Alma 14:16 - 14:20
Alma 14:16 Now this judge was after the order and faith of Nehor, who slew Gideon.
This judge was of the same mind set as was Nehor, who wanted priests to be popular and be paid for their services.
If Alma was allowed to continue to preach to the people, this judge would probably lose his job and be forced to work like very one else. Not a pleasant thought for those who are riding this kind of gravy train. It is no wonder that this judge was trying to shut up Alma and Amulek.
Alma 14:17 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek answered him nothing; and he smote them again, and delivered them to the officers to be cast into prison.
Alma and Amulek did not respond to this judge’s questions. They just looked at him. The judge slapped them again but they kept silent. They were then placed in prison.
One need not waste time talking to a fool.
Alma 14:18 And when they had been cast into prison three days, there came many lawyers, and judges, and priests, and teachers, who were of the profession of Nehor; and they came in unto the prison to see them, and they questioned them about many words; but they answered them nothing.
After three days in prison, Alma and Amulek were visited by other lawyers and judges. In addition there were various priest and teachers that also believed that officials and church leaders should be popular and be paid for their work. These visitors tried to question Alma and Amulek but they did not respond and kept silent.
Alma 14:19 And it came to pass that the judge stood before them, and said: Why do ye not answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have power to deliver you up unto the flames? And he commanded them to speak; but they answered nothing.
The judge asked them why did they not respond to their questions? They said they represented the people and the people wanted to know. The judge reminds them that he has the power to throw them into the fire and threatens them if they don’t answer. Again the duo answered them not.
Alma 14:20 And it came to pass that they departed and went their ways, but came again on the morrow; and the judge also smote them again on their cheeks. And many came forth also, and smote them, saying: Will ye stand again and judge this people, and condemn our law? If ye have such great power why do ye not deliver yourselves?
They left for the day but returned the next day. The chief judge slapped them and asked them if they would continue to judge the people of Ammonihah as evil as to their laws and religious practices. In fact many others came and also slapped Alma and Amulek. They all asked why did they not deliver themselves from the prison.
I’m sure this physical abuse was hard on Alma and Amulek, but they had the comfort that it was for a wise purpose and therefore were confident in their resolve. We all can take problems if we have a certainty that we are doing the right thing.