So the Primary girls and I are studying the record of Ammon in the Book of Mormon; Alma 18-19. But we are searching for Abish. Who is she? I have found that whenever I have read a record in the book of Mormon that has a prominent female presence, she seems to have literally muscled her way to the front of the group. Whenever I have struggled to figure out what is the purpose of this woman's story, I have found similar stories in the Old Testament and even the New Testament. I believe Abish is one of those "certain women" spoke of by Luke in the New Testament.
Abish was a Lamanitish woman and servant of king Lamoni who played a key role in the conversion of many Lamanites. She is mentioned by name in Alma 19:16.
At the time of the conversion of king Lamoni, Abish had "already been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father" (Alma 19:16). However, Abish never made her conversion known until king Lamoni, his wife, and Ammon the Nephite missionary lay unconscious after being overcome by the power of the Spirit. While the other servants fell to the earth in wonder, Abish left the king's house and "ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people," hoping to lead them to believe in the power of God (Alma 19:17).
When a great crowd had gathered and contention had arisen regarding the cause of the situation, Abish "was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears" (Alma 19:28). She then "went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as [Abish] touched her hand [the queen] arose and stood" and praised God (Alma 19:29). The king and Ammon soon revived as well and testified to the assembled crowd that they had witnessed the power of God. Thus "many [...] did believe in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them" (Alma 19:35). Mormonwiki End QuoteSome of the women I have found that share similar stories to Abish are Queen Esther, Rachel the beloved wife of Jacob, and even Mary Magdalene.
So we meet Abish in Alma 19 verse 16-17
16 And it came to pass that they (the servants of the king) did call upon the name of the Lord, in all their might, even until they had fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father
17 Thus having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, also her mistress the queen, and the king, lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making it known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believee in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house making it known to the people,
So in these 2 verses what can we find out about Abish ?
· She was a servant to the queen, which leads me to believe that she was poor and had no other means. She may have been a Lamanite living in captivity by her own people, or a captive from a different tribe?
· She believed in God and had a testimony, but to bear her testimony would have put her life in danger. She may have prayed for an opportunity to speak and not be put in danger.
Esther 2:10 Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it,
· Her father was a “visionary” man, who may have had an experience similar to King Lamoni’s.
Alma 19:6 Now, this is what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God; which was a marvelous light of his goodness- yea this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God.
· Abish may have been with the group of servants who took care of the kings flocks. This type of work could be done by both male and female. She may have witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit working in Ammon to save the kings flocks.
Genesis 29:1; 5-6; 9
1 Then Jacob went on his journey and came into the land of the people of the east5 And Jacob said unto them, my brethren know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said we know him6 And he said unto them, is he well? And they said He is well: and behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.
· Abish is a disciple and a missionary. She had to be a part of the “they” in Alma 19 verse 15
Alma 19:15 Now when the servants of the king had seen that they had fallen, they also began to cry unto God, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them also, for it was they who had stood before the king and testified unto him concerning the great power of Ammon
· Abish is a woman of great faith and obedience, having believed the testimony of her father.
Romans 10:16-1716: But they have not all obeyed the gospel, for Esaias said; Lord who hath believed our report?17 So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
· Abish qualified for and received revelation of the Holy Spirit and did not doubt what the Lord wanted her to do. The Lord needed her to stand fast in the power of her testimony of the Savior and in doing so she “knew that it was the power of God” and she proceeded to seize the opportunity “by making it known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God”
Acts 2:17-1817 And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophesyI am really blessed to have taken the time to study the record of Abish, a whole chapter is devoted to her courage to stand as a witness for the Savior at all times. I believe that while she may have not “gone public” with her conversion, she had to have borne her testimony in small and quiet ways; her life was her testimony.
What I can take away from this is to apply her scenario to a portion of my own life. At my job, am I like Abish? I can't proselytize at work, but I can be an example to my co-workers. I can be nice and sincerely caring for their welfare. I can foster a better working relationship with my boss, sort of like Abish had with the Queen.
It is always so much fun to “find” women in the scriptures by looking at the lives of other women who have gone before. We all want to blaze trails, but if we look to the One, Jesus Christ, who has blazed the trail so that we can walk on it and back to Him, then it’s good to pattern our lives after the good works of others. I feel that is how we are noted in the book of Remembrance. The Book of Mormon is true.