Sunday, May 28, 2017

Were There Two Towers? – Part III

Continuing on the subject of the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record. 
    As stated in the last post, the Lamanite attack split the two groups we are discussing, i.e., 1) king Noah and his priests, along with Gideon; and 2) the Nepihte people in general. Now, Mormon goes on with the attack, stating: “And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue them, and did overtake them, and began to slay them” (Mosiah 19:10). This is the general group within the valley below. At the same time, Noah, on the hill above, is heading into the wilderness to the north of the tower ahead of the attacking Lamanites who have to gain access to the top of the hill. And as Noah starts to flee, he is able to see what is happening in the valley below.
Lamanites attack both the valley, and send one warrior group up onto the mount of Sacsayhuaman to chase king Noah and his priests who quickly head for the wilderness

Mormon continues: “Now it came to pass that the king commanded them that all the men should leave their wives and their children, and flee before the Lamanites” (Mosiah 19:11). This amounted to his personal guard and priests. Thus, the king had not been among those in the general Nephite group who were overtaken and being slain. He was elsewhere. Where? Heading away with a band of those close to him (his priests), they were heading away from the mount “on the hill north of Shilom” into the wilderness beyond, one step ahead of the Lamanites who raced up onto the mount north of the city.
    In the general group in the Valley below, “there were many that would not leave their wives, but had stayed to perish with them. And the rest left their wives and their children and fled” (Mosiah 19:12). These were in the main body that had been in the valley and would not follow Noah’s advice on the hill above the city. On the other hand, “The rest” were mostly Noah’s priests who escaped into the wilderness, which grroup we will come back to later.
    Meanwhile, “those who tarried with their wives and their children caused that their fair daughters should stand forth and plead with the Lamanites that they would not slay them…and  the Lamanites had compassion on them, for they were charmed with the beauty of their women. Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up king Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year” (Mosiah 19:13-15)
    Because Noah was on the hill, out of the immediate reach of the attacking Lamanaites, he was able to escape capture as he and his priests fled into the wilderness to the north, while in the valley below, where the main thrust of the attack was centered, the vast majority of the Nephites were taken captive as they admirably dropped behind in their escape to remain with the wives. Not only did they surrender to the Lamanites, but agreed to find Noah and turn him over to the Lamanites, give up half their property (which would have been for the purpose of their crops, since the Lamanite were not farmers and desired the free food), as well as half their wealth, and pay a yearly tribute to the Lamanites (Mosiah 19:15).
Alma baptizing at the Waters of Mormon. King Noah send his guards out to capture Alma and his convert but the Lord warned them to flee into the wilderness
Now all of this took place following king Noah’s desire to capture Alma and his 450 recruits and punish them for what he thought was their rebellion that, in fact, was only their joining Alma because of his preaching the words of Abinadi (Mosiah 18:32). But not finding Alma at the Waters of Mormon, the king’s army returned to the city of Nephi having searched in vain for Alma and his people. The people in the city began to threaten the king and his priests (Mosiah 19:3), and this is when Gideon drew his sword to slay the king (Mosiah 19:4) and Noah fled to the safety of the tower (Mosiah 19:5).
    At this moment there was turmoil within the city of Nephi among the people for the king’s actions and attitude and evil nature had driven a division among the people (Mosiah 19:2), evidently causing Noah and his priests to be on the mount above the valley, at Sacsayhuaman, perhaps for their safety from the contentions in the city below.
    Gideon sent his men into the wilderness north of Sacsayhuaman looking for the king, no doubt for the intention of bring the king to justice. Gideon, despite being on the mount and could have no doubt escaped, had remained behind to protect the women there along with his honorable men who had been at Sacsayhuaman with him. After the Lamanites departed, Gideon later sent his men into the wilderness secretly (Mosiah 19:18) to find the king.
    When they found those who had followed the king’s advice, left their wives, and fled with the king into the wilderness, Gideon’s men found these had been angry with the king and taken him and suffered his death by fire (Mosiah 19:20). They had intended to do the same with Noah’s priests, but those had fled farther into the wilderness (Mosiah 19:23), and their location was unknown to any of the survivors. They met Gideon’s men as they were headed back to the City with the intention of finding out what had happened to their wives and to seek revenge and perish with them (Mosiah 19:19).
    Interestingly, it was around two years later (Mosiah 19:29) that the incident of Noah’s hidden priests stole the Lamanite daughters for their wives (Mosiah 20:5). The interesting part is that this took place on the outskirts of Shemlon, a Lamanite settlement or city that was to the southwest of Sacsayhuaman, bordering on the wilderness, for there the Lamanite daughters had “gathered to sing and dance and to make themselves merry” (Mosiah 20:1), according to ancient Hebrew fashion in a festival, referred today as the 15th of Av or Tu B’Av. According to one rabbi, “There were no better (happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: ‘Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?’” This was typically done on the night of of a full moon.
So, if this is the reason for the Lamanite maidens gathering to sing and dance, obviously, the priests of king Noah understood both the event as well as time and location, and laid in secret and watched them.
   “Now there was a place in Shemlon, where the daughters of the Lamanites did gather themselves together to sing, and to dance, and to make themselves merry” (Mosiah 20:1). This obviously seems to have been an ongoing process that would have been known and after two years, the priests of Noah took full advantage of it and stole themselves wives to carry off into the wilderness. The reason for bringing it up here, is that it fits in with the physical arrangement of the geographical layout of the land as we have previously discussed existing with the priests of Noah being in the area of the present-day ruins called Machu Picchu, which was likely the hideout of the priests who have secreted themselves away from both the Nephites and the Lamanites.

    Again, this suggests that the priests started out on the mount overlooking the valley of the city of Nephi in the events we have suggested above. In this way, the priests would have been hiding in the wilderness to the north of Sacsayhuaman, or north of the city of Nephi, in the area called the narrow strip of wilderness in the scriptural record. In such a location, available to them from the mount, but not from the valley below, they could have escaped the Lamanite attack, fleeing “into the wilderness” as Mormon tells us rather than being caught and subjugated by the Lamanites as the rest of the Nephites had been.
    In this sense, then it appears that the “tower by the temple” mentioned in Mosiah would be the temple on the hill north of Shilom. That a temple also existed in the center of the city in the valley below is also understood, and there is much speculation that the second tower built by Noah was in that location, seen today as simply the foundation stones in front of the Spanish cathedral Church of Santo Domingo.
The foundation stones have withstood 2500 years of severe earthquakes that have nearly leveled the Spanish constructions on top on three different occasions, without causing a single difficulty for the stones beneath which extend down into the Coriancha below


 Larger section of Cuzco to Machu Picchu area. There is a valley (green arrow) that runs between these two areas—called the Sacred Valley today (though it is shaped more like a canyon)—that provides easy access between the two areas for unobserved travel

While these events are speculative, they do fit the narrative as well as and perhaps better than any other. One thing is certain, the tower in the valley, assuming there was one built there, could not have seen into the adjacent lands, such as Shemlon and would have given no warning of approaching Lamanites in the borders of the lands. On the other hand, the tower on the hill overlooking the valley would give that perspective better than any other location. For anyone that has been to Cuzco and knows the scriptural record events in Mosiah, this determination seems obvious.

5 comments:

  1. Del.. I just measured the distance between the Landing spot (La Serena) to the City of Nephi (Cuzco) and that is a 1,498 mile trip. According to Google maps.. it would take 493 hours to go from one place to another. Figuring 10 hrs a day.. that would be 49 days. And Nephi said: And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents. And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.

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  3. Daarshik: Thank you. Nice to know.

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  4. Mr. Nirom: Thanks for the input. They might have been traveling a little faster in the beginning for fear of discovery so trying to avoid an initial conflict.

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