1 Nephi 4:6-8 — LeGrand Baker — Laban and the Apostasy

1 Nephi 4:6-8

6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
7 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine
8 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.

What was Laban doing that night, dressed in the sacred clothing (probably of his kingship and priesthood) and carrying the royal regalia of the house of Manasseh? Nephi may have known or surmised when he said to Zoram that they must carry the plates to “my elder brethren,” and Zoram supposed he spoke “of the brethren of the church”(1 Nephi 4:24-25). The members of Laban’s “church” were “the elders of the Jews” (1 Nephi 4:26-27), probably those same apostates whom Ezekiel called the “ancients of the house of Israel.”

Ezekiel was in Mesopotamia, but had a vision about what was happening back home (Ezekiel 8:1-18).. In his report of his vision, he condemns the “ancients of the house of Israel (v. 11-12), and later refers more specifically to the “house of Judah.” (v. 17) We may read the “ancients of the house of Israel” to include men from tribes other than just Judah. If the leaders of the house of Manasseh were one of those tribes, then Laban may have been among those leaders Ezekiel was condemning for worshiping pagan deities in Jehovah’s Temple.

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