Thursday, April 6, 2017

Which Wall Would You Want to Protect You from Lamanites? – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding our understanding of what the scriptural record tells us about the location of the Land of Promise. This is especially important in light of the numerous differing views of a location when Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni make it quite clear with their numerous descriptions where that land was located and what it looked like anciently. 
Hopewell Mounds in Ohio

    As an example, one of the most glaring absences in North America is any real evidence that connects ancient Jerusalem, the scriptural record, and the existence of Nephites in the area. Mounds, as we have said numerous times in these articles, have no bearing or support in either ancient Israel (including Mesopotamia) or in the scriptural record. Nor are there any evidences left of buildings in North America of either the Jaredite 1500-year occupation, or the Nephite 1000-year occupation, yet we have evidence of the Jaredites buildings lasting hundreds of years (no doubt more than a thousand years from the time they were first built) in the scriptural record itself. This is borne out when Limhi’s 43-man expedition brought back reports of seeing the Jaredite lands “covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel” (Mosiah 8:8).
    It is always interesting to see how different theorists get around the reality of all these buildings both the Jaredites and Nephites built, by claiming they were built of wood, which did not last. First of all, if the Jaredite buildings had been built of wood, they would not have lasted several hundreds of years for Limhi’s people to have seen them, and secondly, to claim the Nephi built of wood, including his magnificent temple whose “workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine” (2 Nephi 5:16) that he compared it to Solomon’s temple, which was built entirely of stone except for wood supports for upper levels and roof, as well as cedars from Lebanon used to panel the stone interior walls, which was then overlaid with gold, is a far cry from scriptural evidence and an understanding of both the Jews in history and Nephi in general.
Top Left: An excavation in Jerusalem of ancient stone buildings during David’s time (900 B.C.); Top Right: Jerusalem buildings that date back to B.C. times (restored) made of the original stone; Bottom Left: Stone structure dating to B.C. times outside Jerusalem; Bottom Right: Stones that once belonged to a structure dating to Jeremiah’s time (626 B.C.)

    Nor can any evidence in all of Israel be found where the Jews built houses of wood—they built with stone, using wood for framework and supports of upper stories, roofs, and occasionally of stairwells, etc.
    It is also interesting to see how these North American theorists talk about “banks of earth round about to enclose his armies” that were thrown up by Moroni, but never mention—and I mean never mention—that in the very same verse Mormon tells us that Moroni was “also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8).
    Now it is quite obvious that banks of earth can dissipate over time from weathering, but walls of stone do not—especially when those walls were built for the express purpose of protecting the Nephites against constant Lamanite aggression and attacks. Would Moroni build a stone wall to stop the Lamanites that could be jumped over, did not provide protection, and could be easily toppled or broken through?
Which would you prefer for your defense? Top: 2 to 3 feet high walls, or (Bottom) 8 to 10 feet high walls? Which do you think Moroni had his army build to protect them?

    Despite the fact that the ancient Hebrews in Jerusalem in B.C. times never built with wood, many North American theorists insist that the Jews built their houses out of wood. It is interesting that even in the Old Quarter, not a single house anywhere in Jerusalem was ever built of wood—all were built of cut stone or rock. It is interesting on how these theorists make the same identical claims, yet there is not a shred of proof to their claim in any ancient description of the Jews dating to the time of David.
Top: An ancient free-standing B.C. building in Old Jerusalem of cut and dressed stone; Bottom: Interior of an ancient B.C. stone house in Jerusalem. Note the absence of wood in any manner

    Recently, archaeologists unearthed the remains of two houses they claim date to 5,000 B.C., making them the oldest evidence of a settlement in what is now called Jerusalem to be discovered. Stone tools, animal bones and gemstone beads found on the site suggest they formed part of a thriving farming community. Jerusalem, of course, was arguably one of the most important cities in the ancient world—a sacred center for three global religions, an impenetrable fortress and one of the most bloody locations in history. However, now it is believed that the ancient city of Jerusalem could be far older than previously thought, according to this remarkable new archaeological discovery.
    The remains of the dwellings, which include several well-preserved stone walls and stone flooring, were uncovered in the Shu'fat neighborhood of north east Jerusalem. Described as being “well preserved” and showing there was a permanent settlement on the ancient site of Jerusalem. At the time the inhabitants were still using stone tools as copper technology was beginning to emerge. Luckily, the site was discovered in the excavations that were carried out before a new road was laid down across the top of a hill in the area.
Archaeologists recently excavated what they are calling the oldest house in Jerusalem that so far dates to 5000 B.C.

    There is also a Jebusite wall in Millo part of the City of David. It is the rampart built by the Jebusites before David conquered the city. The Millo consists of the terraces and retaining walls on the eastern slope of the southeastern spur that supported the buildings above. The Millo is the Stepped Stone Structure uncovered by Kathleen Kenyon. Eilat Mazar has uncovered the Large Stone Structure (David’s Palace) that sat on the Millo. All of this dates to as early as 1200 B.C., and definitely before 1000 B.C. Note the extensive use of cut stone.
A massive stepped podium for the Canaanite-Jebusite palace/fortress that was also used as David’s palace. Eilat Mazar dates the building of this structure from the period of 1200-1000 BC. This Stepped Stone Structure was the work of the Jebusites during the days of the Judges, and the work of David around 1000 B.C.

    Obviously, from all of this, it cannot be said that the Jews built with wood as some North American theorists try to claim. Everything they built from the earliest beginnings of Jerusalem were using stone. This would have been the building technique of Lehi's time and Nephi, Sam, and Zoram would have been well familiar with it.
    Isn’t it about time that North American theorists started using intellectual honesty in their claims that so far run far afield of the scriptural record and the reality of history of the period?

1 comment:

  1. Del- I love learning from you. Very fun to learn about ancient Jerusalem. Thank you!