Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Rebellion of Lamen and Lemuel

Death of Korah
Murmur murmur murmur murmur murmur murmur murmur…..exceedingly
1 Nephi 16: 20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord
So what exactly is murmuring? Is it complaining; because you can tune out a complaint after a few minutes of listening to it. Is it a character flaw, or is that person unhappy, mean spirited, a jerk or just a pain in the you- know- what? I found in the Topical Guideline of the scriptures these 4 words that describe murmuring: Disobedience, Disputations; Ingratitude and Rebellion.
So this past Sunday, the Primary lesson was in 1 Nephi 16, all about the broken bow and resulting near mutiny of the entire family. My husband made an observation that made sense:
1 Nephi 16: 18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food
Nephi broke his bow made of “fine steel” which had to be a pretty impressive bow. My husband said that the equivalent of Nephi breaking that bow was the same equivalent of him losing a really good job, since he was the unofficial bread winner of the group. Wow, imagine that you were just getting into the groove of a really good job, the pay was good, great benefits, and out of the blue, you get laid off. How devastating is that, especially in this economy and then to top it off, none of your family members were loving or understanding to your plight. Maybe the wife or husband threatened divorce, kids refused to ever speak to you again. Maybe that’s how Nephi felt.
1 Nephi 16:21-22
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
Don’t you just love Nephi? He continues to take the high road, trying to exhort his brothers and family members to continue in faith. Wasn’t he suffering just like them? After all he just spent some hard days hunting for dinner with no luck, and with Lamen and Lemual as companions? I wondered what the other family members were doing to help this cause. There is no mention of the wives searching for berries, or edible vegetation or fruits.
In my Mormon Study Group, our teacher read the verse 1 Nephi 16:20 and noted that now Papa Lehi was murmuring, and also murmuring against his God. Wow, what drove Lehi over the edge? The question was “Whose fault was it that Lehi started to murmur, was the fatigue, the journey or was it Laman and Lemuel? He asked us what we would do if we were Lehi. The consensus was that most of us would send those boys back to Jerusalem. But you know, we have a wise teacher and he allowed us to speculate, but he did not say if that was a good or bad idea. So  this past Sunday morning as I was trying to glean just a little more insight on this chapter, I read this verse:
1 Nephi 16:25-27
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives
So Lehi had a moment, a very bad moment where succumbed to the the hostile atmosphere that had been created by the murmurings of Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael and even their wives. Did Sariah join in on this too? But he caught himself and fell “on his face” in prayer and asked forgiveness of not only him but his family too. He was truly chastened. Every good son is chastened of the Lord.What I wanted to know was what the “ball” said. There were things written on that ball that caused everyone to shake and tremble. I thought maybe the message referred to the Lords commandments, because the Lord is the same today, yesterday and forever. So He changes not in directives. So I was literally led to read Numbers 16. The first thing I noticed was the “liner notes” at the top of the chapter that gave a summary of the chapter, it read like breaking news:
Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and 250 leaders rebel and seek priestly offices—The earth swallows the three rebels and their families—Fire from the Lord consumes the 250 rebels—Israel murmurs against Moses and Aaron for slaying the people—The Lord sends a plague, from which 14,700 die.
Here's the story:
Numbers 16:1-4
1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?
4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face
Imagine if  the general authorities tried to  force President Monson to resign as Prophet of the Church of Latter Day Saints? And not only that but they had started a “campaign” against him using all of the social media of the day? Imagine at a General Conference type of meeting, a public forum, that this “rebellion” would take place.

Here is some background:

During the Israelite forty-year sojourn, times had been hard. The Lord gave Moses assistance by calling “seventy men of the elders of Israel” (see Num. 11:16–17) and placing upon them the spirit that was upon Moses.
Shortly thereafter, Korah, a Levite (but not of Aaron), and two Reubenites led two hundred and fifty leaders in rebellion charging that Moses and Aaron “take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy … [why] lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” (Num. 16:3.) To Korah and the Levites among the group, Moses said: “Seemeth it but a small thing unto you that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them. … and seek ye the priesthood also?” (Num. 16:9–10.)
The Levites already held the Levitical Priesthood. Therefore, some scholars have felt that the group was seeking the same authority held by the sons of Aaron or by Aaron himself. 8 But the JST suggests otherwise. The Melchizedek Priesthood and its ordinances were removed from the general population of Israel at the time of the second set of tablets (JST, Ex. 34:1; JST, Deut. 10:2). Therefore, in JST Numbers 16:10 [JST, Num. 16:10], we find an insight into what Korah and his followers sought: “And [the Lord] hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee; and seek ye the high priesthood also?”
Since there was to be only one high priest, and since many of the group already held the Levitical Priesthood, this reference must be to the Melchizedek Priesthood—which Korah and his followers evidently wanted to hold." A Prophet Looks at Exodus through Deuteronomy: Insights from the Joseph Smith Translation George A. Horton, Jr., chairman of the Ancient Scripture Department at Brigham Young University
And this:
The Rebellion of Korah and Other Leaders of Israel
In Korah’s rebellion is a direct challenge to Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership. Up to this time, Israel was constantly murmuring and complaining, but apparently this was a greater attempt to replace Moses as the one chosen by God to lead His people. (Miriam’s and Aaron’s rebellion was an attempt to be equal with Moses, but it did not seek to overthrow him.) Korah, a Levite, had two hundred and fifty of Israel’s most prominent leaders behind him when he accused Moses and Aaron of taking too much upon themselves (see vv. 2–3). Korah’s statement that “all the congregation are holy, every one of them” (v. 3) is similar to that of the apostate Zoramites who, in their great wickedness, thanked God that they were His “holy children” (Alma 31:16).Numbers 13–36: Wilderness Wanderings, Part 2; Old Testament Student Manuel
Numbers 16:12-15
Moses summoned Dathan and Abriam to bring their complaints, but they would not obey. They brought false charges against Moses. Moses falls on his face in prayer and appeals to God for direction in this serious matter. He tells them to appear with Aaron the next morning at the time of the offering of the morning incense.
Numbers 16:19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation
Numbers 16:20-22
20 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
Wow, I was reading this before sacrament, and I almost fell out of my seat. This was so terrible,so harsh. This is a perfect example to the Lords swift and terrible judgement. But it seems that Moses prayed to intercede for these men and the members of the congregation. He felt that they were misguided and he did not want to see them destroyed for their sin.
Compare this to what Lamen and Lemuel and the son's of Ishmael said:
1 Nephi 16:37-38
37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.
38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.
These guys are plotting to take the life of the Prophet and his 1st counselor Nephi. Does it matter that this is their father and brother? So was this a part of the prayer of Lehi, to forgive his sons for their misdeeds?
So meanwhile , back in Numbers 16:25-26
25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins
And this:
Numbers 16:31-33
31 ¶And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
And this too:
46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
That must have been an awful sight, to see the earth literally open and swallow up the evil doers and if that wasn’t enough, the rest of the malcontents were struck down by a plague. That is some serious business. Read this chapter and compare it to Nephi 16. I think that if this episode in the history of the children of Israel was written on that ball, I would definitely tremble exceedingly.
My husband thinks that maybe the Lord reminded them of the impending destruction of Jerusalem. But I think that maybe the Lord reiterated the promise and curse concerning the posterity of Lamen and Lemuel and even Nephi.

1 Nephi 2:21-24
21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee,they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandment's, thou shalt be made a ruler and teacher over thy brethren.
23 And behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.

It's amazing that in those verses there are no ifs ,ands or but. It seems that the curse for Laman and Lemuel was set long before they left Jerusalem. It appears that they were apostates like the majority of the children of Israel at that time.
This is a lesson for our times.
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