Chapter 38: The Murder of the Chief Judge

    “Chapter 38: The Murder of the Chief Judge,” Book of Mormon Stories (1997), 103–7

    “Chapter 38,” Book of Mormon Stories, 103–7

    Chapter 38

    The Murder of the Chief Judge

    wicked Nephites talking

    Wicked men had become judges over the Nephites. They punished the righteous people but not the wicked people.


    Nephi was sad to see so much wickedness among the people.

    road into Zarahemla

    One day he was praying on a tower in his garden. His garden was by the highway that led to a marketplace in Zarahemla.

    Nephi praying

    People passing by on the highway heard Nephi praying. A large group gathered, wondering why he was so sad.

    Nephi talking to people

    When Nephi saw the people, he told them he was sad because of their wickedness. He told them to repent.

    Nephites listening to Nephi

    He warned them that if they did not repent, their enemies would take their homes and cities and the Lord would not help them fight their enemies.

    Nephi talking

    Nephi said the Nephites were more wicked than the Lamanites because the Nephites had been taught the commandments but were not obeying them.

    Nephi talking

    He said that if the Nephites did not repent, they would be destroyed.

    people angry

    Some of the wicked judges were there. They wanted the people to punish Nephi for speaking against them and their law.

    men arguing

    Some of the people agreed with the wicked judges. Others believed Nephi; they knew he was a prophet and spoke the truth.

    Nephi talking

    Nephi told the people that they had rebelled against God and would soon be punished if they did not repent.

    Nephi pointing

    Nephi told the people to go find their chief judge. He would be lying in his own blood, murdered by a brother who wanted his position.

    men running

    Five men from the crowd ran to see the chief judge. They did not believe that Nephi was a prophet of God.

    chief judge dead

    When they saw Seezoram, the chief judge, lying in his blood, they fell to the ground in fear. Now they knew that Nephi was a prophet.

    men pointing

    Seezoram’s servants had already found the chief judge and had run to tell the people. They returned and found the five men lying there.

    men angry

    The people thought the five men had murdered Seezoram.

    men talking

    They threw the five men into prison and then sent word throughout the city that the chief judge had been killed and that the murderers were in prison.

    men talking

    The next day the people went to where the chief judge would be buried. The judges who had been at Nephi’s garden asked where the five men were.

    judges talking

    The judges asked to see the accused murderers.

    men in front of judges

    The accused murderers were the five men who had run from Nephi’s garden to the chief judge.

    men in front of chief judge

    The five men said they had found the chief judge lying in blood, just as Nephi had said. Then the judges accused Nephi of sending someone to murder Seezoram.

    five men bound

    Knowing that Nephi was a prophet, the five men argued with the judges, but they would not listen. They had Nephi tied up.

    judge talking to Nephi

    The judges offered Nephi money and his life if he would say he had plotted to kill the chief judge.

    Nephi bound

    Nephi told the judges to repent of their wickedness. Then he told them to go to Seantum, Seezoram’s brother.

    judges talking to Seantum

    Nephi told them to ask Seantum if he and Nephi had plotted to murder Seezoram. Nephi said Seantum would say “no.”

    men grabbing Seantum’s robe

    Then the judges were to ask Seantum if he had killed his brother. Seantum would again say “no,” but the judges would find blood on his cloak.


    Nephi said Seantum would then shake and turn pale and finally confess to killing his brother.

    Seantum being taken away

    The judges went to Seantum’s house, and everything happened as Nephi said it would. Nephi and the five men were set free.


    As the people walked away from Nephi, some said he was a prophet; others said he was a god. Nephi went home, still sad about their wickedness.