Cruelty and Violence
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-Book of Alma
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THE BOOK OF ALMA
A Gigantic Wall
The Lamanites trty to attack the city of Ammonihah, but the wall is too high--The Lamanites march to the land of Noah--The walls are too high there too--The Nephites kill
more than 1000 Lamanites, including their captains--No Nephites are killed--Amalickiah curses God and swears he will drink Moroni's blood--The Nephites thank their God.
|49:1 aAnd now it came to pass in the eleventh month of the nineteenth year, on the tenth day of the
month, the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah. ||
(49:1-4) "A ridge ... so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them"
In the last chapter, the Lamanites were getting ready to fight Moroni and his people. But when they approached the city of Ammonihah, they realized that they couldn't kill them,
because Moroni's army had built a huge dirt wall around the city. The wall was so high that the Lamanites couldn't throw rocks or shoot arrows over it effectively, except near the entrance.
(49:5) Tthe Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites."
The chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished at the wisdom of the Nephites. (I would have been astonished, too! That must have taken a while. I'm not sure if it was a wise use of time, exactly, but certainly impressive.)
|49:2 And bbehold, the city had been rebuilt, and Moroni had stationed an army by the borders of the
city, and they had cast up dirt around about to shield them from the arrows and the stones of the Lamanites;
for bbehold, they fought with stones and with arrows.
|49:3 bBehold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt. I say unto you, yyea, that it was in
part rebuilt; and because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they
supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them.
|49:4 But bbehold, how great was their disappointment; for bbehold, the Nephites had dug up
of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows
at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.
|49:5 Now at this time the chief captains of
the Lamanites were
astonished eexceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places
|49:6 Now the leaders of the Lamanites had supposed, because of the greatness of their numbers, yyea,
they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done; yyea, and
they had also
prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of
skins, yyea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness. ||
(49:6-7) "They had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates."|
The Lamanites thought that the Nephites would be easy pickings, especially since they were so prepared this time. Usually the Lamanites fought pretty much naked, with just a leather loincloth,
but this time they came fully armed with breastplates, shields, and very thick garments to cover their nakedness. They were ready to either kill the Nephites, or to at least make them slaves
|49:7 And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren
to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure.
|49:8 But bbehold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never
had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the
Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni. ||
(49:8-12) "The Lamanites, or the Amalickiahites, were exceedingly astonished."|
But once the Lamanite army saw the huge walls, and Moroni's well-prepared army, they weren't so sure. They needed a little encouragement from Amalickiah if they
were to fight, but Amalickiah didn't come down to lead the charge. His commanders didn't order the attack, either, and the whole army retreated into the wilderness.
|49:9 aAnd it came to pass that
the Lamanites, or the Amalickiahites,
were eexceedingly astonished at their manner of preparation for war.
|49:10 Now, if king Amalickiah had come down out of the land of Nephi, at the head of his army, perhaps
he would have caused the Lamanites to have attacked the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah; for bbehold, he did care
not for the blood of his people. ||
|49:11 But bbehold, Amalickiah did not come down himself to battle. And bbehold, his chief captains
durst not attack the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah, for Moroni had altered the management of affairs among
the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come
upon them. ||
|49:12 Therefore they retreated into the wilderness, and took their camp and marched towards the
land of Noah, supposing that to be the next best place for them to come against the Nephites. ||
(49:12-13) "They marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination."|
From the wilderness, Amalickiah's army decided to march toward the land of Noah. Historically, the land of Noah wasn't very well defended. Unfortunately for the Lamanite army, Moroni had fortified it
along with all of the other cities. Before they even saw the fortifications, though, Amalickiah's captains took an oath that they would destroy the people in the land of Noah.
|49:13 For they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in
all the land round about; therefore, they marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination; yyea,
their chief captains came forward and took an oath that they would destroy the people of that city.
|49:14 But bbehold, to their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place,
had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong, yyea, even to exceed the strength of the city Ammonihah. ||
(49:14-17) "Behold, this was wisdom in Moroni."|
Once they got to the city of Noah, they saw that it had been heavily fortified. (It was actually all part of Moroni's plan -- he knew that the Lamanites
would think to attack the land of Noah, so he built it up extra strong... I guess...) Also, Lehi was chief captain over the city,
and Amalickiah's men knew Lehi to be a powerful general. Still, they had sworn an oath, so they had to fight.
|49:15 And now, bbehold, this was wisdom in Moroni; for he had supposed that they would be frightened
at the city Ammonihah; and as the city of Noah had hitherto been the weakest part of the land, therefore they
would march thither to battle; and thus it was according to his desires.
|49:16 And bbehold, Moroni had appointed Lehi to be chief captain
over the men of that city; and it was that same Lehi who fought with the
Lamanites in the valley on the east of the river Sidon. ||
|49:17 And now bbehold ait came to pass, that when the Lamanites had found
that Lehi commanded the city they were again disappointed, for they
feared Lehi eexceedingly; nevertheless their chief
captains had sworn with an oath to attack the city; therefore, they brought up their armies. ||
|49:18 Now bbehold, the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save
by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch
which had been dug round about, save it were by the entrance. ||
(49:18-20) "Thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites."|
The Lamanites couldn't get into the city any way besides the entrance of the city, because the walls were so high everywhere else. Also, the Nephites were ready, with stones and arrows to
kill anyone who tried to climb the ramparts. They also had a guard of their strongest men near the entrance, which they knew was the weakest.
|49:19 And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter
the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them.
|49:20 Thus they were prepared, yyea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their
slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance;
and thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
|49:21 aAnd it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their
armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of
security; but bbehold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an
immense slaughter. ||
(49:21-23) "More than a thousand of the Lamanites were slain; while, on the other hand, there was not a single soul of the Nephites which was slain. "|
So the Lamanite army attacked at the entrance, but they were slaughtered, and driven back. They then attempted to sort of dig the wall down, which didn't work very well either. Who would have guessed?
About 1000 Lamanites were slain in this battle, and not a single Nephite was killed.
|49:22 Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began
to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal
chance to fight; but bbehold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown
at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a
measure with their dead and wounded bodies.
|49:23 Thus the Nephites had all power over their enemies; and thus the Lamanites did attempt to
destroy the Nephites until their chief captains were all slain; yyea, and
more than a thousand of the Lamanites
were slain; while, on the other hand, there was not a single soul of the Nephites which was slain.
|49:24 There were about fifty who were wounded, who had been exposed to the arrows of the Lamanites
through the pass, but they were shielded by their shields, and their breastplates, and their head-plates,
insomuch that their wounds were upon their legs, many of which were very severe. ||
(49:24) "Their wounds were upon their legs."|
We get a surprising amount of details with this battle. Apparently 50 men were injured, but just in their legs, because the rest of their bodies were covered up.
|49:25 aAnd it came to pass, that when the Lamanites saw that their chief
captains were all slain they fled into the wilderness. aAnd it came to pass that they
returned to the land of Nephi, to inform their king, Amalickiah, who was a Nephite by birth, concerning
their great loss. ||
(49:25-27) "An oath that he would drink his blood; and this because Moroni had kept the commandments of God"|
More importantly, all of the Lamanite chief captains were slain in the battle. They went back to the land of Nephi, and told their king, Amalickiah, about the lost battle.
The king wasn't too happy -- he cursed God, and Moroni, and swore an oath to drink Moroni's blood.
|49:26 aAnd it came to pass that he was eexceedingly
angry with his people, because he had not obtained his desire over the Nephites; he had not subjected them to
the yoke of bondage.
|49:27 yYea, he was eexceedingly wroth, and he did
curse God, and also Moroni, swearing with an oath that he would drink his blood; and this because Moroni had kept
the commandments of God in preparing for the safety of his people.
|49:28 aAnd it came to pass, that
on the other hand, the people of Nephi did thank
the Lord their God, because of his matchless power in delivering them from the hands of their enemies. ||
(49:28-30) "On the other hand, the people of Nephi did thank the Lord their God."|
In contrast, the Nephites thanked God for helping protect them, and they enjoyed peace and prosperity in the land.
|49:29 And thus ended the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
|49:30 yYea, and there was continual peace among them, and eexceedingly great
prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was
declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren, yyea, and by all those
who had been ordained by the holy order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among
And it came to pass [49:1, 9, 17, 25(2), 26, 28]
Exceedingly (49:5, 9, 17, 26, 27, 30)
Yea [49:1, 3, 6(3), 13, 14, 20, 23, 27,
Behold [49:2(2), 3, 1, 4, 8, 10, 11(2), 14, 15,
16, 17, 18, 21, 22]
- The Annotated Book of Mormon
- Alma 49