Alma 49

Alma 49:3 the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt

Less than nine years had passed since the greatest military victory in recent Lamanite history. The battle at the city of Ammonihah must have become legendary among Lamanite soldiers. The city was the site of the wicked Nephites who imprisoned Alma and Amulek and burned the believing women and children (Alma 14). As a punishment, the city was completely destroyed in one day (Alma 16:9-11). Unaware of the hand of the Lord in their earlier success, the Lamanites must have thought that this newly rebuilt city would again yield a spectacular military victory.

Alma 49:6 they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done

Hugh Nilbey

"Turn to Alma 49:6. There's no better known maxim than that generals always plan the next war in terms of the last war. They always fight the last war because that's where their experience is. That's where they can correct their mistakes. They talk it over and endlessly argue what they would have done, what this person should have done and that person should have done. The English are great on that. That's exactly what happened here. Notice this neat touch here in the verse 6: '...they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done; yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates [they were getting ready for the other war, the war that they had hitherto been victorious in]; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.' Notice, they had matched the Nephites' armor (see Alma 43:19-21). All the things they had hitherto done they were doing now, but that wasn't enough because Moroni was ahead of them. Moroni was a real military genius." (Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 68, p. 138)

Alma 49:10 Amalickiah...did care not for the blood of his people

Hugh Nibley

"King Amalickiah had stayed back at his base, confident of a quick and easy victory. 'He did not care for the blood of his people' (Alma 49:10)-Moroni actually cared far more for it than he did! 'His chief captains,' furious at their rebuff at the city of Ammonihah, promptly lunged for the important city of Noah...The only trouble was that thanks to Moroni the city was fortified and waiting, and 'they were again disappointed' (Alma 49:13-17). The supreme test of generalship, we are told, is to have the enemy play your game, making just the moves you want him to make under the impression that he is being very smart on his own. Moroni did just that, and the attack on the city of Noah 'was according to his desires' (Alma 49:15). He had devised a new and ingenious type of defense for the city gate, which proved a death-trap for the Lamanites...and their savage and repeated assaults on the impregnable gate became simply suicidal, and finally 'their chief captains were all slain; yea, and more than a thousand of the Lamanites were slain' (Alma 49:21-23)." (Since Cumorah, p. 309)

Alma 49:14-25 Lessons from the Battle at the City of Noah

Moroni had reinforced the cities of Ammonihah and Noah to such an astonishing degree that the Battle at the City of Noah was over before it started. Moroni's diligent preparations, in a manner which had never been known among the children of Lehi (v. 8), had outwitted the enemy again.

In our personal fight against evil, the same principle applies. We, too, can win the battle before it even starts by preparing ourselves spiritually and making certain decisions before we are ever confronted with the opposition. How many times have our youth been taught that it is much easier to make the decision not to use drugs or alcohol long before the opportunity presents itself? So it is with the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, and many other principles.

Figuratively speaking, to win the battle before it even starts, we must build forts of security (v. 13). We must strengthen our weakest areas, knowing as the Lord has said, if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27). We must dig deeper ditches, build taller banks, and reinforce them with our strongest defenses. "The Lamanite attack on the city of Ammonihah reminds us that, like an enemy army, Satan will quietly try to dig down our defenses when he is not allowed direct access to our hearts." (Kathleen S. McConkie, Ensign, Jan. 1992, "Defending Against Evil")

But if we arm ourselves with the armor of righteousness, preparing ourselves as Moroni did, we will be able to slay the devil and his angels with an immense slaughter (v. 21). There will still be a battle, for Satan will do all he can to tempt, destroy, and seduce. Inevitably, there will still be battle wounds, many of which [are] very severe (v. 24). But if the vital decisions and preparations have been made beforehand, we will not be slain by the fiery darts of the wicked one (DC 27:17). Instead we will thank the Lord [our] God, because of his matchless power in delivering [us] from the hands of [our] enemies (v. 28).

Alma 49:27 he did curse God, and also Moroni, swearing with an oath that he would drink his blood

Amalickiah's wicked oath taking makes a mockery of the true purpose of solemn oaths and sacred covenants. In the oath taking society in which Amalickiah lived, to forswear, or break, an oath was a serious offense. An oath should never be made if the individual was incapable of making it good. Furthermore, an individual with integrity would rather die than break such an oath. Although Amalickiah lacked any integrity, this is exactly what happened to him. He was killed in his sleep by Teancum without ever having had the privilege of drinking Moroni's blood (see Alma 51:33-34).

Alma 49:30 Corianton had repented and joined his brothers in declaring the word

When Alma took time to teach his sons on an individual basis, Corianton received much more attention than his older brothers. Instead of preaching the gospel, he had been chasing the harlot Isabel and justifying his actions by questioning the justice of God (Alma 39-42). Here, we learn that he had repented to become a useful servant of the Lord-much like his father had done years before him.

"Tucked in the ongoing story of the Nephite wars we find a reference to the change that Corianton made in his personal life. Peace was in the land again and the people prospered 'because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren' (Alma 49:30). Notice who was back on his mission again. Hurrah! Through a parent-child interview, Alma brought about a transformation in the life of his beloved son, and this united family of missionaries and Nephite ministers made an incredible difference in the society in which they lived. It was as if they first 'taped together' the home and then the world began to take care of itself." (Douglas E. Brinley & Daniel K Judd, Eternal Families, "The Parent's Role")

"Corianton's sins were grievous.  And yet we have every reason to believe that Alma's preaching touched the soul of his errant son, that Corianton 'crossed himself' (see Alma 39:9), repented, and returned to the ministry...

"Elder Orson F. Whitney held out this hope for the parents of wandering or wayward children:  'You parents of the wilful and the wayward:  Don't give them up.  Don't cast them off.  They are not utterly lost.  The shepherd will find his sheep.  They were his before they were yours- long before he entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them.  They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance.  Only the fulness of knowledge brings the fulness of accountability.  Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.' (CR, April 1929, p. 110.)" (McConkie & Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 320)