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Moroni was angry to find out Ammoron refused the conditions of the prisoner exchange (verse 1). Since Ammoron refused the peace treaty, Moroni came up with a plan to defend his people against the Lamanites and rescue his people held as prisoners (verses 2-3). His plan included using a Nephite of Lamanite descent (verses 4-5), whom he sent to the Lamanites guarding the Nephite prisoners (verses 6-7).
When the guards saw them coming, the Nephite shouted out to them not to worry because he was a Lamanite escaped from the Nephites – and having stolen the Nephite wine as well (verse 8). The Lamanites were more excited about the wine than about welcoming the escapees (verse 9), but the Nephite-posing-as-an-escapee warned them not to drink the wine until after battle (verse 10). However, the Lamanites wanted the wine immediately, saying it would make them strong for battle (verse 11). So he let them have the wine (verse 12).
The Lamanites guzzled the wine (verse 13), which was made to be very strong. They were soon very drunk (verse 14), and passed out in deep sleep (verse 15). The Nephite posing as an escapee ran back to Moroni and his camp, telling them what happened (verse 15). It had all gone according to Moroni’s plan (verse 16). Moroni and his soldiers quietly marched into the city, and gave weapons to all their people who were held as prisoner (verses 16-17). He could have awakened the Lamanites, fought them, and killed them all in their drunken state, but Moroni only wanted his people freed from prison (verses 18-19).
But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni; he did not delight in murder or bloodshed, but he delighted in the saving of his people from destruction; and for this cause he might not bring upon him injustice, he would not fall upon the Lamanites and destroy them in their drunkenness (verse 19).
Instead, he armed the people held as prisoners (verse 20), and his army surrounded the Lamanites (verse 21).
When the Lamanites awoke in the morning, they realized they were surrounded by the Nephite army, and the Nephite prisoners in their keeping were armed (verse 22). The Lamanites surrendered their weapons, begging for mercy (verse 23). So Moroni released his own people from prison, and captured the Lamanite people as prisoners (verse 24) – causing the prisoner-Lamanites to work to strengthen the forts around the cities (verse 25).
This gave the Nephites the victory (verses 26-27), so much that they were able “to reclaim their rights and their privileges” (verse 28). The Lamanites kept trying to repeat the same kind of attack, but the Nephites kept taking more and more of the Lamanite people prisoner (verse 29). The Lamanites also tried to give wine to the Nephites, as if the Nephites didn’t know this plan they themselves had used so successfully (verse 30). In fact, they knew the Lamanites might try to poison them so they would not even drink without first having the Lamanites try it to be sure it was safe (verses 31-32). As the people settled into their new time of peace, they were still wise – and Moroni continued to strengthen the cities, and bring in new forces and “new supplies of provisions” (verses 33-34).