Zeniff seems to be an interesting, tender-hearted, understanding person. At first he sets out with an army to destroy the lamanites, his fierce enemies. But after spying on them he discovers they have some good qualities so he fights his own people to defend these people he doesn't know.
He eventually makes a deal with the king of these people to bring a few of his people and settle in the land with the lamanites. A few years go by and the lamanites, these people he protected, attack in an attempt to enslave zeniffs people.
After defeating the lamanites, he sends spies out to watch their enemies. They discover that the next king is also sending an army. In the middle Of describing the preparation for this next battle, zeniff begins to make excuses for the lamanites. They are only doing this because this is how they were taught. They were taught that their parents had been robbed and were driven out of the land. Essentially, it seems as of zeniff is asking "what would I do if I had been taught those things. I think I can understand where they are coming from."
of course it doesn't excuse their actions for in the very next verse he says, "I did stimulate them (his army) to go to battle." I'm not sure how well that worked for him telling his people "now these people we're fighting aren't so bad. They just have a misunderstandinding. Let's go get them!" but I guess it worked out cause they won again.
I think zeniff has a lot to teach us concerning how we should respond when someone offends us. I would assume being attacked and having over 200 of your friends and family killed would be somewhat offensiv. Zeniff doesn't respond as his former commander did and say, "we must kill every last one of these infidels. They're all evil and I will personally see they go to hell." instead he says, "why? What makes them so angry." and he truly tries to understand them. Sometimes we get offended over the smallest sliver and will not let it go. We have to continually push that sliver deeper and deeper as we complain about what a horrible person that was giving us a sliver.
Of course sometimes the problem must be resolved. Zeniff couldn't let the lamanites Destroy his people. But he also didn't spend the remainder of his days festering over their injustice. In fact he just seem to go back to life and forgets the whole event "we returned to our land, and my people went back to tending flocks."
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