A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Amalekiah

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AMALEKIAH. A Nephite traitor and apostate in the days of the Republic, and afterwards king of the Lamanites. He was descended from Zoram, the servant of Laban.

We judge from the conspicuous military ability shown by Amalekiah that his early training was that of a soldier, as no one would be more likely to be chosen by the disaffected monarchists as their leader than a brilliant and ambitious officer in the national army. It appears that in the 19th year of the judges (B. C. 73), one of those frequently occurring outbreaks in favor of a change in the form of the Nephite government took place. The hallowed glories of Mosiah's reign were still bright in the hearts of many, while others, by ambition led, intrigued for the restoration of the kingly power, that they might find place and profit at the court. The plan for a revolution was laid, the king-men gathered in armed array and Amalekiah was chosen as their general; but they were disappointed, the masses did not join their standard in the expected numbers. On the other hand, Moroni, the Nephite commander, gathered so great a force for the defence of the commonwealth, that retreat was considered the better part of wisdom; but his followers being out-generaled by Moroni, Amalekiah fled to the court of the king of the Lamanites.

The king received him with much honor. It is altogether probable that the monarch also was of an apostate Nephite family. Seven or eight years previously the Christian Lamanites with the king at their head had been ruthlessly driven from their homes by their unbelieving fellow countrymen, led by members of the various Nephite apostate orders who had taken up their residence amongst the Lamanites. A leader of one of these sects would naturally work his way to the throne when the rightful king and his family sought refuge in the land of Zarahemla. What makes this idea more probable is that Amalekiah afterwards married the widowed queen, a thing he was much more likely to do if she were a fair Nephite, than a dark-skinned daughter of Laman. On the first favorable opportunity Amalekiah commenced to rekindle the fires of hatred in the bosoms of the Lamanites toward his former friends. At first he was not successful; the recollection of their recent defeats was too fresh in the memory of the multitude. The king issued a war proclamation, but it was disregarded. Much as his subjects feared the imperial power, they dreaded a renewal of war more. Many gathered to resist the royal mandate. The king, unused to such objections, raised an army to quell the advocates of peace, and placed it under the command of the ambitious Amalickiah.

The peace-men had chosen an officer named Lehonti for their king and leader, and he had assembled his followers at a mountain called Antipas. Thither Amalickiah marched, but with no intention of provoking a conflict; he was working for the good feelings of the entire Lamanite people. On his arrival he entered into a secret correspondence with Lehonti, in which he agreed to surrender his forces on condition that he should be appointed second in command of the united armies. The plan succeeded. Amalickiah surrendered to Lehonti and assumed the second position. Lehonti now stood in the way of his ambition; it was but a little thing to remove him; he died by slow poison administered by Amalickiah's direction.

Amalickiah now assumed supreme command, and at the head of his forces marched towards the Lamanite capital. The king, supposing that the approaching hosts had been raised to carry the war into Zarahemla, came out of the royal city to greet and congratulate him. As the monarch drew near he was treacherously slain by some of the creatures of the subtle general, who at the same time raised the hue and cry that the king's own servants were the authors of the vile deed. Amalickiah assumed all the airs of grief, affliction and righteous indignation that he thought would best suit his purpose. He next made apparently desperate, but purposely ineffectual, efforts to capture those who were charged with the crime, and so adroitly did he carry out his schemes, that before long he gained the affections of the queen, whom he married, and was recognized by the Lamanites as their king.

Amalickiah now cherished the stupendous design of subjugating the Nephites and ruling singly and alone from ocean to ocean. To accomplish this iniquitous purpose, he dispatched emissaries in all directions, whose mission was to stir up the angry passions of the populace against the Nephites. When this base object was sufficiently accomplished, and the deluded people had become clamorous for war, he raised an immense army, armed and equipped with an excellence never before known among the Lamanites. This force he placed under the command of Zoramite officers, and ordered its advance into the western possessions of the Nephites, Ammonihah and Noah.

This war was a disastrous one to the Lamanites. It failed in all its objects, and cost them many lives. Great was the anger of Amalickiah at this miscarriage of his schemes; he cursed God and swore he would yet drink the blood of Moroni. But it was not until B. C. 67, that he was able to carry out his ambitious projects. He then commenced an invasion of the country of the Nephites with an army which, for equipment and discipline, had never been equaled in the annals of the Lamanites. While other officers commanded in the west and south he personally led the troops intended for the subjugation of the Nephite Atlantic provinces. In this invasion he was eminently successful; for he had chosen a time for his operations when the Nephite commonwealth was rent by internal dissensions, another uprising having taken place in favor of a monarchy. One after another Amalickiah's forces captured the Nephite cities of Moroni, Nephihah, Lehi, Gid, Morianton, Omner, Mulek, and others along the coast, until toward the close of the year he reached the borders of the land Bountiful, driving the forces of the republic before him. At this point he was met by Teancum and a corps of veterans renowned for their courage, skill and discipline. The Lamanite leader endeavored to force his way to the Isthmus, with the intention of occupying the northern continent. In this he was foiled, for the trained valor of Teancum's warriors was too much for that of Amalickiah's half-savage hordes. All day the fight lasted, and at night the worn-out soldiers of the two armies camped close together, the Lamanites on the seabeach, and the Nephites on the borders of the land Bountiful.

It was the last night of the old year, according to Nephite reckoning. The great heat and the terrible efforts of the day had overcome both officers and men. The murmur of the Atlantic's waves sounded a soft lullaby in the ears of Amalickiah and his hosts, who, for the first time during the campaign, had suffered a check in their triumphal march. Even Amalickiah slept; but not so with Teancum; he determined by one desperate stroke to put an end to the war; or, if not that, at least to slay the cause of it. Taking one servant with him, he secretly stole out of his own camp into that of the enemy. A deathlike silence reigned in both. Cautiously and unobserved he searched out the royal tent. There lay the foe, there lay his guards, all overcome with resistless fatigue. To draw his javelin, thrust it into the king's heart and then flee, was but the work of a moment, and so adroitly did he fulfil his purpose that Amalickiah died without a struggle or a cry, and it was not until the morning that his guards discovered that the hosts of Laman were without a head. His warriors then hastily retreated to the fortified city of Mulek.

Amalickiah was succeeded on the Lamanitish throne by his brother Ammoron, who continued the war with unrelenting vindictiveness.