Thanks you all for participating in the poll! The Book of Mormon won out so I’ll be publishing those posts more often.
Chapter 2! This starts out the fifth year of the reign of the judges. Alma the younger is still the chief judge. He has been doing this for five years now. Back a long time ago I speculated that Alma the younger could have been born in 118 BC. If that is the case, he become chief judge at 27 and five years later he is around 31-32 years old. The sons of Mosiah are still on their mission to the Lamanites.
Amlici Desires to Be King
Beginning of the fifth years of the judges. The people of the city begin contending for a man named Amlici (Am-lih-sigh). He was a wise and very cunning man. The people were attempting to establish him as a king over the people. He was after the order of Nehor. Cross reference the story found in 2 Samuel 15. A wicked man named Absalom is attempting to establish himself as king. Saying that king David hasn’t done anyone justice when they have taken their complaints and problems to him. Absalom vows that should he be made king, all will get justice.
I wonder if this is what Amlici is doing. He is attacking the judgments that have been made upon the people and promising them better. LIAR. Does this sound at all familiar in today’s world. Discrediting others and then attempting to put yourself above them? You bet. One example that comes to mind is presidential elections.
What Amlici is doing alarm both the people of the church and the people who were not drawn after the persuasions of Nehor. Because they know if he gained the voice of the people, he would indeed become king. The Book of Mormon is so cool! It says that the people of the church and the people who aren’t after the deceivings of Nehor were alarmed. I think too often we get stuck in the rut that every Nephite was a member and every Lamanite was a non-member. But right here it says that isn’t true. You had non-members who were Nephites. And that doesn’t mean they were bad people. I mean, they rejected Nehor’s teaching for one. That has to say something about their character. One might wonder if it were possible to have a king after king Mosiah set up the judges. The answer is yes. If the voice of the people desired it. Go back to Mosiah 29:27. Mosiah says that if the voice of the people choose iniquity, that will be the time the judgments of God will come down upon the people.
Probably was also alarming to the people was how fast this was all happening. I bet some people thought at the commencement of the reign of the judges there would never be problems trying to establish a king because the setting up of the judges was such a monumental event. Here we are not five years have passed and already, the system of government is trying to be torn down. It’s not like it hasn’t proven itself. You’ve had Nehor through the system, persecution, etc… Peace has been established through the judges. One reason I think a lot of people were supporting Amlici at this time was because in the last chapter, over the last few years, after having worked evily, were judged in righteousness and that made people unhappy. A lot of criminals, or family of criminals thought they had been treated unfairly by the judges and therefore they supported one man, who they liked, having all the power to reconcile their “mistreatment”. One may be able to justify a king if he were righteous, had the interests of the people in mind, and if all the judges were wicked men. But such is not the case. No king is needed. The people’s reason for a king is selfish and prideful. They don’t care how he reigns, just as long as he recompenses them in the way Alma and the other judges didn’t.
One thing I overlooked was in verse 2 it says that Amlici and his followers began to be very powerful. I wonder what that entails? In my mind I imagine a runaway train. Something that has so much momentum and is gaining more with every second. If you don’t do something quickly, it won’t be long before a king is established over the land.
Amlici’s intent was to deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church. His insidious intent was to destroy the church of God. I think Amlici saw the church of God as the #1 threat to his reign, especially since Alma was the chief judge and the high priest in the church. Amlici probably wanted to begin his reign of church suppression with squandering Alma as the chief judge. He wanted to destroy the church because they were the strongest faction from the “old days” of king Mosiah. Shutting them down would ensure his reign would not easily be abolished and he coudl be free to reign in wickedness to the destruction of the people. Cross reference Mosiah 29:27 Alma 10:19, and Helaman 5:2. It is not God who destroys cities and nations. They destroy themselves. God just hastens the destruction to reduce collateral damage.
The Debates Begin
The people gather together and talk about it. Whether they were for Amlici or for the judges. It says that they had much disputes and wonderful contentions. Although there seems to be a growing level of uneasiness in society because of Amlici’s rising popularity, they manage to maintain civility and group together to come to some sort of consensus. Good on them.
It says they had wonderful contentions. What does that mean? Does that mean that it was wonderful they were contending? Wonderful as in good for them? Wonderful as in epic? I don’t know. Cross reference 3rd Nephi 11:29. I think this may help answer the question. This cross reference says that contention is of the devil and anyone who contends is giving in to the devil and his cunning devices. Applying that to the situation going on back in Alma 2, I would say that “wondeful” in this context has a negative connotation. Maybe the connotation for wonderful has changed over time. An example of similarity might be great” as used in “great and terrible day of the Lord”. Usually “great” has a positive context but in this example, means big, looming etc…I think the same things applies with “wonderful” in this one.
Votes Are Cast
What happened? The people gather together to cast their vote as to what ought to happen. Can you imagine how scary this would be? The reign of the judges has just begun, there is a faction that has been fast gaining popularity, and after a great debate, we are casting votes to see what is going to happen. I feel like the vote was pretty close. If I were a Nephite at this time I would be praying that Amlici lost. Not only for my sake but for the sake of everyone else that treasured peace, freedom ad the system of government that was the reign of the judges.
What happened with the voting and debating is something that I’ve had a lot on my mission. When my companion and I debate something out about an investigator or less active about a direction we need to go. We try to come to a consensus but neither is backing down from their position. Till finally we both agree to let the person them self decide. that way, it’s fair because it’s wht they want, not what the elders want. I feel like that’s what happened here with the Nephites. they had two different opinions as to what should happen, they debated it out, tried to resolve and come to an agreement. Finding it impossible to reach one, they cast a vote. They let the people as a whole decide what is going to happen. Not one side or the other.
The Winner is…
Verse 7 says that Amlici was not made king over the people because HE LOST! Those who were against Amlici being king rejoiced a lot. As anyone would when the fate of civilization hung in the balance and it barely dodged a big bullet. The only problem is, that big bullet turned into a lot of small bullets that are turning around and coming to bite them in the back. Amlici is furious and he stirs up his followers to anger and they gather together and consecrate Amlici to be their king. Notice how they didn’t start a riot, they gnashed their teeth about the vote and retreated, probably into a secret dungeon where they formed a combination, consecrating Amlici to be their king. When this is a movie, this would be probably a very dramatic part. Loud, epic music with a dramatic scene of Amlici being consecrated to be king. Skimming down a little further, it seems that Amlici and his followers leave the city and gather some place else to consecrate him to be king.
Next installment will pick up with Amlici’s attack on the Nephites.