Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2017, July 15

“Book of Mormon: Alma’s Fasting for Ammonihah–When?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Alma’s Fasting for Ammonihah–When?”
by grego
@2017

Here’s what we read about Alma beginning in Ammonihah:
Alma 8:6 So that when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah.

8 And it came to pass that when Alma had come to the city of Ammonihah he began to preach the word of God unto them.
9 Now Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah; therefore they would not hearken unto the words of Alma.
10 Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.
11 Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma…
13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.
14 And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow…

Pretty clear, right? Then we run into this:
Alma 10:7 As I was journeying to see a very near kindred, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto me and said: Amulek, return to thine own house, for thou shalt feed a prophet of the Lord; yea, a holy man, who is a chosen man of God; for he has fasted many days because of the sins of this people, and he is an hungered, and thou shalt receive him into thy house and feed him, and he shall bless thee and thy house; and the blessing of the Lord shall rest upon thee and thy house.

So, when did Alma fast many days?

He might have fasted on the three-day trip. From Alma 8:8, it sounds like he started preaching right when he got there. Alma 8:11 shows they spoke to him and kicked him out, and then he went on his journey–maybe he fasted then; but, why would he fast for the people after it “was done”?

I think the best bet is Alma 8:10, even though it only mentions prayer. But if you are going to wrestle with God in might prayer, chances are good that fasting is involved. I always read that verse like it was one short prayer. Now I see it as a continual prayer, along with that fasting, over the course of a “many days”, or at least a few days; he preaches more, still fasting; he gets kicked out before he gets a meal, and journeys–which together would be “many days”. I also used to read Alma 8:8-11 as one quick continual process, taking one day, at most. Now, in light of Alma 10:7, it seems there is a space of time between Alma 8:8-10, and Alma 8:11, and that’s where the fasting that the angel talks about occurs.

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