Friday, June 22, 2018

The Head, Source, or Headwaters of the Sidon – Part II

Continuing with the understanding of how rivers are categorized with “head,” “tributary,” “distributary,” “confluence,” “mouth,” etc., and how it relates to the Sidon River as well as the Mississippi River and the Heartland Model.
    As pointed out in the previous post, Rodney L. Meldrum makes several inaccurate statements regarding his claims that the head of the Mississippi River was at the confluence of the Ohio River, so he could claim a match between the Sidon River of the Book of Mormon and the Mississippi River of his Heartland Model.
The Confluence (white circle) of the Ohio with the Mississippi is the mouth of the Ohio River, or its termination point; however, the (yellow line) course of the Mississippi continues on from above the confluence to below it, without a change in name or river, thus being the river stem or the main river. Note, its name does not change, and therefore, it is not the head of the Mississippi

We also see that besides the Ohio River Confluence with the Mississippi where Meldrum erroneously claims is the head of the Mississippi, there are other confluences—the first is sixty-seven miles upstream from Cairo where the Missouri River terminates into the Mississippi, and twenty miles beyond that, the Illinois River terminates into the Mississippi.
To further his view, Meldrum goes on to argue his point by claiming that “In the Old Testament in Genesis 2:10, it states, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (see also PoGP Moses 3:10, reference note b) There is a reference note b at ‘parted’ in the LDS King James Version of the Bible which reads “HEB (Hebrew) – divided into four heads (branches)” clearly indicating that the ‘heads’ of each of these four rivers were at the junction of two or more rivers.”
    Before accepting Meldrum’s explanation, and in order to understand this, we need to know what the scripture quoted says. First of all, it matches what we have said and modern hydrologist language. When a river branches off another and is renamed, it creates a head; but the original river, or stem or predominant river, retains its name and does not have a new head, as indicated, despite Meldrum’s claim. However, the river that came out of Eden in Genesis is not named, so either it had a name and would have been one of the four rivers mentioned, or was simply not named, thus when the four rivers are mentioned, their branch becomes the head of that river. Otherwise, if the river originally coming out of Eden was named, say, the Pison River, then its head would have been in Eden, and not at the confluence of the other three branches.
Top: One river running out of Eden “to water the garden,” and from there it was parted and became four heads, three new heads and the original river with its head in Eden; Bottom: If the river coming out of Eden had no name, then when it parted, all four new rivers had heads at the parting

It might be of importance to consider how this verse is worded: (vs 10): “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden;”
    This part of the statement means that a river flowed from Eden into the garden to water it…
    “and from thence it was parted,”
    “Thence” means “from a place previously mentioned, thus the river being in the garden where it watered the garden, went outward from there and split into four main rivers, one went to Havilah, another ran to Ethiopia, and a third flowed east of Assyria—it is not said where the fourth, or Phrath River (Greek: Euphrates) went.
    This, in no way, suggests or gives rise to the idea which Meldrum promotes that any river can have a head along its course. The Genesis account is that the river split into four main rivers: “and from thence [beyond the garden] it was parted, and became into four heads” (parenthetical note added).
    Not satisfied to try and prove his point with non-successful examples, Meldrum then turns to the Book of Mormon for examples of the meaning of “head.” As he states: “A second scriptural basis for understanding that the word “head” could designate a “junction” can be had from several passages wherein attempts are made to cut off or “head” something (an army or flocks) at a certain junction. 
    “And it came to pass that they went in search of the flocks, and they did follow Ammon, and they rushed forth with much swiftness and did head the flocks of the king, and did gather them together again to the place of water” (Alma 17:32); “And it came to pass that he did according to his desires, and marched forth into the wilderness, and headed the armies of Amalickiah” (Alma 46:32); “Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward. And…they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass” (Alma 50:33-34); “they were met by Teancum, who had slain Morianton and had headed his people in his flight. And…that he headed Amalickiah also, as he was marching forth with his numerous army that he might take possession of the land Bountiful, and also the land northward” (Alma 51:29-30); “But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they should come to the land Bountiful. And thus he did; and he did head them before they came to the land Bountiful” (Helaman 1:28-29).
    Now, in all these cases, the term “head” is used in a manner that has a specific meaning and nothing to do with Meldrum’s claim supporting the idea that the head of a river is involved. In all these cases, the word “head” meant in 1828: “to oppose, to veer round,” also: Resistance, successful opposition, to advance or resist with success.” Even the modern understanding is roughly the same: “to head someone or something off at a point—literally, to prevent someone or something from reaching or passing a certain point, especially to escape.” In both time frames, the word “head” has the same meaning as “to head someone off before they reach—“
    The point is obvious that Meldrum in his Heartland Theory, tries to muddy the waters of the clear understanding of the head of the river Sidon as it is covered in the scriptural record, by trying to introduce meaningless examples of the use of the word “head” but not in the context of a river in which Mormon used it regarding the Sidon River. There can be no question, that Meldrum’s attempt to claim that his River Sidon in his Land of Promise in the Heartland Theory, cannot be the Mississippi River by claiming the head of that river was actually at the confluence of the Ohio River just south of Cairo, Illinois.
Where two or more rivers join, if one maintains its name above and below the joining or confluence, there is no head involved and the river that joins the main river or stem river has its mouth (terminal point) at the confluence

Yet, Meldrum is not finished. He claims these examples prove his point by stating: “Therefore, there is scriptural evidence to support the use of ‘head’ of a river as where two or more rivers join, making this a perfectly legitimate choice among alternative definitions.”
    Unfortunately for those who do not follow closely the meaning of words and rely on others to tell them what things mean, thus being possibly swayed by flowery explanations that are meaningless, the word “head” cannot be separated in meaning when its companion noun is given, i.e., Mormon is describing the head of the river Sidon. Not heading off defectors, or the head of a body, or being the head person in a company, etc., which he also makes clear in the citings Meldrum uses which we have outlined above. 
(See the next post, “The Head, Source, or Headwaters of the Sidon – Part II,” to continue with the understanding of how rivers are categorized with “head,” “tributary,” “distributary,” “confluence,” and “mouth”)

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