Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Story of Coriantumr and the End of the Jaredite Nation – Part I

In the minds of many Theorists, there seems to be some confusion as to when Coriantumr died and under what circumstances the Mulekites (People of Zarahemla) were connected to him.
First of all, toward the end of Jaredite history, the prophet Ether comes on the scene at the same time as the Jaredite king, Coriantumr (Ether 12:1). Though Ether prophesied many great and marvelous things to the people, they failed to believe him “because they saw them not” (Ether 12:5). Ether was privileged to see the days of Christ and he spoke concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land—the Land of Promise (Ether 13:4).
During the time of Ether, a great war erupted among the Jaredites, which would prove to lead to their utter destruction. For two years there was such bloodshed on the entire face of the land that none could restrain the Jaredites from their deadly land destructive civil war (Ether 13:31). In the second year of the war, the Lord sent Ether to Coriantumr to tell him that if he repented, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people (Ether 13:20).
Otherwise, they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr” (Ether 13:21).
Left: Coriantumr listens to Ether’s prophecy, but in the end rejects it; Right: Coriantumr continues to advance the civil war that eventually results in everyone’s death but his own and that of Ether
But Coriantumr would not repent, and as both armies added more recruits daily, the ensuing battles raged back and forth across the land that the entire landscape was strewn with the bodies of the dead (Ether 14:21). During one battle, Coriantumr was seriously wounded and carried off the field at a time when the loss of men, women and children on both sides was so great that a temporary truce was enacted (Ether 14:31). As Coriantumr recovered from his wounds, he began to remember the words of Ether, but his enemy, Shiz, would not agree to any terms of surrender and the war began anew (Ether 15:6).
After four years of fighting and strengthening their armies, both sides renewed the struggle. In the following, final battle, Coriantumr killed Shiz and on the seventh day of a continuous running battle, the Jaredite king surveyed all the death and carnage around him—and as Ether had prophesied, he was the last Jaredite standing (Ether 15:30-33).
At this point the record falls silent about Coriantumr until Amalaki, a Nephite prophet, writes about Mosiah I fleeing the City of Nephi and escaping to the north where he discovered a people in a land they called Zarahemla (Omni 1:14). From the ruler of these people, it is learned they “came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedeekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon” (Omni 1:15).
Amaleki, an eye witness to these events,  (Omni 1:23), tells us clearly that the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites) “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 1:16). Now at the time Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous, had already fought many wars among themselves, with many being killed, and that their language (Hebrew from Jerusalem) had been corrupted (Omni 1:17).
At this time, Mosiah is apprised of the man Coriantumr, whom the Mulekites discovered, and the Mulekite ruler, Zarahemla, had a large stone brought to show Mosiah about the slain of Coriantumr’s people (Omni 1:20-21).
Left: Coriantumr, as the last Jaredite alive, wanders among the Mulekites in Zarahemla and, Right: carves out a brief  history of his life and his people on a stone Mosiah later interprets
Up to this point, the story is simply written and told by Moroni. However, from here on, modern Theorists have muddied, changed, and rewritten the scriptural record in their own writings and thinking until most fail to understand the reality of Coriantumr’s situation and the timing of his life and death. From the above scriptures, found in Ether 13-15 and Omni, the story unfolds like this:
1. Coriantumr is warned if he does not repent, he will be the last Jaredite alive after the last battle;
2. He would see all his loved ones, his family, and his people all destroyed;
3. He would live long enough to see his land (country) inherited by another people;
4. He would then die and these people would bury him.
One can only imagine what must have gone through Coriantumr’s mind as he regained consciousness after killing Shiz (ether 15:32). What must he have though as he realized the fulfillment of Ether’s prophesy? Would he not have gone looking to see about his family? Did he already know they were all dead? Would he not have moved about his land to see if there were any of his people left alive? How would he have reacted as he walked among the dead, smelling their rotting flesh, knowing he had been responsible for this great and terrible destruction of a people who had once numbered in the many millions?
Then, at some point, he wandered into the Land Southward, for there would have been little or no animals left alive among the Jaredite lands (Mosiah 8:8), and that any food would be found in the Jaredite preserves to the south (Ether 10:19). He must have wandered for some time before reaching the area of the Mulekites in the Land of Zarahemla. No doubt near death, he was probably found by a hunting or scouting party and brought back to the city where he must have recovered somewhat (Omni 1:21). 
Unable to communicate, not able to understand or read the Mulekite corrupted Hebrew, nor they his Jaredite language, he chiseled out on a large stone the history of his people, which Mosiah I would later translate (Omni 1:20). Again, one can only imagine the agony, disappointment, and depression that swept over Coriantumr as he recounted on the stone his story and that of his people’s destruction. Nor can we fully grasp the total irony he felt as he sat each day awaiting his death, knowing the great lands he had seen, lived upon and conquered, and had belonged solely to the Jaredites for over 1500 years, would go to another people despite his powerful positions and blessings of the past.
In those nine months, he obviously would have come to realize the bittersweet reality of his God, of the prophesies of Ether, of his own role in his nation’s destruction, and what might have been if he had repented when first approached by the Lord’s prophet.
No doubt, Coriantumr never heard of Alma’s words “Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh” (Alma 13:21),  but if he had, he would have certainly understood them, for he well understood that the time of his repentance was long past.
(See the next post, “The Story of Coriantumr and the End of the Jaredite Nation – Part II,” to learn more about when the last battle of the Jaredite was fought and when Coriantumr died."

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