Sam was Nephi’s next older brother. Nephi offered insight into Sam’s character when he testified of Lehi’s message from God. “And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words”. Laman and Lemuel, however, were angered that their father had caused the family to abandon “the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart”. This division of belief between Laman and Lemuel, on the one hand, and Nephi and Sam, on the other, was to endure from that time forth. It was confirmed to Lehi in his vision of the tree of life, for Sariah, Nephi, and Sam all partook of the fruit of the tree, but Laman and Lemuel refused to do so. Lehi declared, “And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved. But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you”. In the patriarchal blessing that Lehi gave his family at the end of his lifetime, he issued a warning.
And now my son, Laman, and also Lemuel and Sam, and also my sons who are the sons of Ishmael, behold, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Nephi ye shall not perish. And if ye will hearken unto him I leave unto you a blessing, yea, even my first blessing.
But if ye will not hearken unto him I take away my first blessing, yea, even my blessing, and it shall rest upon him.
Shortly thereafter, just before he died, Lehi gave Sam a special blessing. “Blessed art thou, and thy seed; for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days”. When Laman and Lemuel rose up in rebellion to slay their righteous siblings, Nephi took action in response to the commandment of the Lord. “Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words”.
After the separation from the oldest brothers, Sam and his posterity remained united with the posterity of Nephi according to the blessing pronounced by Lehi. The Lord blessed them and they prospered and grew in strength and faith because they “lived after the manner of happiness”. Mormon later observed the stark disparity between the rebellious Lamanites and the righteous branch of the posterity of Lehi, “who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men”.
History: Sam left Jerusalem with Lehi and his family around 600 BC to complete the journey to the Promised Land. Nephi and Sam and their group separated themselves from Laman and Lemuel sometime between approximately 588 BC and 570 BC.