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 The "excessive" character of the reprisal must have to do with the fact that two peoples were living side by side under a treaty and the fact that kidnapping was involved. If events had taken place entirely within either the Lamanite society or the Nephite colony, and if all the young women were not betrothed, a more measured response would be expected. But when a treaty is involved, the king of the wronged party would see himself pursuing the interests of his people and their god by gathering an army and pursuing the breaker of the treaty (according to Deuteronomy 28:20-22, even the Lord punishes "with the sword" of another; cf. Jeremiah 1:13-16). See Michael L. Barre, "Treaties in the Ancient Near East," in Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6:655.