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Why would Joseph Smith say that Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi and Sam with a rod rather than using their fists?

In 1 Nephi 3:28 we read:

And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.

Why would Laman and Lemuel need a rod to beat their younger brothers?

Latter-day Hope explains:

When Laman and Lemuel become frustrated with Nephi after their failed attempt to retrieve the brass plates, they yell at Nephi and Sam, and beat them – not with their fists, but with a rod. In ancient near-eastern culture every free man carried a stick as a badge of independence and authority, and they use the stick to assert their authority and superiority over the workman or day-laborers by beating them. This was so common that their underlings are even called ‘stick servants.’ (Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 1988) Clearly Laman and Lemuel were trying to put Nephi in his place for his disastrous plan which cost them their precious property. But how would Joseph Smith know this cultural tradition, and why would he make such an odd choice when he grew up in the era where fistfights were the main way used to settle disputes? 

Latter-day Hope – Some more archaeological evidences of the Book of Mormon

Why would Joseph Smith think to add a rod to this part of the storyline? How would he know that Laman and Lemuel would likely carry sticks?


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