The Murder of the Chief Judge


Wicked men were judges

Wicked men became judges over the Nephites. They punished righteous people but not wicked people. Hel. 7:4–5

Nephi was said to see the wickedness

Nephi’s heart was full of sorrow to see such great wickedness among his people. Hel. 7:6–7

He prayed in his garden

Nephi’s garden was by the highway that led to the chief market in Zarahemla. He went to his garden tower and prayed. Hel. 7:10

Some people wondered why he was so sad

People passing by on the highway heard him praying. A large group gathered, wondering why he was so sad. Hel. 7:11

Nephi told the people to repent

When Nephi saw them, he told them that he was sad because of their wickedness. He told them to repent. Hel. 7:12–14, 17

If they didn't they would lose their homes

He warned them that they might lose their homes and cities, that the Lord would not help them fight their enemies if they did not repent. Hel. 7:22

They were more wicked than the Lamanites

He told them that they were more wicked than the Lamanites, because they (the Nephites) knew the commandments but would not obey them. Hel. 7:24

The Lord will not destroy the Lamanites

He said that the Lord would not destroy the Lamanites. However, if the Nephites did not repent, they would be completely destroyed. Hel. 7:23, 28

Some wicked judges were there

Some of the wicked judges were there. They wanted the people to seize Nephi for speaking against them and their law. Hel. 8:1–4

Some believed judges, others believed Nephi

Some of the people agreed with the wicked judges; others believed Nephi. They knew that he was a prophet and spoke the truth. Hel. 8:7–9

Nephi told the people to repent

Nephi told the people that they had turned away from God and would be punished soon if they did not repent. Hel. 8:25–26

He told them the chief judge had been killed

Their destruction was already starting, he said: “Behold, your judge … lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.” Hel. 8:27

Five men ran to see if that was true

Five men from the crowd ran to the judgment-seat to see. They did not believe that Nephi was a prophet of God. Hel. 9:1–2

They say the chief judge dead and knew Nephi was a prophet

When they saw Seezoram, the chief judge, lying in his blood, they fell to the earth in fear. Now they knew that Nephi was a prophet. Hel. 9:6–7

Servants returned with others

Seezoram’s servants had already found him murdered and had run to tell the people. They returned and found the five men lying there. Hel. 9:3–5

The people thought the five had killed the chief judge

The people thought that the five men had murdered Seezoram. Hel. 9:8

They put the five in prison

They threw the five men into prison, then sent word through the city that the chief judge had been killed and that the murderers were in prison. Hel. 9:9

The judges who had been in Nephi's garden wondered where the five were

The next day the people went to where the chief judge would be buried. The judges who had been at Nephi’s garden asked where the five men were. Hel. 9:10–12

The judges wanted to see the accused murderers

The judges asked to see the accused murderers. Hel. 9:13

They were the five sent by the judges

The judges learned that the five men were those who had run to the judgment-seat from Nephi’s garden. Hel. 9:14

The five said everything happened as Nephi said it was

When the five men said that it had happened just as Nephi had said, the judges accused Nephi of sending someone to murder Seezoram. Hel. 9:15–16

The judges had Nephi tied up

Knowing that Nephi was a prophet, the five men argued with the judges. The judges would not listen. They had Nephi tied up. Hel. 9:18–19

and asked him who killed the chief judge

The judges offered Nephi money and his life if he would say that he had plotted to have the chief judge killed. Nephi refused. Hel. 9:20–21

Nephi told them to repent

He told the judges to repent of their wickedness. Then he told them to go to the house of Seantum, Seezoram’s brother. Hel. 9:22, 26

Then told the judges it was the brother of the chief judge

Nephi told them to ask Seantum if he and Nephi had plotted to murder Seezoram and that Seantum would say no. Hel. 9:27–28

The brother would deny it but there would be blood on his cloak

Nephi told them to then ask Seantum if he had killed his brother, that again he would say no, but that they would find blood on his cloak. Hel. 9:29–31

Then the brother confessed

Nephi told them that Seantum would shake and turn pale, then confess that he had killed his brother. Hel. 9:33–35

Everything happened like Nephi said

The judges went to Seantum’s house, and everything happened as Nephi had said. Nephi and the five men were set free. Hel. 9:37–38

More thought Nephi was a prophet

As the people walked away from Nephi, some said that he was a prophet, others that he was a god. He went home, still sad about their wickedness. Hel. 9:40–41; Hel. 10:1–3

[illustrations] Illustrated by Jerry Thompson