In this chapter, Nephi is warned to leave his leave his older brothers because Laman and Lemuel wanted to kill Nephi. As discussed earlier, Laman and Lemuel's pride was so great that in stead of heeding the teachings and admonitions of Nephi to release themselves of the chains of unrighteousness, they desired to eliminate their source of stress - Nephi. They believed they could accomplish this by killing Nephi. In 2 Nephi 5:3, they clearly state their purpose of killing Nephi: "...now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words." So, just as throughout the entire Book of Mormon history, the downfall and stumbling block of the people is pride. It was the pride of Laman and Lemuel that caused their murmuring and complaining and their desires to kill Nephi.
In verses 15 & 17, Nephi teaches his people to work hard and to be industrious. This is a principal that needs to be taught more in our lives. Too much of our time is filled with watching TV, playing video games and sitting idly. We ought to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27) and we ought to use our time to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. We can use our time to visit our home-teaching families, attend the temple, study the scriptures and serve others. Not only should we help build up the kingdom of God, but we can improve our lives by getting more education or by continuously building upon our education. This life has so much to offer and there are so many good things that we should have no excuse for idleness.
Verse 16 talks about how Nephi builds a temple. It is noteworthy that after Nephi and his people depart from Laman and Lemuel that the first thing he does is make swords to defend his people and then they build buildings. In other words, they see to their basic needs first. As soon as those basic needs are met, the first item on the Spiritual checklist is to build a temple. This teaches us that the temple and the work therein are very important and are a high priority on Heavenly Father’s list.
In verse 27, Nephi makes a simple, but profound statement, “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.” Nephi teaches us that if we truly want to be happy, then we must live righteously. In a cross reference to Alma 41:10, another Book of Mormon prophet teaches us that wickedness never was happiness.