In Alma 18, the servants report to the King that Ammon has hacked up the robbers.  The King sends for Ammon.  Wants to know how he did it.  Ammon says he’ll tell the king if the king will believe what he has to say, the king says sure.

This pretty ordinary bit of chat is described by the chronicler as “guile.”  Not only that, but the chronicler is proud of it.

That time period in Nephite history is full of that kind of thing, tricks that are barely tricks.  Like everyone’s trick of getting their guards drunk, or Helaman’s trick of luring out larger armies by parading around a smaller one.  As deceptions go, they aren’t much, but the chroniclers are fascinated with them.  They go over them in loving detail.  It is an age of fascination with puerile tricks.  And its not just the good guys either.  Remember Zeezrom’s big play was to offer Amulek a bribe to deny God . . . and then not give him the bribe, nyuk nyuk.

There’s nothing like that in prior Nephite ages.  Not afterwards either.  They get into real skulduggery then, lies, plots, and assassinations, horror instead of entertainment.

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