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The last chapter described important lessons the Nephites learned, but contention rears its ugly head again three years later.
There is a man, named Amlici, who is “wise to the world” (verse 1). He is in the same false priesthood as Nehor (the one who killed Gideon), doing the same priestcraft as he did. He became very powerful, as he sought popularity and people began to pay him and then even want to make him king (verse 2).
This was alarming to the believers, as it should be, but it was even alarming to those not of the church but who could see through Amlici “for they knew that according to their law that such things must be established by a voice of the people” (verse 3). Amlici can’t just decide he is king and get away with it.
However, if Amlici won a majority of the people, there would be nothing they could do. So this was their concern: that “he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God” (verse 4).
So people began to dispute the issue, knowing it was really about who could get majority (verses 5-6). It was hotly debated, but Amlici did lose and was not made king (verse 7). This made the people very happy, but it made Amlici’s supporters angry (verse 8) – so they made him their king anyway! (verse 9)
The first thing Amlici did as false-king was to tell his people to take up arms against the Nephites (verse 10). So they declared war on the Nephites, who prepared to meet them in battle (verses 11-17).
“Nevertheless, the Lord did strengthen the hand of the Nephites”, and they began to win the battle (verse 18). The Nephites pursued the Amlicites (verse 19), until they had to stop for the night (verse 20). But they did not rest, sending spies to the Amlicite camp, to discover their plans of attack (verse 21).
But the news was scary! The spies discovered that the Lamanites had joined the Amlicites in battle against them, and were preparing to attack the Nephites! (verses 22-24). Already they were attacking Nephite land, taking captive the herds and women and children along the way (verse 25).
So the Nephites had to get back to the battle (verse 26), but as they crossed the river, the Lamanites and Amlicites began to descend upon them (verse 27).
But again, “the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them” (verse 28). They began to win the battle, even with Alma fight alongside the rest of his people – still teaching them they must labor together, all of them alike.
Alma came face to face with Amlici, and they fought hard! (verse 29).
“And it came to pass that Alma, being a man of God, being exercised with much faith, cried, saying, “O Lord! Have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people” (verse 30). The Lord heard his prayer, and did strengthen him, and “he slew Amlici with the sword” (verse 31).
Now it was time for Alma to chase down the Lamanite king, but that king sent his guards after Alma (verse 32). Alma’s own guards dealt with those guards, so that Alma could continue fighting (verses 33-34). They fought so well that the Lamanites began to flee, leaving the battle all together (verse 35), but still the Nephites pursued them (verse 36) all the way into the wilderness, where many Lamanites died because of the wild beasts (verse 38).