Monday, November 24, 2014

Bison, Buffalo, Corn and People – Part IV

Continuing from the previous posts regarding the website article of Richard G. Grant (Come to Zarahemla) and the article written in it called “Lehi in the Promised Land: What did he Find?” And with a sub-heading “When they arrived, what did they Find? Cows and horses? Were there others there?”  
    Several of Grant’s comments, many quoting other theorists, like Sorenson, have been listed and responses given in the previous three posts. In this post, which covers Grant’s comments about Nephite “population” is from a statement made and listed earlier under “population growth,” and answered here in detail.
How many people are needed to have a war? Early on, no figures of combatants is listed in the scriptural record; not until the time of Alma do we find staggering numbers of thousands upon thousands being killed in a battle
    Grant Writes: “By the time of the passing of Nephi there were significant Nephite and Lamanite populations in the land. Even as early as forty years following their arrival in the land Nephi reported that there had been wars between his people and the Lamanites. How could there have been sufficient population just from the descendants of Lehi to justify this terminology?”
    Response: There was only one war between the Nephites and Lamanites and it lasted for some 700 years or more. Every so often the war would break out again over their entire history except during the two hundred-plus years of peach after the Savior visited the Nephites. These different “wars” would be called battles or fights today, but in the Nephite era, all such battles were wars.
    This is borne out by the meaning of the term “war,” which in 1828 meant: “to perplex, embroil, disturb. The primary sense of the root is to strive, struggle, urge, drive, or to turn, to twist.” It also meant: “Hostility; state of opposition or contest; act of opposition” as well as “Enmity; disposition to contention,” and “To contend; to strive violently; to be in a state of opposition.” The Psalmist wrote not long before Lehi left Jerusalem: “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart,” and Peter wrote six hundred years after Lehi left Jerusalem “Lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
There are all types of wars fought. Most today are big wars, culminating in WWII, however, since then, we have fought many small wars, guerilla wars. Between 1898 and 1934, the U.S. fought in numerous small or little wars in eight countries involving more than 20 different “wars”
    When a modern man asks “how could there have been sufficient population just from the descendants of Lehi to justify this terminology,” we can easily understand that modern man has no knowledge of the meaning of the word prior to his own existence. While “war” today is a major contention between nations, it was not always so. Indian tribes warred against each other, scouting parties made war with small groups of settlers, the U.S. Marines in the 1930s and 1940s conducted guerilla “wars” and even had a Small Wars Manual (1940), first written in 1921.
The Moddersfontein War involved 130 Lancers and 250 Africans in 1901, and Indian wars in the U.S. rarely involved more than a couple of dozen hostiles
The hit-and-run, guerilla warfare the Colonials waged against the British in 1775 was a war like none other the redcoats had ever faced. Only 77 Colonials were at Lexington, 90-95 British at Concord. These small, isolated wars eventually led to the formation of the Continental Army under Washington
Top: The numerous Indian raids that took place in the early West rarely involved Indians of more than a couple of dozen in number—only in some rare instances were there upwards of a hundred; Bottom: 150 soldiers manned Fort Defiance, Arizona, in 1860, when the Navajo attacked and nearly overran the fort during the Navajo Wars (photo is in 1905)
    Holliday, Utah, is named after a descendant of a family that lived along the Scots-English border in the 1200s, with the leader of the village every so often rounding up an “army” of friends to cross the border and make “war” on the English—each incursion was called a “holy day” which led to the leader being called “Holyday” or “Holiday” and later “Holladay.”
    The point is, the term “war” would fit any Nephite-Lamanite confrontation, and since Nephi was “a great protector for them,” the Nephites, and “wielded the sword of Laban in their defence” (Jacob 1:10), these were called “wars.”
    Grant Writes: “Further, the practice of plural marriage that so disturbed Jacob would mandate a surplus of women. That the descendants of five families (those who followed Nephi) should produce such a surplus in sixty to seventy years seems unlikely.”
    Response: In back-dating the lives of Lehi and Ishmael, we can suggest that Lehi was probably around 55 to 60 when they left Jerusalem, making his birth around 665-660 B.C. Ishmael was likely older, maybe 70-75, making his birth around 675-670 B.C. Jacob was born in the wilderness (2 Nephi 2:1), and was probably about 30 years younger than Nephi (literally, another generation). By the time he was appointed a priest and teacher (2 Nephi 5:26), he would have been about 30 (the time for such appointments in the Jewish culture), and probably 50 when Nephi died, and likely as much as 60-65 when Sherem approached him. This would make it around 535-530 B.C. (about 65-70 years after Lehi left Jerusalem).
The confrontation between Sherem and Jacob would have taken place toward the end of Jacob’s life
    This means that Lehi’s birth to the Sherem-Jacob meeting would have been about 130-135 years, or based on modern terminology, about seven generations (20 years per generation) or 5 generations (25 years per generation) or 4 generations (30 years per generation of Hebrew culture). Thus, Jacob and Joseph would have been about the same age as the children of Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi.
    In looking at the people involved, we find that there were the families of Lehi (at most 10 children—2 daughters married sons of Ishamel, Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi, and then Jacob and Joseph and Nephi’s 2 sisters) and Ishmael (at least seven children—2 sons and 5 daughters). If each of these ten families (intermarried) had eight children, that would be 80 people. Add Jacob and Joseph and Nephi’s two sisters to this group now, that is 84 people, and intermarried would 42 families having 8 children each would be 336. Say half went with Nephi, that would be 168 people, intermarrying would be 84, times 8 children each 1344 Nephites by the time Jacob’s children were adults—which is about the time Sherem would have shown up to meet with Jacob.
    Now 1344 Nephites (which would make about 3 full Wards by today’s standards) would have allowed for some unmarried women to be chosen as plural wives or concubines under Hebrew cultural laws.
    This would also allow for a few hundred Nephites and a few hundred Lamanites to make war with one another. The American frontier of Indian wars were accomplished with far less than this.
    Grant Writes: “Sherem is very well educated, with a "perfect knowledge of the language of the people;" yet, his education does not seem to be that of either Nephite or Lamanite.”
    Response: A totally inaccurate and specious comment. All we know is that “he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people” (Jacob 7:4). How he was learned is unstated and uninferred, and his perfect knowledge merely means that he could “use much flattery, and much power of speech,” and that his words were “according to the power of the devil” (Jacob 7:4).
    Grant Write: “Further, he appears to be a stranger to Jacob. Sherem had heard of Jacob and had "sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you."
    Response: This was answered in the last post.
(See the next and final post, “Bison, Buffalo, Corn and People – Part V, “ for the continuation and final responses to Grant’s comments and the misinterpretation of the words he describes and how that affects our understanding of Nephi’s descriptions of the Land of Promise)

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