“And It Came to Pass That He Flattered Them”

Brant Gardner

Since the flocks were not destroyed but only scattered, Ammon points out the possibility of recovering them. Furthermore, they would apparently be able to do so without competition from the robbers. If this situation mirrors earlier events, then the possibility of recovering the flocks had always existed in earlier episodes, yet previous servants (and apparently these) seemed to prefer execution rather than simply rounding up the scattered animals. The fact that they had not underscores the possibility that the situation is a political situation—one that Lamoni’s rivals “win” simply by scattering the flocks. The other servants seem to have interpreted the situation as one in which they could not recover the animals—surely the most logical step to take—without escalating tensions. In fact, Ammon’s actions had just that effect.

Translation: Ammon’s statement that he “flattered” the other servants may be startling, because our connotation of the word includes insincerity. A better term here would probably be “persuaded,” for even though he conceals his full purpose from them, he does not deceive them.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4