“Exceeding Greatness of the Numbers of Robbers”

Brant Gardner

After one inconclusive campaign, the Nephites launched another the following year. It also failed, though it inflicted damage on the Gadiantons. Therefore, in no more than six years since they became “extinct,” (Hel. 11:10) these Gadiantons have attracted “exceeding great” numbers. Large numbers of people require certain kinds of infrastructure, most specifically an agricultural base. Hunting and theft cannot supply all of the food needs of large numbers of people in a concentrated location.

Agriculture requires permanent residences. One cannot move planted fields from one place to another. Therefore, the Gadiantons at this point already had a city and a level of organization capable of feeding and defending a large population. Such characteristics argue for a high degree of social organization in an incipient city-state, not just a band of guerilla robbers.

Chronology: The eighty-first year would be 14 B.C.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5