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Mosiah Chapter 22

1 And now it came to pass that Ammon and king Limhi began to consult with the people how they should deliver themselves out of bondage; and even they did cause that all the people should gather themselves together; and this they did that they might have the voice of the people concerning the matter.

2 And it came to pass that they could find no way to deliver themselves out of bondage, except it were to take their women and children, and their flocks, and their herds, and their tents, and depart into the wilderness; for the Lamanites being so numerous, it was impossible for the people of Limhi to contend with them, thinking to deliver themselves out of bondage by the sword.

verse 2 The only plausible way for the people of Limhi to escape was to find a way in which they could depart quietly. It would not be possible to fight their way out.

The meaning of the final phrase in this verse is somewhat clearer if the word "thinking" is replaced with "hoping."

3 Now it came to pass that Gideon went forth and stood before the king, and said unto him: Now O king, thou hast hitherto hearkened unto my words many times when we have been contending with our brethren, the Lamanites.

4 And now O king, if thou hast not found me to be an unprofitable servant, or if thou hast hitherto listened to my words in any degree, and they have been of service to thee, even so I desire that thou wouldst listen to my words at this time, and I will be thy servant and deliver this people out of bondage.

5 And the king granted unto him that he might speak. And Gideon said unto him:

6 Behold the back pass, through the back wall, on the back side of the city. The Lamanites, or the guards of the Lamanites, by night are drunken; therefore let us send a proclamation among all this people that they gather together their flocks and herds, that they may drive them into the wilderness by night.

7 And I will go according to thy command and pay the last tribute of wine to the Lamanites, and they will be drunken; and we will pass through the secret pass on the left of their camp when they are drunken and asleep.

8 Thus we will depart with our women and our children, our flocks, and our herds into the wilderness; and we will travel around the land of Shilom.

verse 8 "we will travel around the land of Shilom" Please refer to the commentary for Mosiah 19:6 which contains some speculation regarding the geography of the area. By this time the Lamanites occupied parts, if not all, of the land of Shilom as well as the land of Shemlon, and Limhi and his people were confined to the land of Nephi. On planning their escape, Gideon planned to skirt the land of Shilom, probably to its north and east, so as to avoid attracting the attention of the Lamanites.

9 And it came to pass that the king hearkened unto the words of Gideon.

10 And king Limhi caused that his people should gather their flocks together; and he sent the tribute of wine to the Lamanites; and he also sent more wine, as a present unto them; and they did drink freely of the wine which king Limhi did send unto them.

11 And it came to pass that the people of king Limhi did depart by night into the wilderness with their flocks and their herds, and they went round about the land of Shilom in the wilderness, and bent their course towards the land of Zarahemla, being led by Ammon and his brethren.

12 And they had taken all their gold, and silver, and their precious things, which they could carry, and also their provisions with them, into the wilderness; and they pursued their journey.

13 And after being many days in the wilderness they arrived in the land of Zarahemla, and joined Mosiah's people, and became his subjects.

14 And it came to pass that Mosiah received them with joy; and he also received their records, and also the records which had been found by the people of Limhi.

verse 14 Mosiah received not only the twenty-four gold plates-the record of the Jaredites, which Limhi's people had found in the land Desolation-but he received also the plates containing the record of the Zeniffites (Mosiah 8:5) which had been begun by Zeniff (Mosiah 9:1) and continued by people of the courts of Noah and Limhi. The account of Abinadi and the records of Alma's people in the lands of Mormon and Helam was not, of course, included with these records, but was with Alma and his people who will arrive back in Zarahemla later the same year.

15 And now it came to pass when the Lamanites had found that the people of Limhi had departed out of the land by night, that they sent an army into the wilderness to pursue them;

16 And after they had pursued them two days, they could no longer follow their tracks; therefore they were lost in the wilderness.

verse 16 "they were lost in the wilderness" We will learn that the pursuing Lamanites did indeed become "lost in the wilderness," and we will read more about this lost group in the following chapter (Mosiah 23:25-39).

The story of the ministries of Zeniff, Noah, and Limhi in the land of Nephi is one of those stories that occurred simultaneously with the story of the ministry of the elder Mosiah, Benjamin, and the younger Mosiah in the land of Zarahemla. The former story, of course, includes the story of the ministry of Abinadi and the conversion of the elder Alma and his sojourn in the wilderness for nearly 30 years with his fellow converts. The correlations between these two major stories are often little appreciated by readers of the Book of Mormon. For example, are you aware that the story of the wars fought against the Lamanites by King Benjamin and his people and the ministry of King Noah occurred at about the same time-in about 160 BC. Are you also aware that the sojourn of the people of Alma in the wilderness after leaving the land of Nephi during Noah's ministry lasted nearly 30 years? See the illustration, Book of Mormon History Diagram, 1 Nephi 1 through Mosiah 22.

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