Aaron teaches Lamoni's father about the creation, the fall of Adam, and the plan of redemption through Christ—The king and all his household are converted—How the land was divided between the Nephites and the Lamanites. [Between 90 and 77 B.C.]
|[Between 90 and 82 B.C.]|
1 NOW, as Ammon was thus teaching the
people of Lamoni continually, we will return to the account of Aaron and his
brethren; for after he departed from the land of Middoni he was
aled by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house
of the king which was bover all the land
csave it were the land of
Ishmaela; and he was the father of
2 And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king's palace, with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast adelivered out of bprison.
3 And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants. And the king said unto them: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat atroubled in mind because of the bgenerosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee.
|1a save it were the land of Ishmael Now this was because he had given full and complete rule unto his son Lamoni over that land, he prior to that time ruling over all the land including the land of Ishmael with tributary kings under him. And this is a key as to the structure of the land of the Lamanites, that they had any number of sub kings of the various lands all being subject to the high king over all of the land. And this supports that fact that in the day of king Benjamin that the Lamanites which the people of Zeniff were dealing with were not the same group of Lamanites which did ward with king Benjamin.||
b Jarom 1:5; Alma 4:16;
Alma 8:17; Hel. 4:22;
c TG Citizenship
4 And Aaron said unto the king: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has
called him another way; he has gone ato the land of Ishmael,
to teach the people of Lamoni.
5 Now the king said unto them: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me.
6 And also, what is this that Ammon said--aIf ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?
b Jarom 1:5; Alma 4:16;
Alma 8:17; Hel. 4:22;
c TG Citizenship
7 And Aaron answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that
there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites
say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they
should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves
together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God,
behold I will abelieve.
8 And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said: Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God.
9 And the king said: Is God that aGreat
Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of
10 And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he acreated all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?
11 And he said: Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will abelieve thy words.
|9a that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem Now it can be seen that the Lamanites did maintain a rudimentary understanding of God. That he was at this time a spirit, not yet coming to earth to take upon himself flesh. And they also understood that he it was that was the creator of all things. And as stated here, they understood that it was this Great Spirit God who had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem. And thus in part was the king who was a descendant of Ishmael prepared that he did believe in God with this first level of understanding.|
12 And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would
believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam,
areading the scriptures unto the king--how God
bcreated man after his own image, and that God gave him
commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen.
13 And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the acreation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the bplan of credemption, which was prepared afrom the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name.
14 And since man had afallen he could not bmerit anything of himself; but the sufferings and cdeath of Christ datone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the egrave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.
15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things
unto him, the king said: aWhat shall I do that I may have
this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may
be bborn of God, having this wicked spirit
crooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I
may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold,
said he, I will give up aall that I possess, yea, I will
forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt abow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the bhope which thou desirest.
17 And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king
did abow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he
did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried bmightily,
18 O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck aas if he were dead.
19 And it came to pass that his servants ran and told the queen all
that had happened unto the king. And she came in unto the king; and when she
saw him lay as if he were dead, and also Aaron and his brethren standing as
though they had been the cause of his fall, she was angry with them, and
commanded that her servants, or the servants of the king, should take them
and slay them.
20 Now the servants had seen the cause of the king's fall, therefore they durst not lay their hands on Aaron and his brethren; and they pled with the queen saying: Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is amightier than us all? Therefore we shall fall before them.
21 Now when the queen saw the fear of the servants she also began to fear exceedingly, lest there should some evil come upon her. And she commanded her servants that they should go and call the people, that they might slay Aaron and his brethren.
22 Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also
knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a
multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great
contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his
ahand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto
him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength.
23 Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to aminister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his bwhole household were cconverted unto the Lord.
24 Now there was a multitude gathered together because of the
commandment of the queen, and there began to be great murmurings
among them because of Aaron and his brethren.
25 But the king stood forth among them and administered unto them. And they were apacified towards Aaron and those who were with him.
26 And it came to pass that when the king saw that the people were pacified, he caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word unto them.
General Mapping of the Land
27 And it came to pass that the king sent a
aproclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his
people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about,
which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the
bwesta, and which
was divided from the land of
a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from
the sea east even to the sea westc,
and round about on the borders of the
seashorec1, and the
borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the
land of Zarahemlac2,
through the borders of
by the head of the eriver
from the east towards the
thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.
Staying true to Mormon's true intent of giving the generalized relationships between the lands of the Book of Mormon and no such details which provide a detailed map, only what Mormon states is presented. Many will begin to skew the mapping from Alma 22 to fit their own particular design of where they would personally prefer these lands to be. This will be avoided here in this commentary and only what the bood does say will be presented in these mappings. And any parallel with particular actual maps of the Americas is only incidental and not intended within these mappings.
Some will find that these images do not agree with their own perspectives upon the matter. In such matters, I would suggest that this is because they have already 'skewed' in their minds eye what Mormon's description has to be in order to made their predetermined concept of these lands fit where they would force them to fit. And it just isn't in the writings of Mormon to so allow such a biased rendering here.
27a sea, on the east and on the
west This obvious feature places the 'sea east' and the 'sea west',
as also stated in this verse, on the east side of the land and on the
west side of the land as here depicted.
28 Now, the more aidle part of the Lamanites
lived in the wildernessa, and
dwelt in tentsb; and
they were spread through the wilderness on the
west, in the land of Nephic; yea,
and also on the west of the land of
Zarahemlad, in the borders by
the seashoree, and on the
west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first
inheritancef, and thus
bordering along by the seashoreg.
28a more idle part of the Lamanites lived
in the wilderness
29 And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the
seashore, whither the Nephites had driven
thema. And thus the Nephites
were nearly surrounded by the
the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land
bordering on the wildernessc,
at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the
westd, round about
on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which
29a there were many Lamanites on the east
by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them In a
previous to this date, the Nephites in battle with the Lamanites had driven
them into the 'eastern wilderness' and such Lamanites had come to live in
those regions unoccupied by the Nephites though perhaps technically the
Nephites did consider it to be their land. This is now depicted on the name
by the yellow lines on the east of the land of Zarahamela.
31 And they came from there aup into the
Thus the bland on the northward was called
the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness
which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every
kindc, a part of which had
come from the land northward for
Further the concept of Lehi's landing being at the 'second Bountiful' is also confirmed by a statement of an Apostle. "Upon arriving at both lands of Bountiful, did Laman and Lemuel really thing that such good navigating was mere happenstance? Perhaps Nephi had merely 'gussed right' (see Hel. 16:16). Their ingratitude for the Liahona raises the question: What did Laman and Lemuel really think of that remarkable instrument? Was it just a convenient gadget or merely standard equipment on every ship?" (Neal A. Maxwell, October 2, 1999, 10AM Session Conference Report)
31a they came from there up into the
southern wilderness They refers to Mulek's group, called the
people of Zarahemla. They came 'up', meaning from sea level up in elevation, and
and 'into' implies that they did not remain on the coast but did come 'into'
the interior of the land southward. This coupled with the fact that their
landing in the land of Desolation was but their 'first landing' would seem
to possibly imply that they did come into the interior of the land southward
by a water route, having at least a 'second landing' to fill out the concept of
a first landing. Could they have sailed 'up' the Sidon river?
32 And now, it was only the adistance of a
day and a half's journey for a
Nephitea, on the line
Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west
seab; and thus the land of Nephi
and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small
bneck of land between the land northward and the land
33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.
34 Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires.
35 And now I, after having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren.
32b on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea Mormon here specifies that that direction of the day and a half crossing is particularly from 'east to west', not from west to east or just a general either directional crossing. Why? William Dampier in his book specifies that all the rivers in the Darien flow from the east to the south sea. Dampier also implies that they had travel the Darien by boat upon his first crossing and that if they had stayed to the river upon their second crossing it would have taken much less time. Canoeing down a river is certainly faster than paddling up the river. Thus Mormon stipulates that the day and a half crossing was from the east to the west sea. That was the aiding direction of all the flowing rivers of the Darien.
b Alma 50:34; Alma 52:9
A Day and a Half
From 1679 to 1681 William Dampier, a privateer, crossed the Isthmus of Darien twice. His first crossing took his group 10 days. On their way back across it was in the rainy season and they avoided the rivers. That crossing across land took them 23 days traveling 110 miles. Yet William Dampier recorded that if they had traveled the river by boat it would have only taken 3 days. He further records that it would actually take a Moskito Indian only a day and a half to cross the Isthmus of Darien. (A New Voyage Around the World, William Dampier, Chapter 2, Paragraph 31)) William Dampier's map follows. Click it for a larger view.