Sunday, April 22, 2018

Understanding Hebrew Directions – Part III

Continuing with the previous post on how we can understand Hebrew words and their meaning in order to better understand what Mormon is writing, specifically as it relates to the many directions and his usage of compass directions to describe the Land of Promise, as well as the Point of View of the writer or the subject of the writing.
    So, the diagram from the previous post, let’s go over this again: The South Wilderness, or more accurately, the “Wilderness of the south” (or “Wilderness to the south”)
We should also keep in mind that this wilderness to the south or South Wilderness was not named “the narrow strip of wilderness,” that is an explanation or description of the south wilderness—note that Mormon, in his insert, says: “which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27, emphasis added).
    The article “a” to introduce a noun is different from the article “the.” “a” refers to any subject, in this case to any wilderness; while “the” refers to a specific subject, in this case to a specific “wilderness.” Consequently, “a narrow strip” is an adjectival phrase, the kind of wilderness (narrow strip), while “the narrow strip” introduces a noun (this particular wilderness).
    Since in Mormon’s insert, he does not mention any “wilderness” by direction other than “west” or “east” regarding the separation of land between the Nephites and Lamanites, the article “a” is not name-specific at this point. However, we already learned of the “south wilderness” within the Nephite-Lamanite lands earlier when the Lord told Alma: “Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti” (Alma 16:6). Thus, the south wilderness and the narrow strip of wilderness are in the same location regarding the land of Manti and its border “way up” in that south wilderness, which we learn is a “narrow strip” that divides the Nephite controlled lands from the Lamanite controlled lands in Alma 22:27.
    To verify this, we only need to consider the Hebrew way of thinking and direction, and since the West Wilderness and East Wilderness would not be in the south in the Hebrew mindset, nor would a wilderness south of the south wilderness match a Hebrew mindset, we find that the narrow strip was in the south, dividing the northern land (Zarahemla) from the southern land (Nephi), and thus would be refered to as the “south wilderness.” And certainly the term “south wilderness” would not be applied to a wilderness in the center part of the land, like up around Lake Junin where some place the head of the River Sidon. If there was a wilderness there and it was singled out with a reference, it would have been a “central” or “center” wilderness, not a “south” wilderness.
    It is also important to keep in mind that when Mormon is writing this, it would be somewhere around 350 A.D., when Mormon and the Nephites are in the Land Northward after agreeing to a treaty with the Lamanites that gave them all the Land Southward and the Nephites all the Land Northward (Mormon 2:29)—he is right by that narrow neck and narrow passage and that south wilderness of the Jaredites that he mentions in Alma 22:31, which is referring to the Old Jaredite Lands, the Land of Desolation, and the wilderness in the south of the Land Northward where the area south of the narrow neck was referred to as the “south wilderness” by the Jaredites, “which was filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind which had come from the land northward for food,” and in which the Jaredites “did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants” (Ether 10:21).
    We also need to keep in mind that the “south wilderness” within the Nephite lands (Land Southward) is only mentioned in Alma, and it is only mentioned in two circumstances, 1) in the information the Lord told Alma to tell Moroni (Alma 16:6-7), and 2) in Mormon’s insert (Alma 22:27). The first is of the South Wilderness is from the viewpoint of the story line in the area of the city of Ammonihah, the wilderness and the borders of the land (Alma 16:2). At that time, the south wilderness is mentioned as being “in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti” (Alma 16:6), meaning that they were in the flatlands or lower valleys than the mountains within the “narrow strip of wilderness” or south wilderness where the headwaters of the Sidon river were located, and they were considerably north of that area (away up), and that Manti was above the flat lands they were on, but not as high up as the head of the river Sidon, which was at an higher elevation than Manti.
    To illustrate it in the Hebrew mindset:
The Point of View of the Writing or subject is no longer the Land of Zarahemla, but here shifts to the area of Ammonihah

Thus, the Lamanites, who had been on the flat lands of the story line (Ammonihah—Alma 49:1), were going to march south and then up (way up) beyond the borders of Manti into the higher elevations of the Sidon river head…
…and Moroni needed to march south and up from the west side of the river and cross over to the east side.
    The reason “south wilderness” is only mentioned these two times and in Alma, is because the story line is not involved with that strip of wilderness between Zarahemla and Nephi, but is involved to the north of there, especially along the eastern seaboard, which it might be noted that “East Wilderness” is not mentioned, nor is “South Wilderness” along that seaboard (though that is where some place both of these wildernesses) during all the wars and battles from then city of Moroni northward to the city of Mulek along that eastern seaboard.
     Consequently, we need to always keep in mind the Hebrew mindset of directions, not only in these wildernesses, but also in such misleading and erroneous ideas as Mesomaerican theorists who try to sell their idea of naming four seas:
Two maps showing different ways some Mesoamerican theorists try to place four seas where there are only, at most, three seas

Either way you look at it, they use two seas in the area of one direction—they make the Pacific Ocean both the “West Sea” and the “South Sea” or they make it the “North Sea” and the “West Sea.” Both are huge and obvious violations of the Hebrew direction and naming mindset. Simply put, the Hebrews/Jews/Nephites would never have done that, never have thought that way, and never would have even considered such a possibility.
    To them east was east, and each of the other directions were singular in nature, no matter how far or how wide. They considered Babylon to the east, though it was actually northeast, and to get there required a trip north for most of the trip; and Egypt was south, even though actually it is west by southwest, or basically west with the majority of the trip to Egypt going west.
    In the middle east they simply did not split hairs into multiple directions other than the four cardinal points, and sometimes into the 4 ordinal points (8 points of the compass: north, east, south, west; and northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast—they did not have wordage or concepts for east by southeast; or west by northwest, so did not use what we consider the 8 and 16 winds of the compass, to come to 32 compass points). As an example, they would use “north” or under some circumstances, “northeast.” They would not use “north, northeast, north-northeast, or northeast by north,” or “north, north-northeast, northeast, east-northeast,” as we do.
(See the next post, “Understanding Hebrew Directions – Part II,” regarding how we can understand Hebrew words and their meaning in order to better understand what Mormon is writing, specifically as it relates to the many directions and his usage of compass directions to describe the Land of Promise, as well as the Point of View of the writer or the subject of the writing)

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