“Labored in All His Days for Their Welfare”

Brant Gardner

Anthropological: We don't see much of the economic information about Nephi, but we get very specific information about Nephi's military standing. It is significant from the standpoint of social complexity to know that Nephi, as the king, was personally involved in the armed conflicts. Certainly this was absolutely required in the early years when the population was smaller. It is probable that the population even at this point is not sufficiently large that there is the ability to separate the king from the necessities of physical presence, excepting, of course, Nephi's advanced age.

This again reinforces the estimation of population at this point as relatively small, though perhaps being one of the larger villages in the area if we correctly read the information about the wealth of the community.

Biographical: This information gives us Nephi as a warrior king. If he were 16 at the time the family left Jerusalem, he was recording that the were wars and skirmishes by 40 years after the departure (2 Nephi 5:34). Thus this warrior king's career lasted at least to his mid fifty's, and probably would have had at least a ceremonial presence with the sword of Laban after that. In the earlier years when the population was smaller and Nephi younger, he would certainly have been in the fighting - wielding the sword against the enemy in personal combat. With increasing years and an increasing population to protect him, his presence would have been more distant and protected, much more akin to Moses watching from afar, yet leading through personal presence.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon