The Nephites enter dangerous times in these next six chapters. As you read about the political intrigue, bands of robbers they have to deal with, rejection of the prophets, pride, and disbelief, try to discern what the “more humble part of the people” are doing to survive spiritually. These insights can help us in our life today.
This book starts in 40th year of reign of judges and covers 50 years of Nephite history. “There began to be a serious difficulty among the people of the Nephites.” (1)
Pahoran has died. There is contention over which of his sons should take over judgment seat. Three of his many sons contend for the judgement seat—Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni. Pahoran is voted in by the people. Pacumeni unites with people and supports this. Paanchi does not. He is wroth (7) and wants to “flatter away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren.”
The people take him up and try him, condemn him unto death because of his rebellion and desire to destroy their liberty. These are indeed difficult times. Paanchi’s followers send Kishkumen to murder Pahoran on the judgment seat. He gets away with this and enters into a Satanic covenant with others to protect him and keep his murder silent.
Now Pacumeni is put in judgment seat. In the 41st year, the Lamanites come against them, led by a Nephite dissenter named Coriantumr who “was a large and a mighty man.” (15) Tubaloth is the king, and he is a son of Ammoron (so this guy’s of Nephite heritage as well. Goodness!)
The Lamanites attack at the heart of the Nephite civilization—Zarahemla—and because of all the dissensions among their own people about the government, they have not kept “sufficient guards in the land.” (18) Satan will do this—attack at our hearts. We must make our spiritual foundation strong and not neglect it.
The Lamanites attack with speed, so the Nephites don’t have time to gather an army. We must always be prepared, or the devil can do a sneak attack on us—tempt us with something that if we haven’t already figured out what we’d do or say, it comes at us as a surprise and we don’t have time to figure out and are deceived.
Pacumeni is slain against the wall by Coriantumr. The city is taken. Thus, all three of Pahoran’s sons have been slain. So sad. Coriantumr continues through the middle of the land, slaying a great many people and wreaking havoc. Moronihah has his forces on the edges, so now he has an advantage because Coriantumr has not thought through his plans and is heading towards the power of the Nephites. He surrounds him with Lehi’s army on one side, and his own army at their back, and they slaughter the Lamanites and kill Coriantumr.
This war probably wouldn’t have happened and had so much success if the Nephites hadn’t fallen into sin and dissension. Wickedness is increasing as the time of Christ’s coming approaches (about 40-50 years in the future).