“Slew Them with a Great Slaughter Even So Many That We Did Not Number Them”

Alan C. Miner

When Zeniff uses the phrase “so many that we did not number them” (Mosiah 10:20) in reference to the Lamanite dead, we can probably assume that this number was much greater than the 3,043 Lamanites which Zeniff’s people slew 22 years before (Mosiah 9:18). No mention is made here of the number of Zeniff’s men who died, but 22 years earlier only 279 were lost. That battle yielded an astounding fatality ratio of eleven Lamanites to only one Nephite. In Mosiah 10:11 it says that the Lamanites “were a strong people, as to the strength of men,” so in order to avoid a tremendous loss of men in this battle, the people of Zeniff would have needed overwhelmingly superior military tactics. Strategic positioning might prove to be the most critical geographical requirement for the selection of any site to be the city of Lehi-Nephi. One might also wonder how much of a population increase there had been in 22 years for Zeniff’s people to not only make up for the 279 men that had been killed in the first battle, but to accommodate for the men of Zeniff’s colony lost in this battle. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary