“He Was a Descendant of Ishmael”

Brant Gardner

Cultural: This verse confirms the clan association between land and rulership, at least in the land of Ishmael. We have Lamoni declared to be a descendant of Ishmael who is the king in the land of Ishmael. That is more than we should expect of coincidence. This particular Lamanite polity appears to have a lineal connection for its rulers, with the current dynasty having lasted nearly 600 years. We should not expect, however, that there was an unbroken chain from father to son, as Mesoamerican inheritance patterns could easily move to brothers. What is important is that there is a clan connection between the rulership and the land. This tells us that, like the Nephites, clan structures are active and important among the Lamanites. We could have assumed such, but it is good to have the confirmation.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon