Scripture Stories
Chapter 38: The Murder of the Chief Judge
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“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

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

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

Nephi Prays on His Garden Tower

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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The people thought the five men had murdered Seezoram.

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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.

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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.

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The judges asked to see the accused murderers.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.