Ammoron sends another letter saying he’ll deliver up the city of Antiparah if Helaman delivers up his prisoners. Helaman says no way. He’s not giving the enemy any more strength. He’s certain his own forces are sufficient to take the city on their own. The people in Antiparah flee the city when his army approaches, so Helaman gets control of it without any bloodshed.
Next he surrounds the city Cumeni and cuts off their provisions—even captures the provisions for his own army. That city finally surrenders, but now Helaman has way more prisoners than he can safely handle.
For behold, they would break out in great numbers, and would fight with stones, and with clubs, or whatsoever thing they could get into their hands, insomuch that we did slay upwards of two thousand of them after they had surrendered themselves prisoners of war.”Alma 57:14
They send the prisoners to the land of Zarahemla, hoping the capital city can handle them and provide for them. The next day, the soldiers who were taking the prisoners away return just in the nick of time to help Helaman’s forces fight against the Lamanites, who have surprise-attacked them.
Helaman talks about how perfect his band of 2,060 stripling warriors are in battle.
Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught me.”Alma 57:21
Do I perform every commandment of the Lord with exactness, to show true faith and trust in Him?
The battle ends, and Helaman gathers his soldiers together to count casualties.
And it came to pass that there were two hundred out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.”Alma 57:25
Here are some things I learn from this incident.
The covenant these boys’ parents had made with God upon their conversion—to never take up swords again to kill—protected their children. They had been faithful to this covenant for years, even laying down their lives at points previous to this, instead of lifting up their swords to break the covenant and save their own necks. They had proven to God through this covenant-keeping that they were His people now.
Because of this steadfastness in Christ that they had shown to God, their sons were protected when they had to go to battle to fight for their parents’ and the Nephites’ freedom. Not one of them died in battle.
Wounds are part of life
Even though their parents’ covenant-keeping and spiritual teachings kept these sons from dying in battle, all of them received “many wounds.” Some received so many that they fainted from loss of blood and might have been in critical condition.
In the battle between good and evil, that still is going on today—a continuation of the battle that started in heaven, before we came to earth—we can be protected by the covenants we make with God. But we might still receive “many wounds.” There are times when Satan’s arrows and darts will pierce our faith, causing doubts as we bleed out.
God has provided emergency room care through families, Church organizations, and through His scriptures and living prophets. If we surround ourselves with good people who can bind up our wounds and help nurture us back to spiritual health.
And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.”Alma 57:26-27
Faith in Jesus Christ heals our wounds, by teaching us to trust in His marvelous, delivering, healing power.
The more firm this faith is in our minds, the safer we will be in this spiritual battle we are engaged in.
After the battle ends, Helaman asks Gid what happened to bring them back so soon. Gid tells him that as they marched the prisoners toward Zarahemla, they meet the Nephite spies who race back, full of fear. They sound the alert that the Lamanite army is heading toward Cumeni, where Helaman’s army is stationed. They fear Helaman’s army will be wiped out.
Hearing this cry of fear gives the enemy courage, and they rebel and escape in great numbers. Most of them were killed as they rushed them, and the remainder escaped, but this put Gid’s men in a position to go help Helaman and Antipus’s armies, and save the day there.
But what I learned from this is not to fear. Fear weakens us and strengthens the enemy. What if the spies had come to meet them without fear, quietly pulling Gid aside to tell him the news? Then the enemy wouldn’t have known they had a chance and wouldn’t have taken advantage of their fear to escape as they did. Their fear of the future hurt them and Gid’s whole army. Fear never helps us have more faith. It destroys faith. When we put our faith/trust in God, nothing can overpower us. He’s mightier than the whole earth.