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The robbers were ready to attack, and began their invasion (verse 1). But as they attacked, they found that instead of making others miserable, the prison was their own. There was no nourishment for them (verse 2), and they were alone (verse 3), and had no existence outside of attacking. Rather than conquerors, they found themselves in self-created, self-chosen bondage. They could not even steal food or find game to kill (verse 4). They had trapped themselves by their own choices, and now the only choices that remained were to submit to God or to attack (verse 5).
So they went to battle, attacking by trying to over-power because they did not want to submit to God (verse 7).
When the Nephites saw the robbers coming to attack, they did “lift their cries unto the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies” (verse 8).
When the robbers heard this noise, they thought it meant the Nephites were afraid (verse 9).
But this was false: the Nephites were not afraid of them, though “they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection” (verse 10). So when the robbers attacked, the Nephites did receive the strength of the Lord. The battle was the worst one these people had known in their history, since the Babylon attack of Jerusalem (verse 11). Yet despite the threats of the robbers, the Nephites won the battle because they had trusted in God (verse 12). The Nephites were able to return home in peace (verse 15).
Even though their leader had died in battle, the robbers still tried to lay siege on the Nephites by surrounding them (verse 16). They spent time selecting a new leader (verse 17), which gave the Nephites time to gather their food storage and other provisions (verse 18).
Because the Nephites gathered so much, there was nothing left for the robbers (verse 19), and they began to get hungry (verse 20). This made them weak enough the Nephites had the advantage in fighting, gaining back their land a little at a time (verse 21), until finally the robbers began to retreat (verses 22-23). The Nephites swept in to cut off the retreat (verse 24), even surrounding them in the night for a surprise attack in the morning (verses 25-26).
Many robbers were taken prisoner (verse 27), and the leader of the robbers was executed (verse 28).
The Nephites gave credit to the Lord for preserving “his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart” (verse 29), and rejoiced in their God who remembers His covenants even to protect them (verse 30).
And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them…. Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God. And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction (verses 31-33).