Book of Mormon Commentary - Mosiah 23

by Don R. Hender


An account of Alma and the people of the Lord, who were driven into the wilderness by the poeople of King Noah. [Comprising chapters 23 and 24.]
Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
             CHAPTER 23

Alma refuses to be king—He serves as high priest—The Lord chastens his people, and the Lamanites conquer the land of Helam—Amulon, leader of King Noah's wicked priests, rules subject to the Lamanite monarch. [Between 145 and 121 B.C.]

1 NOW Alma, having been awarned of the Lord that the armies of king Noah would come upon them, and having made it known to his people, therefore they gathered together their flocks, and took of their grain, and bdeparted into the wilderness before the armies of king Noah.
2 And the Lord did strengthen them, that the people of king Noah could not overtake them to destroy them.
3 And they fled aeight days' journey into the wilderness.

 1a Mosiah 18:34; Alma 5:4; TG Warnings
   b Mosiah 27:16
 3a Mosiah 24:25

4 And they came to a land, yea, even a very beautiful and pleasant land, a land of pure water.
5 And they pitched their tents, and began to till the ground, and began to build buildings; yea, they were aindustrious, and did labor exceedingly.

 5a TG Industry; TG Work, Value of;

6 And the people were desirous that Alma should be their aking, for he was beloved by his people.
7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall anot esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above anothera; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.
8 Nevertheless, if it awere possible that ye could always have just men to be your bkings it would be well for you to have a king.

 7a Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another This is pride and selfishness for one person to place themselves above another. And this is the ground root cause of all sin. It was the cause of Lucifer's down fall, thinking to make himself better and over others and not as one among us. Putting others down in order to make oneself appear better than another is one of the primary acts of this problem. Not even the leaders of the chruch or leaders of the nation or no man is of such that they are to be placed or to place themselves above another.  6a 1 Sam. 8:5; 3 Ne. 6:30
 7a Mosiah 27:3-5
 8a Mosiah 29:13
   b TG Governments

9 But remember the ainiquity of king Noah and his bpriests; and I myself was ccaught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore drepentance;
10 Nevertheless, aafter much btribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an cinstrument in his hands in bringing dso many of you to a knowledge of his truth.
11 Nevertheless, in this I do not glory, for I am unworthy to glory of myself.

   9a Prov. 16:12; Mosiah 11:2 (1-15);
       Mosiah 29:17-19
     b Mosiah 17:12 (1, 6, 12-18)
     c Mosiah 17:2 (1-4)
     d Mosiah 18:1
 10a D&C 58:4
     b TG Tribulation
     c Alma 17:9-11; Alma 26:3
     d Mosiah 18:35

12 And now I say unto you, ye have been aoppressed by king Noah, and have been in bondage to him and his priests, and have been bbrought into iniquity by them; therefore ye were bound with the cbands of iniquity.
13 And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the ahands of king Noah and his people, and also from the bbonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should cstand fast in this dliberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust eno man to be a king over youa.
14 And also trust no one to be your ateacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

 13a I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you Here is was laid the seed of liberty and freedom. And when in the land of Zarahemla, when the sons of Mosiah would refuse the kingdom, this liberty and freedom was given to all the Nephites of that land also.  12a TG Oppression; TG Unrighteous Dominion
     b Mosiah 11:2 (1-15)
     c Isa. 58:6; 2 Ne. 28:19-22; Alma 12:11
 13a Mosiah 18:34-35
     b TG Bondage, Spiritual
     c Gal. 5:1
     d TG Liberty
     e Mosiah 29:13 (5-36)
 14a Mosiah 2:4; Mosiah 18:18-22

15 Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should alove his bneighbor cas himself, that there should be no dcontention among them.
16 And now, Alma was their ahigh priest, he being the founder of their church.

 15a TG Love
     b TG Neighbor
     c Mosiah 18:21
     d 3 Ne. 11:29 (28-29)
 16a Mosiah 18:18; Mosiah 26:7

17 And it came to pass that none received aauthority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he bconsecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men.
18 Therefore they did watch over their people, and did anourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.

 17a TG Priesthood, Authority
     b Lev. 16:32; 2 Ne. 5:26
 18a Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 4:6

Leviticus 16:32 
 The example of ordination given in Leviticus 16:32 is that which is after the order of Heaven. In the 'Temple' or Tabernacle ordination it was as a type and shadow of that first consecration and ordination in Heaven when the Father so Anointed and Ordained His Son Jehovah to be the Great High Priest as Savior and Redeemer of the world. And just as it is stated there, Jehovah was placed to act in his Father's stead in all things. And so it is that men are so ordained to the priesthood to act in the name of God. For it is God's Priesthood and Authority that is given to man that they may act in the name of God.
19 And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land; and they called the land aHelama.
20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam.

 19a they called the land Helam Helam was the first covert who Alma did baptise unto the Lord. And in honor of him was the land and city of the people of God named.  19a Mosiah 27:16; Alma 24:1

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to achasten his people; yea, he trieth their bpatience and their faith.
22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his atrust in him the same shall be blifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

 21a Deut. 11:2 (1-8); Hel. 12:3;
       D&C 98:21; TG Chastening
     b TG Patience
 22a TG Trust in God
     b 1 Ne. 13:37; Alma 26:7

23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into abondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.
24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.

 23a Alma 36:2

25 For behold, it came to pass that while they were in the land of Helam, yea, in the city of Helam, while tilling the land round about, behold an army of the Lamanites was in the borders of the land.
26 Now it came to pass that the brethren of Alma fled from their fields, and gathered themselves together in the city of Helam; and they were much frightened because of the appearance of the Lamanites.
27 But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them.

28 Therefore they hushed their fears, and began to cry unto the Lord that he would soften the hearts of the Lamanites, that they would spare them, and their wives, and their children.
29 And it came to pass the the Lord did soften the hearts of the Lamanites. And Alma and his brethren went forth and delivered themselves up into their hands; and the Lamanites took possession of the land of Helam.

30 Now the aarmies of the Lamanites, which had followed after the people of king Limhi, had been lost in the wilderness for many days.
31 And behold, they had found those priests of king Noah, in a place which they called aAmulon; and they had begun to possess the land of Amulon and had begun to till the ground.
32 Now the name of the leader of those priests was aAmulon.

 30a Mosiah 22:15
 31a Mosiah 24:1; Alma 23:14
 32a Mosiah 24:8

33 And it came to pass that Amulon did plead with the Lamanites; and he also sent forth their wives, who were the adaughters of the Lamanites, to plead with their brethren, that they should not destroy their husbands.
34 And the Lamanites had acompassion on Amulon and his brethren, and did not destroy them, because of their wives.

 33a Mosiah 20:5; Mosiah 25:12
 34a TG Compassion

35 And aAmulon and his brethren did join the Lamanitesa, and they were traveling in the wilderness in search of the land of Nephi when they discovered the land of Helamb, which was possessed by Alma and his brethren.
36 And it came to pass that the Lamanites promised unto Alma and his brethren, that if they would show them the away which led to the land of Nephi that they would grant unto them their lives and their liberty.

 35a Amulon and his brethren did join the Lamanites This seems to indicate that Amulon's people did take there journey with the Lamanites, leaving the land of Amulon. Whether in part or whole, certainly Amulon and his people would have imparted their knowledge and understanding of how to return to the land of Nephi if they were still in possession of it and had not become lost in the wilderness themselves.
 35b they were traveling in the wilderness in search of the land of Nephi when they discovered the land of Helam That the Lamanites joined by Amulon still were in search of the land of Nephi would indicate that the people of Amulon had also become 'lost' in the land. This places a quandry upon a prior statement made by the record of the people of Limhi. For they stated that they had the priests of Amulon had come into the land of Nephi by night and carried off their grain and many of their precious things (Mosiah 21:21). Now if the people of Amulon no longer knew not the way to the land of Nephi, then who were the 'Nephites' seen or unseen that would steal grain and precious things by night? Now the wickedness of the people of Noah would bring the seeds of the concept of priestcraft with them into the land of Zarahemla where never had it been practiced before, becoming known as the belief and profession of Nehor. And it was so particularly associated with the city of Ammonihah, presumably founded by that portion of the people of Limhi who did not so solidly join themselves unto the church of God but held to their concept of the priests of Noah. And thus they fulfilled the one of the significant prophecies of Abinadi in their murders by fire of those who professed belief in Christ. Now the people of the chruch of God were the first to have the concept of 'liberty', pacticed in the promised land, which then Alma and his people can be seen to have began and would be the likely source seeds of that concept of 'liberty' to be assimulated in the land of Zarahemla. Could it be that the concept of 'secret societies' of 'innocent' robber gangs have been the seeds of origin within a small wicked subgroup of the people of Noah that was also brought into the land of Zarahemla, where it would later show its ugly head in a few short generations in the secret murder of the Chief Judge and was this the first fathering of those who would become known as the Gadianton Robbers? Who were the robbers of grain and precious things by night if not the priests of Amulon as presumed?
 35a Alma 25:4
 36a Mosiah 18:34

37 But after Alma had shown them the way that led to the land of Nephi the Lamanites would not keep their promise; but they set aguards round about the land of Helam, over Alma and his brethren.
38 And the remainder of them went to the land of Nephi; and a part of them returned to the land of Helam, and also brought with them the wives and the children of the guards who had been left in the land.
39 And the king of the Lamanites had granted unto Amulon that he should be a king and a ruler over his people, who were in the land of Helam; nevertheless he should have no power to do anything contrary to the will of the king of the Lamanites.

 37a Mosiah 24:9 (8-15); Alma 5:5

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