The speech given by King Lamoni was not the primary factor for the people refusing to take up arms. The wording of the text “and also their king commanded them that they should not” (v. 6; italics added) tells us the king’s speech was sustaining an action to which they were already committed. Nonetheless, the speech was powerful.
The king recognized the seriousness of their past sins and the greatness of their God (Jesus Christ) in granting them forgiveness. These words sustain what Alma later tells his son Corianton: “whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy to obtain forgiveness” (Alma 39:6). The murderer “shall not have forgiveness in this world or in the world to come” (D&C 42:18) was the law given to the Church (see section heading). We will discuss this concept in depth in chapter 14 of this work. For now we note that the Lamanites had not had the light and knowledge of God among them at the time of their murders, therefore the Lord had forgiven them (Alma 24:10). However, they had now received the light and knowledge of God and could not chance being guilty of murder again (v. 13). The king was not only thinking of his people, but of the future generations (v. 14). He was converted to the point of treasuring eternal life more than physical life (v. 16). Apparently a covenant was still sacred among his people, and the king suggests a plan to help his people make and keep a covenant with God (v. 15). We will see the effect of his words in the account that follows.