Mosiah 12:13-16

Brant Gardner

Although Mormon paints a picture of Noah as a greedy and terrible king, we have seen that he engaged in city building that is typically lauded. In fact, the reaction of the people is that they appear to support King Noah. They say, “what great evil has thou done, or what great sins have the people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man?” The people appear to be supportive of both King Noah and their general circumstances.

These aspects of the text continue to suggest that the city was economically prosperous, and that the people were enjoying that prosperity. They were sufficiently comfortable that they couldn’t imagine that there was anything about their city that would be contrary to God’s will. They even allude to the promise of the land in verse 15, saying “thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper.” Didn’t the promise of the land include prosperity upon righteousness? If they were prosperous, didn’t that equate to righteousness?

The evidence of the people is that it is possible to prosper without adequately obeying God’s commandments. However, God declares that it will not last and that they will fall from prosperity to bondage. That was the message Abinadi delivered. As with Lehi in Jerusalem, it was rejected, and rejected with a very similar argument: “behold, we are strong, we will not come into bondage.”

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