Friday, May 3, 2013

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

One of the major questions regarding the Jaredites is when did they die off? Many scholars and Theorists claim it was sometime between 600 B.C. and about 300 B.C. or so. Continuing with the last post, we will take a look further into this issue, for the scriptural record seems to give us some clues about it. As was mentioned in the last post, Coriantumr wandered into the Land of Zarahemla sometime after the final Jaredite battle where he was discovered by the people of Zarahemla.
When did this occur?
As one theorist wrote: “Here we learn that the Jaredite survivor Coriantumr was found by the people of Zarahemla. He was with them for nine lunar months. We are not told whether he was found during the lifetime of Zarahemla, but I am assuming that he was. We are not told whether he died at the end of nine months, or just left them to go off on his own. It is likely that he died.”
Coriantumr rose up and cut off the head of Shiz to become the last Jaredite standing. Later he received his burial from the people of Zarahemla
Likely? Hmm. The Lord had Ether tell Coriantumr that he would die after seeing another people inherit the land and that “Coriantumr should receive a burial by them” (Ether 13:21). I take that as a definite.
"As for the lifetime of Zarahemla, who was a contemporary of Mosiah I, that would make his death sometime around 200 B.C., some 375 years after the Mulekites landed in Zarahemla. On the other hand, there is no reason to believe that Coriantumr’s death was in the lifetime of this Zarahemla who welcomed Mosiah I. First of all, Corianturm’s stone shown to Mosiah appears to have happened later, perhaps much later, after the two peoples were united (Omni 1:19). Amaleki states: “In the days of Mosiah there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it” (Omni 1:20). Evidently, sometime during Mosiah I’s reign as king, the Mulekites remembered Coriantumr’s stone and brought it to Mosiah to be interpreted—it is so worded almost as an afterthought."
Another Theorist writes: “The translation of the stone by Mosiah occurred between 279 and 130 BC. Probably closer to 130 BC as that is when the book of Mosiah begins.” The problem with this is the book of Mosiah was written by the grandson of the Mosiah that translated the record. Amaleki writes about Mosiah I and his son, king Benjamin. The Mosiah of the Book of Mosiah is king Benjamin’s son, or Mosiah I’s grandson, who the prophet Amaleki never knew.
The Book of Omni begins around 361 B.C., with Jacob’s great grandson, and is then passed on to his son, Amaron, continues through a period when the more wicked part of the Nephites had been destroyed by 279 B.C., then to Chemish, Abinadom, and finally his son, Amaleki, probably after 200 B.C., and continues to 130 B.C., when the Book of Mosiah begins. However, in 130 B.C., king Benjamin is old and Amaleki has already passed on. During this time, the years are not that clear.
How long Amaleki lived is unknown, but it would appear that he died during king Benhjamin’s lifetime (Omni 1:25), not during the lifetime of King Mosiah II, Benjamin’s son. Thus, it might be suggested that Amaleki recorded about 50 years of history down to somewhere around 150 B.C., with king Benjamin having the plates after Amaleki’s death (Omni 1:23, 25). This means that the last 15 to 20 years of Benjamin’s life is not actually recorded on these plates. When Mormon discovered them, he wrote the “Words of Mormon” as an abridgement to the Book of Mosiah he had already abridged (WofM 1:3).
This means that sometime between 200 and 150 B.C., Amaleki writes his story. It also means that Coriantumr by then was a distant memory and only as a possible afterthought did Zarahemla remember the rock with the engraving upon it and as Mosiah’s leadership as a prophet, seer and revelator became firmly establish did he produce the rock for Mosiah to interpret. In no way can we draw any conclusion from all of this as to exactly when Coriantumr stumbled into the Mulekite camp and was discovered by them.
So when was the last battle of the Jaredites? Various estimates have been given from 600 BC to 200 BC but frankly, we do not know. One Theorist’s view is as good as another, each no doubt written to meet the needs of this or that model. If I was to suggest a date, it would be around 567 B.C., since this both fits the Jaredite time model that makes sense (See the book Who Really Settled Mesoamerica), and also comments made by Moroni in his past and future tense discussion in Ether Chapter 13. In that time, writing about Ether’s comments regarding a New Jerusalem, Moroni inserted a future tense comment for Ether, though it would have been a past tense comment for himself, when he said, “and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come” (Ether 13:5). At least, Moroni is telling us that in that particular time of Ether (about 590 B.C.) Lehi had not yet landed.
In 567 B.C., After nine months in Zarahemla (Omni 1:21), and about 12 years after the final Jaredite battle, and living long enough “to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance,” Coriantumr dies, probably about the age of 70, and “receives a burial by them” (Ether 13:21). It seems obvious that his death was the result, in part, from his many wounds, from years of exposure, and undoubtedly of remorse and a broken heart for the evil he had done and the destruction he brought upon his people.  We are told nothing of the once great king’s feelings during those nine months, nor the time of wandering before that, after coming to a realization that he had brought about the total destruction of his nation. It seems likely that the Lord allowed him to live long enough to wander his homeland and dwell upon the death and annihilation of his people, and to reach the home of the Mulekites, so the prophecies of Ether could be fulfilled.
Another Theorist has written: “Coriantumr was probably found by the Mulekites as they traveled south toward the land of Zarahemla.” This is a popular view, taken from a misunderstanding of Alma 22:30, and a basic rejection of Omni 1:16. Yet, there is no indication in the scriptural record that the Mulekites ever traveled anywhere once “across the great waters,” but were led into the land where Mosiah found them (Omni 1:15-16) and “had dwelt there from that time forth.”
In addition, much is made of the condition of the bones, swords, and armor found by Limhi’s expeditionary team. Yet, this is all placed against a hot and humid background of Meso- or Central America, and would not hold true in a different location. When Limhi recounts the incident, he only tells us: “having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel” (Mosiah 8:8). Mosiah doesn’t recount the condition of the bones, nor how they found them, other than that they were “dry” (Mosiah 21:26).
(See the next post, “The Story of Coriantumr and the End of the Jaredite Nation – Part III,” for more on these dry  bones and what they tell us about the time frame of the Jaredite’s last battle)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting... thank you so much for sharing your insights!!