The Lord Redeems His Covenant Children
Alma 1 -- Alma 44
Alma 26:3 How Many of Them Are Brought to Behold the Marvelous Light of God:
According to Richard Rust, with respect to modern-day Lamanites, the overall structure of the Book of Mormon is like a triangle. The book begins and ends with concern for the Lamanites' receiving the gospel. . . . At the apex of the triangle is an account of a great spiritual change among the Lamanites. That is the turning point because it is the climax of centuries of efforts to bring the gospel to the Lamanites and because of the opposing forces it brings on.
This apex occurs in the physical center of the Book of Mormon. The section of Alma that includes chapters 23 through 26 (which is just one chapter, Alma 14, in the first edition) treats a wholesale conversion of the Lamanites. This central part begins with the decree of the king of the Lamanites that Ammon and his brethren should be free to preach the word of God throughout all the land and ends with gratitude expressed by these great missionaries for the thousands of Lamanite souls "brought to behold the marvelous light of God" (Alma 26:3). The earlier warlike and reprobate nature of the Lamanites has given way to the wholehearted acceptance of the gospel once converted. [Richard D. Rust, Feasting on the Word, pp. 234-235]
Alma 26:5 And Did Reap with Your Might[s]:
The reader should be aware that the word "mights" as found in the Printers Manuscript was changed in later editions of the Book of Mormon to the word "might" (Alma 26:5). According to Angela Crowell, one usage of the Hebrew plural form is called the "plural of amplification." One good example of this is found in Alma 26:5, "and did reap with your mights." These plural forms are used to intensify or heighten the idea of the singular. In English we would use the singular form, "reap with your might." [Angela M. Crowell, Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 2, p. 8]
Alma 26:5 Reap with Your Might[s]:
Allen & David Richardson and Anthony Bentley note that a common characteristic of the Hebrew language is to use some words only in their plural form. For example, the Hebrew word shamayim (heavens) is always rendered in the plural number. In the Book of Mormon the word heavens is always used rather than the singular heaven. Also waters (from the Hebrew mayim) is found much more often in the Book of Mormon than is water. (see Tvedtnes, "Hebraisms," 1970, pp. 51-52.) The Book of Mormon also speaks of "great slaughters with the sword" (1 Nephi 12:2); and "I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul" (1 Nephi 15:25); "and by bloodsheds and by pestilence" (2 Nephi 6:15); and "did reap with your mights" (Alma 26:5) [Note that the word "mights" has been corrected in the present edition to read "might."]
William Gesenius indicates that these plural forms are used to intensify or heighten the idea of the singular, while in English we would use the singular form.115 [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson, and Anthony E. Bentley, Voice from the Dust-500 Evidences Supporting the Book of Mormon, p. 266]
Note* The term "bloodsheds" is also found in 2 Nephi 1:12; 6:15; Alma 35:15; and 62:39. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 26:26 We Came into the Wilderness . . . with the Intent That We Might Save Some Few of Their Souls:
In reflecting on the experiences of their mission to the Lamanites, Ammon makes the statement, "we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls" (Alma 26:26). From a geographical point of view, the term "wilderness" used here implies a populated region. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 26:27 When Our Hearts Were Depressed, And We Were about to Turn Back:
In Alma 26:27, Ammon makes one of many statements found in the narrative of the Book of Mormon that tell the reader that the Book of Mormon truly is what it says it is. Ammon is reflecting on his missionary experiences and says the following:
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
If we turn back to Alma 17, we find the part of the missionary narrative that Ammon is referring to. It is very interesting to note that there is no direct mention of Ammon and his brethren being depressed, or being about to turn back. This information is supplied in a very subtle manner and only understood upon reading Alma 26:27. For the benefit of the reader, let us quote from Alma 17:9-12:
And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.
And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.
And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.
Once again the text of the Book of Mormon bears witness of itself. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 26:36 This People, Who Are a Branch of the Tree of Israel:
In rejoicing over his missionary experiences, Ammon speaks of "this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and ha[ve] been lost from its body in a strange land" (Alma 26:36). According to Brant Gardner, this is a clear reference to Jacob's analogy of the olive tree as recorded in Jacob 5 of the small plates. It is a clear indicator that they studied those records on the small plates even when they have neglected to specifically mention as much. [Brant Gardner, Book of Mormon Commentary, http://www.highfiber.com/ ~nahualli/LDStopics/Alma/Alma26.htm, p. 10]