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Why would Joseph Smith say a bow of “fine steel” would break?

It seems slightly odd that Joseph Smith would choose to include a storyline of a bow made of fine steel breaking. In 1 Nephi 16:18 it says:

And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

If Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon himself, he would probably have not said the bow was made of fine steel if he was trying to get the reader to believe it would break.

However if Joseph was simply translating the Book of Mormon then it would make sense why the bow would break because it would not be made entirely of steel and would rather be a composite, like Biblical “steel” swords.

William J. Hamblin explains:

Composite bows have a specific structural problem that leaves them susceptible to changes in temperature and climate, which may cause the bow to warp and break. … Thus, if Nephi’s bow were of a composite type, his move from the more temperate climate of Palestine to the dry heat of the Arabian peninsula could have contributed to the risk that his bow might warp and break.

Stephen D. Ricks, William J. Hamblin – Warfare in the Book of Mormon

How would Joseph Smith know so much about different types of bows and arrows?


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