Alma 11:16 - 11:20
Alma 11:16 And a shiblum is a half of a shiblon.
A Shiblon equals two Shiblums.
Alma 11:17 And a leah is the half of a shiblum.
A Shiblum is equals two Leahs.
Alma 11:18 Now this is their number, according to their reckoning.
This is part of the system of coinage.
Alma 11:19 Now an antion of gold is equal to three shiblons.
A Antion of gold equals three Shiblons.
What is interesting about this coinage system is that it is based on 1, 2, 4 and 7 whereas our coinage system is 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, etc. It happens with the Nephite coinage is that it takes fewer coins in general to make total amounts than our system. Try it out and you will see. For example to make 7 cents, it takes 3 of our coins (one nickel and two pennies) whereas it takes only one Nephite coin. To make three cents, it takes two Nephite coins, whereas it takes three of ours. However, to make 10 cents, it takes one of ours whereas it takes three Nephite coins. If you will go from one to 20, you will see that on average it takes fewer Nephite coins to make totals. Most of the world now bases their coins on the meter system as we do. When I was in England, there system was 1, 2 1/2, 3, 5, and 10.
Alma 11:20 Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek.
The motivation of the judges and lawyers was to earn big salaries. And since it was based on how many hours they spent in court, they actively went about trying to get folks to sue one and another in court. So the more they could get people mad at each other the more money they made. Now with Alma and Amulek, they had another bases to suits in court.
Not sure why the coinage system was explained here in Alma 11. I think the story of Alma's efforts in Ammonihah would not be lessened by its being left out. But for some reason, Mormon felt it was important to have it in the narrative. If nothing else, it shows that giving details of a coinage system, is something a normal author would not have put in their story particularly if it contributed nothing to the story. It for sure gives details that help give more credibility, to the story and it is a rather clever system of coinage in any case.