Helaman’s account* tells of four cities the Lamanites had taken over in the region where they were posted: Antiparah, Cumeni, Manti, and Zeezrom. We have the accounts of the campaigns to retake three of those cities. Helaman’s armies were sent to the city of Judea to join Antipus and his army where the campaign to retake Antiparah starts. For a brief account of how this army of teenagers came to be, check out part one.
Do you believe in miracles? Often, I think that in the moment, a miracle might seem plain and natural, almost unnoticeable. Only after it happened do we see something divine and miraculous. From the point of view of the participants in this story, it might have appeared that way.
Helaman’s army, while extremely young, has faith in God and is motivated with protecting their liberty, their homes, and their families. It is decided that Helaman’s two thousand men will be used as a decoy for this campaign. He and his army march past Antiparah as if taking supplies to some city beyond. The Lamanites, seeing this small army, leave their stronghold at Antiparah and pursue after Helaman. Antipus then takes his much larger army and pursues the Lamanites. They in turn chase after Helaman much harder not wanting to be surrounded. For two full days of marching, this continues. Helaman, running from the Lamanites who are running from Antipus. Then on the third day, Helaman reports that the Lamanites stop and are no longer chasing them. He is then left with a dilemma. Does he turn back to help Antipus fight, or does he keep his young men, who have never fought in battle, safe? He puts the choice to his men. His account to Moroni (who leads all of the Nephite forces) tells the story: “. . . I said unto my men: Behold, we know not but they have halted for the purpose that we should come against them, that they might catch us in their snare; Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle? And now I say unto you . . . that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites. For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus. Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”
They quickly retraced their steps and found that the Lamanites had indeed engaged the army of Antipus. Antipus’ army was quickly losing to the Lamanites. Antipus was killed as were many of the army’s leaders. With no direction, they could not effectively fight. Helaman’s stripling army fought so well against the Lamanites that the entire Lamanite army turned from Antipus’ forces to fight with Helaman. This turn of events bought Antipus’ army enough time to regroup and re-engage the Lamanites. They surrounded the Lamanites and fought until the Lamanite army surrendered and turned themselves over to become prisoners of war. Fearing for the loss of many of his sons, Helaman numbered them. He reports: “But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.” When the army returned to Antiparah, the remaining Lamanite forces fled to other strongholds that they had control over. This is how Helaman’s army of teenagers assisted in retaking the city of Antiparah. These young men were the benefactors of a miracle. I do not believe they saw angels from heaven fight along side them. I don’t know if they took the time to notice that their fellow soldiers were not dying all around them. But whether they did or not, God miraculously preserved their lives.
Have you ever looked back at an event in your life and realized God’s hand was there? Share your experiences with other readers below!
In part three, Helaman and his men attempt to capture the city of Cumeni, they deal with the hidden dangers of victory, and they pit their convictions against the forces of a superior army. Coming soon!