Book of Omni

by Marilyn Arnold

This book concluded and filled the small plates of Nephi. It contains brief statements by a succession of record keepers who were descendants of Jacob but apparently not spiritual leaders: Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki (fourth-second centuries B.C.). Amaleki, whose account is the longest of the five, described the important transition that occurred in Book of Mormon history when Mosiah1 led the escape of a band of faithful Nephites from the land of Nephi to Zarahemla (c. 200 B.C.). Here they discovered descendants of a group that had left Jerusalem with mulek but had lost their religion and language. Amaleki connected the corruption of their language with the absence of written records, establishing the importance of record preservation. Mosiah brought with him the plates of brass containing "the record of the Jews" (Omni 1:14), including the laws that kings were required to have under the Law of Moses (see Deut. 17:18-19). He was accepted as king over both these peoples and ruled for a generation. Amaleki survived Mosiah but had no heirs, so he transmitted his records to Mosiah's son, King Benjamin.

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