Alma 25:2 they...fell upon the people who were in the land of Ammonihah and destroyed them
Ammonihah was the city of Amulek. Alma and Amulek had warned them of impending destruction if they did not repent. Their attitude was encapsulated in the following statement, We will not believe thy words if thou shouldst prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day (Alma 9:4). The Lord loves a challenge, and he met their challenge, for they were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness. But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcases were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness (Alma 16:9-10).
Alma 25:3 they had many battles with the Nephites, in the which they were driven and slain
The Lamanites were beaten so convincingly in these battles that they began to wonder whether God was preserving the Nephites. The battles being referred to here are found in Alma 16:3-8. This was the story of the chief captain, Zoram, who inquired at the hand of Alma where he should go to rescue captive Nephites and meet the Lamanite armies. Because of divine direction, they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive...And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land (Alma 16:8-9).
Alma 25:6-7 many of them...began to be stirred up in remembrance
When the Lamanite army came upon the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, they began to slaughter their brethren. It is interesting, then to look at the effect of this atrocious act on the perpetrators themselves. We have already discussed the group which were stung for their murders (Alma 24:25). They threw down their weapons and converted on the spot.
A second Lamanite group responded in anger. Their fury was exacted upon the people of Ammonihah. However, subsequent battles with the Nephites humbled them. They began to wonder how it was that the Nephites could be so powerful in battle-as if the Great Spirit were protecting them. The result was that they remembered the preaching of Aaron and Ammon and began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers. This shows how far-reaching the missionary efforts of the sons of Mosiah were. The sower of the seed never knows when the seed will take sprout. Often the seed lays dormant until the great Gardener gives the increase. In this case, Ammon planted, Aaron watered; but God gave the increase (1 Cor 3:6). It also shows the power of the missionary act of the slaughtered Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Their willingness to die for the truth was an act of missionary work, for thousands were brought to the knowledge of the truth by their integrity and courage.
The third group which took part in the vicious attack were the Amulonites and Amalekites. These dissenters had no remorse. They were not stung by the murder of the Lamanites. They were not influenced by the teaching of the sons of Mosiah (Alma 23:14). They did not attribute the military successes of the Nephites to the power of God. They were leaders among the Lamanites but had no love for them. Rather, as soon as these Lamanites began to believe in the traditions of the Nephites, the Amulonites had them killed. These wicked descendants of the priests of Noah were without conscience. They would kill Nephites and Lamanites indiscriminately, especially if they believed in God and the coming of his Son. It is hard to find examples of people whose hearts were harder or necks were stiffer than these wicked men.
Alma 25:8 the Lamanites began to hunt the seed of Amulon and his brethren and began to slay them
"The Lamanites, stirred up to anger, destroyed some Nephites (v. 2, city of Ammonihah) and then were repulsed by the more righteous ones (v. 3), then converted (v. 6), then destroyed by the children of Amulon (v. 7), which made non believing Lamanites angry (v.8), who then in turn destroyed the children of Amulon (v. 8), (fulfillment of prophecy v. 9-12).
"Here we see the amazing cohesion in the plan the Lord has for his people. He uses the Lamanites to punish the people of Ammonihah for rejecting Alma, and in their war-like state, they attack righteous Nephites, cannot win, are humbled because of this, convert to the gospel, get persecuted and slain, which persecution angers yet another group of Lamanites, who exact the Lord's punishment for disobedience to Abinadi's words." (Jason Case, personal communication)
Alma 25:12 he said unto the priests of Noah that their seed should cause many to be put to death
Mormon does a great job of explaining how the words of Abinadi were fulfilled to the last detail, even to the second generation. It is helpful to review what Abinadi said while he was burning to death:
'And now when the flames began to scorch him, he cried unto them, saying:
Behold, even as ye have done unto me, so shall it come to pass that thy seed shall cause that many shall suffer the pains that I do suffer, even the pains of death by fire; and this because they believe in the salvation of the Lord their God.
And it will come to pass that ye shall be afflicted with all manner of diseases because of your iniquities.
Yea, and ye shall be smitten on every hand, and shall be driven and scattered to and fro, even as a wild flock is driven by wild and ferocious beasts.
And in that day ye shall be hunted, and ye shall be taken by the hand of your enemies, and then ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire.
Thus God executeth vengeance upon those that destroy his people.' (Mosiah 17:14-19)
Alma 25:15-16 the law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ
The difference between the Law of Moses as understood by the ancient Israelites in the Old Testament and the Law of Moses as taught in the Book of Mormon is fundamental. Two basic concepts of the law are not explained in a plain and precious way in the Old Testament. First, is that salvation did not come by the Law of Moses. Second, is that the purpose of the Law of Moses was to strengthen their faith in Christ. These two concepts are inextricably related but for the sake of discussion, they will be dealt with separately. Notice that of all the scriptures listed, only one comes from the Old Testament.
First, salvation does not come by the Law of Moses:
'To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats...
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil' (Isa 1:11,16)
'For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect...
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.' (Heb 10:1,4)
'But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;' (Rom 9:31-32)
'For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.' (Rom 4:13)
'For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.' (Heb 7:19)
'Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.' (Rom 3:20)
'And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.' (Mosiah 13:28)
Second, the Law of Moses is to strengthen faith in Christ:
'...harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
...And to whom sware he that they (the children of Israel) should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.' (Heb 3:15-19)
'For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' (Heb 4:2)
'For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.' (Rom 10:4)
'But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.' (Gal 3:23-24)
'Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.' (2 Ne 11:4)
'And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God' (Alma 34:14)
'And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham.' (Jacob 4:5)
'For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.' (2 Ne 25:25)
"So firm a foundation having been laid for the faith of the Nephite people, we find that in every period of their history they retained their reverence for the law of Moses, though disputations sometimes arose, by reason of iniquity, with regard to its symbolism or its saving quality. The apostates, who separated themselves from the Church, occasionally fell into the grievous error of exalting the law above the Gospel, and, whilst maintaining its divine origin, they ignored its typical value and denied that it was a preparatory system leading to a higher, holier and more perfect law; they refused to recognize it as a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ." (Mediation and Atonement, chapter 14)
See also commentary for 2 Ne 11:4, 2 Ne 25:25, and Mosiah 13:28-30.
Alma 25:17 the Lord had granted unto them according to their prayers
The content of their prayers is described in Alma 17:
'...they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.' (Alma 17:9)