Saturday, October 31, 2015

Amalickiah: Zoramite, Nephite or Lamanite?

Every once in a while, we run across an individual in the scriptural record that can be described in more than one basic way—and that is the case with Amalickiah. 
   We first meet Amalickiah, “who was a Nephite by birth” (Alma 49:25), when he shows up wanting to be king over the Nephite people and return the government to a kingdom.
    Following Alma’s death (Alma 45:19), in the 19th year of the reign of the judges, Helaman began preaching among the people, “For behold, because of their wars with the Lamanites and the many little dissensions and disturbances which had been among the people, it became expedient that the word of God should be declared among them, yea, and that a regulation should be made throughout the church” (Alma 45:21).
    As Helaman and his brethren traveled across the land, establishing churches again in all the land, in every city possessed by the Nephites (Alma 45:22), appointing priests and teachers among them, “there arose a dissension among them,” so much so, that the people would not listen to Helaman and his brethren (Alma 45:23), because of their great riches and their pride in believing they did not need God because they were so rich.
The leader of these rich dissenters was Amalickiah (left) who had an ability to draw people to him through his flatteries. He told those who would follow him that “if they would support him and establish him to be their king that he would make them rulers over the people” (Alma 46:5)
    It should be of note that “there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissented even from the church; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi exceedingly precarious and dangerous, notwithstanding their great victory which they had had over the Lamanites, and their great rejoicings which they had had because of their deliverance by the hand of the Lord. Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one” (Alma 46:7-8).
    Obviously, Amalickiah was a very persuasive and powerful individual who understood how to manipulate people and their thinking, through appealing to their self-interests and personal avarice, and we see that “because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous' sake” (Alma 46:10).
At this point in time, Moroni (left) steps forward with his great speech and prayer regarding the title of liberty he wrote upon his torn coat and hung upon a pole. His fervor and righteousness brought Nephites from all over to his standard in defense of their country, their Church and their government. In the end, Amalickiah, seeing he was outnumbered and could not gain sufficient strength to achieve his goal to become king, he “fled with a small number of his men, and the remainder were delivered up into the hands of Moroni and were taken back into the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 46:33).
    Meanwhile, Amalickiah, still desirous to be a king, fled with his small band to the land of Nephi and stirred up the Lamanites against the Nephites, and the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation throughout all the land among all his people, to gather together to war with the Nephites (Alma 47:1).
    However, the majority of the Lamanites would not obey their king, not wanting to go battle against the Nephites and get killed. So the king appointed Amalickiah head of that part of the Lamanites who obeyed with the intention of compelling the remainder to also join in and obey their king. All of this worked right into Amalickiah’s plans, for he was “a very subtle man to do evil therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites” (Alma 47: 4).
    Through an ingenious plan, Amalikiah overcomes the defecting half of the Lamanite army, gains control over both and eventually becomes the leader of the entire Lamanite armies. Continuing with his plan, Amalickiah then has the king killed, and by his fraud, gained control over all of the Lamanites, married the queen, and became king over the Lamanites throughout all the land (Alma 47:35).
    Thus, Amalickiah, and his followers (dissenters) “became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites—drinking in with the traditions of the Lamanites; giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God” (Alma 47:36).
    However, though he was now king of the Lamanites, Amalickiah was not satisfied. He wanted to conquer and rule as king over the Nephites (Alma 48:2).
    Because the Zoramites, his dissenters, were the most familiar with the Nephites, having themselves been Nephites, he appointed them “he did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities; therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies” (Alma 48:5).
    All of this took approximately five years, for in the twenty-first year of the reign of the judges, five years after Amalickiah first began his dissentions among the Nephites, there was peace and a golden or “happy” period among the Nephites. During this time, Morianton claimed a part of the city of Lehi as part of his own city of Morianton, but in the twenty and fifth year of the reign of the judges, Amalickiah stirred up the Lamanites once again and they came down into the Land of Zarahemla, with Amalickiah at their head (Alma 51:12).
While Moroni was occupied putting down the king-men who sought to return the government to a kingdom, Amalickiah marched his Lamanite army to the city of Moroni and took possession of the city—where Teancum (left) entered at night and killed Amalickiah.
    Immediately, the brother of Amalickiah was appointed king over the Lamanites and his name was Ammoron. In a later exchange of letters with Moroni, Ammoron wrote:
“I am Ammoron (left), and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem. And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite; behold, this war hath been waged to avenge their wrongs, and to maintain and to obtain their rights to the government; and I close my epistle to Moroni” (Alma 54:23-24).
    So we have two brothers, Amalickiah, a Nephite, and Ammoron, claiming he was a descendants of Zoram, but presently a “bold Lamanite.” Amalickiah, on the other hand, claimed he was a Nephite by birth and sought to be the king of the Nephites.
    Taking all three of these lineagers, Zoram, Nephite and Lamanite, we can assume that technically, they were  both born in the lineage of Zoram, were by the nature of the language Nephites, and later dissented and became Lamanites.
    This is borne out by the statement during these events: “For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them” (Alma 43:4). Therefore, a year after Amalickiah’s defeat in his bid to become king of the Nephites, he and his dissenting band of Zoramites became Lamanites. No doubt, at this time, his brother, Ammoron was with him and became a Lamanite as well since he later became king of the Lamanites.
    And those who joined the Lamanites and “did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed” (Alma 3:9). And “whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and there was a mark set upon him” (Alma 3:10).
    Thus, we need to understand that in the lineage paths of Lehi’s descendants, those who defected over to the Lamanites became Lamanites in not just name, but in the sharing of the curse and mark set upon the Lamanites. They were no longer Nephites or Zoramites or anything else—they were Lamanites. Thus a Zoramite or a Nephite becomes a Lamanite, he is no longer a Zoramite or a Nephite, but is in full fellowship with the Lamanites and in full accord. Amalickiah became a Lamanite, a Captain and then Chief Captain of the Lamanite Army, and finally the king of the Lamanites. His brother became a “bold Lamanite.”

1 comment:

  1. I'd not caught the connection between Amalickiah and the Zoramites. It makes sense.

    One correction to your storyline: you wrote, "Amalickiah marched his Lamanite army to the city of Moroni and took possession of the city—where Teancum entered at night and killed Amalickiah."
    Amalickiah did not die in the city of Moroni; he died on the seashore quite a bit farther north, near the land Bountiful.
    Amalickiah had first captured the city of Moroni and then six more coastal cities (Alma 51:24-27). The Lamanites were headed for Bountiful in the hopes of breaking through to the land north, before being stopped by Teancum and his men. Teancum drove them down to the beach, where the Lamanites camped for the night (Alma 51:32). This is where Teancum snuck in and killed Amalickiah.