Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Theorists’ View of Where the Mulekites Settled – Part I

In an article that appeared on the Maxwell Institute website, the following statement appears:

“Where did the Mulekites settle? The city of Mulek was in the borders by the east sea. We can suppose that this was one of the Mulekites earliest settlements (note that the Nephites named cities after their original founder, and the Mulekites probably did the same; see Alma 8:7).”

While naming cities after their original founder may well have been the case in some, or even most, cities, it was not the case in all settlements. Consider the cities and lands: Jerusalem, Desolation, Ani-Anti, Bountiful, Cumorah, Jordan, Lehi-Nephi, Mormon, Moron, and Judea. Others may well have been named after early Hebrews: Aaron, Ephraim, Boaz, Jacob, Gad, Lehi, Noah, Shem, and David. Other cities and lands with questionable names: City by the Sea, Land of First Inheritance (not named for person), Midian (an ancient Arab place name), Mormon (name given by the king because it was a land of wild beasts), Moron (land of Jaradites, Ether’s grandfather was named Moron, after the capital city?) and Irreantum and Ripliancum are bodies of water not named after people.

In all, there are numerous cases where cities and lands were not named after the first person that settled there. When theorists claim the City of Mulek was named after Mulek, the son of Zedekiah, who came to the Land of Promise in 587 B.C., probably as a child, it is unlikely that any city was named by him, any more than a city or land was named Lehi by the first founder of the Land of Promise. In fact, it seems likely that the original settlement of the Mulekites was not given a name, like that of the Nephites, who called the area “Land of First Inheritance.” Nor do we find any cities named “Sam,” “Zoram,” “Joseph,” or “Jacob,” by these erstwhile first settlers.

In addition, there are numerous cases of cities named after cities and people of Israel as has always been the custom among migrating people.

When those who carried Mulek out of Jerusalem “journeyed in the wilderness” (Omni 1:15), it is unlikely this wordage meant they went down to the Mediterranean Sea. Note that when Lehi left Jerusalem, he “departed into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:4), and he “traveled in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:5) and “traveled three days in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:6). The word “wilderness” means an uninhabited and unoccupied tract of land, therefore would not have been used to describe any land between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean—a departing site necessary to make landfall on the east coast of the Land of Promise.

It is more likely that the Mulek party traveled in much the same direction as the Lehi Colony, since both were subject to pursuit by those who wanted to kill them. Traveling south and east would have been much safer and made a lot more sense than going west or north to the Mediterranean. Thus, it is likely that the Mulek party “were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters” (Omni 1:16) from the south lands, or the southern Arabian Peninsula, as was Lehi.

In addition, the city of Mulek was on the east shore somewhere south of the city of Bountiful, and is spoken of in connection with the cities of Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, and Gid “all of which were on the east borders by the seashore” (Alma 51:26). Theorists claim this was one of the first settlements of the Mulekites, however, Amaleki says differently, “the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:15-16).

Thus we can see that the City of Mulek was not an early city of the Mulekites, therefore, we cannot “suppose that this was one of the Mulekites earliest settlements.” Nor does Alma 22:30 say the Mulekites landed in the Land Northward, for that verse has to do with the Jaredites. And Helaman 6:10 has to do with dividing the Land Southward into two sections, the Land North (Zarahemla and Bountiful), and the Land South (Land of Nephi and area of First Inheritance), and has to do with the lands in which the Mulek party landed (Land North—Zarahemla), and Lehi landed (Land South—First Inheritance). Several earlier posts have dealt with this division and the landing site of the Mulekites.

(See the next post, “Theorists’ View of Where the Mulekites Settled – Part II,” for the rest of the article from the Maxwell Institute webpage)

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