1 Nephi 17: "Thou Shalt Construct a Ship"

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 28–29

Lehi’s little colony finally ended their wilderness journey when the Lord guided them to a fertile place on the seashore, which they called Bountiful. In 1 Nephi 17, Nephi gave some details of their experience in the wilderness that he had not mentioned before. Look for how long they traveled in the wilderness, what they ate, and how they were able to survive on such a diet. Notice also why Laman and Lemuel started murmuring again.

Photo: Warren Aston, courtesy Foundation for
Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.


Understanding the Scriptures

1 Nephi 17

Sojourn (vv. 3–4)Stay for awhile
Notwithstanding (v. 6)Even though
Molten (vv. 9, 16)Melt
Bellows (v. 11)A device for blowing air on a fire to make it hotter
Statutes (v. 22)Laws, rules
Bondage (vv. 24–25)Slavery
Laden (v. 25)Loaded, burdened
Reviled against (vv. 30, 42)Spoke evil of, insulted
Esteemeth all flesh in one (v. 35)Considers all of His children equally
Straitened (v. 41)Disciplined, corrected
Asunder (v. 45)Apart
Rent with anguish (v. 47)Torn with great sorrow
Consuming (v. 48)Destroying
Wither (v. 48)Shrink, dry up
Naught (v. 48)Nothing

Studying the Scriptures

Do any two of the following activities (A–E) as you study 1 Nephi 17.

Activity A iconWhat Did Nephi Teach about the Wilderness Journey?

  1. 1.

    Review 1 Nephi 17:1–6, 12 and answer the following questions about the wilderness journey:

    1. a.

      How long did it take them to travel from Jerusalem to Bountiful?

    2. b.

      What did they mainly eat in the wilderness?

    3. c.

      Why do you think Nephi said, “Great were the blessings of the Lord upon us” (v. 2)?

  2. 2.

    Find the “thus we see” lesson by identifying the “If-Then” pattern in verse 3:

    If “the children of men


    Then “He doth


  3. 3.

    You may not be wandering through a desert, but your life still has difficult challenges. Explain how you could apply that “thus we see” lesson in your life.

Activity B iconDescribe a Modern Example

The Lord told Nephi to build a ship—a task that was beyond his natural ability. Study 1 Nephi 17:7–11 and notice what the Lord did and what He required Nephi to do. Then write an account of a person today who is asked to do something difficult and must rely on the Lord to know how to accomplish it.

Activity C iconCompare the Brothers

  1. 1.

    Study 1 Nephi 16:1–3, 18–20, 37–38; 17:17–21, 48 and list reasons why Laman and Lemuel murmured, or were angry, and why they “did rejoice.”

  2. 2.

    Study 1 Nephi 16:4–5; 17:19, 47 and list reasons why Nephi was joyful and why he was sorrowful.

  3. 3.

    What do you learn about the character of these men from the differences in the two lists?

  4. 4.

    Compare what Laman and Lemuel said they knew in 1 Nephi 16:38; 17:19, 22 with what they said they knew in 1 Nephi 17:55. What changed their understanding?

  5. 5.

    What have you learned from 1 Nephi 17 that can help you be more like Nephi and less like Laman and Lemuel?

Activity D iconWrite It in Your Own Words

Nephi reminded his brethren of the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and compared it to Lehi leading his family out of Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 17:23–45).

  1. 1.

    Review those verses and list at least four similarities between what happened to Moses’s people and what happened to Lehi’s colony.

  2. 2.

    Read carefully 1 Nephi 17:45 and explain what you think it means to “feel” the words of the Lord, or tell of a time when you felt the scriptures speak to you.

Activity E iconExplain the Picture

Nephi and brothers

Nephi’s brethren were not happy and only the power of the Lord could keep them from taking his life. Above is a depiction of a scene from 1 Nephi 17:48–55. Explain what is happening in the picture and tell which verses it represents.