Here we go:
1. Hill Amnihu
2. River Sidon
3. Land of Zarahemla
Alma 2:15 wrote:And it came to pass that the Amlicites came upon the hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla, and there they began to make make war with the Nephites.
Here we are given to visualize that hill Amnihu is east of the river Sidon and runs by the territory of Zarahemla. The hill is east of the river which means the river at this juncture by Zarahemla runs north and south. This hill becomes a base and starting point in waging war because of its strategic importance in having elevation.
Alma 2:16 wrote:Now Alma, being the chief judge and the governor of the people of Nephi, therefore he went up with his people, yea, with his captains, and chief captains, yea, at the head of his armies, against the Amlicites to battle.
Alma went up with his armies to do battle against the Amlicites although the text neglects to mention that he must have crossed the river Sidon in order to get to the hill Amnihu which is on the east side of the river. This verse only leads us to understand that Alma was facing an uphill battle against the Amlicites.
Alma 2:17 wrote:And they began to slay the Amlicites upon the hill east of Sidon. And the Amlicites did contend with the Nephites with great strength, insomuch that many of the Nephites did fall before the Amlicites.
Note that the battle “began” upon the hill! This means all of the Amlicites were positioned on high ground whereby the Nephites went up to engage them.
Alma 2:18 wrote:Nevertheless the Lord did strengthen the hand of the Nephites, that they slew the Amlicites with great slaughter, that they began to flee before them.
Apparently, God empowered the Nephites and the Amlicites “began” to run! Where did they run? They must have run down the hill and away from the battle, obviously. Right?
Alma 2:19 wrote:And it came to pass that the Nephites did pursue the Amlicites all that day, and did slay them with much slaughter, insomuch that there were slain of the Amlicites twelve thousand five hundred thirty and two souls; and there were slain of the Nephites six thousand five hundred sixty and two souls.
We were previously informed that the Amlicites ran away from the God-fearing Nephites only to be chased and pursued for the rest of that day! So, this was a ONE-DAY battle and yet the Nephites managed to find the time to count exactly 19,094 dead bodies that must have been strewn about upon the hill and round about the battlefield.
12,532 Amlicites slain
6,562 Nephites slain
That’s 19,094 corpses in total. How on God’s green earth did Alma’s captains manage to find time and space to carry on such an operation as counting that many dead bodies while at the same time having to tend to the injured? Surely there must have been THOUSANDS who were injured on both sides and yet what about them? The commotion and terrible scene that would have existed at this point does not warrant Alma’s captains wasting time counting nearly 20,000 dead and ignoring the needs of the wounded! This is a hole in the script and a colossal error of Joseph Smith’s ability to tell a story that makes sense.
Alma 2:20 wrote:And it came to pass that when Alma could pursue the Amlicites no longer he caused that his people should pitch their tents in the valley of Gideon, the valley being called after that Gideon who was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword; and in this valley the Nephites did pitch their tents for the night.
Here we are reminded that the Nephites were pursuing the Amlicites “all that day” and finally gave up and settled in the valley of Gideon where they pitched their tents for the night. And we are supposed to believe that 20,000 bodies were counted in the process. How utterly silly!
Alma 2:21 wrote:And Alma sent spies to follow the remnant of the Amlicites, that he might know of their plans and their plots, whereby he might guard himself against them, that he might preserve his people from being destroyed.
Just when we conclude the Nephites were absolutely tired and exhausted beyond measure we are informed that Alma somehow managed to send spies out into the night to follow the Amlicites and learn what they were up to by watching their camp. No time to rest and no time to sleep. Follow the Amlicites!
Alma 2:22 wrote: Now those whom he had sent out to watch the camp of the Amlicites were called Zeram, and Amnor, and Manti, and Limher; these were they who went out with their men to watch the camp of the Amlicites.
Alma’s four spies were out all that night watching the camp -- tired, hungry, and exhausted. Did they have candlelight by which they could see, or did they just scurry about in the dark hiding behind bushes in the wilderness? The four spies were alone and if the Amlicites spotted them they would have surely been killed. So, they must have kept quiet and slither about like snakes in the grass.
Alma 2:23 wrote:And it came to pass that on the morrow they returned into the camp of the Nephites in great haste, being greatly astonished, and struck with much fear, saying:
The one-day battle and all that took place that night is again confirmed in the statement about returning to camp ON THE MORROW. But they didn’t return until after they witnessed the following later that day:
Alma 2:24 wrote:Behold, we followed the camp of the Amlicites, and to our great astonishment, in the land of Minon, above the land of Zarahemla, in the course of the land of Nephi, we saw a numerous host of the Lamanites; and behold, the Amlicites have joined them;
The four spies learned that in the land of Minon which is above the land of Zarahemla, in the course of the land of Nephi, the Lamanites had joined forces with the Amlicites! It’s now double jeopardy!
Alma 2:25 wrote:And they are upon our brethren in that land; and they are fleeing before them with their flocks, and their wives, and their children, towards our city; and except we make haste they obtain possession of our city, and our fathers, and our wives, and our children be slain.
The four spies just so happened to notice that their Nephite brethren from another territory were fleeing out of the land of Nephi with their flocks and herds and were now headed down into the land of Zarahemla in order to reach the city of Zarahemla.
Alma 2:26 wrote:And it came to pass that the people of Nephi took their tents, and departed out of the valley of Gideon towards their city, which was the city of Zarahemla.
At this juncture, Alma and his Nephite army immediately left the valley of Gideon to make haste westward towards Zarahemla. But in order to do that they must cross the river Sidon as they did previously when they first approached the hill Amnihu:
Alma 2:27 wrote:And behold, as they were crossing the river Sidon, the Lamanites and the Amlicites, being as numerous almost, as it were, as the sands of the sea, came upon them to destroy them.
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
Alma 2:28 wrote:Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them.
Now, what are the odds that Alma would personally engage in mortal combat with both the leader of the Amlicites and the Lamanite king? This sounds like something out of a storybook made for little boys who love to hear bedtime stories:
Alma 2:29-33 wrote:And it came to pass that Alma fought with Amlici with the sword, face to face; and they did contend mightily, one with another. And it came to pass that Alma, being a man of God, being exercised with much faith, cried, saying: O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people. Now when Alma had said these words he contended again with Amlici; and he was strengthened, insomuch that he slew Amlici with the sword. And he also contended with the king of the Lamanites; but the king of the Lamanites fled back from before Alma and sent his guards to contend with Alma. But Alma, with his guards, contended with the guards of the king of the Lamanites until he slew and drove them back.
Alma and his army are confronted at the river by the combined armies of the Lamanites and Amlicites. What could be worse than being attacked while fleeing and trying to get across the river? But the Nephites are ever charged with the power of God are able to hold their enemies at bay:
Alma 2:34 wrote:And thus he cleared the ground, or rather the bank, which was on the west of the river Sidon, throwing the bodies of the Lamanites who had been slain into the waters of Sidon, that thereby his people might have room to cross and contend with the Lamanites and the Amlicites on the west side of the river Sidon.
Now we see that Alma and his armies prove victorious in defeating their enemies and chasing them to the west and north -- away from the borders of Zarahemla.
Alma 2:35-38 wrote:And it came to pass that when they had all crossed the river Sidon that the Lamanites and the Amlicites began to flee before them, notwithstanding they were so numerous that they could not be numbered. And they fled before the Nephites towards the wilderness which was west and north, away beyond the borders of the land; and the Nephites did pursue them with their might, and did slay them. Yea, they were met on every hand, and slain and driven, until they were scattered on the west, and on the north, until they had reached the wilderness, which was called Hermounts; and it was that part of the wilderness which was infested by wild and ravenous beasts. And it came to pass that many died in the wilderness of their wounds, and were devoured by those beasts and also the vultures of the air; and their bones have been found, and have been heaped up on the earth.
Here is the basic landscape that shows how Zarahemla is divided from the land of Nephi by the river Sidon:
Here is a general map of the entire region: