CLICK HERE to read Alma 52.
When Amalickiah is found dead in his own tent (verse 1), the Lamanites were afraid. They retreated long enough to appoint Amalickiah’s brother, Ammoron, king (verses 2-3). He commanded that the Lamanites should not retreat further, but keep the cities they had taken thus far (verse 4).
However, Teancum and the Nephites were determined to get their cities back (verse 5). He stalled (verse 6), waiting for Moroni to send backup of more troops to strengthen his army (verse 7). Moroni commanded also that the Nephites should be sure and keep any prisoners they get, in order to ransom the prisoners that the Lamanites take (verse 8). He commanded Teancum to take back the cities lost, and to fortify the cities not yet taken (verses 9-10). He wanted to be there to help, but was busy fighting on another front (verse 11).
Meanwhile, Ammoron had sent word to the queen that her second husband, Amalickiah, had been killed (verse 12). He tried to “harass the Nephites”, to get them to follow him around so he could spread out their troops and make them week (verse 13). “And thus were the Nephites in those dangerous circumstances…” (verse 14).
Sometimes I feel I am in dangerous circumstances, for being spread too thin, and that I must be careful to focus instead of fortifying my “cities” and staying put, standing in holy places and not being moved.
Finally, Moroni was free to bring his troops to join Teancum and his troops, so that the Nephites were not so spread out (verse 15). He directed Teancom to take back some of the cities lost (verse 16), and Teancom prepared to do so – but realized he would have to wait for backup (verse 17).
When Moroni arrived, they held a council regarding how to battle the Lamanites (verses 18-19). As Moroni always did, he first tried to offer peace, but the Lamanites refused (verse 20). When peace was refused, Moroni knew he would have to fight (verse 21). So Moroni made a plan for Teancum to march one direction, while Moroni marched another – in hiding, so the Lamanites would not know (verse 22). The Lamanites thought they could beat Teancum because they had more troops (verse 23), but Teancum used this as a ploy to move the Lamanites right where Moroni wanted them (verse 24). While the Lamanites were distracted by this, Moroni and his troops re-took their own city back from the Lamanites (verses 25-26).
When more troops came to back up Teancum (verse 27), the Lamanites ran away in confusion (verse 28). They tried to retreat (verses 29-30), but these fresh troops were strong while the Lamanites were worn out from their long marches (verse 31). Moroni commanded the Nephite armies to continue to pursue the Lamanites until they had agreed to give up their weapons of war (verse 32).
The Lamanites would not surrender, and so Moroni and his captains fought hard – and they were “more powerful; therefore they did not give way before the Lamanites” (verse 33-34). Many were killed on both sides, with some of the Lamanite captains killed and even Moroni was wounded (verse 35). So many Lamanites were killed that some of them begin to surrender their weapons, which confused the rest of the Lamanites so that they didn’t know whether or run away or to keep fighting (verse 36).
Moroni, having compassion on them and only wanting freedom for his people, again offered them peace. He told them that if they would surrender their weapons of war, the Nephites would stop fighting them (verse 37). The captains of the Lamanites threw down their weapons at the feet of Moroni, and commanded their troops to do the same (verse 38). However, some would not, and they were the only ones that were taken as prisoners (verse 39).
I think there is a spiritual parallel to this temporal story.
We have weapons of war.
Our weapons might be a mean tongue, dirty looks, roll-ey eyes, or some other form of disobedience or disrespect that leads to destruction in some way.
We can either let go of our weapons – and not pick them up again – or we can be taken captive, sold into bondage by our own sins.
We can accept the offering of peace, and live a peaceful life of not fighting – or we can be taken as a prisoner of war by the adversary.
If we want peace, we must be peaceful.