Alma 17 to 22 – “I Will Make an Instrument of Thee”

June 22, 2020 to June 28, 2020

Ammon, Aaron, and their brothers served in threatening circumstances. As they put their lives in God’s hands, they were able to teach the gospel with faith.

“Why Did the Servants Present Lamoni with the Arms of His Enemies?” Book of Mormon Central KnoWhy 125.
The practice of cutting off arms as a testimony of the conquest of victims is attested in the ancient Near East and among the Maya and Aztecs.

“Sojourn, Dwell, and Stay: Terms of Servitude,” S. Kent Brown, From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon
Two accounts employ terms whose Hebrew roots point to service relationships. The first consists of the desert crossing of Lehi’s party, hinting that its members were obliged to sell themselves for protection or for food. The second, the service of Ammon in King Lamoni’s court, also uses expressions of servitude when describing the interaction of these two princes. Notably, such terms adhere to established biblical custom.

“Father Is a Man: The Remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and Its Narrative Context,” Matthew L. Bowen, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 14
As a Hebrew/Lehite name, “Abish” suggests the meaning “Father is a man.” The wordplay on “Abish” thus contributes thematically to the narrative’s presentation of Ammon’s typological ministrations among the Lamanites as a “man” endowed with great power, which helped the Lamanites understand the concept of “the Great Spirit” (Yahweh) becoming “man.”

“In His Footsteps: Ammon 1 and Ammon 2,” Val Larsen, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 3
This article focuses on parallel narratives that feature Ammon1 and Ammon2, with special attention to the allegorical account of Ammon2 at the waters of Sebus. To fully comprehend the power of the testimony of Christ that Mormon communicates in his Ammon narratives, readers must glean from textual details an understanding of the social and political context in which the narratives unfold.

Book of Mormon Onomasticon
This website proposes etymologies for Book of Mormon names, including “Ammon,”  “Lamoni,” and “Abish.”

“The Wheel in Ancient America,” Paul R. Cheesman, BYU Studies, Vol. 9, no. 2
In Alma 18:12, Ammon made ready the horses and the chariots for King Lamoni. However, chariots and wheels are generally considered not to be found in pre-Columbian America. For many years, scientific investigation has failed to produce information supporting the use of the wheel in Ancient America. Lately, however, there have been some artifacts found which are of serious interest to the student in this field, which is further supported by the Book of Mormon’s implied use of a wheel by pre-Columbian peoples on this continent.

“‘Hard’ Evidence of Ancient American Horses,” Daniel Johnson, BYU Studies, Vol. 54, no. 3
Regarding Alma 18:9: Although the evidence is incomplete, the geological and archeological record does provide support for horses and even wheeled vehicles in ancient America. This article presents several possible understandings regarding pre-Columbian horses: archeological evidence that large animals were used for draft and transportation; that Native Americans had horses too early for them to have come from strays that escaped from the Spanish conquistadors; images in Mesoamerican art that might depict horses; and more.

“Abish: A Common Servant, a True Testimony,” Heather B. Moore, Ensign (July 2012)
Having hidden her testimony for many years, Abish finally had her moment, and she did not hesitate. The result changed hundreds of lives.