Monday, January 5, 2015

Jaredite Direction of Travel – Part X – Building Barges to Cross the Great Deep

There always seems to be divergent opinions about things regarding the Land of Promise as various Theorists set forth their own ideas and interpretation of the scriptural record. One of those great divergent opinions is in the building of the barges in which the Jaredites reached the land of promise. 
    Most Theorists claim these barges were little more than a regular boat, with a sail, deck and often a cabin shown above deck.
A drawing of a Jaredite barge. Note the red arrow pointing to the hole in the top (Ether 2:20) the Lord commanded to have built. Blue arrow: Suggested cover in order to “stop the hole”
    Since there was a hole in the top and in the bottom (Ether 2:20), that “when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood” (Ether 2:20), has led some to think of a hole in the top of the barge and one in the bottom of the barge, leading critics to suggest the stupidity of the idea of a rolling barge, causing untold damage inside, plus injury to both man and beast as the barge rolled around within the ocean.
    However, to have a hole in the top and bottom of such a boat is beyond any type of reasons, yet Theorists continue to assume what is said means what they think and not what it actually meant. Consider that the Jaredites were cooped up in an enclosed barge for 344 straight days. It was built tight, like unto a dish, meaning it was tight and secure enough that it could have held water and the water would not have leaked out any more than water could enter into it. Ether wrote about these barges:
    They were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish” (Ether 2:17).
    Obviously, it is an odd description of a boat "that would hold water," and one not found elsewhere in maritime description. Boats or ships, after all, were built to keep water out, not hold water! And the type of construction needed to do so would have been beyond the capability of the Jaredites--even the best built boats or ships of the “wooden” era thirty-five hundred years later leaked and had to have bilge areas to collect the water and some system to drain or pump out the bilge (collected water) in the hull of the vessel.
It is almost impossible to build any kind of vessel that will not leak in some manner; Left: yellow arrow shows built in bilge area (lowest point of a ship’s inner hull) where water collects and is (Middle) pumped out in some manner to keep the boat from swamping. Even modern fiberglass or steel ships have bilge water and pumps
    One would think, off hand, that such construction would have been beyond the Jaredites--with the tools and materials available thousands of years later, was beyond the greatest shipwrights, even in the modern era until fiberglass hulls were invented—and then any shipping of water (water flowing over onto the deck) would find its way into the bilge system and over time have to be removed (bailed out).
    As strange as this wordage is—“tight like unto a dish”—it is seldom if ever discussed or analyzed. Yet, until it is, the shape and construction of the Jaredite barges cannot possibly be understood, let alone be described in word or art.
    Another phrase in that description that is never discussed other than in footage distance, is the statement: “…and the length thereof was the length of a tree…” At best Theorists talk about how long the barges were—the length of a tree—meaning about one hundred foot in most descriptive comment.
    But that statement has nothing to do with how long the barges were, but has to be with “how” the barges were constructed since it is found in the middle of the statement about how secure and tight the barges were in relationship to “water,” i.e., the sea or ocean in which they would be transporting the Jaredites.
    It is surprising that such an important inclusion in the descriptive nature of the barges goes so completely unnoticed by all the Theorists who have written about the matter of these barges. Here is another view of a Jaredite barge:
Image of a Jaredite barge like an enclosed ship. Note the superfluous design and construction for a vessel that would have to encounter the tremendous wave and ocean forces the Lord describes
    As the Lord told the Brother of Jared: “ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea” (Ether 2:24). Even today steel ships have been known to have bent and ruptured bulkheads, with metal framework ripped away from crashing waves above decks—think what forces would be brought to bear on the barges that would be “dashed down into the depths of the sea.”
    There is no possible way that a boat could have been made in Jaredite times out of wood that would have had a deck and superstructure on top that could undergo the type of wave action and ocean forces Ether describes in his account--yet, that is how they are described in Theorist writings. Consider the Lord’s further statement: “I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” (Ether 2:25).
    And this was not just one special barge built, but eight in total (Ether 3:1). Consider the difficulty of duplicating the construction of eight identical vessels that would have to withstand the further description given of these barges: “thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind…they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind…they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish” (Ether 6:5-7).
    In fact, the Jaredite barges were vessels that floated upon the water and were driven beneath the water: “they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water” (Ether 6:10).
Another Jaredite “barge” that falls far short of the mark of Ether’s description of what the vessel went through in their violent ocean crossing
    One can only wonder at the image in the minds of various Theorists who claim the Jaredite barges had a mast and sail and was open to the air as shown above when trying to describe the meaning of the term “barge.”
    These eight vessels did, after all, go beneath the water: “they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water” (Ether 6:10), and the Lord equated these barges to whales in saying: “ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea” (Ether 2:24).
    "I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea" suggests a very distinct action (upward) from a very distinct location (depths of the sea). None of the vessels described by any Theorist could withstand such action as the Lord describes. Obviously, these were not typical barges that are described in most dictionaries as claimed by all who write about them.
(See the next post, “Jaredite Direction of Travel – Part XI – Building Barges to Cross the Great Deep – Part II,” for more information about the barges the Lord had the Jaredites build, and why it is important to pay attention to every word in scriptural descriptions)

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