Scriptural Giants: Ammon the Valiant


(Read Alma 17–19.)

When Ammon, one of King Mosiah’s missionary sons, first entered the land of Ishmael to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, he was brought before King Lamoni, who dealt with prisoners at his pleasure. Lamoni asked Ammon “if it were his desire to dwell in the land among the Lamanites, or among his [own] people.

“And Ammon said unto him: Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.”

Lamoni was so impressed by Ammon’s answer and confident manner that he offered one of his daughters to be Ammon’s wife. “But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant.”

Ammon had been in the king’s service for three days when he was sent with some Lamanite servants to tend the king’s flocks. As they guided the animals to the water of Sebus to let them drink, a band of Lamanite ruffians who had already watered their own flocks charged the flocks of King Lamoni and scattered them in every direction.

“The servants of the king began to murmur, saying: Now the king will slay us, as he has our brethren because their flocks were [also] scattered by the wickedness of these men. And they began to weep exceedingly.”

Ammon, who knew that he was strengthened and protected by the Lord, was touched by the sorrow of his fellow servants. He thought that if he demonstrated his ability to restore the king’s flocks, these men and others would, in time, be willing to learn the gospel. “Be of good cheer,” he encouraged them, “and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together and … the king … will not slay us.”

The animals were quickly gathered and taken to the watering place. But again the wicked Lamanites were there, ready to scatter the king’s flocks. Then “Ammon said unto his brethren: Encircle the flocks round about that they flee not; and I go and contend with these men.”

Now there were quite a number of these men who were intent on doing mischief to the king’s flocks, and when they saw Ammon coming to fight them with his sling and sword, they were confident that they could easily slay him. However, there was no way that they could have known that Ammon was one of Mosiah’s four missionary sons and that the Lord had promised Mosiah that the lives of his sons would be spared.

Ammon stood fast and began to cast stones at the evildoers, and in a short time he had slain six of them. When the anger of the comrades of the fallen men had overcome their astonishment at Ammon’s incredible power, they attacked him with clubs to slay him.

“But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword; … he did withstand their blows … insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him.” Ammon slew the culprits’ leader, and he drove off the rest of the scoundrels.

After the king’s flocks had been watered and put out to pasture, the servants told King Lamoni what Ammon had done. Then, as evidence of Ammon’s mighty power, they showed Lamoni the arms that Ammon had cut off.

“Surely this is more than a man,” declared Lamoni after hearing about Ammon’s courageous deed. “Behold, is not this the Great Spirit?” When Lamoni asked where Ammon was and was told that he was feeding the king’s horses, as he had been commanded, Lamoni was more astonished than ever.

King Lamoni was anxious to talk to Ammon. Yet, because of his own past behavior, he was fearful of talking with this man whom he considered to be the Great Spirit. When Ammon came to tell Lamoni that his chariots were ready for his journey to visit his father, Lamoni was speechless “for the space of an hour.

“Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, … perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him: Is it because thou hast heard that I defended thy servants and thy flocks, and slew seven of their brethren with the sling and with the sword, and smote off the arms of others, … is it this that causeth thy marvelings?

“I say unto you, … Behold, I am a man, and am thy servant; therefore, whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do.”

Ammon’s remarkable faith in the Lord and his courageous declaration, later, of the gospel to King Lamoni, his family, and his people changed their lives dramatically as they accepted Christ’s teachings and turned away from their wickedness.

[illustration] Painting by Arnold Friberg