He had the advantage.
But he failed to heed the obvious signs.
Pride was his downfall.
When Amalickiah convinced the Lamanite king to attack the Nephites, Lehonti, and the vast majority of the Lamanite army, knew this was a mistake. History was on their side. Every time a group of disgruntled Nephites fled their lands and came over to the Lamanites, it was the same tragic story. They would fill the king with visions of grandeur.
He could be the ruler of all the land.
He could be the one to reclaim what tradition had told the Lamanites was rightfully theirs.
Then came the war that was always followed by a humiliating defeat. It never seemed to matter how large the Lamanite army was, they never could defeat the Nephites.
Why would this time be any different?
Lehonti and his thousands of followers could see the writing on the wall. Amalickiah would convince the king and off they were to war.
But not this time!
Lehonti took as many of the army that would follow him, which was the majority, and they retreated to the top of Mount Antipas. In those days, securing the high ground meant certain victory over an attacking army. So long as Lehonti and his forces stayed put, they had the advantage. Lehonti could be the hero who saved the Lamanites from war.
Amalickiah had no intention of attacking Lehonti. He needed that army. Amalickiah heard whispers that Lehonti saw himself as the hero, the strong one. No one could get him to give up the high ground.
So Amalickiah appealed to Lehonti’s pride. He convinced Lehonti that he didn’t really want to go to war. Amalickiah fooled him into thinking that he wanted only to be the second in command. Lehonti should be leader over all the army. As such, they could march together to the City of Nephi and tell the king there would be no war.
Should the king resist, Lehonti would have the power to dethrone him and then Lehonti could be king.
But Amalickiah did not want to share power. Instead, he slowly poisoned Lehonti by degrees. Amalickiah’s patience and treachery paid off. Now he was ruler over a united Lamanite army.
Lehonti is a tragic figure and stands as a vivid reminder that we must be ever-valiant in protecting ourselves from Satan’s flattering lies.
“No one will know.”
“Everybody does it.”
“”You are not hurting anyone.
“Just this once….”
“Such rules are not relevant today.”
Each of these lies adds a single drop of poison to our drink. Satan is wise enough to know that if we are faced with obvious sins we will recoil and retreat. But if he can poison us by degree, we will freely give up our moral high ground and let our guard down.
We must never let ourselves be Lehonti.