Mosiah 20

Mosiah 20:1 the daughters of the Lamanites did gather themselves together to sing, and to dance

There is something about dancing women which has a powerful effect on the carnal man. Herod promised Herodias daughter anything she wanted, even to half of the kingdom, after seeing her dance. She, of course, requested the head of John the Baptist (Matt 14:6-11). Among the Jaredites, the daughter of Jared danced before Akish so that he would want to marry her. This marriage, however, was predicated upon Akish's murder of the king so that Jared could assume the throne (Ether 8:9-14). So it is, that women of ancient times and modern women who dance and strip for money exert their power over the often weaker sex.

Mosiah 20:3-5 the priests of king Noah...took them and carried them into the wilderness

Some have criticized the Book of Mormon because a similar kidnapping story can be found in Judges. After a desolation which killed many Benjamite women, there were not enough women for the men. The indiscriminate elders of Israel instructed them as follows, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin (Judges 21:20-21). The elders of Israel had effectively reduced courtship into a footrace in which the man gets the bride who can't outrun him. The similarity between the stories ends here. The situations are actually quite different and the argument that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism is again unfounded.

"Bride capture is, in fact, an old idea and was found throughout much of the ancient world, not just in Israel. The fact that two different Israelite groups practiced it on a one-time basis is not at all unexpected, particularly if the priests of Noah were acquainted with the story from Judges 19-21." (FARMS Review of books, vol. 4, p. 226)

Mosiah 20:8-11 the people of Limhi began to drive the Lamanites before them

The contrast between Limhi and his cowardly father are striking. Both of them were placed in similar situations, they were facing an attack from their Lamanite neighbors. Each handled the situation completely differently. Noah was completely unprepared; Limhi had discovered...all their preparations for war (v. 8). Noah responded by commanding his people to flee; Limhi used a wise strategy to maximize his chances against a larger army-he ambushed them (v. 9). Noah encouraged cowardice and the abandonment of family; Limhi's people fought like dragons for their wives and children. Noah's people lost terribly in their battle; Limhi was able to drive the Lamanites before him. Noah relied on the arm of flesh, lacked faith, and had no integrity; Limhi demonstrated his reliance on the Lord, showed his great faith and his impressive integrity.

In effect, Limhi had redeemed his people militarily, spiritually, and morally, and he gave his people a chance to redeem themselves. Remember that there were many of Limhi's people who had earlier abandoned their families (Mosiah 19:12). These were finally given leadership under a king with courage. Their response reflected the greatness of their leader. They now had a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of their wives and children, and they took advantage of the opportunity, therefore they exerted themselves and like dragons did they fight.

Mosiah 20:17-22 Now when Gideon had heard these things, he being the king's captain...

Gideon demonstrates his wisdom as an advisor to the king. He also seems to understand that as a military officer he can save more lives and do more good through diplomacy than through battles. His advice is designed to protect his army and his people by putting an end to the senseless conflict. He says, it is better that we should be in bondage than that we should lose our lives; therefore, let us put a stop to the shedding of so much blood (v. 22).

Hugh Nibley

"Notice that he is being very realistic; these are the steps by which the problem is solved here. It's a very touchy thing, but they solve the problem very sensibly on both sides-a thing people rarely do...Gideon is the last man you would expect to do this. But he had the experience of these things, and he knew. It's the old commander that knows. The most passionate talks I've ever heard against war in the Army have been by generals, without any exception. They know what it is, and boy do they light in! There were some wonderful ones by Omar Bradley, Max Taylor, and others. Eisenhower said some pretty strong things too. '...therefore, let us put a stop to the shedding of so much blood,' Gideon said, with his rush of excitement. This is the Gideon who chased the king up the tower with a sword, and all that sort of thing. He is the one who is making a plea to put an end to all this bloodshed, whatever they do." (Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 38, p. 138)