Monday, August 5, 2019

More Comments from Readers - Part II

Here are more comments and questions from our readers:
Comment #1: “I assume you have written about elephants in the Land of Promise but I cannot find a reference in your extensive blog backlog. Do you have a reason why no one has found any of the animals Nephi mentions in the Americas prior to the coming of the Spaniards?” G.K.
Response: Let us start off by quoting from Hugh Nibley: “Any naturalist would assume that the elephant has been extinct in western Asia for hundreds of thousands of years, for all the evidence the creature has left of itself: it is from written history alone that we receive the assurances that large herds of elephants roamed the temperate lands of Syria and the upper Euphrates as late as the XVIII Egyptian dynasty, when the Pharaohs hunted them there for sport, and that elephants were used by the war-lords of central Asia well into the Middle Ages. In late antiquity the wild variety disappear without trace, due perhaps to a change in world climate” (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Deseret Book, Vol.5 [17 volumes], Part.2, Ch.4, 2008, p219-220).
The Spanish occupied only about 1/6th of the area the Inca occupied; the Inca occupied about 1/27th of South America—leaving almost all of the Continent to be wholly undiscovered for centuries after the arrival of the Spanish and the animals they brought

Secondly, Andean South America covered some 400,000 square miles—the Inca Empire was 300,000 square miles. When the Spanish arrived they perhaps occupied less than 50,000 square miles. One can see how much of the land would not have been known to any historian who wrote about what the Spanish did or did not find. Nor were the Spanish looking for animals, but for gold—and long after they brought their own animals into the land, they were still fighting the Inca until the final victory was recorded in 1572—40 years later. Nor would later discovery have been so obvious since we are talking about the same animals: cows, oxen, horses, etc. Obviously, the llama and alpaca were standouts because they were so different from any animal the Spanish had previous seen.
    Thirdly, animals tend to wander off to die, left along the roadway, die in the fields, pastures or grasslands. Archaeology work is done in buildings, temples, structures—not exactly where bones of animals would be found.
    Lastly, the method most scientists use to understand things like animals an ancient people had are their existence on ceramics; however, in the Andes, most of the ceramics were of people and designs—very few animals, and despite the importance of the alpaca and llama to these ancient cultures, few ceramics include their designs.
Comment: “Is there a different between the Hebrew thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not murder?” Star M.
Response: First of all, the Hebrew word רָצַח which is pronounced ratsach (raw-tsakh), literally means “manslayer,” and is a primary root word meaning it wasn’t taken from something else. This is the root word for both “murder” and also for “kill.” Stated differently, the Hebrew does not have a different word for kill and murder. The one word “ratsach” means both. Therefore, without knowing the Lord’s intent regarding the statement, either “kill” or “murder” is correct.
    “Ratsach” is defined today as “to murder,” “to slay.” However, it is also translated as “to kill,” and “killed,” “put to death,” and “slew.” Of the 47 times it is used in the Old Testament, it is used as killed (1), kills the manslayer (1), manslayer (18), murder (7), murdered (2), murderer (12), murderer shall be put (1), murderers (1), murders (1), put to death (1), slew (1).
    In Exodus 20:13: לֹ֥֖א תִּֿרְצָֽ֖ח׃ ס which means NAS: “Thou shalt not kill,” KJV: “You shall not murder,” INT: “Shalt not murder.”
    In Numbers 35:6: לָנֻ֥ס שָׁ֖מָּה הָרֹצֵ֑חַ וַעֲלֵיהֶ֣ם תִּתְּנ֔וּ and is interpreted; NAS: you shall give for the manslayer to flee; KJV: which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee; INT:  to flee for the manslayer addition shall give.
In Numbers 35:11 it is interpreted in the KJV as “slayer,” and in Numbers 35:12, it is translated as “manslayer,” and in Numbers 35:16, and also 17, it is translated “murderer,” and in Numbers 35:17 it is translated as “kill.” It can also be used to mean “assassinate” and “assassin.” In a stretch, it is also used to mean “batter” and “shatter.” In its primitive sense, it means “dash in pieces,” i.e., “to kill” especially to “murder” and “put to death.”
    As you can see, when you start studying Hebrew, you get into all sorts of complex understandings and what was meant here or meant there—the problem is, you get ten Rabbis who are experts on the Hebrew language in a room together, ask one question and you get 20 different answers!
    How the Lord will judge this is evidently by intent. Killing in self-defense and to protect life, family and country appears to be acceptable to the Lord, but outright killing of any type would not be accepted.
Comment #3: “One thing that I find hard to reconcile is the fact that around the world there are many places that have very unique air breathing animals. These places often also have very unique plants, but most plant species should be able to survive a flood. Animals however would not survive the flood the Bible describes. What this seems to mean is that Noah and his family would have had to go to around the world and round up these animals before the flood, and then go back around the world after the flood and bring these unique animals back. I will admit I have not read your book. Maybe there is something I am not seeing” E Richard
Response: We are not asking anyone to agree with us, nor for anyone to see things our way—we only plead with people to see the scriptures the way they are written and to not try to alter them to fit their own ideas. As for air breathing animals, like all animals after the flood, had to have been brought to the Land of Promise (Western Hemisphere) by the Jaredites. What animal could they have brought that would result in the alpaca and llama? Since these are classified as camelids (Camelidae family), they are the only currently living family in the suborder Tylopoda, and the extant (existing) members of this group are: dromedary camel, Bactrian camel, wild or feral camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos. Initially, the last four were just two, the wild vicuñas, and guanacos, which resulted in the domesticated llama and alpaca.
Now these last two animals fit the requirements of being in the Land of Promise, i.e., they are cross-bred from the camel, an animal known to and possessed by the people of Mesopotamia—the home of the Jaredites. They are for the benefit of man. They were originally found only in and all over Andean South America. They have been there for thousands of years and domesticated long ago and have been used for just about every purpose to Andean cultures since at least 2000 BC—the time of the Jaredites.
    Recently, in 1995, (there are four today) the world’s first “cama” was cross-bred between a llama and a camel—they are humpless and have a fluffy coat of a llama, ears between a camel and llama, but have the strong, desert-ready legs of a camel. True to the nature of the original cross-breed, however that was achieved anciently, only the male camel can impregnate a female llama (not the other way around) and, incidentally, the cama is smaller than the llama, which is smaller than the camel—another breeding truism.    While there are all sorts of unique animals in places around the world, we have yet to uncover one that matches the requirements of the cureloms and cumoms as stated in Ether, nor are there any other placed where the Jaredites might have gone.
    We have written much about the llama and the alpaca in the past, as we have about quinoa and kiwicha, two grains on a par with corn, barley and wheat. In fact, the value of the two grains in the Andes is such that they are considered super-grains and more healthy than just about anything else around. It is hard to find two animals or two grains that match so perfectly the purpose and value as suggested or stated in the scriptural record.


  1. Until about 1980's lions were unknown in Israel. Before then scholars thought that because there was no evidence of lions in Israel that the bible was wrong. Then fossils were found that confirmed the bible.

    Same here with elephants. It will be confirmed at some point.

  2. There is no doubt but we do not have the complete picture of what happened before and after the flood to account for the extreme multitude of diverse creatures around the world that it is hard to believe could have all gotten on the ark. Besides, there are many endemic types or species found in isolated areas such as Hawaii, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Galápagos, Socotra, and many more isolated places. How did they get there after the flood? Were they all on the ark, or were they developed from other species? How can we prepare ourselves so that the Lord will give us the further revelation promised until we have ALL TRUTH?

    "I have yet MANY things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL TRUTH:" --John 16:12-13

  3. Del has had blogs discussing elephants. They can be found by doing a web search with "elephants".

    Nephicode blogs about elephants