In Omni, we see the descendents of Lehi continue with the tradition of keeping the records of the people. Here, I would like to review the genealogical line from Lehi down to this point.
All of them wrote and took care of the records to some degree. Amaleki, having no sons, gave the plates to King Benjamin (v. 25).
The first interesting point in Omni is in verses 5 and 6. It talks about how the more wicked part of the Nephites was destroyed. Then Amaron makes an interesting statement. He said, “he (the Lord) would not suffer that the words should not be verified which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall not prosper in the land.” This goes back to the point that Heavenly Father and Christ do what they say they will do. We must believe in them. We must believe Christ (what he says), not just believe in Christ (that he exists).
By the time Amaleki receives the plates, many changes have taken place in the Nephite nation. King Mosiah was warned by the Lord to take his people and flee out of the land of Nephi. The Nephites left their lands departed into the wilderness. After traveling for many days, they discovered the people and land of Zarahemla. The people of Zarahemla had come out of Jerusalem at the time the Jews were taken captive and carried off to Babylon (Daniel, Shadrak, Meshak and Abendego time frame). This proves to the Nephites that Lehi’s prediction was true – that Jerusalem would be destroyed and hence the warning to Lehi and his family to flee.
The people of Zarahemla had lost their language. They should have been able to communicate with the Nephites, but they did not have any books to preserve their language. Lehi was also warned of this matter and so was commanded to retrieve the brass plates. Once Zarahemla found out the Nephites had the brass plates, he rejoiced (v. 14). I imagine that the two languages were very similar, but still significantly different. King Mosiah caused that the people of Zarahemla should be taught the Nephite language since this was the correct form of the two.
Not only did the people of Zarahemla lose their language, they also lost their faith in God. By the time Mosiah discovered them, they had had many wars and contentions and had come to deny God (v. 17). Thus we see how much a people can fall just by not having books and scripture. We can also see how important it is in our lives to have and read the scriptures.
In Omni, we also learn of another nation that degenerated because they heeded not the commandments of God. Coriantumr was the last survivor of the Jaradite nation. After he killed Shiz (Ether 15), he wandered until he found the people of Zarahemla. Coriantumr feeling the loneliness of being the last Jaradite, wrote his history and a brief history of the Jaradites.
Amaleki, having no sons, delivered the plates to King Benjamin, the son of Mosiah. I like his final testimony of Christ: “come unto Christ who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (v. 26).
The chapter ends with Amaleki briefly recounting the history of a group of Nephites who returned to the Land of Nephi to posses it. A dispute (whether to attack or make peace with the Lamanites) erupted between the leader of this group and Zeniff. A battle ensued where brother fought against brother and finally only fifty people survived. They returned to Zarahemla and recount the sad tale (see Mosiah 9:1-2). Zeniff, who was still desirous to return to the Land of Nephi, gathered a group and returned to the land. One of the men in this group is the brother of Amaleki.