Gideon stood tall above the crowd. He was a large man, and he was very strong. His voice carried to all of King Limhi’s people and to Ammon and his people. A great throng had gathered at the call of King Limhi to find some way to escape from the bondage of the Lamanites.

“Oh, King,” said Gideon, “if you have ever listened to my words and they have been of service to you, I desire that you listen to me now, and I will deliver this people out of captivity.”

All eyes were turned toward Gideon. How the people of Limhi longed for freedom! Day by day the Lamanites became more cruel to them, smiting them, driving them like beasts, adding heavier taxes to their already heavy burdens.

King Limhi was eager to hear Gideon speak. Limhi had been taken prisoner by the Lamanites. Limhi was a good man and beloved of his people even though he was a son of wicked King Noah. Now he remembered that Gideon had once vowed to kill King Noah but then had showed mercy when that man pled for his life. Limhi was grateful that there had been peace between his people and the Lamanites for the space of two years.

However, some of the wicked priests of King Noah who were still in the wilderness had hidden to watch the Lamanite girls as they sang and danced. They had captured twenty-four of them and carried them far away into the wilderness. The Lamanites had accused the people of Limhi of stealing the girls, and King Limhi had wanted to search among the people for those who were guilty. But Gideon had said, “I pray thee, do not search this people. They would not have done such a thing. Remember the wicked priests; perhaps they have stolen the daughters of the Lamanites.” King Limhi had listened to Gideon. Gideon had been right.

Ammon and his people wanted to listen to Gideon too, for Ammon knew of Gideon’s devotion to King Limhi. Ammon had come from the land of Zarahemla to the land of Nephi to hunt for descendants of Zeniff, who had journeyed there many years before. Ammon was overjoyed to find King Limhi and his people alive, but he grieved that they were in bondage. Now he and his people waited to hear what Gideon had to say.

King Limhi granted unto Gideon that he should speak.

And Gideon said, “You remember the pass through the back wall on the east side of the city. The Lamanite guards there expect nothing; they are usually drunken at night. Let us send word to all the people to gather their flocks and herds that they may drive them into the wilderness by night. And I will go according to thy command and pay the last taxes, a tribute of wine, to the Lamanites, and they will be drunken; and we will pass through the secret pass on the left of the camp when they are drunken and asleep. Thus, we will depart with our women, our children, our flocks, and our herds into the wilderness; and we will travel around the land of Shilom.”

King Limhi agreed to Gideon’s plan. All of the people gathered their herds and their possessions and made ready their families. Gideon took an extra supply of wine to the Lamanites as a present, and they did drink freely of the wine and were soon asleep.

Then the people of King Limhi went by night through the pass and into the wilderness and traveled to Zarahemla, led by Ammon and his brethren. And in the land of Zarahemla they joined Mosiah’s people and were received with joy.

Gideon had rescued his people from the Lamanites.

[illustration] Illustrated by Jerry Harston