Mosiah 7:1-10:22

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The Book of Mormon > Mosiah > Chapters 7-10 (7:1-10:22)
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Summary[edit]

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The relationship of Chapters 7-10 to the rest of Mosiah is discussed at Mosiah. These chapters can be outlined as follows:


Discussion[edit]

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Verse 7:18[edit]

  • In the New Testament, the King James Translation uses the word "effectual" most often in conjunction with the word "work" as a translation of the Greek verbs Energeia or Energeo--both signifying power, work, or energy that "effects" some kind of change (cf. Eph 3:7, Eph 4:16). The verb Energeia is only used when describing supernatural spiritual powers (be they good or evil). While we have no idea what original word was used in verse 18, it is possible that in the Biblical lexicon of Joseph Smith, the phrase translated here as 'effectual struggle" similarly means a struggle conducted by supernatural or divine power--as seems to be indicated in the following verse. If so, Limhi is saying that while they have already struggled themselves, they are about to receive supernatural power to aid in that struggle.
  • Verse 7:29: Succor. This word appears three times in the King James Version of the Holy Bible (as succour). It appears six times in the Book of Mormon and twice in the Doctrine & Covenants. According to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, succor (the verb) means "literally, to run to, or run to support; hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners" and as a noun, means "aid; help; assistance; particularly, assistance that relieves and delivers from difficulty, want or distress."
  • Verse 7:29: Hedge up. In the KJV of the Old Testament, this phrase only appears once at Hosea 2:6.
  • Verse 8:2: Ammon's background. As revealed here, Ammon can read, something uncommon in pre-modern societies. Earlier, we read that he was a descendant of Zarahemla. Presumably, as a royal or noble Mulekite heir, he was taught to read. In addition, his preaching to the people of Limhi the words of king Benjamin may indicate some sort of function as a priest or teacher, though he mysteriously declines to baptize Limhi's people.

Verse 9:3[edit]

The land of a family's first inheritance, the original land that their ancestor received when the land was first divided, was passed down in each generation to the father's primary heir and was thus a symbol of one's status as head of the family.[1] This may relate to Zeniff's zealousness and pride.

Verse 10:12-13[edit]

These verses are important because they provide us with the Lamanite counter narrative of the Lehite exodus recounted in 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi. Notice, that in this counter narrative Lehi is driven from Jerusalem, rather than being instructed to depart by the Lord. Notice also that he leaves because of his unrighteouness rather than because of the unrighteousness of the people that he condemns. (Interestingly, the priests of King Noah make a similar attack on Abinadi, claiming that his denuciations of sin and warnings of imminent destruction run counter to the words of scripture, particularlly the passage in Isaiah regarding the beauty of the feet of those who proclaim peace.) We can see the beginnins of this counter narrative in the disputes between Nephi and his brothers over whether or not the people of Jerusalem were wicked. Nephi says yes, while his brothers insist that they kept the statutes of the law. From this germ grows the Lamanite nation's founding myth as it were.


Points to ponder[edit]

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I have a question[edit]

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Verse 7:1[edit]

  • What does it mean to go "up"? Does that mean in elevation, northward, or what?
  • Is there a difference between the "land" and the "city" of Lehi-Nephi.
  • What does the word "teasings" mean here?

Verse 7:2[edit]

  • Why would the king need to "grant" the men to go on the expedition to Lehi-Nephi?
  • Is there a significance to the number 16, or does this just happen to be the number of men chosen to go?

Verse 7:3[edit]

  • Who is this Ammon? Did King Mosiah name his own son after this "descendant of Zarahemla"? If so, why? Was Mosiah perhaps married to a high-ranking "descendant of Zarahemla" himself? Perhaps even a relative (daughter or sister) of Ammon? Why was a "descendant of Zarahemla" sent out as a leader of a Nephite expedition? Was he just the leader of this party, or did he have a leadership role within his own people, perhaps as a direct descendant of the previous Mulekite King Zarahemla?
  • Why would this descendant of Zarahemla have so much interest in the lost group of Nephites who had left Zarahemla 80 years earlier?
  • Why this renewed interest in finding out what had happened to a people who hadn't been heard from for 80 years?

Verse 7:4[edit]

  • What is the significance of the men wandering 40 days? How and where else is the phrase "forty days" used in the scriptures? How often is this phrase associated with "wilderness" and mountains or hills?
  • If the 40 days in the wilderness is meant to parallel Israel's forty years in the wilderness, then the symbolism is curiously reversed because Ammon and his party are not heading toward the promised land, but away from it. If anything the journey resembles a return to Egypt, rather than an Exodus from Egypt. If this is a fruitful interpretation, why is the symbolism reversed?
  • In the interest of not biasing the interpretation toward Israel's wandering in the desert, what fruitful parallels might be drawn between Ammon's story and that of Moses's forty days on Mount Sinai? Jesus's forty days of fasting? Joshua and company's forty days exploring the promised land before they conquered it? Jonas's preaching that Nineve would be destroyed in forty days? The Philistine's forty days of challenging Israel before David arrived? The forty days of rain during Noah's flood? Elijah's forty day journey (apparently fasting) to get to Mount Horeb and speak with the Lord? Or perhaps even Jacob's being embalmed for forty days?
  • If we take an historical context to the bible, it is apparent that to many cultures, Jews included, a certain amount of numerology, or the study of the occult meaning of numbers (definition found on dictionary.reference.com), was considered an acceptable, even significant practice. Many modern day Christian churches have the same cultural influence within them, if you look close enough. This may not explain what meaning their is to the numbers, but it may offer a suggestion to the seemingly impossible coincidence that all of these significant biblical events took the almost exact same amount of time. As copies of the bible were handed down and rewritten by hand, this numerological cultural influence may have "inspired" scribes to make some small and seemingly harmless changes to the text, for the greater good of the word, of course. For one who has read the Book of Mormon, we know that the Nephites are a heavily Jewish-influenced society, as Lehi left from Jerusalem, the capitol of Judaism, and was no doubt influenced by its culture. This may explain the showing up of similar numerological passages in the Book of Mormon, as ancient American prophets might have been practicing an ancient tradition, the "rounding" of the time that an event took place within to fit nicely inside the content of the holy texts already in existence. We also know that the Nephites had at least one copy of the bible...

Verse 7:6[edit]

  • What does it mean that these men were "brethren" of Ammon? Does that mean that they were blood relatives or even brothers, and hence all royal Mulekite descendants of Zarahemla?
  • If these men are Mulekites, why are they being sent to inquire about lost Nephites?
  • Why are we given the names of these men, who we never hear from again? Or do we hear about them again, but perhaps haven't recognized it? Is this Amaleki the same man (Amlici--perhaps a variant spelling, see here) who 30 years later becomes the leader of the Amalekites/Amlicites who give Alma so much trouble in the first half of the Book of Alma?
  • Is there a connection between this Helem and the Helam that Alma baptizes in the Waters of Mormon? Does this similarity of names indicate a blood relationship between the two, or merely some other cultural connection?
  • What are the parallels between the mission of this Ammon and his three brothers to the Land of Lehi-Nephi and the mission of Ammon (the son of Mosiah) and his three brothers to the Land of Nephi?
  • What other scriptural or cultural examples do we have of journeys taken by four brothers? What literary or other patterns might be suggested by these stories? Is it significant that the four brothers comprise one fourth of the original group?

Verse 7:7[edit]

  • Is it a completion of the reverse Exodus symbolism that upon arriving in the land of Nephi, Ammon and his brethren are imprisoned?

Verse 7:8[edit]

  • Is the imagery of captivity and judgment intended to evoke its usual Gospel connotation? If so, why is it Ammon and his brethren who are imprisoned and judged, rather than Limhi?

Verse 7:9[edit]

  • Limhi claims to have been "made a king by the voice of the people". Does that imply that he was elected, or does this mean something else? What kind of a king is "made...by the voice of the people"?
  • Is Limhi's high-handedness to be taken as a contrast to King Benjamin's humble manner of ruling?
  • Is it significant that Limhi fails to mention the Lord both in regard to his right to rule and his right to the land (which was originally the promised land)?

Verse 7:10[edit]

  • With such high tensions between the people of Limhi and their Lamanite neighbors/overlords, why would the king be outside the gates of the city?

Verse 7:11[edit]

  • What does the suspicion and harshness with which Limhi receives Ammon and his brethren tell us about the state of their society?

Verse 7:12[edit]

  • Given the background of King Benjamin's speech and Mormon's positive remarks about Mosiah's reign, it seems that Limhi's treatment of Ammon and his brethren is something they would not have anticipated from a political ruler. Why does Ammon respond with such courtesy and respect?

Verse 7:13[edit]

  • In what sense does Ammon use the term "brethren" here? Does he mean just his own Mulekite relatives, or does he mean something else? Do the Mulekites and Nephites consider themselves united and "brethren" at this time?

Verse 7:14[edit]

  • What does Limhi mean by his own use of the term "brethren"?

Verse 7:15[edit]

  • Why would Limhi think it better to be a slave to the Nephites than to pay tribute to the Lamanites?
  • Why does Limhi assume that they will need to be the slaves of the Nephites in advance of any planning or discussion? Does he intend the term literally? Or is he simply (because of cultural norms) acknowledging the rescuer's right to the rescued's person? Or are there other possibilities?

Verse 7:16[edit]

  • Why stress that Limhi commanded the guards not to bind Ammon and his brethren? Isn't that already obvious from the context? Is this at all related to all of Limhi's talk of captivity in the previous verse?
  • Is it significant that the others are waiting on a hill?
  • Why is the suffering mentioned? Is the hunger and thirst meant to be reminiscent of fasting? If so, why?

Verse 7:17[edit]

  • What is this temple? Is it the same temple originally built by Nephi?
  • Is the language of this verse intentionally parallel to the language of Mosiah 1:18? If so, why would Mormon intend for us to connect these two events?

Verse 7:18[edit]

  • What does the word effectual mean? What is Limhi saying when he says "there remaineth an effectual struggle"?
  • What does it mean to "lift up your heads"? What does this have to do with being comforted?

Verse 7:20[edit]

  • What does it mean to say that God "brought [Limhi's people] into bondage"? What role did God play in their falling into bondage?

Verse 7:21[edit]

  • What does it mean that Zeniff "was made king over this people"? How was he selected? What did it mean for him to be a king? Why might he have been so chosen?
  • What does it mean to be "over-zealous"? In what way was Zeniff "over-zealous"? Why would he be so interested in inheriting the "land of his fathers"?

Verse 7:25[edit]

  • How does the theme of contentions play out throughout the record of Zeniff?

Verse 7:26[edit]

  • In most of this chapter, Limhi uses the word God. But here he refers to Abinadi as "a prophet of the Lord". What does this mean? Is this a reference to Abinadi's specific teachings about Christ?
  • What does it mean for Abinadi to have been "a chosen man of God"? In what sense was he "chosen"?

Verse 7:27[edit]

  • What reason does Limhi give here for Abinadi's martyrdom? How might his teachings have formed the basis for a capital offense?

Verse 7:29[edit]

  • What does it mean for the Lord to "not succor [his] people?
  • How does the Lord "hedge up [the] ways [of his people]"? What does it mean to hedge up?
  • In what sense do the Nephites understand the term "prosper"? How might this be related to scriptural promises?
  • How can our doings become a stumbling block?

Verse 7:30[edit]

  • What does it mean to "sow filthiness"?
  • What does it mean to "reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind"? Does this mean the chaff of filthiness? What does that even mean?
  • How is the "effect" of reaping the chaff a "poison"?

Verse 8:1[edit]

  • Who is the narrator here?
  • Why are "only a few" of Limhi's words recorded here?

Verse 8:2[edit]

  • Why did Limhi have Ammon recount the history of the people in Zarahemla, if as it says in verse 1, he had already "told his people all the things concerning their bretheren who were in the land of Zarahemla"?

Verse 8:3[edit]

  • What are "the last words which king Benjamin had taught them"? Does that mean the entire last speech, or just some part of those words?
  • How did Ammon have the words of king Benjamin? Did he just have these teachings in his mind, or did he have a copy of the speech with him?
  • What might have been needed by way of explanation, so that the people of Limhi "might understand all the words" of king Benjamin which Ammon was recounting?

Verse 8:4[edit]

  • Ammon is able to read, something uncommon in most pre-modern societies. What does this tell us about his background and training?

Verse 8:7[edit]

  • Why are we told that 43 people were sent out to find the land of Zarahemla? Why give us the exact number rather than just say "a small group"?

Verse 8:8[edit]

  • Since bones do not last long in tropical settings, what does this tell us about how long ago the people had died in these ruined cities?
  • Why compare the size of the lost people to "the hosts of Israel"?
  • What does Limhi mean by "the hosts of Israel"?

Verse 8:11[edit]

  • Metal weapons are almost unheard of in pre-Columbian America. Does this verse indicate the presence of iron weapons?
  • What would the weapons have been made of that their hilts had perished but their blades "were cankered with rust"?

Verse 8:12[edit]

  • Why would Limhi be "desirous to know the cause" of the destruction of the lost people?

Verse 8:13[edit]

  • What do we learn about the role of a seer in this verse?
  • Why does a seer have to be commanded to look into the interpreters?
  • What might it mean to "look for that he ought not"? Are there ways that we look for what we ought not in our modern society?
  • Why might one perish after looking "foro that he ought not"?
  • Our modern prophets and apostles are sustained as seers. Does this mean that they have access to the same kind of interpreters as king Mosiah? Why don't we hear about modern seers using interpreters?

Verse 8:14[edit]

  • Why is being a seer called a "high gift from God"

Verse 8:15[edit]

  • Why would Limhi say "that a seer is greater than a prophet"? What would it mean to be "greater" than a prophet?

Verses 10:1-2[edit]

What are our weapons and guards?


Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Verses 7:6-10: Bacabs In Ancient Mesoamerica, there was an important tradition of four divine brothers--known to the Maya as the Bacabs. There were also tales of four brothers as founding fathers of various groups. It is possible that the stories of the two Ammon journeys, each involving four brothers, somehow resonated with these stories of divine brothers. More explorations of this here.
  • Verse 7:22: Corn John L. Sorenson wrote an interesting article on whether or not the Nephites encountered and intermingled with other native american groups upon arriving in the New World. One point he makes is that this early mention of "corn" (repeated in Mosiah 9:9 and 14) is evidence of cultural intermingling because maize is only a domestic plant whose care must be explained to newcomers (think Thanksgiving Story) but that had already become predominant in Nephite culture (as indicated by primary placement in both of these verses). Sorenson, John L. When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There? Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 1992. Pp. 1-34. Of course, there is an older use of the word "corn" that predates Europeans' introduction to maize.


Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Nibley, High. An Approach to the Book of Mormon, p. 80-81.



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