1 Nephi 16:23-24 — LeGrand Baker — “I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?”

1 Nephi 16:23-24 

23. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.

It is probably true that no one has read this account without noting that Nephi did not presume to himself the prerogative of asking the Lord, but rather he went to his father to seek instructions. Nephi’s deference to his father calls into question the whole argument that his writing is for his own self-justification or self-aggrandizement.

The Hiltons have also given us important insights about the wood that could have made an effective bow. They wrote,

This, then, [the broken bow] was the problem facing Nephi. He records that he found wood to build a new bow in 1 Nephi 16:23. Our friend Salim Saad enthusiastically pointed out that the pomegranate tree, that grows around Jiddah, would make good bows. These trees grow throughout the Middle East, even in brackish water. Pomegranate is a relatively straight and close-grained fruitwood that is remarkable lumber and tough. Until a decade ago, Arab teachers kept a pomegranate rod handy for disciplinary purposes, and one friend told us that being struck once across the knuckles caused such severe pain that he reformed and became a model pupil. This made us wonder if, in addition to Nephi’s possible use of pomegranate wood as a bow, he might have suffered from its other uses earlier when his brothers beat him ‘with a rod’ (1 Nephi 3:28).{1}



{1} Lynn M. Hilton and Hope A. Hilton, Discovering Lehi (Springville, Ut., Cedar Fort, Incorporated, 1969), 114-15.

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