“King Lamoni Was Much Pleased with Ammon”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

Through God's grace Ammon found favor in the eyes of Lamoni, and learning from Ammon that it was his desire to reside among the Lamanites, the king offered him one of his daughters to be his wife. Ammon courteously declined this intended honor and begged to be accepted as one of the king's servants, which arrangement pleased Lamoni, and Ammon was placed in that part of the royal household that had charge of the monarch's flocks and herds. Lamoni was rich in livestock, probably the result of taxes which he burdened his people with, but even the king's property was not secure from theft. Marauding bands of thieves and robbers would watch for his numerous cattle as they were approaching their watering places. Then with a yell and other prolonged shouts they would stampede the herds and then drive away all they could, beyond the reach of the king's servants. The servants would gather up what few animals, if any, they found and return to the king in the full expectancy of being made to pay with their lives for the loss of his flocks and herds. They were seldom disappointed, for Lamoni or some of his predecessors had established a somewhat unique criminal code with regard to stealing the royal cattle. They had adopted the idea that it was easier and cheaper to make the herdsmen responsible for the losses and punish them, therefore, than to hunt out and capture the thieves. It had at least one virtue, it prevented collusion between the servants, but it produced much dissatisfaction among Lamoni's subjects.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3