1 Nephi 16:5-8 — LeGrand Baker — “Nephi took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife”

1 Nephi 16:5-8  

5 And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.
6 Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley which he called Lemuel.
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also Zoram took the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife.
8 And thus my father had fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.

The culture of ancient Israel which is also the culture of the Book of Mormon, rarely gives expression to the idea of love between a man and a woman.{1} A striking exception is the story of Isaac and Rebekah, which simply reads,

27 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Genesis 24:67).

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FOOTNOTE

{1} Among the most famous expressions of devotion in the Old Testament is that between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, when Ruth said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Another is David’s love for Jonathan: “And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul” (1 Samuel 20:17). “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women (2 Samuel 1:25-26).
There is also David’s mourning, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33).

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