“He Knew Not What He Should Say Unto Him”

Brant Gardner

Ammon must have sensed the change in the atmosphere of the room. It says in verse 12 that he at least noted a change in the countenance of Lamoni. He certainly knew something strange had happened, if he understood the import of the word Rabannah. It is possible that Ammon's reaction indicates that while he is obviously able to converse with the Lamanites, that he still had some linguistic differences, and he may not have understood the full impact of what was meant when the servants addressed him as Rabannah. We might have expected a humble man such as Ammon to deny that accolade, but he simply accepts it without recorded comment and simply turns to the king as asks what he can do for the king.

The king is now faced with what must have been an agonizing problem. It is a problem with which the king wrestled for the space of an hour. It must have been tense in that room. In all the world where there are kings there are rules about the relationship between king and subjects, and rather universal courtesy proffered kings is that one does not leave without dismissal from the king. Thus Ammon asks a simple question, and the entire room of people is forced to stand wait in silence (surely in silence!) for and entire hour as the king contemplates the way to answer such a simple question. No doubt the king, believing Ammon to be "more than a man" has some trepidation in asking a question of such a being, and might consider it not only presumptuous, but some type of test from one of the gods. For an entire hour the king wrestles with this problem, holding all in the room silent and probably rigid hostages to his dilemma.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon