Chapter 3 ended with an angel telling Nephi's brothers to stop beating Nephi and Sam with a rod.
And it came to pass
(4:1, 10, 12, 28, 29, 30, 32, 35, 37, 38)
(4:1-3) Since the angel didn't impress Laman and Lemeul,
Nephi had to make another long, boring, BoM-type speech.
"And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in
keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth.
Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver
us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians."
(4:4) After the speech, Laman and Lemuel decided to follow Nephi
back to Jerusalem, though they "did still continue to murmur."
"Now when I had spoken these words, they were yet wroth, and did still continue to murmur; nevertheless they did follow me
up until we came without the walls of Jerusalem."
(4:5-6) When they got to Jerusalem, Nephi's brothers waited outside the gates while
Nephi was led by the Lord to Laban's house.
"After they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept ... towards the house of Laban. And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand
the things which I should do."
(4:7-8) The Lord lead Nephi to a drunk guy passed out on the ground -- who turned out to be Laban!
"I beheld a man, and he had fallen ... for he was drunken with wine.
And when I came to him I found that it was Laban."
Exceedingly (4:9, 28)
(4:9) Laban had a sword made out of "the finest steel"
(more than two thousand years before steel was available) with a handle of pure gold.
"The blade ... was of the most precious steel."
The Spirit of the Lord forces Nephi to murder Laban.
(4:10) The Spirit of the Lord "constrained" Nephi to murder Laban as he lay passed out on the ground.
"I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban."
(4:11) But the Spirit had to tell Nephi again.
"The Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands."
(4:12-13) And a third time, reminding Nephi that God kills people
too (so it must be OK) and besides, it's better that one person die than a whole nation dwindle in unbelief.
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"And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands ... It is
better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief."
(4:13) "It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people,
and that the whole nation perish not." John 11:50
(4:13) Dwindling in unbelief
(4:18) So Nephi (finally) obeys the Spirit by grabbing Laban by the hair and chopping off his head with his own sword.
"I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword."
(4:19) After Nephi smote off his head, he put on Laban's clothes (while the blood gushed from the carotid artery) and "gird on his
armor about [his] loins." (Laban always wore armor on his loins when he went out partying.)
"And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body;
yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins."
(4:20) Dressed in Laban's blood-drenched clothes and loin armor, he went to the treasury of Laban and commanded (with the voice
of Laban) Laban's servant to follow him.
"I saw the servant of Laban who had the keys of the treasury. And I commanded him in
the voice of Laban."
(4:21) And it worked perfectly. Nephi looked and sounded just like Laban, so it completely
fooled Laban's servant.
"And he supposed me to be his master, Laban, for he beheld the garments and also the sword girded about my loins."
(4:22-27) Nephi chatted with Laban's servant for a while about all the usual things --
the wild party last night, gossip about the elders of the "church" (the Jews had churches back then), etc. Then Nephi told
him to take the brass plates to his brothers who were waiting outside the city gates.
"And he spake unto me concerning the elders of the Jews, he knowing that his master, Laban, had been out by night among them
... And I spake unto him as if it had been Laban ... wherefore he did follow me ... as I went forth unto my brethren,
who were without the walls."
(4:28) When Nephi's brothers saw Nephi and Laban's servant coming, they were
"exceedingly frightened" since they thought Nephi was Laban, too! (It was an exceedingly good disguise.)
"When Laman saw me he was exceedingly frightened, and also Lemuel
and Sam. And they fled from before my presence; for they supposed it was Laban."
(4:29) But then they heard his voice (he wasn't using the voice of Laban anymore)
and they knew it was Nephi "wherefore they did cease to flee from [his] presence."
"And it came to pass that I called after them, and they did hear me; wherefore they did cease to flee from my presence."
(4:38) After brothers settled down, Nephi talked Laban's servant (Zoram) into joining up with them, and they packed up the
brass plates and returned (400+ kilometers) to Lephi's tent.
"And it came to pass that we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed
unto the tent of our father."