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The Nephites are determined to make war against the Lamanites, even though Mormon told them that is not the same as defending themselves or making peace (verse 1). They are driven back, and many of them are killed (verse 2). Those who survived flee to the seashore (verse 3), only losing so many people because they themselves had started the fight (verse 4).
But behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men… (verse 5).
We choose our own consequences. They were prideful, and wanted to be the aggressors, and so were humbled by losing many in battle. We learn our lessons from each other, and the lessons we learn are for ourselves. We need each other to be made well and whole and happy.
Now that they had been provoked, the Lamanites followed their attackers (verse 6). They were ready to take the seashore (verse 7), but the Nephites drove them back (verse 8). Yet again, instead of giving credit to God, they boasted in their own strength, and thousands were dead because of their pride (verse 9) – and still the people did not repent “but persisted in their wickedness continually” (verse 10).
The carnage of war was so bad and so spread throughout, that Mormon cannot even describe it (verse 11). The extensive wickedness created only more of itself, so that the people became more and more wicked (verse 12).
The Lamanites pursued the Nephites again (verse 13), and took women and children prisoners to sacrifice them to idols (verse 14). This made the Nephites angry, so that now not only did they battle without the Spirit of God, but they battled in anger and hate (verse 15). They drove the Lamanites out so much that the Lamanites did not bother them again for a time (verse 16) – until they could come against the Nephites with so great an army it could not be numbered (verse 17).
And from this time forth did the Nephites gain no power over the Lamanites, but began to be swept off by them even as a dew before the sun (verse 18).
The Nephites had chosen the power of hate and anger instead of God, and so were conquered by the revenge of their enemy. Our own motivations and intents are what we receive from others. What we give out is what we receive. We choose our consequences by the choices we make.
The Lamanites began to win the war (verse 19), even when the Nephites fought with boldness (verse 20) – but without the power of God. “The Nephites were driven and slaughtered with an exceedingly great slaughter; their women and their children were again sacrificed unto idols” (verse 21). The battle was so bad that the Nephites had to flee, and they had to take all the people with them as they fled (verse 22).
The Lamanites were winning, and the Nephites were being destroyed.
When Mormon saw the Lamanites were about to win, he went to where the records were hidden by Ammaron, and took them to protect them – and to add his own story, his own testimony to them (verse 23).