“Being Wise, Yet Harmless; Wilt Thou Hearken Unto My Words?”

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

There are only two places in the scriptures where the words “wise” and “harmless” are used in counter-position to each other: Alma 18:22 (as above) and Matthew 10:16, where the Savior instructs the Twelve: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Ammon was harmless, i.e., without guile, pure, with an eye single to the glory of God; and he was also wise, i.e., skillful in establishing a framework of operation where his listeners would be guided into a state of receptivity to the Spirit.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1