Evidence# 451 | June 18, 2024

Book of Mormon Evidence: Limhi's Historical Summary

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Scripture Central

Abstract

Limhi’s speech, recorded in Mosiah 7, has numerous textual parallels with content found throughout Mormon’s abridgment in Mosiah 9–24.

Evidence Summary

Sometimes, the Book of Mormon presents the same historical content from different perspectives, allowing the reader to test the consistency of each account’s respective details. One fascinating example can be seen in Limhi’s speech delivered in Mosiah 7:18–33

In numerous ways, Limhi’s statements correlate with content that the reader will later encounter in Mormon’s abridgment spanning Mosiah 9–24. In particular, Limhi appears to have drawn upon the recorded words of his grandfather Zeniff and also details from Abinadi’s ministry, which may have been preserved in his people’s royal records. The way Mormon’s own historical statements are consistent with Limhi’s earlier speech adds another layer of editorial complexity and realism.1  In the sections below, intertextual relationships among these sources will be selectively highlighted.

Parallels with Zeniff’s Account

Over-Zealous

Limhi described Zeniff as being “over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers,” (Mosiah 7:21). Zeniff himself similarly declared, “I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey” (Mosiah 9:3). These are the only two locations in the Book of Mormon that feature the term “over-zealous.” In each instance, it is used as part of a nearly identical eight-word phrase describing the same person. 

Cunning, Craftiness, and Deception

Limhi reported that Zeniff had been “deceived by the cunning and craftiness of king Laman” (Mosiah 7:21). A closely matching phrase can be found in Zeniff’s own account: “Now it was the cunning and the craftiness of king Laman, to bring my people into bondage” (Mosiah 9:10). In the next chapter, Zeniff invoked a similar description: “For this very cause has king Laman, by his cunning, and lying craftiness, and his fair promises, deceived me” (Mosiah 10:18). Throughout the Book of Mormon, the terms “cunning” and “craftiness” only show up in close proximity in these two textual units.2 

Land Treaty

Limhi stated that the Lamanite king “entered into a treaty with king Zeniff” which required the Nephites to yield up “the possessions of a part of the land, or even the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom” (Mosiah 7:21). Likewise, Zeniff recorded that he wanted to enter into a “treaty” with the Lamanites (Mosiah 9:2) and that eventually the Lamanite king “covenanted with me that I might possess the land of Lehi-Nephi, and the land of Shilom” (Mosiah 9:6). Thus, we have a very specific geographic detail in each account given in the context of a treaty between the same two parties. 

Parallels with Abinadi’s Ministry and Prophecies

Iniquities, Abominations, and Bondage

Limhi explained to his people that the reason the Lord “brought us into bondage” was due to “iniquities and abominations” (Mosiah 7:20). This corresponds with the following prophecy given by Abinadi: “I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations. … Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage” (Mosiah 12:1–2). This cluster of concepts is unique to these two locations in the Book of Mormon.3 

God among Men

The prophet which Limhi described as preaching among his people made several statements about the condescension of Christ. These teachings correspond very well with Abinadi’s statements on the same topic, as found in Mormon’s later abridgment:

Limhi’s Speech (Mosiah 7)

Abinadi’s Prophecies (Mosiah 13)

27 And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, … and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth

34 Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?

As might be expected, these are the only locations in the Book of Mormon where this cluster of very similar phrases show up together. 

Smitten with Sore Afflictions

After recounting how his people had slain a prophet, Limhi declared concerning them, “Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage, and that they are smitten with sore afflictions?” (Mosiah 7:28). A similar statement comes from Zeniff’s account: “but we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God” (Mosiah 9:3). Even more relevant, however, is a prophecy that the Lord delivered through Abinadi: “And it shall come to pass that I will smite this my people with sore afflictions” (Mosiah 12:4). Thus, Limhi would have had two precedents from which he could have derived this phrase. Notably, a form of the word “smite” only shows up in close proximity with the phrase “sore afflictions” on one other occasion in the text, making this a nearly exclusive match.4 

East Wind

The prophet that came among Limhi’s people stated, “If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction” (Mosiah 7:31). The only other location where the phrase “east wind” is found in the Book of Mormon happens to come from one of Abinadi’s prophecies in Mormon’s later abridgment: “And it shall come to pass that I will send forth hail among them, and it shall smite them; and they shall also be smitten with the east wind” (Mosiah 12:6). 

Parallels with Mormon’s Commentary

Putting Trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Limhi encouraged his people to “put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob” (Mosiah 7:19). When Mormon later recounted the deliverance story of Alma and his people, he made some theological points that appear to draw on this portion of Limhi’s prior message. These are the only places in the Book of Mormon where these concepts all turn up together in close proximity:5 

Limhi’s Speech (Mosiah 7)

Mormon’s Abridgment (Mosiah 23)

19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob

20 And again, that same God has brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, and has kept and preserved his people even until now; and behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage.

22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.

24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.

Tribute

In his royal speech, Limhi stated, “And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites” (Mosiah 7:22). Later in his abridgment, Mormon similarly remarked that the Nephites “pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year” (Mosiah 19:15). As for the specific amount, Limhi declared that “even one half of all we have or possess the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us” (Mosiah 7:22). Likewise, Mormon stated that the Lamanites allowed the Nephites to keep their lands on the condition that they “deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed” (Mosiah 19:15). Notice that these textual consistencies involve nearly verbatim matches of two fairly lengthy phrases. 

Great Mourning for Slain

In his speech, Limhi twice emphasized the extent of his people’s mourning and their cause to mourn: “Now behold, how great reason we have to mourn. Yea, I say unto you, great are the reasons which we have to mourn; for behold how many of our brethren have been slain” (Mosiah 7:23–24). When the Mormon’s historical flashback nearly catches back up to Limhi’s people in their current state, he emphasized similar points: “And it came to pass that the Lamanites did beat them, and drove them back, and slew many of them. And now there was a great mourning and lamentation among the people of Limhi, the widow mourning for her husband, the son and the daughter mourning for their father, and the brothers for their brethren” (Mosiah 21:8–9). 

Conclusion

In point after point, Limhi’s summary of his people’s history is consistent with Mormon’s later abridgment of that same history, which includes the account of Zeniff, the ministry of Abinadi, and Mormon’s own commentary. Parallels include doctrinal themes, narrative content, prophetic fulfillments, and more. In a number of instances, unique details, lengthy phrasal matches, or clusters of related elements help solidify proposed intertextual relationships. For a comprehensive chart of these consistencies, including many that weren’t included in the body of this article, see the Appendix

Limhi's Historical Summary (Chart).jpg

If the text’s own claims are to be believed, these relationships can be easily accounted for. As Zeniff’s grandson and royal heir, Limhi would surely have had access to his grandfather’s first-person account and would likely have been quite familiar with it. The fact that this same account was later read publicly by King Mosiah helps establish its significance among the Nephite people (Mosiah 25:5), thus providing incentive for Mormon to utilize it in his abridgment. 

Because many of Abinadi’s statements were given in public or legal contexts, it is plausible that they would have ended up as part of a royal or judicial record. As the son of the king, Limhi may even have been an eyewitness at Abinadi’s trial, much like Alma who also made a record of Abinadi’s teachings (Mosiah 17:4). Although we can’t be sure exactly how Mormon created his final abridgment of Abinadi’s ministry and trial, there is reason to believe that Mormon and Limhi would have had access to some of the same sources.6 

Finally, as the editor of this book, it makes sense that Mormon’s own summary of historical details would be regularly consistent with the source texts that he himself had read and copied into his abridgment. We should also keep in mind that Mormon was apparently quite selective in his use of sources. Concerning Limhi’s speech, Mormon wrote that Limhi “spake many things unto them and only a few of them have I written in this book” (Mosiah 8:1; emphasis added). It therefore isn’t a stretch to assume that Mormon was carefully choosing material from Limhi’s royal address that dovetailed with the contents and themes that Mormon had planned to include throughout the rest of his abridgment. 

In contrast, if Joseph Smith simply fabricated the contents of the Book of Mormon, then the burden of these many textual consistencies would fall squarely on his creative imagination and mental recall. This feat would be particularly notable because, according to witnesses, the poorly educated Smith rapidly dictated the Book of Mormon without relying on any notes or manuscripts.7 

Even if he had mentally outlined the general contours of these stories before their dictation, as some have supposed, it is hard to imagine him compacting so many details into Limhi’s speech which he would later remember to disperse throughout Mormon’s abridgment. These types of subtle textual consistencies, prevalent in so many locations throughout the Book of Mormon, help support the claim that it was dictated by the gift and power of God.8 


Further Reading

John Gee, “Limhi in the Library,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1, no. 1 (1992): 54–66.


Appendix

Topic

Limhi’s Historical Summary (Mosiah 7)

Mormon’s Abridgment

(Mosiah 9–24)

Theme of Comfort9 

7:18 O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted

7:19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice,

12:22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;

12:23 Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem

15:29 Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

15:30 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

24:13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

Theme of Subjection10 

7:18 for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies

15:2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father

15:5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father

15:7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death,

16: 3 For they are carnal and devilish … knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.

16:11 … being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation

21:13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage … according to the desires of their enemies.

Trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

7:19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob

7:20 And again, that same God has brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, and has kept and preserved his people even until now; and behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage.

23:22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

23:23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.

23:24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.

Iniquities and Abominations

7:20 And again, that same God has brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, and has kept and preserved his people even until now; and behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage.

12:1 … therefore, I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations.

12:2 … Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage

12:7 … and all this will I do because of their iniquities and abominations.

Zeniff’s Overzealousness

7:21 And ye all are witnesses this day, that Zeniff, who was made king over this people, he being over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers

9:3 And yet, I [Zeniff] being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land

Cunning and Craftiness

7:21 therefore being deceived by the cunning and craftiness of king Laman, who having entered into a treaty with king Zeniff

9:10 Now it was the cunning and the craftiness of king Laman, to bring my people into bondage

 

10:18 For this very cause has king Laman, by his cunning, and lying craftiness, and his fair promises, deceived me

Land Treaty

7:21 therefore being deceived by the cunning and craftiness of king Laman, who having entered into a treaty with king Zeniff, and having yielded up into his hands the possessions of a part of the land, or even the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom; and the land round about

9:2 Therefore, I contended with my brethren in the wilderness, for I would that our ruler should make a treaty with them

9:6 And I went in unto the king, and he covenanted with me that I might possess the land of Lehi-Nephi, and the land of Shilom.

Laman’s Intent to Put Zenniff’s People into Bondage

7:22 And all this he did [yielding up the land], for the sole purpose of bringing this people into subjection or into bondage.

9:10 Now it was the cunning and the craftiness of king Laman, to bring my people into bondage, that he yielded up the land that we might possess it.

21:13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage

The Nephites Pay Tribute to the Lamanites

7:22 And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds; and even one half of all we have or possess the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us, or our lives.

19:15 Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up king Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year.

Corn, Barley, Grains, Flocks, and Herds11 

7:22 … And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds

9:9 And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land.

9:14 … a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them and began to slay them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields.

21:16 And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger.

Mourning for Slain Nephites

7:23 And now, is not this grievous to be borne? And is not this, our affliction, great? Now behold, how great reason we have to mourn.

7:24 Yea, I say unto you, great are the reasons which we have to mourn; for behold how many of our brethren have been slain, and their blood has been spilt in vain, and all because of iniquity.

21:8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did beat them, and drove them back, and slew many of them

21:9 And now there was a great mourning and lamentation among the people of Limhi, the widow mourning for her husband, the son and the daughter mourning for their father, and the brothers for their brethren.

A Great Evil12 

7:25 For if this people had not fallen into transgression the Lord would not have suffered that this great evil should come upon them.

12:13 And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man?

12:29 Why do ye … cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?

Contentions among the Nephites13  

7:25 But behold, they would not hearken unto his words; but there arose contentions among them, even so much that they did shed blood among themselves.

9:2 Therefore, I contended with my brethren in the wilderness, for I would that our ruler should make a treaty with them; but he being an austere and a blood-thirsty man commanded that I should be slain; but I was rescued by the shedding of much blood; for father fought against father, and brother against brother, until the greater number of our army was destroyed in the wilderness

The Nephites Slay a Prophet (Abinadi)

7:26 And a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations

17:12 Therefore the king was stirred up in anger against him, and he delivered him up that he might be slain.

17:13 And it came to pass that they took him and bound him, and scourged his skin with faggots, yea, even unto death.

Wickedness and Abominations

7:26 And a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations

11:20 Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger.

Abinadi Prophesied “Many Things”

7:26 And a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations, and prophesied of many things which are to come, yea, even the coming of Christ.

12:8 … And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people.

The Coming of Christ

7:26 And a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations, and prophesied of many things which are to come, yea, even the coming of Christ.

15:24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. 

16:6 And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption.

16:14 Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come

Christ Is “the Father”

7:27 And [Abinadi] said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things

15:2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

15:3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

15:4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

God Will Come Down among Men

7:27 And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth

13:34 Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?

15:1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

Christ Will Take upon Himself Flesh

7:27 … or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth

15:2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God …

15:3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

15:5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father

15:7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death

Put to Death for Saying “God Should Come Down”

7:27 … he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth

7:28 And now, because he said this, they did put him to death; and many more things did they do which brought down the wrath of God upon them.

17:8 For thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men; and now, for this cause thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.

Smitten with Sore Afflictions

7:28 … Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage, and that they are smitten with sore afflictions?

7:32 And now, behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted.

3 And yet, I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey into the wilderness to go up to the land; but we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God.

12:4 And it shall come to pass that I will smite this my people with sore afflictions, yea, with famine and with pestilence;

East Wind

7:31 And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction.

12:6 … and they shall also be smitten with the east wind; and insects shall pester their land also, and devour their grain.

Only God Will Deliverance Them from Bondage

7:33 But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

11:23 And it shall come to pass that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God.

23:23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.

23:24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.


End Notes

  • 1. In many instances, this article makes claims regarding the frequency of words or phrases found throughout the text. This analysis was facilitated using WordCruncher.
  • 2. Interestingly, these terms also show up in Ephesians 4:14, providing an interesting textual connection with the New Testament. For those interested in further exploring such relationships, see https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/tags/new-testament-intertextuality.
  • 3. While the phrase “iniquity and abominations” turns up a number of times throughout the text, these are the only two locations where the phrase is are paired with the concept of “bondage.” The fact that “iniquities and abominations” turns up again in Abinadi’s words in Mosiah 12:7 adds further support to the intentionality of the parallel, as the repetition of this specific phrase would likely have made it more memorable.
  • 4. The other instance is found in Mosiah 1:17.  
  • 5. The most important textual relationships are (1) putting trust in God, (2) the mention of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (3) rejoicing, and (4) the theme of escaping bondage. The context of being “lifted up” is a different in each passage and therefore is somewhat less likely to be an intentional parallel. Most (although not all) of these ideas also turn up in Alma’s statements in Alma 36:2–3, yet in that case they seem to allude back to the same narratives that Mormon was recording in the book of Mosiah.
  • 6. See John W. Welch, The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2008), 140–145.
  • 7. See Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Translation (Main Category),” online at evidencecentral.org.
  • 8. See Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Complexity (Main Category),” online at evidencecentral.org.
  • 9. It should be noted that these are the only two places (Mosiah 7:18; 24:13) in the entire Standard Works where the concepts of “lift up,” “heads,” and “comfort” show up together in close proximity. This is significant because it appears that on multiple levels Mormon intentionally drew out parallels between the stories of Limhi’s people and Alma’s people, both of which relate to the Israelite exodus from Egypt. See Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Exodus and Limhi’s People,” ID# 0358, July 18, 2022; Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Exodus and Alma’s People,” ID# 0360, July 27, 2022. Also, as demonstrated by Matthew Bowen, the concept of comfort is part of a wordplay on King Noah’s name that is developed in various ways throughout the flashback sequence. Matthew Bowen, “This Son Shall Comfort Us’: An Onomastic Tale of Two Noahs,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 23 (2017): 263–298; Bowen’s article is summarized in Evidence Central, “Book of Mormon Evidence: Wordplay on Noah,” ID# 0078, September 19, 2020. Thus, it seems likely that Mormon intentionally preserved this portion of Limhi’s speech due to its thematic relevance to his larger abridgment project.
  • 10. In addition to “subjection” being a doctrinal theme expounded upon by Abinadi, it is notable that aside from these passages (Mosiah 7:18; 21:13), there is only one other place where the terms “subjection” and “enemies” are used in close proximity in the Book of Mormon (Alma 61:12–13).
  • 11. Chapters 7 and 9 of Mosiah are the only places in the Book of Mormon which mention “corn,” and “barley” is only mentioned in one other chapter (Alma 11:7, 15). The clustering of elements in several verses strengthens the intertextual proposal.  
  • 12. The phrase “great evil” is quite rare in the Book of Mormon, with only seven instances in total. It is notable then that the phrase turns up not once, but twice, in the Abinadi narrative (in addition to its presence in Limhi’s speech). The other four instances include Alma 11:25; 19:19; Helaman 3:34; 11:34. 
  • 13. At first glance, one might assume that Limhi was speaking of the conflict between King Noah and his people, as recorded in Mosiah 19:3: “And the lesser part began to breathe out threatenings against the king, and there began to be a great contention among them.” Later in the chapter, the people caused that King Noah “should suffer, even unto death by fire,” which could correlate to the “shed blood” mentioned by Limhi (v. 20). While this interpretation is possible, Zeniff’s account of events that took place decades earlier may provide a better corollary with Limhi’s statements, since it explicitly includes the element of “shedding of much blood” (which is absent in the Noah account). One clue that Limhi was indeed referencing this earlier event comes from the immediate context of his statement. In Mosiah 7:21–24, Limhi gave an overview of his people’s history, starting with Zeniff and working forward to their current state of bondage. These passages focus on the harm that the Lamanites were causing the Nephites, including (1) the deception of the Lamanite King in Mosiah 7:21, (2) the tribute the Lamanites were exacting from the Nephites in Mosiah 7:22, and (3) the many Nephites whom the Lamanites had slain, presumably in the Nephites’ vain efforts to remove themselves from bondage Mosiah 7:24. In Mosiah 7:25, however, a chronological shift occurs. It appears that Limhi started his summary over a gain from the beginning, this time emphasizing what the Nephites did to deserve their punishments, including (1) internal contention recorded in Mosiah 7:25, (2) the slaying a prophet of the Lord in Mosiah 7:25, (3) and “many more things” from Mosiah 7:28. In the context of this storytelling reboot, Limhi’s reference to an internal conflict among the Nephites came just before his allusions to Abinadi’s ministry, suggesting that the first event preceded the second. Zeniff’s account of internal Nephite bloodshed thus provides the best match, both in phrasal similarity and historical context. The fact that the best phrasal match happens to be supported by a close reading of Limhi’s rhetorical structure adds one more layer of textual sophistication.

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