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Prophets, Kings, and Swords: The Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin
TitleProphets, Kings, and Swords: The Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsRolph, Daniel N.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
Volume2
Issue1
Pagination73-79
KeywordsAncient Near East; Birthright; Laban; Metallurgy; Nephi; Sword; Sword of Laban; Technology
Abstract

The sword of Laban plays a prominent role in the Book of Mormon narrative as a Nephite national treasure. Scholarly analysis of this regal heirloom has primarily concentrated upon its physical construction in relation to ancient Near Eastern metallurgical technology. However, when examined within the cultural milieu of the ancient world, along with data from Church history, the scriptures, and Jewish tradition, the sword of Laban takes on new significance. Though the Book of Mormon reveals that the sword of Laban served as an ancestral and hereditary sword of the ancient Nephite prophets, evidence suggests that the weapon may have been the birthright sword of biblical tradition, a sacred heirloom that may have been wielded by the patriarchs up until the time of Joseph of Egypt. Laban, being a descendant of Joseph, inherited the birthright sword and the plates of brass, both treasures eventually coming into the possession of Nephi, who was both a prophet and a descendant of Joseph, as was Joseph Smith, Jr.

URLhttp://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/jbms/2/1/S00005-50c75a0f214265Rolph.pdf

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