“They Were Taken by an Army of the Lamanites and Cast into Prison”

Brant Gardner

Nephi and Lehi are in the land of Nephi. This is the same land that was the home of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies before they left to join the Nephites in Zarahemla. As discussed following Alma 24:9-11, the Mesoamerican context of the people at this revolved around captives who were often tortured and kept for sacrifice. While we do not specifically have that stated at this time, the description given here fits into this cultural context. The lack of food for several days was not atypical. The real question of this passage is how Mormon could have known that the Lamanites were coming to slay Nephi and Lehi. He must have had the information from some record of Nephi and Lehi, and it is probable that they understood that the Lamanites would be coming because of their understanding of the operation of the cult of war and sacrifice.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon