Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part II

Continuing with the deeper meaning in Alma 22 that Mormon wanted his future readers to understand, and a better understanding of the relationship of these areas mentioned by Mormon. 
10. “in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.”
 [These maps are used for illustrative purposes only and not meant to represent the actual land area of the Land of Promise]

These idle Lamanites also extended their living along the seashore all the way south to the point where Lehi landed, and where their first home was located and where Lehi would have been buried.
    Evidently, the vast majority of Lamanites were idle and living in tents in the wilderness areas, with some Lamanites and all the defectors, living in the cities the Nephites had built prior to Mosiah leaving the Land of Nephi. These idle Lamanites here mentioned were the Lamanites which Moroni drove out of the east and west wildernesses (Alma 50:7,11).
    Obviously, the Lamanites on the West coast, all the way to the seashore where Lehi landed suggests a full occupation in the west, but also there were idle Lamanites in the east along the coast: “into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore” (Alma 50:9).

To tie Alma 22 together here, let’s turn forward to Alma 50, where it is written:
• “And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions,”
    Based on the fact that the Land of Nephi is to the south of the narrow strip of wilderness, it can be understood that this south wilderness is the same as the narrow strip that divides the land of Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi. Thus, these borders mentioned would be the narrow strip of wilderness along the southern border of the Land of Zarahemla—the only border mentioned between the Nephites and Lamanites, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies.
    Thus, the area along this narrow strip of wilderness within the borders of the Land of Zarahemla, now had fortifications built to keep Lamanites from crossing over and into Nephite lands except at a few passes that provided egress from the Land of Nephi into the Land of Zarahemla.
    Obviously, this security was to keep the Lamanites from marching northward along the entire narrow strip of wilderness, for Moroni in so erecting these forts, “cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Alma 50:11).
    This is seen in the fact that there is only one line mentioned and that is the narrow strip of wilderness between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi. Again, there is only one line mentioned between these two lands and that is the narrow strip of wilderness.
“from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon”
    Thus, the head of the river Sidon was located in the narrow strip of wilderness, this line between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi—where both groups were located at the time of this writing in roughly 72 B.C. Thus we can see that the narrow strip of wilderness would have been, at least at this point of the head of the River Sidon, a mountainous region where the river would have started and flowed downhill and to the north into the Land Northward, along the borders of the Land of Zarahemla.
“the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure
All the land northward was everything north of the narrow strip of wilderness, including the Land of Zarahemla, the unnamed land between Zarahemla and Bountiful, the Land of Bountiful, and also all the land north of Bountiful, i.e., the Land Northward.
11. “And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them.”
    Let’s keep in mind that Mormon is still describing the Nephite/Lamanite lands separated by the narrow strip of wilderness and the curved (round about) wilderness extensions of the narrow strip that were along the east and west coasts—all one basic wilderness area, i.e., the dividing line (as he states: “by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla.” (The main body of Nephites, to which time Mormon is referringlast century B.C.would have been in the Land of Zarahemla as seen on the map above, with Lamanites to the west, to the east, and to the south, nearly surrounding themonly lands to the north were open to these Nephites)
12. “And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon,”
    This wilderness is the narrow strip of wilderness that Mormon has kept talking about without stop. Remember, originally, this was all basically a paragraph or two—it was not separated by verse numbers which allows for a feeling of separation. This entire discussion is the difference between what is south and what is north of that narrow strip of wilderness. Unfortunately, a lot of theorists do not agree with this, creating added wildernesses, placing them in areas with directional names that do not match the circumstances, as did Venice Priddis placing her South Wilderness to the north of Zarahemla and on the east coast (p110), and her East Wilderness north of the South Wilderness and not in the east but in the center of the land (p122), and the Jaredite South Wilderness far to the south of Jaredites lands in the Land Northward, which she placed in the Land Southward.
    The problem is, one just can’t just create another wilderness where one is not mentioned and can’t create another lines of separation where ones are not mentioned. It has to be in the scriptural record, where Mormon describes them, in this case, in the separation between the king’s land of Nephi and the Nephite lands north of that division, i.e., the narrow strip of wilderness. 
Now since this is Mormon’s mindset, which we cannot alter its meaning, we can see that this is another instance where Mormon is telling us that the head of the River Sidon is in the narrow strip of wilderness.
13. “from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side;”
    That is, the Nephites controlled all this land northward of the narrow strip of wilderness, including the land of Zarahemla where the narrow strip curved (round about) on both coasts, i.e., they controlled the land of Zarahemla in between these two coastal wilderness extensions from the east to the west and going northward all the way to the Land of Bountiful (where there were no Lamanites of any kind at the time).
14. “on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.”
    Again, the Nephites controlled everything northward of the narrow strip of wilderness all the way to Bountiful.
[Verses 30-34 already covered in the area of Desolation]
15. “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation,”
    The reason the land is called Desolation is because of the destruction that occurred there, not because it was desolate. The land was quite normal other than no trees grew there. In fact, it is most likely the Nephites meant the entire Land Northward when talking about the Land of Desolation, not just one small part of it, much like they referred to the Land of Zarahemla as all the land south of the narrow neck of land to the narrow strip of wilderness.
(See the next post, “The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part III,” for more information and a deeper understanding of the relationship of areas mentioned by Mormon in Alma 22)

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