Well, Moroni never managed to capture Amlickiah or his entourage -- they were already too far into the woods, I guess. This chapter follows Amlickiah's shenanigans in the woods, and among the Lamanites.
Amlickiah's first order of business was to dethrone the king of the Lamanites, so he could get the power for himself.
The current king of the Lamanites was having trouble controlling his people. He wanted to send his army to attack the Nephites, but only part of them would obey. He decided to give put Amlickiah in charge of the army. Little did he know, this was JUST what Amlickiah was after -- and it would ultimately be the undoing of the king.
Now we will return in our record to Amalickiah and those who had fled with him into the wilderness; for, behold, he had taken those who went with him, and went up in the land of Nephi among the Lamanites, and did stir up the Lamanites to anger against the people of Nephi, insomuch that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation throughout all his land, among all his people, that they should gather themselves together again to go to battle against the Nephites. Alma 47:1
And it came to pass that when the proclamation had gone forth among them they were exceedingly afraid; yea, they feared to displease the king, and they also feared to go to battle against the Nephites lest they should lose their lives. And it came to pass that they would not, or the more part of them would not, obey the commandments of the king. 47:2
And now it came to pass that the king was wroth because of their disobedience; therefore he gave Amalickiah the command of that part of his army which was obedient unto his commands, and commanded him that he should go forth and compel them to arms. 47:3
Now behold, this was the desire of Amalickiah; for he being a very subtle man to do evil therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites. 47:4
After Amalickiah got command of some of the army, he went to where the others were hanging out: a place called Onidah. They had appointed their own king at Onihad, and they had all gathered at the top of a hill called Antipas. We're not sure what the name of the king was, but the hill was called Antipas.
Amalickiah didn't want to fight them, he wanted to gain control of them. So he made camp at the bottom of the "mount Antipas".
And now he had got the command of those parts of the Lamanites who were in favor of the king; and he sought to gain favor of those who were not obedient; therefore he went forward to the place which was called Onidah, for thither had all the Lamanites fled; for they discovered the army coming, and, supposing that they were coming to destroy them, therefore they fled to Onidah, to the place of arms. 47:5
And they had appointed a man to be a king and a leader over them, being fixed in their minds with a determined resolution that they would not be subjected to go against the Nephites. 47:6
And it came to pass that they had gathered themselves together upon the top of the mount which was called Antipas, in preparation to battle. 47:7
Now it was not Amalickiah’s intention to give them battle according to the commandments of the king; but behold, it was his intention to gain favor with the armies of the Lamanites, that he might place himself at their head and dethrone the king and take possession of the kingdom. 47:8
And behold, it came to pass that he caused his army to pitch their tents in the valley which was near the mount Antipas. 47:9
Amalickiah sent up messengers to the king, asking for him to come down so he could speak to him. The king declined, 3 times, and then finally Amalickiah decided to walk up the damn mountain himself. Maybe if the king didn't have to travel so far he would talk to him.
He told the king to come down and speak with him, and to bring his guards if he had to.
And it came to pass that when it was night he sent a secret embassy into the mount Antipas, desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount, for he desired to speak with him. 47:10
And it came to pass that when Lehonti received the message he durst not go down to the foot of the mount. And it came to pass that Amalickiah sent again the second time, desiring him to come down. And it came to pass that Lehonti would not; and he sent again the third time. 47:11
And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount, nearly to Lehonti’s camp; and he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him. 47:12When Amalickiah finally got his audience with Lehonti, he told the king that what he wanted was for his army to be captured in the night. He told the Lehonti to send his army down there at night and capture them, and that he would make it easy for them.
So that's what he did. Before the army even woke up, they were surrounded.
And it came to pass that when Lehonti had come down with his guards to Amalickiah, that Amalickiah desired him to come down with his army in the night-time, and surround those men in their camps over whom the king had given him command, and that he would deliver them up into Lehonti’s hands, if he would make him (Amalickiah) a second leader over the whole army. 47:13
And it came to pass that Lehonti came down with his men and surrounded the men of Amalickiah, so that before they awoke at the dawn of day they were surrounded by the armies of Lehonti. 47:14Then the army did a curious thing. They didn't get angry at Amalickiah for selling them out, and instead they pleaded with him to let them become a part of the larger army that had just captured them. This seems doubly strange, because it doesn't seem like he would have the power in the situation anymore, without an army and everything. But this was all part of his crafty plan, as you'll soon see.
And it came to pass that when they saw that they were surrounded, they pled with Amalickiah that he would suffer them to fall in with their brethren, that they might not be destroyed. Now this was the very thing which Amalickiah desired. 47:15
And it came to pass that he delivered his men, contrary to the commands of the king. Now this was the thing that Amalickiah desired, that he might accomplish his designs in dethroning the king. 47:16So, as it turns out, the Lamanites had a strange custom of appointing their second-in-command as chief leader if their chief ended up dying. And Amalickiah had the chief poisoned, so then he was quickly appointed chief. Well, that was easy! (Macbeth sure would have been a lot shorter if Joseph Smith had written it...)
Now it was the custom among the Lamanites, if their chief leader was killed, to appoint the second leader to be their chief leader. 47:17
And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died. 47:18
Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander. 47:19So now that Amalickiah had control of the army, he marched back to the city of Nephi, and to the Lamanite king. When he got there, the king greeted him, pleased that he had rounded up such a large army to fight the Nephites. They all bowed to the king, and he reached down to raise them up, in a formal gesture that they had picked up from their time living with the Nephites.
And it came to pass that Amalickiah marched with his armies (for he had gained his desires) to the land of Nephi, to the city of Nephi, which was the chief city. 47:20
And the king came out to meet him with his guards, for he supposed that Amalickiah had fulfilled his commands, and that Amalickiah had gathered together so great an army to go against the Nephites to battle. 47:21
But behold, as the king came out to meet him Amalickiah caused that his servants should go forth to meet the king. And they went and bowed themselves before the king, as if to reverence him because of his greatness. 47:22
And it came to pass that the king put forth his hand to raise them, as was the custom with the Lamanites, as a token of peace, which custom they had taken from the Nephites. 47:23
But just then, BAM! One of Amalickiah's party stabbed the king in the heart, and then all of Amlickiah's servants started shouting that the kings own servants had stabbed him. They gathered an angry mob to chase down the poor innocent servants and ran them out of town into the wilderness.
And it came to pass that when he had raised the first from the ground, behold he stabbed the king to the heart; and he fell to the earth. 47:24
Now the servants of the king fled; and the servants of Amalickiah raised a cry, saying: 47:25
Behold, the servants of the king have stabbed him to the heart, and he has fallen and they have fled; behold, come and see. 47:26
And it came to pass that Amalickiah commanded that his armies should march forth and see what had happened to the king; and when they had come to the spot, and found the king lying in his gore, Amalickiah pretended to be wroth, and said: Whosoever loved the king, let him go forth, and pursue his servants that they may be slain. 47:27
And it came to pass that all they who loved the king, when they heard these words, came forth and pursued after the servants of the king. 47:28
Now when the servants of the king saw an army pursuing after them, they were frightened again, and fled into the wilderness, and came over into the land of Zarahemla and joined the people of Ammon. 47:29So Amalickiah took control of the city, and then the entire kingdom. But he still had one thing to conquer: the king's wife. She asked him for three things: to spare the residents of the city, to come in unto her, and to bring some witnesses to back up his story. After doing all three, they were happily married, and Amalickiah's position as king of all the land was secure. He ruled over a pretty diverse kingdom. He was king of the Lamanites, the Lemuelites, the Ishmaelites, and all of the dissenters of the Nephites.
And now it came to pass that the queen, when she had heard that the king was slain—for Amalickiah had sent an embassy to the queen informing her that the king had been slain by his servants, that he had pursued them with his army, but it was in vain, and they had made their escape - 47:32
Therefore, when the queen had received this message she sent unto Amalickiah, desiring him that he would spare the people of the city; and she also desired him that he should come in unto her; and she also desired him that he should bring witnesses with him to testify concerning the death of the king. 47:33
And it came to pass that Amalickiah took the same servant that slew the king, and all them who were with him, and went in unto the queen, unto the place where she sat; and they all testified unto her that the king was slain by his own servants; and they said also: They have fled; does not this testify against them? And thus they satisfied the queen concerning the death of the king. 47:34
And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time. 47:35The worst of these people, though, were the Nephite dissenters. You see, once you have knowledge of the Lord but don't follow him, you become even crazier than the regular wicked people: more hardened, impenitent, wild, wicked and ferocious -- drinking, indolence, lasciviousness...
Now these dissenters, having the same instruction and the same information of the Nephites, yea, having been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is strange to relate, not long after their dissensions they 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. 47:36
I'm sure we'll hear more about these terrible people in the following chapters! Look for a new Book of Mormon blog post every Tuesday and Thursday from here on out, until I finish Alma.