Noah’s army doesn’t find Alma and his people. A division arises amongst the soldiers and the lesser part breathe out threatenings to the king. Noah’s people are upset and unhappy—a consequence of sin. A man named Gideon vows to kill the king, so Noah flees to the top of a tower. Gideon pursues him and is about to slay him when Noah “cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanites were within the borders of the land.” (6)
Being the sniveling coward he is, Noah uses this to his advantage, claiming Gideon shouldn’t kill him because he needs to save his people.
And now the king was not so much concerned about his people as he was about his own life; nevertheless, Gideon did spare his life.”Mosiah 19:8
- Am I concerned for myself or others?
- What motivates me to action?
Noah urges the people to flee, and “he himself did go before them.” (9) The Lamanites overtake them, and Noah commands the men to leave the women and children behind, because they are slowing them down. He wants the men to go with him, so he has protectors, but he’s totally willing to leave behind the weak and vulnerable. So cowardly.
This test proved who were men and who were cowards.
Now there were many that would not leave them, but had rather stay and perish with them. And the rest left their wives and their children and fled.”Mosiah 19:12
What will I do in life?
- Will I stay behind, maybe giving up personal pleasures, to walk beside someone who needs their faith bolstered?
- Will I stay behind, giving up popularity, to lift a shunned person?
- Will I stay behind, giving up my own will, to fight beside someone too weak in their testimony to fight on their own?
The men who stayed behind with their families have their women beg the Lamanites for mercy, and “the beauty of their women” charmed their enemies, so they did not destroy them. They took them captive though.
Noah’s son, Limhi, was one of the men who stayed behind. He wasn’t a coward, like his father. He was a just man who was willing to die rather than leave the vulnerable behind. He’s taken captive and the Lamanites demand that they hand over Noah and pay half of all their property to them from that time forth.
And now Limhi was desirous that his father should not be destroyed; nevertheless, Limni was not ignorant of the iniquities of his father, he himself being a just man.”Mosiah 19:17
Gideon takes men and searches the wilderness for the king and his wicked priests. He runs into the other men who left their families behind. They obviously had a change of heart after choosing the coward’s route and wanted to return. Noah commanded them to stay with him. Here was a king who was only self-serving. He could care less about his people. It was all about him.
But those men’s guilty consciences had had enough. They burn their king by fire, fulfilling Abinadi’s earlier prophesy that the king would die in a like manner as him. They want to destroy the priests too, but those scumbags flee before them.
These men return, having repented of their cowardly acts and hoping their families are still alive. When they find that they are, they rejoice. They repented of their sins of leaving behind their wives and children, but imagine the consequences of those first cowardly acts. How long would it take for their wives and children to trust them again, after having been abandoned by them?
We need to be wise before acting, and think of long-term consequences of what we might do? How will our actions made others feel? How will our actions build or degrade trust others have in us—that our God has in us?
The king of the Lamanites makes an oath not to kill Limhi’s people if they pay tribute to him.
And it came to pass that Limhi began to establish the kingdom and to establish peace among his people.”Mosiah 19:27
He’s a stand-up guy. His dad has put him and the people in a bad spot, but Limhi tries to do the best with the lot he’s been given.
The Lamanite king puts guards around the land to keep Limhi’s people from escaping. There is peace for two years, where the Lamanites don’t molest of seek to destroy them. It is a breather before the hard times to come.
But though there is a tentative peace, they are still in bondage, due to their previous wickedness and rejection of a prophet sent by God. Sin always catches up to us. That’s why repentance is so vitally important.
The world today seems to chase and come after us, trying to overwhelm and overtake us spiritually. Will we only look out for ourselves or will we stay behind like the courageous men of Limhi and stand beside our family members who may be struggling and need help?