“Ammon is Carried Before the King of the Land of Ishmael”

Monte S. Nyman

Verses 19 through 21 are self-explanatory. Ammon’s answer concerning how long he desired to remain in the land was probably pleasing to the king because he sensed that Ammon sincerely wanted to become a part of their people and culture. This answer assured the king that Ammon was not there as an enemy. The king’s attitude is evidenced by his offering Ammon one of his daughters to wife (vv. 22–24). Furthermore, Ammon’s refusal had to be acceptable to the king or he could still have been killed, imprisoned, or cast out (v. 20). Ammon’s offer to be a servant must have appealed to the king, because he felt Ammon wanted to earn his own way and not be a detriment to the society. As far as Ammon was concerned, he was there as a servant in the hands of the Christ (v. 11) and his serving the king was merely opportunity to teach these people. The events that follow and Ammon’s reaction seem to confirm this supposition. Service is an important element of missionary work.

Book of Mormon Commentary: The Record of Alma