CLICK HERE to read Alma 47.
In the meantime, Amalickiah had slipped away into the wilderness, trying to stir up the Lamanites against the Nephites (verse 1). He did this so well that the Lamanite king sent out a proclamation telling his people to prepare for war against the Nephites (verse 1), which scared the people because they did not want to die after having already agreed to peace with the Nephites (verse 2). This is the first sign the Lamanite people are learning how to keep their covenants! It is evidence of their softening, as they are prepared for the Gospel, even that they would not obey the king to go to war (verse 2).
This, however, did not please the king, of course. He was angry! He made Amalickiah the commander of his army for those who were willing to go to war, and told him to go force the people to join the army (verse 3). This was exactly what Amalickiah wanted, to be set up as a leader and then steal even more power for himself for he was “a very subtle man to do evil” and had a “plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites” (verse 4). Now that he had command of those loyal to the king, he could gain their favor (verse 5).
But those who had not been loyal to the king had appointed their own leader, Lehonti, to defend themselves from being forced to fight the Nephites (verse 6). They gathered up on a mountain for safety (that is Temple language!) (verse 7).
Amalickiah, however, had no plans to follow the Lamanite king, but to take the Lamanite kingdom for himself (verse 8). So he brought his army near where the rebels were gathering (verse 9), and sent for their leader to come down for talks (verse 10).
But Lehonti knew better, and refused (verse 11). Amalickiah asked again, and Lehonti still refused (verse 11). Amalickiah asked a third time, and still Lehonti refused (verse 11).
Finally, Amalickiah realized Lehonti was not coming down, and so he went up part-way (verse 12). There he sent word to Lehonti again, telling him that he came up partway, so asking him to come down part way (verse 12).
This time Lehonti agreed, coming down with his guards (verse 13).
This is always how the enemy gets us. We are to stand in holy places (the mountain, the Temple, as people of holiness), and not be moved. It doesn’t matter how much the enemy appears to compromise, or how far up he comes, we are not to be moved.
Amalickiah, though, is slippery. He wants more than just to kill Lehonti. He wants his power.
So rather than destroying him right then and there, he starts in with his flattery and deal-making.
This is always how the enemy works, appealing to our pride and beguiling us by trying to change the rules or distract us from remembering what the rules are. He knows we don’t want to break the rules, so he helps us bend them. He knows we don’t want to cross the line, so he just moves that line over.
Amalickiah tells Lehonti that he will surrender his army to him, if Lehonti will make Amalickiah second in command (verse 13). Lehonti agrees to the plan, and does it (verse 14). The two armies are united into one, with Amalickiah second in command (verses 15-17), until Amalickiah poisons Lehonti (verse 18). This made Amalickiah commander over all the Lamanite people (verse 19), and immediately he marched them to war against the Nephites (verse 20).
The Lamanite king came out to join the battle, thinking they were really on their way to fight the Nephites as he had commanded (verse 21). When Amalickiah saw this, he sent his servants to greet the king, telling them to bow before him “as if to reverence him because of his greatness” (verse 22). And when the king put out his hands to raise them up (verse 23), the servants stabbed the king in the heart, and killed him (verse 24).
They did this, and then ran away as Amalickiah had told them to do (verse 25). Then Amalickiah pretended to care, proclaiming what had happened (verse 26). He marched his armies to where the king had been killed, and declared his intentions to catch the killers (even though it was really himself who had ordered the killing of the king) (verse 27). This moved those who had loved the king, so that they also joined Amalickiah’s armies (verse 28).
Those who had done the actually killing saw that they had been used and betrayed, and left the Lamanites to join the Nephites and were converted (verse 29).
This is how Amalickiah “by his fraud, gained the hearts of the people”, organizing all the different factions into one army under his command (verse 30).
When the queen heard what had happened (verse 32), she sent for Amalickiah to come and give her evidence that the king was really dead (verse 33). He went and told her the story, and told her how those who had done the killing had run away (verse 34). In this way he sought her favor, and took her for his own queen, “and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom” and became the king of the Lamanites (verse 35).
And because his original crew were those who had left the covenant, they knew better, and so when they fell away it was worse than those Lamanites who just didn’t know better. So they corrupted the Lamanites worse than they had been before, so that the Lamanites “became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked, and ferocious… giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God” (verse 36).