Saturday, July 4, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part VII

Continuing from the last six posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Jerusalem and reached the Land of Promise, and how he and his people joined with Mosiah and the Nephites in the Land of Zarahemla. 
    As has been mentioned earlier in this series, Theorists seem to delight in making up scenarios about the Muleites, evidently feeling free to do so since there is so little information about them in the scriptural record. As an example, George Potter in his “Do the Mulekites Help Solve an Historical Mystery?” suggests that the Mulekites “departed Jerusalem under the leadership of Mulek, the only surviving son of Zedekia.
However, we have already shown that Zedekiah was 21 years old when made king, and 32 when captured, and that his sons would have been no older than 14 or 15 down through probably 8 or 9, and the “Little King,” Mulek, when spirited away by the Palace Guard and his retinue and servants (left), likely would have been an infant, or up to perhaps 4 years of age. Certainly the oldest sons (as well as all the sons) would have been on the Babylonian army “capture or kill” list to keep anyone from later claiming the Israelite throne that Nebuchadnezzar did not want crowned. If Mulek had not been quite young, the Babylonians would have been more familiar with his placement in the sons of Zedekiah and brought him under their rule and before Nebuchadnezzar who had the known sons all killed before Zedekiah’s eyes.
    Potter also claims that the Mulekites “landed in the Promised land in the land northward, the area that was originally inhabited by the more ancient Jaredites.” However, as we have shown before, Amaleki, an eye-witness to the meetings with Zarahemla and his people, tells us that the Mulekites landed along the coast where Mosiah found them. As he put it: “they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16).
    Potter isn’t the only one that mis-thinks where the Mulekites landed. Take John L. Sorenson, who argues for an east coast, Land Northward, landing. Since his writing on this issue is extensive, and covers numerous points of very questionable authenticity, we will cover his view on this one sentence or subject at a time, with our response following, so the reader does not get lost in his convoluted thinking:
    Sorenson: “The route followed by Mulek’s vessel would rather obviously have gone west through the Mediterranean and past the “Pillars of Hercules” (Strait of Gibraltar), an area familiar to Phoenician sailors.”
    Response: As has been shown here several times, any route from a Mediterranean shore from 605 B.C. onward, when the Babylolnians defeated the Assyrians and Syria, and gained control of the coast all the way to Egypt, would have precluded any Mediterranean voyage.
    Sorenson: “From there the prevailing winds and current almost inexorably bear simple craft, for example, Columbus’s ships, Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra II raft, and many others) past the Canaries to the Caribbean.”

It should be kept in mind that the area of Western Alboran, Gibraltar and trhe Bay of Cadiz were heavily guarded by jealous traders who attacked any unauthorized ship that entered the area to keep their trade routes secret; tin traders to the north and slave traders to the south were serious business and jealously guarded
    Response: The fact of the matter is, the currents that move westward through the Straits of Gibraltar move out into the Bay of Cadiz, northward up the Portuguese coast, or southward, along the Moroccan coast of Africa—they do not inexorably (meaning unalterable or unyielding) move a vessel in only one direction. In addition, two currents move into the Straits from the Atlantic through this Bay. On the other hand, the Levante, a warm east to northeast wind flows through the Alboran Sea, from the Alboran Channel (between Almeria, Spain and Melilla (Spanish Colony), Morocco, through the West Alboran Basin toward Gibraltar. Once past, or over, the Gibraltar Sill and into the Atlantic, the winds and currents become quite strong heading toward Gibraltar—and sailing ship of the time would have to buck those winds and currents, which would drive a vessel either northward along the coast of Spain or southward along the coast of Africa. Experienced sailors, of course, would know to turn south and pick up the Canary Current. They would also have to know to take the current on to the south to Cape Verde Islands, where the Phoenician sailors always turned into the Guinea current and down the coast and around the bulge of Africa in later years. To reach America, they would have to know what Columbus discovered in the 15th century, almost two thousand years later and head out into the North Equatorial Current. To assume that 600 B.C. sailors, who had not yet even discovered the Azores (1351 A.D.) or the Canary Islands (1399 A.D.) or Cape Verde (1456 A.D.) would brave such a trip is foolhardy, and simply a desperate attempt to place Mulek in the Western Hemsiphere.
    Writers can claim that the Phoenicians would have discovered the Canary Islands in 600 B.C. when they sailed around Africa in the employ of Neko II, but there is no evidence they did, or even that they sailed that far off the coast as they kept within view of the mainland and set in every night, sailing only in daylight hours.
    Sorenson: “There remains a slight possibility that they could have come via the Pacific, since neither a route nor a coastal landing point is specified in the Book of Mormon.”
    Response: Actually, Amaleki writes that the Muleites were “brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them” (Omni 1:16), which is a pretty definite starting point from which to backtrack.
    Sorenson: “But textual indications argue strongly for the Atlantic. First, the immigrant group’s discovery of the last Jaredite survivor could only have been near the east sea (Ether 9:3 puts the position of the final battle ground near that sea).”
Response: The last Jaredite battle took place along the Sea East, but there is no indication that this is where Coriantumr was discovered by the Mulekites. He could have wondered about for some time after recovering from that battle. It is not scholarly to make up points to verify your claim as Sorenson so constantly does. Where the Mulekites were is not stated other than living where Mosiah found them since they landed.”
    Sorenson: “Second, the “city of Mulek” was located only a few miles from the east sea (Alma 51:26), and we may suppose that this was where the newcomers settled first (compare Alma 8:7).”
    Response: There is no indication in the scriptural record that the city of Mulek was founded by the Mulekites. We first hear of that city in Alma 51:26 in 67 B.C. in connection with a series of cities the Nephites had founded along the east borders by the seashore. Nothing more is known of this city. The reference of Alma 8:7 is a reference to the fact that it “was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villagtes, after the name of him who first possessed them.” However, while this was evidently a Nephite custom, it was not a custom of the Jaredites, nor was it a custom as far as we know of the Mulekites, and since Mulek entered the land around 585 B.C., 517 years earlier than when we first know of this city, there seems to be no connection between Mulek and this city. That another man named Mulek might have first settled there in some much later period is possible, maybe even likely, but we do not know that. And also, there are several cities of the Nephites that did not follow this pattern, such as Bountiful, Jerusalem, Manti, Angola, Ani-Anti, Desolation, Jordan, Judea, etc., plus several other cities might have been named in honor of someone but not necessarily the first one to settle their, such as Jacob, Jacobugath, Jershon, Laman, Lehi, etc. The point is, we simply do not know, and cannot lay claim that the city of Mulek was named after the son, or even the people, of king Zedekiah.
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part VIII,” for the continuation of Sorenson’s points and our responses, and the conclusion of the Mulekites and who they were)

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