Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Land of Many Waters and Sea North

Around 46 B.C., a large number of Nephites left the Land Southward and traveled “into the Land Northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3), and they traveled “an exceeding great distance” and “came to large bodies of water and many rivers” (Helaman 3:4). Very likely, this is the same area of “many waters” in the Land Northward that Limhi’s 43-man rescue team wandered into (Mosiah 8:8). And undoubtedly, the same area Mormon describes in talking about the Land of Cumorah, as being in a “land of many waters, rivers and fountains” (Mormon 6:4).

This region was far to the north in the Land Northward (Mormon 2:29), and where the Nephites were driven after the Lamanites took possession of the Land of Desolation (Mormon 4:19), following their long flight from the Lamanite armies (Mormon 5:5-7). The mention of many waters, rivers and fountains is in contrast to the lands to the south which appear to be more arid and less watered than this northern land. In the lands to the south only a single river is mentioned, the river Sidon, and a few fountains. In the north these identical water features are described as “many.”

The Land of Cumorah, where the hill Cumorah is located (Mormon 6:4), which was called Ramah by the Jaredites (Ether 15:11), where the Nephite civilization was destroyed by the Lamanites in battles which killed 230,000 warriors (Mormon 6:11-13), and an unknown number of women and children (Mormon 6:7), was near the east sea coast, but west of a Jaredite city called Ablom, which was near the east seashore (Ether 9:3).

Far to the north was a body of water the Jaredites called Ripliancum, meaning large, or to exceed all (Ether 15:8), Just to the north of this Land of Many Waters was a place the Jaredites called Ogath (Ether 15:10). Between this area of Ogath and the hill Cumorah, the Jaredite nation fought their final battle with only 59 surviving to continue in a running battle (Ether 15:15-28), until only Coriantumr remained alive (Ether 15:30-31). Consequently, within this Land of Many Waters, millions of Jaredites perished (Ether 15:2), and some thousand years later, nearly a million Nephites were killed.

Some claim that the Waters of Ripliancum, because they are described as very large, was the West Sea, however, the two armies were fighting a battle toward the east—and went eastward to the east seashore (Ether 14:26), to two valleys, called Corihor and Shurr (Ether 15:28) and from there they fled to the Waters of Ripliancum (Ether 15:8). From there they went southward to an area called Ogath (Ether 15:10), which was within the area of the Land of Many Waters. Thus we might say that the Waters of Ripliancum were to the north of the Land of Many Waters, and very possibly was the Sea North described in Helaman 3:8.

Thus, the Land Northward, which was connected to the Land Southward (Ether 9:31;10:19), by a narrow neck (Ether 10:20), is stated as having an east sea (Ether 9:3;14:26), a west sea (Ether 14:12;15:26), and a north sea (Helaman 3:8). This completes the Land of Promise, with the Land Southward being nearly surrounded by water except for the narrow neck leading into the Land Northward, and the Land Northward as having a sea to the east, one to the west and one to the north, suggests once again, as Jacob stated, the Land of Promise was an island.

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