Friday, August 3, 2018

The Jaredites and the Valdivia – Part I

As most members readily know, the Jaredites were the initial or an early Western Hemisphere civilization that descended from a man named Jared, and from his brother, who, Joseph Smith said was named Mahonri Moriancumer, as well as twenty-two friends and all their families (Ether 6:16). All of these twenty-four families (Ether 1:41) resided in or around the area today called Mesopotamia at the time of the Tower of Babel (Ether 1:33), when the tongues (language) of all the people were confounded (except those of Jared, his brother and their friends (Ether 1:37).
    Since Moroni, in his abridgement of the Ether record, begins by saying that he is omitting the parts of Ether's record that are found in the Bible, Moroni then adds that he will begin where the biblical record leaves off. Moroni then begins with a genealogy that goes from Ether back to Jared. This should suggest that Jared was the last name, or generation, mentioned in the Biblical genealogy. Thus, we find that Jared and his brother, as descendants of Eber, were the last generation mentioned in Joktan’s genealogy, while that of his brother, Peleg, continues on for several generations through the Patriarchs.
Red Circle: Joktan’s genealogy that is known in the Bible before it ends; Blue Circle: Peleg’s genealogy that is known in the Bible which continues down to the time of Christ

Consequently, Jared and his brother would have been descendants of Noah through one of his sons, to which most scholars agree was Shem. Now Shem had five sons (Genesis 10:22): Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram, with Arphaxad fathering Salah, who sired Eber (Genesis 10:24). Now Eber had two sons: Peleg and Joktan, and in their day the Earth was divided (Genesis 1:25). In fact, the Lord evidently had a great plan in mind for these two branches of Eber’s lineage: the one, through Peleg, would bring forth the Patriarchs and the chosen lineage in which Christ was born, and the other, through Joktan was to become, as the Lord told the brother of Jared, “and there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, and the seed of thy brother” (Ether 1:43).
    As it turned out, Peleg was the father of the Patriarchs, while Joktan had 13 sons, with no genealogical mention after that. The fourth of these sons was Jerah (Genesis 10:26), another name variant for Jared, and the eleventh being Ophir (Genesis 10:29). This would make Ophir about 14 years younger than Jared, or the Brother of Jared about 14 years younger than Jared. This would explain Jared being the leader, directing his brother to inquire of the Lord as to their circumstances, and leading the small group from Mesopotamia to the promised land.
    It would also explain why other of Joktan’s sons are at least indicated in the historical record as moving into certain desert locations in southern Arabia and Yemen, the area of settlement of Jerah and Ophir appear to be “missing” from both the Biblical and historical records, with one possible exception—the name Ophir (O-pir) is spelled “Awphiyr” in Hebrew and “Awfr” in Arabic, the latter deriving from “wfr,” which means to abound, be abundant, be ample, be plentiful. Thus, “Awfr” is the intensive form of “wfr” and means “superabundance.” Since Ophir is connected with Joktan which is the Hebrew version of “Qahtan,” then Ophir is located on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in what is now Yemen and Oman; the land of Frankincense, Myrrh, Gold, Copper and the ancient Qahtan Arabs. After all, every three years Solomon's navy traveled to Ophir from which they brought back a tribute of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks, and taking "four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there" (1 Kings 9:26-28; 22:48; 2 Chronicles 8:17-18; 9:10). This gold came from the Dedanite and Joktanite tribes of southern Arabia.
The crescent-shaped Salalah Plain along the southern coast of the Sultanate of Oman on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula

Thus, Havilah in Hebrew means circle, crescent or valley, a word that describes the Salalah Plain, a crescent-shaped valley between the circuitous Qara Mountains and the coast, which includes Khor Rori and Lehi’s Bountiful. In addition, Havilah or Hafala in Arabic means superabundance and, like Ophir, refers to the incense producing regions on the southern coast of Arabia. Evidently there was a carry-over from the name Ophir to the same location that was later known as Salalah in what is today Oman, along the southern border of the Arabian Peninsula. It might also  be noted that Both Ophir (اوفر) and Havilah (حفل)- pronounced 'hafala' in Arabic are Arabic words. In Genesis 10:29, both Ophir and Havilah are the sons of Joktan (Qahtan).
    It should also be noted that In 1939, the American mining engineer Karl Twitchell led an exploration in southern Arabia where he discovered a mining site of several square miles. Arabs call the place Mahd adh Dhahab, "Cradle of Gold." Between 1934 and 1954, a British company extracted substantial amounts of gold from that site and also discovered fifty-five other ancient mines in the area. In 1946 an inscribed pottery shard was found at Tell Qasile (Tel Aviv) dating to the eight century BC. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription says, "gold of Ophir for Beth-Horon…30 shekels." This, and other such finds, confirm that gold was exported from Ophir.
    In any event, after a long trek through the wilderness, a brief stay on the seashore, a time building eight barges (Ether 2:16-17), they were ready to “get aboard.” At this point, it also might be of interest to know tht this area of the shore where the Lord showed eh Brother of Jared how to make barges to take them to the promised land, was called by the name of this brother. Ether wrote and Moroni abridged: “And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years” (Ethr 2:13).
They called the area along the beach Moriancumer (Ether 2:13), which in English is Ophir or Havilah or Hafala in Arabic

So they called the place along the seashore where they spent four years and eventually built the barges that would take them to the promised land by the name of Jared’s brother, Morianumer. Isn’t it interesting that along this very same seashore toward the center to east of the coastal lands, was an area later generations called Ophir. In fact, Ophir was also a port or region mentioned in the Bible famous for its wealth. King Solomon received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, pearls, ivory, apes, and peacocks from Ophir every three years, and knows for certain where it was located.
    There are three things to keep in mind. First, since eleven sons of Joktan are listed as settling in Arabia, we would expect them all to be remembered there, even if some had moved farther on; second, according to Smith and Sjodahl, some early Bible translations call Jerah “Jared”; and third, the division during the days of Peleg was not necessarily the general dispersion of the nations from Babylon, nor even the division of the land masses into continents, but it was the patriarchal division between Eber’s lineage through two of his sons: Peleg, and the Eastern Hemisphere lineage down to Christ; and Joktan, the priesthood lineage separation into the Western Hemisphere down through Moroni.
    Thus, the naming of Eber’s sons was extremely important, warranting a deeper understanding of their roles in the patriarchal order. Prior to this time, the lineage from Seth downward was always from father to son, with only one son mentioned—never to two sons as in the case of Peleg and Joktan. Eber’s two sons marked a difference in this order: Peleg was given the lineage that would produce Christ (thus a division was about to occur—the meaning of Peleg’s name), the greater line, thus given to the first or older of the two sons that were separated from the others. Joktan received the lesser line (thus the naming of Joktan, meaning “lesser, little, smaller, younger), yet both were important lineages: the world knows of the lineage of the Jews, a great nation built up by the Lord to serve him, and his promise to Jacob (Israel) “Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation” (Genesis 46:3).
On the other hand, the Book of Mormon tells us of a second lineage, built up by the Lord of which he said: “And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth” (Ether 1:43).
    Of all the sons of Noah, only these two, Jacob and Jared, were given such blessings of their posterity, a separation of a combined blessing first given to Abraham (Genesis 12:2).
(See the next post, “The Jaredites and the Valdivia – Part II,” for more on the connection between the Jaredite kingdom and that of the Valdivia Culture of South America)

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