Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cities of the Land of Nephi – Part I

Somewhere around 589 B.C., the Nephite colony made landfall after their 10,000 mile voyage across the “many waters.” The first thing they did after landing was pitch their tents (1 Nephi 18:23), then they planted their seeds “brought from the land of Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 18:24). After that they did a little exploring of the land (1 Nephi 18:25). At this point it must have been a time of relaxing for Nephi was commanded to make plates and duplicate the writing already engraven on the plates of Lehi (1 Nephi 19:1-2), and then add to them what took place in the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 19:4).

Sometime over the next twenty years, Lehi died (2 Nephi 4:12), and the persecution against Nephi by his elder brothers and the sons of Ishmael increased until they threatened his life (2 Nephi 5:4) and the Lord warned Nephi to flee into the wilderness with all those who would go with him (2 Nephi 5:5). They took their tents and possessions (2 Nephi 5:7) and seeds (2 Nephi 5:11) and the records and the Liahona (2 Nephi 5:12).

Nephi and those with him traveled in the wilderness for “many days” until they came to a land where the Liahona would have guided them. There they settled down and those with him wanted to call the place the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:8). They then built a city they called the City of Nephi (Alma 23:11), and they built buildings, using wood, iron, copper, steel, gold, and precious ores (2 Nephi 5:15). They also built a temple like the temple of Solomon (2 Nephi 5:16).

Nephi died about 544 B.C. (Jacob 1:1, 12), probably at the age of 75 to 80 years, with Jacob about 50. Over the next one hundred and fifty years, the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land (Jarom 1:5) and were scattered on much of the face of the Land (Jarom 1:6). Jarom also speaks of “sweeping the Lamanites out of our lands” and “began to fortify our cities” and that they “multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land” (Jarom 1:7-8). They built in wood, in iron, and in copper and brass, and in steel (Jarom 1:8).

Following Jarom’s time, there was his son, Omni, and then his son, Amaron, and about 311 B.C., in which the more wicked part of the Nephites had been destroyed by 279 B.C. The record then went to his brother, Chemish, who passed the record on to his son, Abinadom, who passed it on to his son, Amaleki. Now Amaleki was the grandson of Chemish, or the second generation, making the year somewhere around 200 B.C. when Amaleki records Mosiah being “warned of the Lord to flee out of the land of Nephi” (Omni 1:12) with as many as would “hearken unto the voice of the Lord” and go with him. They were “led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:13).

Thus, in the nearly 400 years between 570 B.C. and about 200 B.C., the Nephites lived, waxed strong, and spread across the face of the land in the Land of Nephi. They built many cities, mined gold and silver, and worked in wood, iron, steel, and precious ores in their constructions. There were numerous cities and villages (Alma 23:14) in the Land of Nephi, as well as separate lands referred to as the Land of Ishmael, so named after the sons of Ishmael (Alma 17:19), and the Land of Middoni (Alma 20:2), the Land of Jerusalem (Alma 21:1) which was named after Jerusalem in Palestine, the Land of Mormon (Alma 21:1), the Land of Shilom (Alma 23:12), the Land of Shemlon (Alma 23:12), the Land of Amulon, the Land of Helam (Alma 24:1), and the Land of Midian (Alma 24:5).

There was also a city of Nephi (Alma 23:11), the city of Jerusalem (Alma 21:2), the city of Lemuel, and the city of Shimnilom (Alma 23:12), and there was a village named Ani-Anti (Alma 21:11), which was somewhere between the city of Jerusalem and the Land of Middoni (Alma 21:12). In addition, there were “regions round about” the Land of Middoni (Alma 21:13).

It is not known if there were other cities and lands within the Land of Nephi, for only these are mentioned in the record. The point is, however, that this Land of Nephi was a large area, with separte lands and numerous cities within its boders. It would appear from the record that the Land of Nephi encompassed many other lands, and even kingdoms, for the Land of Ishmael was a separate kingdom under king Lamoni, and the Land of Middoni under king Antiomno, yet all were in the Land of Nephi where Lamoni’s unnamed father “was king over all the land” (Alma 20:8).

(See the next post, “Cities of the Land of Nephi – Part II,” to see where the modern city of Tiwanaku fits into the Land of Nephi)

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