Mosiah 7:1 they wearied him with their teasings
This descriptive phrase is reminiscent of the commonly used saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." There is also a scriptural rendition of the principle found in the parable of the woman and the unjust judge:
'Now, unto what shall I liken the children of Zion? I will liken them unto the parable of the woman and the unjust judge, for men ought always to pray and not to faint, which saith--
There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man.
And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying: Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself: Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' (DC 101:81-4) See also Lu 18:1-8.
Mosiah granted the requests of his people because they wearied him with their teasings. The Lord will grant our requests made in humble prayer if we are persistent. But remember the old adage, "be careful for what you ask for, for you may get it."
Mosiah 7:3 Ammon, he being a strong and mighty man
This Ammon is a different Ammon than the famous son of Mosiah who cut off the arms of the Lamanites while preserving the flocks of king Lamoni (see Alma 17). Apparently both Ammons were strong and mighty men.
Mosiah 7:4 they wandered many days in the wilderness
Although this small band wandered for a total of 40 days, the distance between the city of Zarahemla and the city of Lehi-Nephi could be traveled in 20 days. This is how long it took Alma and his people to make the trek (see Mosiah 23:3; 24:25).
Mosiah 7:7 they were surrounded by the king's guard...and were committed to prison
Ammon and his three companions were mistaken for the wicked priests of Noah who had been the reason why Limhi's people had been attacked by a Lamanite army (see Mosiah chapter 20 and 21:23). Also, Ammon had apparently approached the city when king Limhi and his guards were in the precarious position of being without the city gate (v. 10). Later Mormon records, the king himself did not trust his person without the walls of the city, unless he took his guards with him, fearing that he might by some means fall into the hands of the Lamanites (Mosiah 21:19). These were the two reasons why Limhi dealt with these fellow Nephites in such a severe fashion.
Mosiah 7:14 after Limhi had heard the words of Ammon, he was exceedingly glad
Limhi quickly realizes that Ammon and his brethren have come in answer to their earnest prayers. After trying to avenge themselves of the Lamanites in three separate unsuccessful battles, the people of Limhi finally humbled themselves and turned to the Lord for help, they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions (Mosiah 21:15). Because the people had been so slow to turn to the Lord, he was slow to answer their prayer and deliver them from the Lamanites (Mosiah 21:16).
Mosiah 7:15 a tax which is grievous to be borne
All taxes are grievous to be borne, but Limhi's people had been taxed on one half of all we have or possess (v. 22). Two of the legacies of the reign of the wicked king Noah were bondage to the Lamanites and a flat 50% income tax. So it is that when the wicked rule the people mourn (DC 98:9).
Mosiah 7:17 gather themselves together to the temple
The temple in Lehi-Nephi is obviously different than the temple of Zarahemla where Benjamin delivered his sermon. The Book of Mormon records two other temples, the temple in the land of Nephi (2 Ne 5:16) and the temple in Bountiful (3 Ne 11:1). It is possible that the temple spoken of in this verse is the same temple that Nephi built (2 Ne 5:16). However, that temple would have been about 450 years old.
Mosiah 7:19 put your trust in God
Although we have yet to be told the story of Limhi's people, we later learn that they had been beaten severely in a battle with the Lamanites. This was because they were relying on the arm of flesh. The result was a great mourning and lamentation among the people of Limhi, the widow mourning for her husband, the son and the daughter mourning for their father, and the brothers for their brethren. Now there were a great many widows in the land, and they did cry mightily from day to day, for a great fear of the Lamanites had come upon them (Mosiah 21:9-10). The people were beaten again in two subsequent battles. They took their time learning the painful lesson that they were no match for the Lamanites without divine help.
Limhi has to rally the troops to rely on the arm of the Lord. The single most important historical reference in times like these is to refer to the Lord's mighty hand in delivering the Israelites from the hands of Pharoah. Certainly, if the Lord could deliver the Israelites from Pharoah, he could deliver Limhi's people from the Lamanites.
Gordon B. Hinckley
"It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us, . . . if we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers." (Church News, Oct. 4, 1997)
Ezra T. Benson
"When Satan begins to grin and show his teeth, you may know there are sheep not far off. Only put your trust in God, and he will keep you and preserve you, as in the hollow of his hand. Be comforted, brethren, whether you go to the nations of the earth or stay at home. It is just as necessary for men to live humble here as it is for them to live humble when they go there; for Satan is not dead yet." (Journal of Discourses, Aug. 28, 1852, p. 263)
Mosiah 7:21 Zeniff...being over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers
Zeniff's desire to inherit the land of Lehi-Nephi was a classic case of the mentality which says, "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence." We could be critical of Zeniff, if we didn't behave in the same manner on such a regular basis. While Zeniff, said, "if only I could live in the land of Lehi-Nephi," we have our own "if only"s. The spirit of eternal discontentment pervades the sin of covetousness, until, as in Zeniff's case, pursuing the object coveted often leads to harsh disappointment.
Zeniff's over-zealous nature shows the wisdom of Benjamin's words, spoken years later, for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength...therefore, all things must be done in order (Mosiah 4:27). There are plenty of good intentions which are not tempered with godlike wisdom and order. Hugh Nibley comments on such zeal.
"...the Latter-day Saints, [give] their young people and old awards for zeal alone, zeal without knowledge--for sitting in endless meetings, for dedicated conformity and unlimited capacity for suffering boredom. We think it more commendable to get up at five a.m. to write a bad book than to get up at nine o'clock to write a good one--that is pure zeal that tends to breed a race of insufferable, self-righteous prigs and barren minds. One has only to consider the present outpouring of 'inspirational' books in the Church that bring little new in the way of knowledge: truisms and platitudes, kitsch, and clichés have become our everyday diet. The Prophet would never settle for that. 'I advise all to go on to perfection, and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness. . . . It has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries--new things--for my hearers.'" (Approaching Zion, p. 75)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Fanaticism is the devil's substitute for and perversion of true zeal. It is exhibited in wildly extravagant and overzealous views and acts. It is based either on unreasoning devotion to a cause, a devotion which closes the door to investigation and dispassionate study, or on an over emphasis of some particular doctrine or practice, an emphasis which twists the truth as a whole out of perspective.
"Through the ages religious fanatics have fought and died on the field of battle in false causes; in the Church there are those who became fanatics...Stable and sound persons are never fanatics; they do not ride gospel hobbies." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 275)
Mosiah 7:26 a prophet of the Lord have they slain
Limhi is referring to Abinidi's death at the hands of Noah's court (Mosiah 17:11-20).
Mosiah 7:27 Christ was the God, the Father of all things
The Nephite scripture is much more clear about the pre-mortal role of Jehovah than is the ancient Israelite scripture. The Nephites knew that Jehovah would later be known as Jesus Christ. They knew that he was creator of heaven and earth and therefore the Father of all things. They knew that he was a personage of Spirit until he took upon him flesh and blood. All of these truths were given to them because of their faith.
Today, we have the same testimony of the Savior as given by his holy Apostles, "He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. 'All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made' (John 1:3)...We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles-that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world." ("The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles," Jan 1, 2000)
Mosiah 7:29 I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression
Alma teaches that Christ will suffer that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities (Alma 7:12). But his infinite atonement does not apply to those in transgression. Neither will he bless them with material things but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not. Over and over again, we are reminded of the loving kindness of the Lord, that he would gladly help us if we would be obedient, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matt 23:37)
Mosiah 7:31 they shall reap the east wind
The words of Limhi in verses 29-31 are not found in the Old Testament. He is probably quoting an Old Testament prophecy contained on the brass plates. The pattern of the prophecy is consistent with other Hebrew prophets. There is parallelism between verses 30 and 31. The Hebrew idiom, the east wind, is used. This phrase means a destruction or a famine. From Easton's Bible Dictionary, "In Palestine this wind blows from a burning desert, and hence is destitute of moisture necessary for vegetation."
"The east wind is a destructive wind which originates in the east, the symbolic direction of Deity's presence. Also called 'the wind of the Lord' (Hosea 13:15), it is 'prepared' by God (Jonah 4:8) for the purpose of destroying the ungodly and unrighteous. The Lord has stated, 'If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction' (Mosiah 7:31). Hence they are 'smitten with the east wind' (Mosiah 12:6; see also Job 27:21)." (Donald W. Parry, Joseph Fielding McConkie, A Guide to Scriptural Symbolism, p. 45)
Mosiah 7:33 turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart
Elder M. W. Merrill
"I pray that the Lord may bless the Saints and fill all our hearts with love toward one another; that we may put away our bickerings and our faultfinding, and turn unto the Lord with full purpose of heart, that He may endow us richly with His Spirit; that our mission on the earth may be filled up in usefulness, so that when we get through it may be said of us, Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. God bless you. Amen." (Conference Reports, Oct. 1900, p. 29)