Alma 54


The Lord Confirms the Covenant Way

      Alma 45 -- 3 Nephi 10



Alma 54:1 Am-mor-on Sent unto Mor-oni:


     Hugh Nibley asks, Why are there so many words in the Book of Mormon with "mor" in them? Well, that's a favorite Egyptian word, mor. . . . This [use of the term "mor"] is very common. The Egyptians used it a lot because it means beloved, good, everything nice and desirable. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 3, pp. 167-168]


Alma 54:6 Or the Land[s] of Your Possessions:


     According to research by the Zarahemla Research Foundation, in the Original manuscript and the Printers manuscript we find for what is now Alma 54:6: "Except ye repent and withdraw your armies into your own lands, or the lands of your possessions, which is the land of Nephi. . .


     The current LDS version for this verse only uses the word "land. By reverting back to the original use of the word "lands" instead of "land" the reader will notice a subtle change in interpretation. One now envisions a general land of Nephi which encompassed multiple "lands." This omission of "lands" by the current LDS edition is repeated just a few verses later in Alma 54:13. In the Original and Printer's manuscript we find: "But behold, if ye seek to destroy us more, we will seek to destroy you; Yea, and we will seek our lands, the lands of our first inheritance."

     One has to wonder just how many of these "lands" there were that made up the general land of Nephi and when they came into being. As early as the time of Jarom we find the following written about the general land of Nephi:

     The [people of Nephi] were scattered upon much of the face of the land, and the Lamanites also. And they were exceedingly more numerous than were they of the Nephites . . . And it came to pass that they came many times against us, the Nephites to battle . . . wherefore, we withstood the Lamanites and swept them away out of our lands, and began to fortify our cities, or whatsoever place of our inheritance. (Jarom 1:6-7)


[Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes; see also Zarahemla Research Foundation, A Comparison of the Manuscripts and Editions of the Book of Mormon, pp. 180-181]


Alma 54:12 I [Moroni] Will Arm My Women and My Children:


     According to John Welch, Talmudic law distinguishes between a permissive war (milhemet reshut) that seeks to expand the borders of Israel and a war of obligation (milhemet mitzvah), such as a war of self-defense or of national survival. In the case of a war of national survival, the conduct of war was not optional for the people. In such a situation, scarcely any man would be justified in placing any other interest of church or of personal convenience ahead of winning the war. Indeed, even women were not exempt from military service in a war of obligation: "All go forth, even a bridegroom from his bridal chamber, and a bride from under her canopy." So it was, with his back against the wall, that Captain Moroni even threatened to "arm my women and my children" (Alma 54:12). [John W. Welch, "Law and War in the Book of Mormon," in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, F.A.R.M.S., p. 49]


Alma 54:12 I Will Come against You (Distance from Moroni's Location to the City of Gid):


     In the commencement of the twenty and ninth year, Ammoron sent Moroni an epistle desiring to exchange prisoners. According to the epistle that Moroni sent to Ammoron (Alma 54:4-14), Moroni declared that if Ammoron did not choose to "withdraw," he would "come against you with my armies." Moroni also proposed a plan for prisoner exchange. Upon receiving Moroni's epistle, Ammoron became angry and wrote another epistle to Moroni rejecting his request (Alma 54:15-24). Therefore Moroni devised a plan to retrieve the Nephite prisoners from the hands of the Lamanites. According to Alma 55:4-22, from Moroni's unknown location (somewhere between the city of Mulek and the city of Gid), and during the "night-time" (a time period apparently from evening to dawn):

     (1) Moroni's wine-carrying party went to the city of Gid;

     (2) Waited to observe the guards to get drunk and go to sleep;

     (3) Returned to report; and then

     (4) The Nephite army came quietly to the city of Gid; and

     (5) They lowered weapons over the wall to the prisoners; and

     (6) They surrounded the city.


     According to John Sorenson, five miles seems to be the maximum distance involved to manage this (Source Book, p. 274).


Alma 54:13 We Will Seek Our Land[s], the Land[s] of Our First Inheritance:


     [See the commentary on Alma 54:6]


Alma 54:18 Subject Yourselves to Be Governed by Those to Whom the Government Doth Rightly Belong:


     According to Richard Bushman, in Alma 54:18 Ammoron says to Moroni: if you "lay down your arms, and subject yourselves to be governed by those to whom the government doth rightly belong," the war will stop. It is interesting that Ammoron here refers to Laman's complaint that Nephi "thinks to rule over us," when Laman himself claimed the right of rulership. "We will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people" (2 Nephi 5:3). Ammoron represents the war as a continuation of an ancient feud between the two sets of brothers in Lehi's family. That hardly makes sense to us. Would countless thousands of men hundreds of years later throw themselves into battle simply to reclaim an ancient right? It is all the more puzzling because after the landing in America, Nephi and his descendants made no claims that we know of to rule the Lamanites. . . . How could such an abstraction as this ancient hurt motivate people over so many centuries? [Richard L. Bushman, "The Lamanite View of Book of Mormon History," in By Study and Also by Faith, Vol 2, F.A.R.M.S., p. 54]