Saturday, December 2, 2017

Jaraedite Barges – Their Construction – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding Clark Goble’s commentary on the Jaredites and his numerous erroneous statements and our responses: 
7. Another, seemingly unrelated statement, though having to do with the Jaredites, is made by Goble: “Friberg’s paintings are great of course. I’d encourage anyone in Salt Lake City to go to the conference center and look at the originals. But almost certainly the Nephites don’t look like a mix between Vikings and Romans with gladiuses for swords.”
    It might be of interest to know that the Gladius sword, used by the Romans, was not simply Roman. The word “gladius” or course, was Latin for “sword,” but the gladius, which was a short sword by today’s standards, measuring 18” to 24,” was not the only gladius, some Roman swords were longer.
We are accustomed to the short sword made popular in Hollywood movies, called the gladius, but the sword was also longer in some battle groups. The short rendition was used by the heavy infantry legionary or Triarius (not the light auxiliary infantry) who fought in closely packed lines of battle, and with tight walls of shields (such as the wedge or triangle, or the testudo), and sometimes spears in the case of cavalry attacks. Even in widely spaced lines (velites) operating as advance skirmishers, or in desperate “last stand” efforts (orb), the entire concept of the Roman army was to fight in close and compact battle groups, forcing the enemy to come in close in order to attack. In all such cases, the short sword was far more effective, quicker to wield, easy for stabbing, and far more deadly than a long sword.
    As a result of the Roman army conquering most of the known world at the time, almost all fighting units from that time forward, chose to use a short sword. Not until the time of the medieval knights and their mounted cavalry charges, did the long sword come into full use, not because of those on the ground, but for the knight on horseback to reach an enemy from the back of a horse, he had to have a longer sword. In fact, by the 1st century, the Roman mounted cavalryman carried a long spear (hasta), and adopted what became known as the spatha, or long sword, for that very reason (something you rarely see in a Hollywood movie of mounted Roman soldiers). By the 3rd century, centurians had divested themselves of the gladius, and by the 5th century, the short sword was completely gone from the Roman army, and all carried heavy Germanic spathas.
    It might be of interest to know, that the sword of Laban, often shown as a normal long sword in art, and print, would have been a short sword. First of all, most of the Hebrew army of the time carried and fought with spears since the cost of a sword was out of the reach of most people, and were often only worn by officers of some rank, and in the case of Laban, as a ceremonial sword. These were short swords, often less than 18” in length, since their hip comfort was important for people constantly sitting and walking about in ceremonial or official capacity. In fact, recently an ancient sword was unearthed in Ekron, about 22 miles south of Jerusalem, and dated to the Jews last battle with Nebuchadnezzar in 604 B.C., was only 16” long, and made of forged steel with an ivory handle (Seymour Gitin, "Excavating Ekron: Major Philistine City Survived by Absorbing Other Cultures," Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2005, pp40–56).
8. Regarding the Jaredite animals, Goble states: “Many people confuse the list of animals from chapter 2 with what was brought on the ocean voyage.”
    We learn from the experience of Noah and the Ark, that the Flood destroyed all living things on the Earth. Thus, when the Jaredites landed in the Western Hemisphere around 2100 B.C., about 250 years after the Flood, there would have been no animals in the Americas except what they brought with them, hence, before leaving Mesopotamia, the Lord told the Brother of Jared to: “gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind…[they] went down into the valley which was northward…with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. And they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters. And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind” (Ether 1:41; 2:2-3).
    Obviously, the Lord wanted the Jaredites to bring seed of every kind, animals of every kind, fowls, fish, and bees to this new world in order to restock the land. It seems unlikely that this was done merely to leave them all or mostly behind when they left by barge to cross the oceans as Goble suggests.
9. Goble goes on to write: “While bees are mentioned initially, this appears to just be the first part of the trip. Moroni doesn’t mention the Jaredites bringing bees on the sealed ships — which seems an impossible feat.”
Honey Bees travel very well and can do so in their comb or swarm, or other method, are often dormant during such travel, and even if not are docile and keep to themselves and travel easily

As we have written in other articles, bees become dormant under circumstances of too low or too high of temperature, as well as in the absence of flowers and other pollinating plants—both conditions would have existed in the barges, for we know of no plants taken and there were no fires to warm them (Ether 2:23). In addition, bees can be completely enclosed in their hives and survive for a lengthy time on their own honey until their dormancy ends.
10. Gobles also writes: “My guess is that the first storm the Jaredites encountered wiped out many of the animals they brought.”
    If this were true, what a colossal waste of time that served no purpose for the Lord to tell them to gather the animals of every kind to bring to the new world, if most did not survive the voyage.  
11. Gobles also states: “It’s worth noting that when they land in America Mormon only talks about them tilling the soil and not tending livestock. While vague that could easily mean they had no surviving livestock.”
    Again, the Book of Mormon is not a true history, merely a glimpse of the 1500 year history of the Jaredites, and 1000-year history of the Nephites. Much is left out. How much Moroni abridged out of Ether’s account is unknown, but one might suspect it was a significant amount, as Mormon tells us that only 1/100th of what was on the plates was abridged and later translated.
12. Finally, Gobles states: “I’d imagine that if the journey took over a year even if they did stop at islands for supplies that livestock surviving storms would be soon eaten.”
    The Jaredites were 344 days in their vessels upon the ocean. We have no knowledge of any stops, any possible way for the Jaredite to gain the outside of the barges during their voyage, or that they landed at any time. What they took with them was what they subsided on for nearly a year. What hand the Lord had in this is not known, how they survived we are not told, and what food lasted them, again we do not know. They they must have lived on milk from goats and cows, meat from some of their animals, eggs from the chickens, etc., seems obvious. Under normal circumstances, they must have had fruit—perhaps they had live fruit bearing trees of some type in their vessels, perhaps kept alive and fed from the special light of the rocks the Lord touched—we simply are not told. But they did survive for a year with what they took with them, and it is doubtful that the animals they took were all eaten, for they would have had to have had some to replennish the new world after landing.
(See the next post, “Jaraedite Barges – Their Landing – Part IV,” for more information and further examples of Goble’s comments and our responses about the Jaredite barges)


  1. I've often speculated about the animals that the Jaredites brought to the new world. Did they bring absolutely all the animals? Or did they bring the most important animals for man. Don't know of course.

    Genesis 10:25 it says that in the days of Peleg was the earth divided. I've always assumed that meant that the earth was all one continent and then was divided after the flood. This could mean that some animals could have made it to South America before the division. Just don't know and can't know at this point in time. It is an interesting question though. Did the Jaredites bring all the animals to South America. After all, even though the barges were tight like Noah's ark - they weren't Noah's ark.

  2. Ether 1:41 says: "Go to and gather together thy FLOCKS, both male and female, of every kind" So it only mentions flocks, not any other animals.

  3. I would hope that they didn't need to bring elephants on board. I'd hate to get stepped on when one of those waves hits the boat.

  4. erichard: FYI--the word "flocks" is defined as "a number of animals of one kind, especially sheep, goats, or birds, that keep or feed together or are herded together," also, "a group of animals that live, travel, or feed together," or "a number of one kind," or "a large number," etc. There is no claim as to a single type of thing. Also in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, flock is described as “A company or collection; applied to sheep and other small animals. A flock of sheep answers to a herd of larger cattle. But the word may sometimes perhaps be applied to larger beasts, and in the plural, flocks may include all kinds of domesticated animals.”
    Even if one wanted to limit flock to one kind of animal, the verse it is used in the plural, which conveys the idea that there were several flocks gathered, i.e., several types of various animals, etc. In fact, the statement is: "gather together they flocks, both male and female of every kind" (Ether 1:41; see also 2:1). Then, later, when they were preparing to board the barges, it states: "food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them" (Ether 6:4). I think from all of this we can conclude that the Jaredites brought with them all sorts of animals.