Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Man Jared and His Brother – Part I

Jared and his brother, in the Book of Ether, comes on the scene as though disconnected to the stories and people of the Old Testament, though their placement, about 220 years after the Flood receded, makes them contemporary with Noah, who lived 350 years after the Flood (Genesis 9:28). 
    Based on the Genesis and Pearl of Great Price accounts, the Flood waters began in 2344 and receded in 2343, one year and three days after it began.
    While few, if any, have tried to place Jared into the genealogy of Noah, perhaps the effort is not as difficult as it first seems. Noah, of course, had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth, with the latter’s sons settling to the north (Gomer north of the Black Sea; Magog north of the Caspian Sea; Meshech between the Black and Caspian seas; Tubal south of Black Sea; and Madai east Iran—these sons settled all around the areas north and east of Mesopotamia, with Tiras settling to the west of the Black Sea and Javan in the area of modern-day Greece.
Sons of Japheth, Shem and Ham all settled around Mesopotamia, with grandsons moving further out, including above the Black Sea (above the top center) and Caspian Sea (blue area upper right) and further east
    So where among these names of the Bible would we find Jared and his brother, and why are they not so listed? To understand the answers to these two questions, we first need to place and understand the sons and grandsons of Noah and where they all settled after the Ark landed. To begin with, Noah was the tenth generation of the human race (from Adam), and was 500 years old (Genesis 5:32) when he began building the Ark, a task that took him 100 years (Genesis 7:11). During that time, his father Lamech (who died five years before the Flood) and grandfather Methuselah (who died the year of the Flood) were alive.
    The Bible does not tell us where the Ark was constructed, though through modern-day revelation we know that the Garden of Eden was in the area adjacent to Adam-ondi-Ahman (Cravensville) in Daviess County, Illinois (D&C 116), an area Peter said “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (Peter 3:6). The Ark, after seven months afloat, drifting with the winds and waters, settled on the top of a mount (Genesis 8:4).
    Now all of Noah’s sons and grandsons are mentioned, plus several of his great-grandsons and a several others, making seventy descendants in all (Genesis 10:1-32). Obviously, the main lineage shown is that from Noah through his son Shem down to Eber (Noah, Shem, Araphaxad [Arpachshad], Salah (Shelah), Eber), who had two sons that are listed: Peleg and Joktan, though Eber had many other sons and daughters during his 464 years (Genesis 11:17). Through Peleg the lineage continued with Reu (Reuel/Reuyah), Sereug, Nahor, Terah, and Abraham.
Now Peleg’s name meant “division” (Palag meant “divided”), and it was in Peleg’s days that the Earth was divided (Genesis 10:25); and his brother Joktan’s name meant “little” (small or smallness or insignificant)–the younger or the smaller–suggesting he was the younger of the two. The name also meant “he who humbles himself,” suggesting a spiritual man. It is interesting to know that while Peleg’s lineage is well known—being that of the Hebrews—Joktan’s lineage is brief and covered only limitedly; he having thirteen sons and likely some daughters.
    Since Shem had other sons and daughters than the lineage son, Arphaxad, (Genesis 11:11), as did Araphaxad (Genesis 11:13), as did Salah (Genesis 11:15), as did Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, and Nahor (Genesis 11:17,19,21,23,25), it can be suggested that Joktan likely had daughters as well as his thirteen sons, and each of them would have had sons and daughters.
    It is also understood that since Peleg’s lineage is well defined and carried the Hebrew lineage of the Jews, that likely Jared and his brother came through a different lineage, not directly mentioned in the Old Testament. And since Eber was the only lineage son showing two lineages (Peleg and Joktan), it is likely that this other lineage line was through Peleg’s brother, Joktan, as his thirteen sons are all identified.
    This means that among Joktan’s thirteen sons we should find two names that have some semblance trace to Jared and his brother, whose name was Mahonri Moriancumer (George Reynolds, “The Jaredites,” Juvenile Instructor, 1 May 1892, p282). The latter may well have taken after his spiritual father, for of him the Lord said, “Never has man believed in me as thou hast” (Ether 3:15).
The two names that seem to have some connection to the Book of Mormon story would be Joktan’s fourth son, Jerah, and his eleventh son, Ophir, though for different reasons. It should also be kept in mind that while we place little emphasis on names in the West, in the Middle East a name, especially in the Hebrew and Arab worlds, is very significant and is not given without purpose and much thought, and has a tendency to guide one throughout his lifetime.
    Jerah. The name means “month,” and “yareah” means “moon.”  The name “moon” has been placed in Yemen and southern Arabia. Jerakh is a fortress near Hadhramaut Yemen. –arah means to wander, travel, used only five times in the entire Bible, perhaps meaning wander or journey, as does the moon through the sky, the most ambulant body in the heavens from man’s view. In addition, the name Jerah is also known as Jerad (Jered, Jarod, Jarred, Jarrod, Jerred, Jerrod), the more common use than Jerah. In this case, “Jared” means “descent” or “ruler”).
Ophir. Like Jerath, the name Ophir, from Orah, means “way” or “path, as in “one steers his life (“Orha” means “company” or “caravan.”) Obviously, both Jared and his brother became wanderers (Ether 3:3).
    We find in the scriptural record that “the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years” (Ether 2:13). It would certainly be understood that the location where the Jaredites settled would be given a name consistent with the one who led the party to settle there, which would be the brother of Jared, or Mahonri Moriancumer. And in looking at that name, it should be noted that the -um proceeding the -er suffix in Moriancumr’s name means “God,” and the element -r used as a final suffix can also be the form of -er, meaning the same thing, “to see.” Thus the interpretation of the name would be: ‘Morianc “sees God.”
    Obviously, “to seed God” (Ether 12:21) was a profound experience that was the brother of Jared’s privilege to have on the mountain (when asking the Lord to touch the stones and give them light). It was also a life-changing experience quite consistent with the Lord changing the names of his prophets for special reasons—in this case, a name to signify that the brother of Jared actually saw the Lord and a reason for him not to mention it continually in his writings about the events of himself and his brother. Yet, the event might have been known to his closest brethren, who evidently were the “they” in “and they called the name of the place Moriancumer.”
    On the other hand, since the brother of Jared was undoubtedly the one writing this record, he might have simply inserted the name the Lord had given him, “Moriancumer,” into the record, instead of his “birth name,” by which his brethren would have known him. While this is speculative, it is consistent with the name changes the Lord caused in others (Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul, and women, Sarai to Sarah, Hadassah to Esther (see also Revelation 2:17).
    Thus, the place they called Ophir, in honor of him who brought them there, he inserted his new name, perhaps known only to him, in the record, Moriancumer.
King Solomon and the Tyrian king Hiram combined upon a joint expedition to Ophir down the Red Sea from Eziongeber (Kings and Chronicles), and three sons in the Arabic Kitab al-Magail, the Syriac “Cave of Tresures,” and the Ethiopic “Conflict of Adam and Eve”
    Ophir, of course, is a name well known along the southern coast of Arabia. In history, we find that Ophir (the eleventh son of Joktan) and other brothers moved to the area between Mesha and Sephar with a mountain on the east which many scholars believe is Zopher or Dhofar in Oman, which harbor was called Mosha (Mesha) by the Greeks, with Mt. Samban, the tallest mountain in all southern Oman on the east end of Dhofar.
(See the next post, “The Man Jared and His Brother—Pt II,” for more on the brothers, Jerah and Ophir and their connection to Jared and Mahonri Moriancumer)

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