Ether 9 – Corrupted by Power

Akish

Moroni inserts himself into this story every other page or so, feeling a desperation for us, as he’s just witnessed the entire demise of his nation and worries we might face the same end, if we don’t humble ourselves before God and repent. He is alone, and wouldn’t want that to happen to any other nation, if he can stop it. So he begs, pleads, encourages us to repent and not follow the Nephite and Jaredite examples.  

In this chapter, Akish and his friends “did overthrow the kingdom of Omer.” (1) But God was merciful unto Omer and warned him to flee with those who did not seek his destruction into the wilderness. Omer heeded God’s vision, and he and all his loved ones and friends flee to a place called Ablom by the seashore.

Jared is anointed king “by the hand of wickedness” (4) and gives Akish his daughter to wife. (4) But Jared doesn’t get to enjoy his power for long. Akish has the power-hungry bug now. He wants to be king, so using the same means that were set about to dethrone Omer, he obtains the head of his father-in-law and becomes king. I wouldn’t be surprised if his wife (Jared’s own daughter) pushed him to do that evil murder. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and Akish suspects everyone around him of trying to dethrone him. After all, that’s what he did. He “began to be jealous of his son, therefore he shut him up in prison and kept him upon little or no food until he had suffered death.” (7) His own son!

Akish’s other son (Nimrah) is “angry with his father because of that which his father had done unto his brother.” (8) He probably suspects his father will do the same to him someday, so he gathers a small number of men and they flee out of the land and join Omer’s people. Akish has other sons, and they take upon them their dad’s evil oaths. They win the hearts of the people away from their father, wanting his power.

Now the people of Akish were desirous for gain, even as Akish was desirous for power; wherefore, the sons of Akish did offer them money, by which means they drew away the more part of the people after them.”

Ether 9:11

This is a super wicked society, corrupted by power and gain. Nimrah was smart to get out of there.

God has warned us not to be part of the world…to flee from their wicked ways. We don’t physically go start a monastic society in the mountains. We are still in the world, but we are separate as to how we worship God and serve Him, turning our back on worldly philosophies and other evils that can bind us.

We can be like Omer’s people, who steadfastly kept worshiping God, even though they had to become refugees to do so.

A war starts between the sons of Akish and their father, for power, lasting many years until everyone “save it were thirty souls, and they who fled with the house of Omer” are killed. (12)

Their greed and desire for power corrupted them from the top down, so that Akish’s nation was cut down (by their own wicked hands) to only 30 people. Can you imagine such hate, to keep fighting when you are annihilating yourselves?

Omer is again restored to the throne. He’s lived a very rough life because of his extremely wicked son, Jared. But God makes it right for him in the end. Omer begets Emer in his old age and anoints him to reign in his stead, then he dies in a peaceful period.

And the Lord began again to take the curse from off the land, and the house of Emer did prosper exceedingly under the reign of Emer; and in the space of sixty and two years they had become exceedingly strong, insomuch that they became exceedingly rich.”

Ether 9:16

The Lord always blesses his people when they serve Him. We might feel forsaken for a time, like Omer and his people did, but in the end, God’s blessing do come.

When Omer is restored to the kingdom, they are blessed with prosperous times as they rebuild their broken society.

I love the mention of different animals that helped them in this land (some of these aren’t around anymore): cattle, oxen, cows, sheep, swine, goats, horses, asses, elephants (these aren’t around anymore on this continent, except in zoos), cureloms (don’t have a clue what this was), cumoms (?) “all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms.” (19) Since the cureloms and cumoms are linked with elephants, I would guess they were mighty creatures that could carry great weights.

And thus the Lord did pour out his blessings upon this land, which was choice above all other lands; and he commanded that whoso should possess the land should possess it unto the Lord, or they should be destroyed when they were ripened in iniquity; for upon such, saith the Lord: I will pour out the fullness of my wrath.

Ether 9:20

We, as heirs of this land, are under this covenant. When we serve God we will be blessed as a nation. When we don’t, we will be wiped off and some other people will take over.

Emer reigns in righteousness, and his son Coriantum becomes his heir. (21) Emer was so righteous that “he even saw the Son of Righteousness, and did rejoice and glory in his day; and he died in peace.” (22) That is a great way to end one’s life here on earth.

Coriantum “did walk in the steps of his father, and did build many mighty cities, and did administer that which was good unto his people in all his days.” (23) He has no children. His wife dies at 102, and he takes a young maid to wife and begets children with her until he is 142 years old. That’s a pretty long time to live.

Coriantum expands the kingdom with great building. He begets Com, who begets Heth. Sadly, the short period of peace and prosperity is about to end as Heth embraces the secret works of darkness and wants to destroy his father. He desire for power corrupts him completely.

And it came to pass that he did dethrone his father, for he slew him with his own sword; and he did reign in his stead.”

Ether 9:27

Prophets come and preach repentance, but according to the commands of wicked king Heth, the people reject and kill them. The prophesies come true and a drought strikes the land.

And the inhabitants began to be destroyed exceedingly fast because of the dearth, for there was no rain upon the face of the earth.

And there came forth poisonous serpents, also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla.”

Ether 9:30-31

When the people are desperate enough from enough destruction that they sufficiently humble themselves to repentance, God sends rain and preserves them from the famine.

…and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine.”

Ether 9:35

One thing that has come to me over and over again during this pandemic and time of civil unrest is that God is giving us a chance to humble ourselves. This pandemic is not nearly as deadly and ravaging as the Spanish flu was back in 1918. Are we thanking God that it isn’t taking our children and young people in droves? Or are we griping about having to wear a mask or socially distance?

God has yanked the rug out from under us just enough to make us stumble and have to balance our lives a little differently. Are we grateful for the lessons He has taught us during this time? Or are we griping about all the stuff we’ve missed out on and letting our miserable attitude creep into how we treat others?

This time could lead to more sincere humility and trust in God. Or, like how the Jaredites refused to listen to the prophets and repent, God could make things worse for us in the future. He could send “famine” and “poisonous serpents” that will make us look back to 2020 with longing, because it was so much better.

Will we humble ourselves before God willingly today?

Or will we keep going on in our stubborn way and be compelled to be humbled later on with worse trials, as the Jaredites were?

~~~

Resources:

Come Follow Me manual – Book of Mormon 2020

Get a Free copy of the Book of Mormon for yourself.

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