The Lord Confirms the Covenant Way
Alma 45 -- 3 Nephi 10
Alma 62:3 Moroni . . . Took His March towards the Land of Gideon:
According to the geographical theory of John Sorenson, no doubt the Nephite commander Moroni and his men followed the same track as when he traveled from the land of Jershon and "marched over into the land of Manti" in order to head the armies of Zerahemnah (see the commentary on Alma 43:25). Moroni came up from his base at Jershon [San Miguel, Tabasco, Mexico] to the San Cristobal Las Casas [Chiapas]area. Then he would have gone straight along the open valleys to Comitan/Gideon, where Pahoran awaited the relief force (Alma 60:30; 62:3-4,6). [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 256] [See Geographical Theory Maps] [For another incident which sheds more light on these routes of march, see the commentary on Alma 62:14-15]
Alma 62:5 Thousands Did Flock unto His Standard (Population):
It appears that there were many populated areas (cities and lands) through which chief captain Moroni passed through on his march to the land of Gideon because "thousands did flock unto his standard" (Alma 62:5)
Alma 62:7 Down to Zarahemla:
Alma 62:7 states that "Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla." If elevation is the standard for the terms "up" and "down," then apparently the land of Gideon was up in elevation from the local land of Zarahemla
Alma 62:9 They Were Executed . . . Those Men of Pachus and Those King-men:
We note in Alma 62:9 that the men of Pachus those king-men, "whosoever would not take up arms in the defence of their country, but would fight against it, were put to death." Thus once again, one might expect this to be the end of the king-men. But only ten years later, Coriantumr, a descendant of Zarahemla, and thus a Mulekite (with a Jaredite name) would lead a massive Lamanite army against the Nephites while a Zoramite named Tubaloth reigned as the Lamanite king (see Helaman 1:15-16).
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 59:13--61:15 Pahoran Flees the King-Men & Goes to Gideon (30th Year)
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 62:1--62:11 Moroni Marches to Pahoran's Aid (30th Year)
Alma 62:12 6000 Men to Helaman:
In the commencement of the thirty-first year, "Moroni immediately caused that provisions should be sent, and also an army of six thousand men should be sent unto Helaman, to assist him in preserving that part of the land" (Alma 62:12). The reader should notice the apparent common military number of 6000 men. Also we should notice again the reference to "that part of the land." [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:13 6000 Men to Lehi and Teancum:
According to Alma 62:13, 6000 reinforcements marched to support Lehi and Teancum (who apparently were defending the Bountiful quarter of the land). Moroni and Pahoran took another large body of men and marched towards the land of Nehihah (Alma 62:14). The trail to the land of Bountiful and the trail to the land of Nephihah apparently did not go along the same route, otherwise the 6000 men would have traveled with chief captain Moroni and Pahoran. The 6000 men going to the land of Nephihah may have retraced the route that chief captain Moroni originally traveled as he recruited people to the cause marching to the aid of Pahoran in the land of Gideon. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:14 Moroni and Pahoran . . . Took Their March with a Large Body of Men Towards the Land of Nephihah, Being Determined to Overthrow the Lamanites in That City:
In Alma 62:12, Mormon records that "Moroni and Pahoran, leaving a large body of men in the land of Zarahemla, took their march towards the land of Nephihah, being determined to overthrow the Lamanites in that city."
According to E. L. Peay, there seemed to be an urgency in retaking the city of Nephihah as soon as the city of Zarahemla wa secured. Moroni did not return to the command of his own troops on the eastern front. Nor did Pahoran stay at the judgment seat to serve as governor of the land as we might expect. Instead, together they set out to retake the city of Nephihah.
One might ask, Why did these two highest ranking men in the land immediately put their efforts into retaking the city of Nephihah? Since Pahoran took a personal interest in the city of Nephihah, it leads Peay to believe that his relatives lived there. The city appears to have been built at the end of his father's term in office. Pahoran's father, Nephihah, was the second chief judge of the land of Zarahemla during the time that they began to establish the city of Nephihah (see Alma 50:14). Since the Nephites named their cities after the man who first possessed the land, then the name Nephihah becomes a link to Pahoran's father.
Moroni's interest could have been similar for the same reasons. The people of the city of Moroni had fled that city to the city of Nephihah. This means that if Moroni's relatives lived in the city of Moroni, they were now in the city of Nephihah under bondage of the Lamanites. [E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Nephi's Land of Promise, pp. 81-82]
Alma 62:15 As They Were Marching . . . They Took a Large Body . . . of Lamanites:
John Sorenson notes an incident that took place on Moroni's return after helping Pahoran and which sheds more light on routes of march between the land of Gideon and the land of Nephihah. According to Alma 62:14-15:
And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran, leaving a large body of men in the land of Zarahemla, took their march with a large body of men towards the land of Nephihah, being determined to overthrow the Lamanites in that city.
And it came to pass that as they were marching towards the land, they took a large body of men of the Lamanites, and slew many of them, and took their provisions and their weapons of war.
According to Sorenson, clearly the particular route described in these verses was not controlled by either side. . . . The story does not tell us enough that we can establish where the encounter took place, but for both to use the upper Teapa River Valley above Pichuacalco would make sense, or it could have been nearer to the Sidon, close to modern Huimanguillo. [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, pp. 256-257] [See the commentary on Alma 43:25; 62:3]
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 62:12-13 Armies of 6000 Sent to Help (31st Year)
Alma 62:18 The Plains of Nephihah:
When Moroni and Pahoran came near to the city of Nephihah, "they did pitch their tents in the plains of Nephihah" (Alma 62:18). We can guess that these plains might have consisted of flat, unforested land.
Alma 62:20-23 The City of Nephihah:
According to the information in Alma 62:20-23 we can say a few things about "the city of Nephihah." The area inside the wall was possibly large enough that the west part was somewhat remote from the east part ("where the Lamanites did camp with their army" . . . "by the entrance"). Thus many men could sneak over the wall in the night on the west without disturbing the Lamanite army on the east. From the way that the city was apparently laid out (with the entrance "on the east") we might wonder if all Nephite cities had their entrances facing east. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:25 The Land of Moroni:
The Lamanites fled into the "land of Moroni" which was "in the borders by the seashore" (Alma 62:25). The land of Moroni was apparently the closest population center to the former Nephite-Lamanite borders (see Alma 51:22) so the Lamanite retreat would have been towards Lamanite lands. The reader should note that these Lamanites that fled to the land of Moroni would probably not have been a part of the Lamanite group that chief captain Moroni would next attack in the land of Lehi (see Alma 62:30-33---especially verse 33). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:31 The Lamanites Fled:
If we review just a bit, in the thirtieth year Moroni had been preparing to attack the city of Morianton (which was north of the city of Lehi) when the people of the cities of Lehi, Morianton, and Nephihah (and who were now massed together in the city of Nephihah) had fled from the Lamanites (Alma 59:5). Later in the same year Moroni received the epistle of Pahoran and went to his aid in the land of Gideon. Once Pahoran's situation had been corrected, Moroni marched with Pahoran in the thirty-first year and retook the city of Nephihah. When Moroni subsequently marched on the land of Lehi, "the Lamanites fled" (Alma 62:30) apparently northward because they were eventually to meet up with the armies of Lehi and Teancum (and apparently the Nephites that had fled from the city of Nephihah). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:32 From City to City:
The Lamanites were pursued (apparently northward) "from city to city by Moroni until they were met by Lehi and Teancum" (Alma 62:32). There are possibly only two previously mentioned cities that could fit these "cities" referred to: the city of Morianton and the city of Omner. Lehi and Teancum (last located in the city of Bountiful) were left in charge after Moroni had taken the city of Gid and was preparing to attack the city of Morianton (Alma 55:33 & 62:1-3).
One might wonder why the Lamanites fled in a northerly direction? According to John Sorenson, perhaps Moroni had correlated in advance with Lehi and Teancum to start attacking from the north (at Omner or Morianton). (Source Book, p. 284) If because of Lehi and Teancum's attack from the north, Lamanite troops were already moving north to increase their defensive strength in the cities of Morianton and Omner, that would have left a weakened Lamanite force in the city of Lehi, and thus the Lamanites might have thought to flee north so that they could join forces with the rest of the Lamanite army. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:32-33 Even down upon the Borders by the Seashore, until They Came to the Land of Moroni:
In Alma 62:33 it states the after encountering the armies of Lehi and Teancum, the Lamanites "fled from Lehi and Teancum, even down upon the borders by the seashore, until they came to the land of Moroni." This verse might imply that the Lamanite route went eastward to very near the shore, then moved along it southward to the land of Moroni, where they apparently joined the other group of Lamanites who had fled from the city of Nephihah (Alma 62:33). Thus Mormon states that the Lamanites "were all in one body in the land of Moroni." [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:34 The Land of Moroni (Size):
Whatever the size of the land of Moroni, the Nephites apparently were able to surround the land (not just the city) on two sides (on the north and on the west) "insomuch that the Lamanites were encircled about in the borders by the wilderness on the south, and in the borders by the wilderness on the east." The reader should note that there was "wilderness" both on the east and on the south sides of the land. The "wilderness on the east" (Alma 62:34) was not likely to have been extensive, since in 3 Nephi 9:4 it says that the city of Moroni was "sunk in the depths of the sea." This might imply that the city of Moroni was very close to the shore. Or maybe it lay on an inlet of the sea, with a strip of wilderness to it's east. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 62:14-26 Moroni & Pahoran Retake the City of Nephihah (31st Year)
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 62:30 Moroni Attacks the City of Lehi (31st Year)
Geographical Theory Map: Alma 62:31-34 The Lamanites Flee to the Land of Moroni (31st Year)
Alma 62:35 They Did Encamp for the Night:
According to John Sorenson, the statements, "thus they did encamp for the night" and they "were weary because of the greatness of the march" (Alma 62:35) might lead one to think that the entire operation since Moroni attacked the city of Nephihah took place in a single day. If but a single day is indicated, then the total distance starting from Nephihah and progressing "from city to city" and going "down by the seashore" until one reached the land of Moroni, could hardly exceed twenty-five miles; the part of that total distance which was parallel to the coast (from Moroni to Morianton and Lehi) could not have been more than fifteen miles. (Source Book, p. 285)
From this and the preceding verses, one could now estimate the total distance from Moroni to Bountiful along the coast of the east sea. Bountiful to Mulek was on the order of 10 direct miles (not parallel to the coast). The distance from Moroni to Morianton was unlikely to exceed 15 miles. The only other cities said taken by Amalickiah were Omner and Gid. Gid might have been inland from Mulek (Helaman 6:10), so the north-south distance between them might have been slight. If so, it is unlikely that from Gid/Mulek to Morianton would have been longer than 20 miles, based on the intervals between the other cities. Thus, the whole east coast area from Bountiful to Moroni that we can account for might have been only about 60 miles. Allowing for error we could say 65-70 miles. From the city of Bountiful to the boundary line with the land Desolation might add another 10 miles or so, but even then, the entire Nephite east coast would only be about 80 miles long. If this distance is near correct, then it would have been understandable why Amalickiah would think that he might be able to succeed using this route, and why Chief Captain Moroni was determined to defend this sector. [John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book, F.A.R.M.S., p. 286]
According to Joseph Allen's geographical setting, more distance between the city of Moroni and the city of Bountiful could have been involved.
Alma 62:36 And He Went Forth with a Cord:
Question: Why was is important for Mormon to note concerning Teancum in his abridgment that after going forth into the camp of the Lamanites in his anger, and after letting himself down over the walls of the city, "he went forth with a cord, from place to place, insomuch that he did find the king; and he did cast a javelin at him, which did pierce him near the heart" (Alma 62:36) What did going forth with a cord have to do with Teancum's actions? It is fair to assume that Teancum was able to let himself down over the walls of the city using the cord (see also Alma 62:22). One can also assume that by carrying the cord with him that Teancum was facilitating his escape back over the wall at whatever point he reached it upon fleeing the king. But why was that important to Mormon's abridgment? [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:39 And Thus Ended the Thirty and First Year [7 Years of War]:
The reader should note that from the beginning of the war "in the commencement of the twenty and fifth year" (Alma 51:1,12) to the end of Moroni's war at the end of "the thirty and first year" (Alma 62:39) spanned seven years. This seven-year war had been won by Moroni and his people by means of oaths and covenants (see Alma 51--the title of liberty; Alma 53, 56--the sons of Helaman).
According to McConkie and Parry, the root of the Hebrew word for seven (sheva) is identical to the Hebrew verb that means "to take an oath," thus connecting the word seven to covenants and covenant making. Further, the word seven denotes perfection and completion. [Joseph Fielding McConkie & Donald W. Parry, A Guide to Scriptural Symbols, p. 99]
Alma 62:42 Helaman Returned to the Place of His Inheritance:
In Alma 62:42 it says that Moroni "returned to the city of Zarahemla, and also Helaman returned to the place of his inheritance." One might wonder if "the place" of Helaman's inheritance was "also" the city of Zarahemla or some other region. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
Alma 62:43 Moroni Yielded Up the Command of his Armies into the Hands of his Son (Moronihah):
Sometime between the thirty-second year (Alma 62:39) and the thirty-fifth year (Alma 62:52), Moroni "yielded up the command of his armies into the hands of his son" Moronihah (Alma 62:43). Moroni himself had become chief captain "when he was only twenty and five years old" (Alma 43:17). Moroni assumed this position at least by the 18th year, but more probably by 12th year (see the commentary on Alma 43:17). If Moronihah was born when his father was twenty years of age, he would have been somewhere between 19-28 years of age when he became chief captain. While the age isn't certain, one can still assume with some certainty that both Moroni and Moronihah assumed leadership of the Nephite armies at a young age. One might wonder why such a thing might happen. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]
According to John Tvedtnes, if Moroni and Moronihah were part of a warrior caste, then it may not be out of line to suggest that this caste descended from the ancient kings. Nephi was the one who had taken the rather special sword from Laban in Jerusalem and personally wielded the sword in defense of his people (see Jacob 1:10). In this, he appears to have been following the ancient Near Eastern practice of the king being commander of the army. King David's troubles began when he neglected to personally lead the army of Israel in battle (see 2 Samuel 11, est. v. 1). From Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian records, we learn that kings typically accompanied their armies into the field. . . . In any event, the sword of Laban was evidently passed down and was kept with the plates and the breastplate to Mormon. It is interesting to note that Mormon was a "pure descendant" of Lehi and Nephi (3 Nephi 5:20; Mormon 1:5), not only did he possess kingship lineage, but this lineage additionally gave him military rights of leadership. Therefore, if we apply this reasoning to the Moroni and Moronihah, we might guess that Moroni might have been a descendant of Nephite kings (hence the royal seed). [John A. Tvedtnes, "Book of Mormon Tribal Affiliation and Military Castes," in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, F.A.R.M.S., pp. 318-322]
Alma 62:43 Moroni yielded up the command of his armies into the hands of his son, whose name was Moronihah (Major Nephite Leaders) [Illustration]: The Major Leaders During Nephite History. [Church Educational System, Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 160]
Alma 62:52 Helaman Died, in the Thirty and Fifth Year:
E. L. Peay notes that after the war, Helaman resumed preaching the gospel throughout the land. Yet he preached for only four years before he died at a young age (approximately thirty-two to thirty-five). Moroni retired, but would die the next year (Alma 63:3). Pahoran returned to his judgment seat in the city of Zarahemla, but would die four years later (Helaman 1:2). It is possible that there occurred an epidemic within the land of Zarahemla, or maybe just the city of Zarahemla, because these ranking officials died apparently unexpectedly at about the same time. It is interesting that "fevers" had previously been mentioned "to be very frequent in the land" (Alma 46:40). Even with their knowledgeable medical ability, people still died. If three leaders died within a short time, possibly thousands of others did also. [E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Nephi's Land of Promise, p. 91] [See the commentary on Alma 46:40]