Recall that we left off from Helaman 1 with no chief judge. I imagine that this is a big deal, kind of like for Americans to have no President.
As Helaman 2 begins, Moronihah has reestablished peace among the people, however, the judgement seat was still vacant. By the voice of the people, Helaman, who was the son of the Helaman that we have previously read about (and the man that is in possession of the plates) is voted to be the chief judge of the Nephites. Please, remember the man Kishkumen that we read of last chapter, he is a murderer and apparently didn’t care too much for Helaman either.
Kishkumen, when he ran off after killing Pahoran, fled to a group of people who swore that they would never tell of his horrible deed and they hid him. Among this group of people was another equally horrible man named Gadianton and he was sneaky and mean. Gadianton became the leaders of this group which will come to be known as the Gadianton robbers. So Gadianton tells his people that if they get him to be the chief judge, that he will ensure that each of them be placed in a prominent position of power among the Nephites. Therefore, Kishkumen, who has killed before becomes more desirous to kill Helaman.
Well, Helaman many have been just a bit more wise than those Gadianton robbers, and he had sent spies out into the wilderness areas. One such spy had been present when Gadianton made his statement and Kishkumen made his plans to come and kill Helaman. This spy, who was also a guard of Helaman, met Kishkumen as he entered the city. Kishkumen than spoke to the guard with their “secret” code and let him know of his plans to murder Helaman. Thu guard acknowledged the plans and led Kishkumen to the judgement seat. Kishkumen being all sorts of cocky and full of pride was pretty darn pleased with himself for having a guard lead him right to his bait. As the two men approached the judgement seat, the guard stabbed Kishkumen in the heart and he fell dead. The guard then immediately went and reported to Helaman all that had transpired.
Helaman having a full knowledge of the evil plans of the Gadianton robbers, then declared that an army go forth and bring these men in for justice to be served. On the other side of the city walls, Kishkumen never did return. Therefore, Gadianton grew worried and took his men further in to the wilderness so that they would not be discovered by the Nephites.
Here, at the very end of Helaman 2, there is a prophecy. You can find it in verses 13-14 and they read: And behold, in the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi. Behold I do not mean the end of the book of Helaman, but I mean the end of the book of Nephi, from which I have taken all the account which I have written.” Something to keep in mind here, is that Mormon is making an abridgement, and this is what we are reading. Mormon tells us here that this onset of the Gadianton robbers will show us that the Nephite people are lead to destruction by this one man.
Can you put yourself there? Can you see yourself standing next to the spy? Next to the guard? Can you imagine the pride of Kishkumen or the fear of Gadianton? Can you see the worry over the face of Helaman as he sends his men out to find this band of robbers? Can you feel the soft dirt under your feet and the amazing city walls of Zarahemla? Can you see the plates of Nephi as Mormon makes his abridgement?
Oh the places you can go if you only close your eyes.
I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.