the holy prophets which had been21 spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled; 5:2 and they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already, they knew it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken; 5:3 therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence, day and night.

5:4 And now it came to pass that when they had taken all the robbers prisoners, insomuch that none did escape which were not slain, they did cast their prisoners into prison, and did cause the word of God to be preached unto them; and as many as would repent of their sins and enter into a covenant that they would murder no more, were set at liberty; 5:5 but as many as there were who did not enter into a covenant, and who did still continue to have those secret murders in their hearts; yea, as many as were found breathing out threatenings against their brethren, were condemned and punished according to the law. 5:6 And thus they did put an end to all those wicked, and secret, and abominable combinations, in the which there were so much wickedness, and so many murders committed. 5:7 And thus had the twenty and second year passed away, and the twenty and third year also, and the twenty and fourth, and the twenty and fifth; 5:8 and thus had twenty and five years passed away, and there had many things transpired which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvellous; nevertheless, they cannot22 all be written in this book; yea, this book cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done among so many people, in the space of twenty and five years; 5:9 but behold there are records which do contain all the proceedings of this people; and a more short but a true account was given by Nephi; 5:10 therefore I have made my record of these things according to the record of Nephi, which were engraven on the plates which were called the plates of Nephi. 5:11 And behold I do make the record on plates which I have made with mine own hands. 5:12 And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon, the land in the which Alma did establish the church among this23 people; yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression. 5:13 Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. 5:14 And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, that the prayers of those which have gone hence, which were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith, should make a record of these things which have been done; 5:15 yea, a small record of that which hath taken place from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem, even down until the present time; 5:16 therefore I do make my record from the accounts which hath been given by those which were before me, until the commencement of my day; 5:17 and then do I24 make a record of the things which I have seen with mine own eyes. 5:18 And I know the record which I make to be a just and a true record; nevertheless25 there are many things which, according to our language, we are not able to write. 5:19 And now I make an end of my saying which is of myself, and proceed to give my account of the things which hath been before me. 5:20 I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Saviour Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, (and no one knew it save it were himself and those which he brought out of that land,) and that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls. 5:21 Surely he hath blessed the house of Jacob, and hath been merciful unto the seed of Joseph. 5:22 And inasmuch26 as the children of Lehi hath kept his commandments, he hath blessed them and prospered them according to his word; 5:23 yea, and surely shall he again bring a remnant of the seed of Joseph to the knowledge of the Lord their God; 5:24 and as surely as the Lord liveth will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth, all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, which are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth; 5:25 and as he hath covenanted with all the house of Jacob, even so shall the covenant wherewith he hath covenanted with the house of Jacob, be fulfilled in his own due time, unto the restoring all the house of Jacob unto the knowledge of the covenant that he hath covenanted with them; 5:26 and then shall they know their Redeemer, which is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth, so shall it be. Amen.

 

NOTES


1. Here in 3 Nephi 3:1, P has the singular leader while the 1830 edition has the plural form leaders. The singular is more likely to be correct (cf. 3 Ne. 4:17).

2. Here in 3 Nephi 3:1, P has the present-tense are while the 1830 edition has the past-tense form were. The expression “these are the words” is more common in the Book of Mormon than “these were the words,” which may have led the scribe in P (Oliver Cowdery) to use are by mistake. Mosiah 29:4 has “these were the words that were written, saying,” the only other place in such introductory clauses besides 3 Nephi 3:1 where we are told that “the words…were written” (rather than saying “which he wrote,” which occurs four times). Although certainty seems elusive, the past-tense form in the 1830 edition appears somewhat more likely to reflect O (for an argument favoring the present-tense form, see Skousen, Analysis).

3. The 1830 edition dropped the word yea here in 3 Nephi 3:8.

4. Here in 3 Nephi 3:9, the 1830 edition added the pronoun I, which is not in P.

5. Here in 3 Nephi 3:11, the 1830 edition omitted the word in, found in P.

6. Here in 3 Nephi 3:12, the 1830 edition omitted the word And, found in P (as an ampersand, &).

7. Here in 3 Nephi 3:15, P has could while the 1830 edition has would. There does not seem to be any clear grounds for preferring one to the other.

8. Here in 3 Nephi 3:16, P has the singular word while the 1830 edition has the plural words. The plural seems somewhat more likely to be correct since it fits the clause more smoothly (“the words and prophecies of Lachoneus”).

9. The 1830 edition omitted the word chief found here in P in 3 Nephi 3:18.

10. Here in 3 Nephi 3:23, P has betwixt where the 1830 edition has between. The word betwixt is less common in the Book of Mormon but does occur. It seems likely that the printer changed the less common word to the much more common word between.

11. 3 Nephi 3:26 has the plural enemies in P but the singular enemy in the 1830 edition. There is insufficient evidence to favor one reading strongly over the other (Skousen, Analysis, cites just one place where Oliver Cowdery miscopied enemy as enemies). In such cases, we will let the 1830 reading stand.

12. Here at the end of 3 Nephi 3:26, P has the plural instructions while the 1830 edition has the singular form instruction. It seems somewhat more likely that the printer accidentally omitted the –s than that the scribe accidentally added it in P.

13. O, which happens to be extant here in 3 Nephi 4:1, has the plural desolates, which was changed in both P and the 1830 edition to desolate. We follow O here, as in Helaman 3:5 (see note there).

14. The omission of this second occurrence of the word again in 3 Nephi 4:15 in P appears to have been the scribe’s mistake.

15. Here in 3 Nephi 4:16, P had the word but and the 1830 printers did at first, then changed it to and.

16. P here at 3 Nephi 4:16 omitted the word up, probably a scribal mistake.

17. The word and found here at 3 Nephi 4:18 in P was dropped in the 1830 edition.

18. The word come here in 3 Nephi 4:22 is found in both P and the 1830 edition and so is retained here, rather than being corrected to came (as in Skousen, Analysis).

19. The 1830 edition omits the word to here in 3 Nephi 4:23, most likely to smooth out the grammar.

20. Here in 3 Nephi 4:25, P appears to say gat, whereas the 1830 edition has the more customary form got.

21. The 1830 edition omitted the word been here in 3 Nephi 5:1.

22. P here in 3 Nephi 5:8 has could not; the reading cannot in the 1830 edition corresponds better with Book of Mormon usage and is likely correct (so Skousen, Analysis).

23. Here in 3 Nephi 5:12, P has the word this whereas the 1830 edition has the word the. No strong argument for either reading can be made; we follow P here.

24. Here in 3 Nephi 5:17, P has do I whereas the 1830 edition has I do. It is likely that the printers changed the less common do I to the more familiar I do.

25. The word nevertheless here in 3 Nephi 5:18 is misprinted as neverthelers in the 1830 edition.

26. Here in 3 Nephi 5:22, P has inasmuch whereas the 1830 edition has insomuch; the reading in P fits Book of Mormon usage.