Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Honey in Abundance

So often, Mesoamerican and Great Lakes theorists miss very important wordage in the scriptural record. Far too often theorists look for wordage that supports their views and models, and totally ignore other information that paints an entirely different picture.

In the case of where the Jaredites built their barges and set out to cross the great deep, where Nephi built his ship and set sail into the Irreantum Sea, and where Mulek was taken and from where they set sail for the Land of Promise, there are numerous clues left for us by first, Nephi, and later Mormon, that we ought to really search the scriptural record to learn all we can.

As an example, it is interesting that along the coast of southern Arabia, where the honey bee was introduced but never indigenous, Nephi wrote: “And it came to pass that on the morrow, after we had prepared all things, much fruits and meat from the wilderness, and honey in abundance, and provisions according to that which the Lord had commanded us, we did go down into the ship, with all our loading and our seeds, and whatsoever thing we had brought with us, every one according to his age; wherefore, we did all go down into the ship, with our wives and our children” (1 Nephi 18:6).

The question never asked, it seems, is where did the Nephites get “honey in abundance” in 600 B.C. where the honey bee was not indigenous and should never have been found. To answer this question, we have to back up some 1500 years to when the honey bee was introduced into the area of Nephi’s Bountiful. First of all, hollowed-out date-palm trunks, used historically as beehives in both Yemen and Oman have been found. But again, where did the bees come from originally?

The answer is quite simple. The honey bees came from the Jaredites. When Jared and his brother and their friends left Mesopotamia, they “did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind” (Ether 2:3).

Now historically, honey bees were indigenous in Mesopotamia and were kept in Sumer before 2000 B.C. Honey was used by the Babylonians for medicine and rituals, and honey for rituals was mentioned in the time of Hammurabi, around 1500 B.C. As late as 745 B.C., there are records of hive beekeeping along the middle Euphrates, and from Egypt there is a reference in 700 B.C. “the Lord will whistle for the bee from Assyria.”

It should become apparent that in the economy of the Lord, the Jaredites were led to the same place Lehi would arrive some 1500 years later. During the four years the Lord allowed the Jaredites to leisurely spend along the seashore, the bees and animals, plants and crops, the Jaredites brought and seeds they planted, had plenty of time to develop a permanent existence. The bees reproduced within the many caves, savannahs, valleys and mountains along the shore and inland in the area of present day Salalah. Plants had time to mature, drop seeds, and produce numerous trees and plants that produced “much fruit” by the time the Nephites arrived. Nephi understood this when he said, “and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish” (1 Nephi 17:5).

Thus we can see from where the Jaredites embarked, later the Nephites set sail, and no doubt, in this economy of the Lord, the Mulekites would be led and from where they sailed, the Lord had arranged for fruit, crops, honey and other resources needed by the later groups to arrive.

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