22 July 2014

Alma 22: Aaron and the King

After Aaron and his brethren were released from prison, they decided to pay a thank-you visit to Lamoni's father, who was king of all the land. 

When they arrived at his palace, they went right up to him, bowed, and offered to become his servants.
Now, as Ammon was thus teaching the people of Lamoni continually, we will return to the account of Aaron and his brethren; for after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni. 22.1 
And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king's palace, with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast delivered out of prison. 22.2 
And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants. 22.3a
He didn't accept their offer. Instead, he asked why Ammon wasn't with them, and Aaron told him that Ammon was in the land of Ishmael, preaching, and he was too busy to make the trip.
And the king said unto them: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee. 22.3 
And Aaron said unto the king: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way; he has gone to the land of Ishmael, to teach the people of Lamoni. 22.4
The king had a few questions for Ammon. What was the whole "Spirit of the Lord" thing again? And do I have to repent or not? It's all very confusing.
Now the king said unto them: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me. 22.5 
And also, what is this that Ammon said -- If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day? 22.6
Aaron answered him, and then asked him if he believed in God. The king gave a real wishy-washy answer, but ended by saying that he would believe if Aaron said that there was a God (and if Aaron pinky-swore).
And Aaron answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe. 22.7
Aaron told him that God did indeed exist, and then he went on to tell him all about God and the scriptures, going all the way back to the creation of Adam.
And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king -- how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen. 22.12 
And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name. 22.13  
And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king. 22.14
Then the king asked Aaron about the whole eternal life thing. What would it take for him to join that club? He said that he'd give up his whole kingdom if Aaron could get him into heaven. But Aaron gave him the good news: all he had to do was to bow down before God and repent.
And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy. 22.15
But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest. 22.16
So that's what he did. He lay prostrate upon the floor and made a little speech to God, and then was suddenly struck as though he was dead.
And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying: 22.17 
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead. 22.18
All of the kings servants saw this, and they ran to tell the queen what had happened. She was angry with Aaron--she thought he killed her husband. She ordered her servants to kill Aaron and his friends. None of them were willing, because they knew how powerful Aaron was.
Now the servants had seen the cause of the king's fall, therefore they durst not lay their hands on Aaron and his brethren; and they pled with the queen saying: Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is mightier than us all? Therefore we shall fall before them. 22.20 
Then the queen told her chicken-shit servants to round up a mob who would do the job. But before she could get her lynch-mob together, Aaron decided to just wake the king up.
Now when the queen saw the fear of the servants she also began to fear exceedingly, lest there should some evil come upon her. And she commanded her servants that they should go and call the people, that they might slay Aaron and his brethren. 22.21 
Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength. 22.22
Everyone was pretty amazed, and they became a little afraid of Alma. But the king calmed them down, and even managed to convert everyone in his household. Quick work!
Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord. 22.23
Around that time, the crowd was starting to gather. The king spoke to them and calmed them down, and then told Alma to start preaching.
Now there was a multitude gathered together because of the commandment of the queen, and there began to be great murmurings among them because of Aaron and his brethren. 22.24 
But the king stood forth among them and administered unto them. And they were pacified towards Aaron and those who were with him. 22.25 
And it came to pass that when the king saw that the people were pacified, he caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word unto them. 22.26
Then the king made a proclamation throughout all the land. We never get to hear what exactly the proclamation is, because the author gets sidetracked with a long geography lesson, but that's okay.
The rest of the chapter is pretty dull, unless you are really into speculative Book of Mormon cartography, in which case you can piece together something like this:

Since the journey between the "East Sea" and "West Sea" was only a day and a half journey, it pretty much had to be in Central America. (Unless, you know, this stuff is all just made up.)
And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. 22.32

1 comment:

Stephen said...

And Lo! It came to pass that the People of Nephi did prophesy that there would be dug a mighty trench from the East Sea to the West Sea whereby great ships could pass. And so it was.

Good thing the Nephites weren't there 65 million years ago when the Great Smiting happened!
Steve Weeks