From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
After Nephi killed Laban, he donned the governor’s robes and went to the treasury disguised as Laban, where he tricked Laban’s servant Zoram into acquiring the brass plates. When Zoram discovered that Nephi was not Laban, Nephi gripped Zoram and swore into his ear, “as the Lord liveth, and as I live” that he would spare Zoram’s life if he would only listen (1 Nephi 4:32). Upon hearing this simple phrase, Zoram followed Nephi without further problems.
Among the desert people, an oath is the one thing which is held as most sacred. Arabs generally will not break an oath, even if their lives are in jeopardy. Nearly all Arabs –whether Nomad or city dweller– believed that oaths were sacred and served as powerful covenants between two parties. The most binding oaths were those sworn by the life of something. As Dr. Hugh Nibley explains, “The only oath more awful than ‘by my life’ is the wa hayat Allah, ‘by the life of God,’ or ‘as the Lord liveth,’ the Arab equivalent of the ancient Hebrew hai Elohim.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.