They’ve established a church and have it all organized in the land. Now, Lamoni asks Ammon to go with him to the land of Nephi to see his father. God tells Ammon not to go, because the king there will seek his life (2). He tells him to go to the land of Middoni instead, to deliver his brother Aaron and his brethren, Muloki, and Ammah from prison.
Lamoni knows that with “the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things.” (4) But he wants to help. He is a friend to the king there, named Antiomno, and will flatter him and plead their cause to help deliver Ammon’s brethren.
On their journey to Middoni, they meet Lamoni’s father, who is coming to see why he missed the last feast.
The Lord knew this would happen. He knows all things and had prompted Ammon to go to fulfill this other errand of freeing his brethren because He knew he would also meet Lamoni’s father and have a confrontation.
Satan stirs up Prejudice
Lamoni’s father is angry and put out that his son missed his feast. He’s also furious that his son is with a Nephite, “one of the children of a liar.” (10).
Racism seems to raise its ugly head in all time periods and among all people. Satan can gain tremendous power over the hearts of people by stirring up prejudice in their hearts against others.
Lamoni tells him where they’re going, but fears offending his father. He tells him what has happened to keep him from coming, and this makes his father angrier. He demands that his son slay Ammon and return with him to the land of Ishmael. Lamoni answers his father boldly.
I will not slay Ammon, neither will I return to the land of Ishmael, but I go to the land of Middoni that I may release the brethren of Ammon, for I know that they are just men and holy prophets of the true God.”Alma 20:15
His father’s anger drives him to pull out his sword to slay his own son, for what he views as rebellion.
But Ammon stood forth and said unto him: Behold, thou shalt not slay they son; nevertheless, it were better that he should fall than thee, for behold, he has repented of his sin; but if thou shouldst fall at this time, in thine anger, thy soul could not be saved.”Alma 20:17
The king turns his anger on Ammon (a Nephite), saying he is to blame for all the bad that happens. He tries to slay him, but Ammon smites his arm that he cannot use it (20). The king begins to plead for his life. Ammon keeps his sword raised and demands that the king deliver his brethren out of prison (22). The king, in desperation, tells him he can have anything he wants, even to “half of the kingdom.” (23)
Half a Kingdom
Remember this. It will be significant as we continue reading in the next chapters.
Lamoni’s father is willing to give Ammon up to half of his kingdom to spare his life. He was the king over the whole land of the Lamanites, with many lesser kings under him, like Lamoni. So this was a huge offering.
Half his kingdom for his life.
Ammon only asks for three things, and nothing close to what the old king is willing to give him.
- He asks that the old king free his brethren from prison.
- He asks that Lamoni retain his kingdom and that he be not displeased with his son.
- He asks that he grant Lamoni power to do according to what he desires in his own kingdom.
The old king agrees, and says he will govern Lamoni no more. He’s astonished by the love Ammon has for his son, and also his words and that of his son, and “he was desirous to learn them.” (27)
Just a desire to learn truth can begin to soften the hardest of hearts.
Ammon’s brethren are delivered and “when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings.” (29)
- Am I patient in my sufferings, trusting God and trying to learn from them?
- Am I willing to give up something (or even everything) for God?