CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 19.
Being warned that King Noah was looking for them to destroy them, Alma and the church left their safe place near the waters of Mormon to hide in the wilderness.
They got out just in time, so that King Noah’s army could not find them (verse 1).
All this drama has given enough time for contention to sneak in, mixing with the pride of the people that Abinadi had already warned them off.
Except that some of those that King Noah thought were contention, were actually confrontation.
There is a difference between contention and confronting what is not of God.
One of those brave and strong enough to confront King Noah and his pride, just as Abinadi the prophet had tried to do, was a man named Gideon (verse 4).
He fought the king with his sword, and the king fled and ran up his tower (verse 5). Gideon followed him!
Just as Gideon trapped the king upon the tower, the king saw from afar the borders of his land, and he could see that they were being invaded by the Lamanites (verse 6).
So King Noah begged Gideon to spare his life so that the Lamanites would not destroy all of the people (verse 7).
He was, of course, actually concerned with his own life (verse 8).
But Gideon did spare his life, and the king commanded the people to flee from the Lamanites, and they all ran away into the wilderness (verse 9).
But the Lamanites caught up and started killing them (verse 10).
Still desperate for his own life instead of caring for the lives of his people, King Noah told the people to leave the women and children behind as victims so that they themselves (the men) could get away safely without the women and children to slow them down (verse 11).
“Now there were many that would not leave them, but had rather stay and perish with them. And the rest left their wives and their children and fled” (verse 12).
These wives and their lovely daughters charmed the socks off these Lamanites (verses 13 and 14), so that the Lamanites did spare their lives (verse 15). Instead of killing them, the Lamanites took these united families captive. They took them back to the land of Nephi with them, and even gave them places to live. The only condition was that they had to sell out King Noah, and give half of all they had to the king of the Lamanites every year (verse 15).
In this crowd of those men who stood by their wives and children was one of the sons of King Noah. His name was Limhi (verse 16). He did not want to see his father delivered up and destroyed because he loved his father. But still, “Limhi was not ignorant of the iniquities of his father, he himself being a just man” (verse 17).
In the meantime, Gideon (who had already tried to kill King Noah) sent a search party into the wilderness to find King Noah so that he could be killed (verse 18).
When they found him, they did kill him – by burning him at the stake, thus fulfilling Abinadi’s prophesy in chapter seventeen (verse 20). They tried to kill all the bad guys, the false priests with King Noah, but they ran away (verse 21).
The men of Gideon returned to the land of Nephi, where the others had been taken. There the others explained that they had been granted their lives, and even land to live on, long as they gave half of all they possessed every year (verse 22). Everyone celebrated that their wives and children were okay, that the evil king had been killed off, and that the false priests had fled into the wilderness, and that the king of the Lamanites had promised not to kill them (verses 22-25).
Because Limhi was the son of the dead king, these people made him their new king; as their new king, he promised the king of the Lamanites that in exchange for their lives, they would – indeed – give him half of all they possessed every year (verse 26).
“And it came to pass that Limhi began to establish the kingdom and to establish peace among his people” (verse 27).
The king of the Lamanites kept his promise not to kill the people, but set up guards so that Limhi’s people could not escape. He paid these “guards out of the tribute which he did receive from the Nephites” (King Limhi’s people) (verse 28).
For two years, this system worked. The Nephites (King Limhi’s people) did pay their tributes of half of all they owned, and the king of the Lamanites “did not molest them nor seek to destroy them” (verse 29).
This takes us back to Mosiah 8, where King Limhi was asking about how they got themselves in this mess of being trapped and required to give up half of everything they have every year.
From chapter 9 of Mosiah, where the bad peace treaties first started, through this chapter answers that question, telling the story of how it was that King Limhi’s group of Nephites found themselves in such bondage. This story will finish through chapter 22, and then the story will pick back up where we left off in Mosiah 8.