Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Book of Mormon


A previous report characterized a metal blade discovered at the site of biblical Ekron in Israel as a steel short sword dating from the late seventh century BC, shortly before Lehi left Jerusalem, thus corroborating the much-criticized account of Laban’s steel sword in the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, these assertions are incorrect. Jeffrey R. Chadwick, who is personally acquainted with the excavators who unearthed the blade, explains here that the blade is not a short sword but probably a ceremonial knife. Additionally, the knife is likely from the eleventh century BC and cannot properly be described as steel. Though this artifact does not support the Book of Mormon account of seventh-century steel swords, much better archaeological parallels do exist. Chadwick mentions a meter-long steel sword discovered in Jericho that dates to around 600 BC. This genuinely steel sword from the proper time period makes Nephi’s description of Laban’s sword entirely plausible.