Thursday, February 19, 2015

Responses and Answers to Jaredites Posts – Part VIII

Continuing with the comments that have been received regarding the most recent series we have posted on the Jaredites. 
    Comment #1: “In the Book of Ether when it says, ‘And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land,’ what “land” is being referred to? Was the land Northward divided? I see nowhere else where that subject is raised” Jamie J.
    Response: In the lifetime of Lib, who reigned as king in the place of Kish after the latter’s death, the Land Southward had become covered with animals, which were driven there by the poisonous serpents. At the time of Lib, the serpents were destroyed, either by natural events, or that the Jaredites had finally wiped them out where they had assembled to “hedge up the way” (Ether 9:33) into the Land Southward—evidently at the narrow neck of land. When they found this land to the south was now full of animals and a great place to hunt, they decided to preserve it as a wilderness (unoccupied or unimproved land) so they could go there and easily hunt and get game (Ether 10:21). At the same time, they decided to build a city by this “narrow neck of land,” maybe some type of hunting lodge or “southern palace” for the king (who had become a great hunter) that eventually expanded into a city—a great city, perhaps like many another Jaredite “mighty city” which had been built ten generations earlier in the time of Coriantum (Ether 9:23), or eight generations earlier in the time of Heth, or Moriantum five generations before Lib (Ether 10:12).
    In any event, this city was located “by the narrow neck of land” that divided the land.
    This narrow neck of land is that same “small neck” mentioned by Mormon as connecting the Land Southward with the Land Northward (Alma 22:32). Naturally, a neck or narrow strip of land between two major land areas would have an inlet of water or part of the sea flowing on both sides between the land mass to the north and the land mass to the south, thus “dividing the land.”
The “sea that divides the land” is that area of the West Sea and or the East Sea that cuts into the land to form the narrow neck of land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward
    This division is the only land division mentioned in the entire scriptural record: “there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32). Thus, the statement in Ether 10:20 could read: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land northward from the land southward.”
    Thus, any Theory that tries to set forth a location for the Land of Promise must have an area where the Land Northward and the Land Southward are separated by a sea (not a lake or river or waterway, but a sea. This is obvious since Mormon is telling us earlier in the same sentence that “the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea,” created a body of water that “nearly surrounded the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:32).
    Comment #2: “In Omni 1:20 it says that the record of the Jaredites was found engraved upon a large stone. Yet, in Mosiah 8:9 it says that the Jaredite record was found written upon 24 plates. Do we have two different accounts of the Jaredites, or just one? I’ve never heard of a second account” Ingrid G.
    Response: The account in Omni 1:20 has to do with a brief writing by Coriantumr, the last Jaredite (other than Ether), who wrote down his own, brief history shortly before dying in the Mulekite camp after the final battle where he killed Shiz. He had wandered there in fulfillment of the prophecy given him that he would live after seeing his people all killed only long enough to see another people inherit the land. We do not have this account written anywhere, but understand it to have been just a brief history of Coriantumr and his people, perhaps his time as king, etc.
Coriantumr, wounded, fatigued, and no doubt still suffering from his wounds received in his final battle with Shiz, and probably heavy-hearted at all he had done in the annihilation of his people, wandered into the Mulekite camp—he would be dead within nine months
    The account in Mosiah is what we have as the Book of Ether, which Moroni abridged from the collection of plates that had been kept by the Jaredites of their long history, from the time of the Tower and their leaving Mesopotamia down to the time of their last battle and annihilation.
    Comment #3: “I understand that there were ‘shining stones’ mentioned in the ancient Palestine Talmud, claiming the Ark was illuminated with a miraculous light-giving stone that supposedly glowed for twelve months inside the Ark and would dim during the day so Noah would know it was daytime. Was that where Joseph Smith got the idea of lighting the Jaredite barges?” Conrad A.
    Response: Hugh Nibley pointed out that the four copies of the Palestine Talmud that mention the Ark’s shining stones, two appeared 30 years after Joseph had already translated the Book of Mormon, and when the book was published, not a single translation of the Palestine Talmud was available in any modern language.
    On the other hand, since it was the brother of Jared who came up with the idea, carved out the stones, and presented them to the Lord (fearful the Lord would take offense), one might conclude that he, the brother of Jared, was familiar with the concept of the stones from his 3rd great grandfather, Noah, who was alive during his lifetime (Noah died in 1998 B.C.) Perhaps the brother of Jared got the idea from Noah himself, or at least had heard about it from his father or grandfather as handed down in family tales that recounted the events of the Flood.
    Comment #4: “I find it way beyond belief that eight separate barges, driven before the wind, afloat for 344 days, covering thousands of miles, would all land at the same place on the same day as described in your Book of Ether” Bowen K.
    Response: The scriptural record states: “And they did land upon the shore of the promised land” (Ether 6:12). There is no mention or suggestion they all landed on the same day or in the same place. The next sentence reads: “And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them” (6:12).
    All of this only says that when the Jaredites landed and came ashore (not where they came ashore or when they came ashore), they were grateful for reaching their destination and the Lord taking care of them in the process. There is no suggestion they did this at the same time, or even together. Say there is a modern day shipwreck and 12 lifeboats are lowered and filled with passengers. Terrible storms separate them and one by one they each make their way to an uninhabited land, each beaching on the sand, perhaps miles apart, after several days of privation at sea. Do you not think that each person in each lifeboat, unbeknownst to the others might not come ashore and be thankful in their own way for their preservation? If three lifeboats landed within sight of each other, would they want to join together in a common hug before expressing their gratitude to their God? Hmmm, I think you are making a mountain out of a tiny grain of sand here.
    Remember, Moroni’s translation and abridgement of the Jaredite record is not an ongoing moment-by-moment narrative, but a compilation of what he had read of any one incident. Look at his next verse: “And it came to pass that they went forth upon the face of the land, and began to till the earth” (Ether 6:13). Does this suggest that it was the exact same moment after they landed? Or does it suggest that after landing, after unloading, after making arrangements on the land for living space (setting up tents or constructing shelter), looking for drinkable water needed for survival, hunting for fresh game, fixing meals, taking care of household needs, children and babies, feeding the animals, etc., etc., etc., that they then started tilling the ground and planting their seeds?
    Notice that these two sentences are one after the other, yet no doubt much time would have passed between these two stated events. And no doubt some time had passed between the first barge landing and the last barge landing and the numerous Jaredite parties from each barge located each other and formed their community in the promised land.
Any group of people moving into an area, even temporarily, will set up a campsite, perform household needs, look to immediate food, shelter and water needs before thinking long term
    One of the things critics or questioners of the record might want to do before being so vocal about uttering their critiques, is to try and understand what is written in any abridged record—where much, out of necessity, is left out.

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