General LDS Information
Basic LDS Beliefs
LDS Videos
Critics' Questions
Submitted Questions
Scriptures/LDS Literature
LDS Temples
Music and Arts
LDS Online Stores
Priesthood, Humor, Miscel.
Site Map

Suggest a Site
Now accepting banner ads!

Bookmark and Share

JON - Can you tell me if Zoram was Laban's Slave or Servant. What Tribe it Zoram come from (his heritage). Same question of Ishmael and was Ishmael just a friend of Lehi's family and was he a long line descendant of Ishmael from Hagar?

JOEL - According to the scriptures Zoram was a servant of Laban:
And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. (1 Nep 4:35)

And now, Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban; nevertheless, thou hast been brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever. (2 Nep 1:30)

The scriptures say nothing more of him.

A lot more has been said about Ishmael even though the Book of Mormon itself doesn't tell us much about who he was:

"And it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord." (1 Nephi 7:4)

We know that his family, in addition to his wife, consisted of two married sons, with their households, and five daughters (1 Ne. 7:6). Their is a tradition in the LDS Church that Ishmael was an Ephraimite based on a discourse delivered by Apostle Erastus Snow, in Logan, Utah, 6 May 1882. Elder Snow said:

"The Prophet Joseph Smith informed us that the record of Lehi was contained on the 116 pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgment is given us in the First Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi's family, and Lehi's sons married Ishmael's daughters." (JD 23:184)

This statement not only implies that Ishmael was an Ephraimite, but in connection with Nephi's statement (1 Ne. 7:6), strongly points to the fact that Father Lehi had daughters-at least two-who had married the sons of Ishmael. In other words, Lehi was the father-in-law of Ishmael's sons. Notice that no explanation is given regarding the identity of Ishmael or why Lehi would seek him out; perhaps because Lehi already knew him very well. Dr. Hugh Nibley said:

"Lehi, faced with the prospect of a long journey in the wilderness, sent back for Ishmael, who promptly followed into the desert with a large party; this means that he must have been hardly less adept at moving about than Lehi himself. The interesting thing is that Nephi takes Ishmael (unlike Zoram) completely for granted, never explaining who he is or how he fits into the picture-the act of sending for him seems to be the most natural thing in the world, as does the marriage of his daughters with Lehi's sons. Since it has ever been the custom among the desert people for a man to marry the daughter of his paternal uncle, it is hard to avoid the impression that Lehi and Ishmael were related. (Hugh W. Nibley, Lehi in the Desert; The World of the Jaredites; There Were Jaredites, vol. 5 in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 40.)

Return to top
Return to Questions