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Alma Chapter 59

Scripture Mastery

Alma 59-61 Captain Moroni writes to Pahoran, the chief judge in Zarahemla, asking for reinforcements. When they don't arrive, Moroni writes again and threatens to march on Zarahemla if help is not sent. Pahoran responds by informing Moroni, by letter, of the rebellions in Zarahemla.

1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, after Moroni had received and had read Helaman's epistle, he was exceedingly rejoiced because of the welfare, yea, the exceeding success which Helaman had had, in obtaining those lands which were lost.

verse 1 "Moroni . . . was exceedingly rejoiced because of the welfare . . . which Helaman had had" Note here that the prophet Mormon is again writing as the first person. In this unusual phrase "rejoiced" is used as an adjective meaning something like happy, pleased, or delighted. "Welfare" is a noun which here means that Helaman had fared well or had experienced success.

2 Yea, and he did make it known unto all his people, in all the land round about in that part where he was, that they might rejoice also.

verse 2 In his own humble and self-effacing way, Moroni sang the praises of Helaman for all to hear.

3 And it came to pass that he immediately sent an epistle to Pahoran, desiring that he should cause men to be gathered together to strengthen Helaman, or the armies of Helaman, insomuch that he might with ease maintain that part of the land which he had been so miraculously prospered in regaining.

verse 3 "that part of the land which he had been so miraculously prospered in regaining" Here is another unusual word usage. "Prospered," ordinarily, is an intransitive verb (one that is not used with a direct object) that means to thrive, flourish, to be successful or fortunate. There is another archaic definition that renders prosper a transitive verb (one that is used with a direct object). It means something like to make successful, fortunate, or blessed with success. It is this latter definition that applies here to the word "prospered." Helaman had prospered the land. Thought it is not said here, the Lord had prospered Helaman in allowing him his military successes.

4 And it came to pass when Moroni had sent this epistle to the land of Zarahemla, he began again to lay a plan that he might obtain the remainder of those possessions and cities which the Lamanites had taken from them.

verse 4 Now was the time when Moroni would begin a major offensive to recapture those Nephite cities held by the Lamanites. An integral part of his plan was that those cities already held by the Nephites would remain so.

5 And it came to pass that while Moroni was thus making preparations to go against the Lamanites to battle, behold, the people of Nephihah, who were gathered together from the city of Moroni and the city of Lehi and the city of Morianton, were attacked by the Lamanites.

verse 5 At this time the Lamanites had possession of the cities of Moroni, Lehi, and Morianton. Some of the Nephites from those cities had fled to the city of Nephihah hoping to find some security. We will learn that they found no such thing.

6 Yea, even those who had been compelled to flee from the land of Manti, and from the land round about, had come over and joined the Lamanites in this part of the land.

verse 6 "even those who had been compelled to flee from the land of Manti, and from the land round about" The use of the phrase "even those" here might lead one to assume that Mormon was referring, in this verse, to Nephites from the city of Manti. He is not, of course. Instead he is referring to those Lamanites who returned to the city of Manti after pursuing Helaman and his forces in the wilderness only to find Manti firmly in the possession of Gid, Teomner, and Helaman. They had probably returned to their homes in the land of Nephi and then subsequently been dispatched by Ammoron to Captain Moroni's southeast quarter of the Nephite land.

7 And thus being exceedingly numerous, yea, and receiving strength from day to day, by the command of Ammoron they came forth against the people of Nephihah, and they did begin to slay them with an exceedingly great slaughter.

8 And their armies were so numerous that the remainder of the people of Nephihah were obliged to flee before them; and they came even and joined the army of Moroni.

9 And now as Moroni had supposed that there should be men sent to the city of Nephihah, to the assistance of the people to maintain that city, and knowing that it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city.

verse 9 Moroni had mistakenly assumed: (1) that Pahoran had sent reinforcements to the city of Nephihah to secure it against attack from the Lamanites, and (2) that those who defended Nephihah, having the advantage of his own ingenious defensive fortifications, could easily defend the city against a hostile takeover.

Moroni's grand plan assumed that all of those cities which had been taken back by the Nephites would remain in Nephite hands. This would allow him to concentrate on a strategem to take back those cities held by the Lamanites. This capture of Nephihah by the Lamanites and the pouring into his camp of Nephite refugees from Nephihah meant that his plans were in ruins.

10 Therefore he retained all his force to maintain those places which he had recovered.

verse 10 Moroni did not anticipate having to use his own forces to defend the city of Nephihah. Instead he felt he had but to defend the cities which his own forces had taken plus concentrate on his offensive plans.

11 And now, when Moroni saw that the city of Nephihah was lost he was exceedingly sorrowful, and began to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren.

verse 11 To say that Moroni was "exceedingly sorrowful" is something of an understatement and perhaps a bit of a mis-statement as well. His grand plan for wresting the Nephite cities in the southeast quarter of the land from the Lamanites lay in shambles. He was more than sorrowful. He was certainly furious and frustrated. One can almost picture him, in his anger, casting about for reasons as to why this disaster might have happened. It occurred to him that the wickedness of the Nephites in Nephihah might have been in part responsible for their defeat at the hands of the Lamanites. Undoubtedly he was correct in his assessment of the worthiness or lack thereof the Nephites in Nephihah.

12 Now this was the case with all his chief captains. They doubted and marveled also because of the wickedness of the people, and this because of the success of the Lamanites over them.

verse 12 One can also picture his chief captains standing about Moroni shaking their heads in agreement so as not to further anger him.

13 And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.

verse 13 And while he is applying blame for the fall of Nephihah, he might as well blame the government. We will learn that, in his anger, he will write a letter accusing Pahoran of less than honorable motives and of various misdeeds. Moroni undoubtedly would later regret writing the letter in anger. He eventually discovers that Pahoran had not been at fault and that his motives were pure. Your author finds it comforting and refreshing that this larger-than-life character, Moroni, is after all quite human. In this incident, I feel Moroni would agree today that he had been carried away by his anger to some unwise excesses.

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