Saturday, April 20, 2013

3 Nephi 4 & 5

Mountain Bandit Culture

This past week (April  14-20) was one of the most tragic weeks in recent memory.  I think I speak for most United States citizens when I saw we are exhausted from all that has gone on this week.  Monday, April 15 was the Boston Marathon.  Two explosions from home-made bombs (ball-bearings and nails with explosives inside a pressure cooker) went off at the close of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and dismembering and injuring about 200.  The search for the suspects began.  Because the bombings were in a major city with lots of people, pictures of the events were captured by many, many people.  Soon the police and FBI knew who they should be looking for.  Then the manhunt began Thursday April 18 ... it turns out the suspects were two Chechen refugees who have been in the US for over 10 years.  Another person (an MIT police officer) was killed Thursday night / early Friday morning.  The two were pursued and cornered and the older of the two brothers was killed.  The younger of the two continued to flee.  All day Friday, the entire city of Boston was on lock-down while law enforcement searched.  They finally found him hiding in a land-parked boat in someone's back-yard.  Thankfully they were able to capture him alive so as to be able to question him to see if he and his brother had outside help.

To add to the point about this being such a tragic week ... on Wednesday April 17, a fertilizer plant exploded in the city of West, Texas.  At this time, 14 people have been confirmed dead, but that number may go up significantly.  The nation is trying to recover its collective strength after this week.

Anyway - with that background of this week, there were lots of blog posts about the bombings.  But one post really caught my attention due to the fact that I've blogged about how today's terrorists are modern-day Gadianton Robbers.

One of the hallmarks of the Gadianton Robbers is that they hide in the hills and wilderness.  3 Nephi 4:1 reads: "And it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate."

Then there is this blog post "NYT: Let's not forget the Real Victims: Chechen refugees" in which the author cites this NY Time article (Beslan Meets Columbine) and discusses the restlessness and "mountain bandit culture" of Chechens.  Specifically he says, "All over the world, it's common for people who live in highly defensible positions, such as mountains, to raid their neighbors, then beat it back to their geographically complex and daunting home turf."  He goes on to note several mountain bandit cultures.

April 20, 2013

Summary of the Great Battle

To summarize the last few chapters on a timeline, we can read in chapter 2 verse 11 that the GR had become numerous and were killing a lot of people. This was in the year 13 (since the sign of Christ's birth). In year 16, Lachoneus is governor of the Nephites and the GR leader is Giddianhi. Giddianhi sends an epistle to Lachoneus and demands that the Nephites surrender themselves and their land to the GR. Lachoneus does not surrender, but exhorts the people to repentance. He also instructs the people, in year 17, to gather together in one place. In year 18, the GR begin to come out of their hiding places. In year 19, the final battle begins (chapter 4 verse 5), and this is where I begin with this commentary.

The Nephites have enough food to last seven years. They are all gathered together in one place and their armies are placed around the body of people. When the GR finally come to the battle, they are dressed so as to appear frightful to the Nephites. The Nephites prayed earnestly when they saw the GR armies advancing. The Nephites had truly been humbled and had repented of their sins. The Lord was with them. The battle that ensued was the greatest battle since the days of Lehi – which means it was the greatest battle ever as far as the number of people who were killed. The Nephites beat them and then pursued the GR. Giddianhi was killed.

Next, the GR laid siege, but it will prove fruitless. Finally, the GR decide to head to the northern parts of the land. The Nephites are aware of the GR's plans and they cut them off. The new GR leader was Zemnarihah. When the Nephites captured Zemnarihah and the GR, they took Zemnarihah and hung him to death and then cut the tree. It was a great victory for the Nephites. Once again, we learn the valuable lesson that when a people put their trust in God, God will deliver them – God will fight and win their battles.

Gadianton Robbers Taught the Gospel

The people were very happy that the GR were finally defeated. They took the remainder of the GR and tossed them in prison and taught them the gospel (3 Nephi 5:4). If they repented, they were set free. If they did not repent, they were executed. Finally, the majority of the people were living in righteousness.

Mormon's Commentary

The rest of chapter 5 is comprised of comments by Mormon. He tells us that he is named after the place of Mormon where Alma the Sr. taught the people and baptized them. I find it interesting to note what he says in verse 12. He writes, "… Alma did establish the church among the people, yea the first church which was established among them after their transgression." I imagine that he was referring to the transgression of the Nephites in the Land of Nephi under the kingship of King Noah. But it is also interesting to note that when Alma and his followers rejoined the Nephites in Zarahemla and King Mosiah, Alma was appointed head of the church! Wouldn't there have been a church leader already established in Zarahemla? Perhaps King Mosiah was also the church leader and delegated these responsibilities to Alma knowing that shortly thereafter, he (King Mosiah) would be dissolving the line of Kings and establishing a council of judges. Of course when this happened, Alma was chosen to be the Chief Judge too. We may never know all the motives behind the decisions made, but at least this much we know – that Alma the Senior was a great prophet and man. His faith was incredible as he changed his life (and the history of the Nephites for that matter!) after listening to the mighty words of Abinadi.

The other comments Mormon made were regarding the gathering of Israel. I don't have anything to say at this time regarding those comments.

August 22, 2007

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