Alma 17:21 - 17:25
Alma 17:21 And thus Ammon was carried before the king who was over the land of Ishmael; and his name was Lamoni; and he was a descendant of Ishmael.
Ammon was hauled before the king of the land whose name was Lamoni. He was a descendant of Ishmael.
This Ishmael, thought not stated, is the father of daughters that married Lehi's sons and who died in the Arabian desert on the journey to the promise land. It seems that many times that when a major character is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, his descendancy from a major ancestor is mentioned too. I might say that I am Charles, a descendant of Ephraim.
Alma 17:22 And the king inquired of Ammon if it were his desire to dwell in the land among the Lamanites, or among his people.
Lamoni is curious as to why Ammon is in the land of Nephi. Did he want to defect to the Lamanites?
I am sure that Lamoni had had other Nephites in the past that wanted to defect to the Lamanites. He might have considered Ammon to be one of these dissatisfied Nephites as well.
Alma 17:23 And Ammon said unto him: Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.
Ammon said that he did want to live among the Lamanites. That he was considering to do so until he died.
Alma 17:24 And it came to pass that king Lamoni was much pleased with Ammon, and caused that his bands should be loosed; and he would that Ammon should take one of his daughters to wife.
This statement by Ammon was nice to hear and Lamoni had him untied. Lamoni was so impressed with Ammon and his decoration that he offered one of his daughters as a wife.
Wonder if Ammon told Lamoni if he was a son of the king of the Nephites, Mosiah, and that is why Lamoni offered a daughter to be his wife? I just cannot see the king offering a daughter to everyone who wanted to defect from the Nephites to the Lamanites.
Alma 17:25 But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni. And it came to pass that he was set among other servants to watch the flocks of Lamoni, according to the custom of the Lamanites.
Ammon turned down the offer to marry Lamoni’s daughters, but offered to be a servant in his household. His first assignment was to care for the king’s livestock.
This was called a custom of the Lamanites. What does that mean? Was this the lowest job in the king’s household and all new servants have to start at the bottom? Was this to prove to the king just how committed a person was to being a servant to the king, by herding the king's livestock and having to live with the animals to see to their safety?