Two generations earlier, a man named Zeniff had lead an expedition of Nephites from Zarahemla to try to repossess the land of Nephi, the original homeland of the Nephites. This is the story of what happened to Zeniff. After a long journey through the wilderness, his expedition reached the land of Nephi and saw that there were now Lamanites living there.
Zeniff and four of his men entered the city and asked the king, Laman, if he would allow his group of Nephites to peacefully take possession of their ancestral home. King Laman agreed to give them possession of two cities, Nephi and Shilom, and he ordered the Lamanites living in those cities to evacuate them.
Over the next twelve years, Zeniff and his band of Nephites settled in the two cities. They repaired the city walls, and planted many fruits and crops. Zeniff's people became prosperous and their numbers swelled. This was all according to King Laman's cunning plan. He was waiting for just the right time to put them into bondage and allow the lazy Lamanites to live off the hard work of Zeniff's people.
So King Laman sent an army of Lamanites who came upon the the Nephites of Shilom while they were feeding their flocks and tilling the soil, and the Lamanites began to slaughter them and steal their flocks and their corn as the people fled.
Zeniff, who had been chosen as his people's king, armed the Nephites of Shilom with swords, bows and arrows, scimitars, slings, clubs, and all kinds of weapons they had made, and they met the Lamanites in battle. Zeniff and his people called out mightily to Jesus for protection, and in one day they killed 3,043 Lamanites and drove the rest away.
There was peace for the next 22 years, and Zeniff's people were industrious and prospered. Then King Laman of the Lamanites died, and his son who succeeded him had the Lamanites try again to overpower the Nephites in Shilom. They formed a large army of men with shaved heads wearing nothing but loincloths, and armed with swords, scimitars, and slings.
Now in his old age, Zeniff led his people young and old into battle again. The Lamanites were a wild, ferocious, and blood-thirsty people, but they knew nothing of Jesus and his power, and the power of Jesus was with Zeniff and his Nephite army, who slaughtered the Lamanites in a great massacre, killing so many of them that it was beyond counting.
The Lamanites had been driven off again, and Zeniff's people returned to their lives of tending flocks and tilling the soil. Since Zeniff was now very old, he appointed his son Noah to become the new king over the Nephite people in the two cities of Shilom and Nephi.