Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Chronology of the Jaredites

While we do not know the exact dates surrounding the Jaredite kingdom, there are certain things we can consider. First of all, we can look at what the theorists have proposed.
    Many such theorists claim the Jaredites were in the Land of Promise for more than 2400 years, some claim as much as 2800 years. Sorenson provides the earliest calendar date for the Jaredite arrival as not being after 3000 BC, and if the interpretation of the Mesoamerican calendar is correct and used as the base, it would be in 3113 B.C.
    Allen, who places the flood at 3114 and the Jaredite arrival at 2700 B.C., bases his dates for the Jaredite arrival on both the dating of the tower and archaeological and traditional evidence coming out of Mesoamerica in relationship to the first settlers.
    While many speculate on this landing date, often to justify or match the existence of Olmec La Venta in Mesoamerica, the fact is the prophet Ether gives us some clear insight into the time frame in which the Jaredites landed.
Ether lists his genealogy back to Jared
Ether outlines his genealogy, dating backward from himself to Jared (Ether 1:5-33), in which he lists 27 direct generations plus one descendant generation, or 28 generations overall. Book of Mormon scholars often mistakenly use the figure of 30 generations to describe this genealogy. Others, like Nibley, mistakenly believe there were three descendant generations, not just one. Nibley claims the same word in Hebrew means both son and descendant, consequently, there could be many gaps of generations if some of those words translated as “son” should have been translated as “descendant” (Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and The World of the Jaredites, p148).
    However, since Ether is giving his own genealogy, it would be more likely that he was listing father to son in every case and the one translation in question translated as “descendant” in both listings, might even have been more correct in translating it as “son.” After all, who in providing their genealogy backward is going to skip generations since any such gap could not be shown to establish a direct relation chain again. It is far more likely that Ether listed his genealogy back to Jared in 28 direct generations, with 29 people overall including Jared on one end and himself on the other.
    Yet, Nibley (p149) goes on to base his claim on the Hebrew word ben, which is usually interpreted to mean “son,” he claims can actually be translated as either son or descendant.
    However, the Hebrew "ben"  בֵּ֔ן is found 4,932 times in the Old Testament, and almost always is translated in English as "son." The use of it as anything else is so extremely rare that it seldom ever appears as such. Consequently, when using the word “ben” as a future descendant, it is done in these seven ways:
1. Direct lineage: “And Adam knew his wife again and she bare a son, and called his name Seth” (Genesis 4:25);
2. Generations moving forward: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1);
3. Future generations: “And the sons of Levi: Gerson, Kohath, and Merari” (Genesis 46:11);
4. Combined usage: “all the souls of his [Jacob's] sons and his daughters: thirty three" (Genesis 46:15);
5. Wider usage: “all these sons, Jacob's six sons, plus his son's sons (grandsons) and his two great grandsons (Hezron and Hamul), along with his daughters, totaled to 33 souls” (Genesis 46:15); 
6. In genealogical lists: Similar statements with the same usage of “sons” are made for Jacob's children by Rachel (Genesis 46:22), Zilpah (Genesis 46:18) and Bilhah (46:25);
7. Daughters-in-law: “And the three wives of his sons with them into the ark” (Genesis 7:13).
    It is obvious in the various usages of “ben” throughout the Old Testament refer to direct sons, on a continuation basis, not skipping generations (emphasis added in above references).
    Nibley tries to show that a modern person may be called a son of an ancient progenitor, like Abraham, as well as the actual son, in this case Isaac, and that the same word would be used for both. However, the contextual use of that word in the Book of Ether is self-evident, giving us 29 father-to-son relationships in a genealogy listed by Moroni (who had full access to the entire writings of the Jaredites, including their last prophet Ether) to show who the author was before commencing with his writings.
The Urim and the Thummim הָאוּרִים וְהַתֻּמִּים assumedly meaning "Lights and Perfections" are elements of the hoshen, the breastplate worn by the High Priest attached to the ephod used anciently by the high priest to answer a question or reveal the will of God
In addition, we have no idea what word was used in the text, for Moroni translated the Jaredite character or glyph, by the use of the Urim and Thummim, found in the Ether record—this Urim and the Thummim first appears in Exodus 28:30, where they are named for inclusion on the breastplate to be worn by Aaron in the holy place. Other books, especially 1 Samuel, describe their use. Joseph Smith translated Moroni’s Reformed Egyptian, by use of that same Urim and Thummim, and in both cases we do not have the slightest idea if either of those two words (the language of Jared or the Reformed Egyptian) can be translated as both son and descendant, as Nibley claims is the case in Hebrew.
    But even if that were so, and there is no reason to believe it was, the use of the Urim and Thummim is a specific process in which the user figures out what the inscription is, then seeks validation from the Spirit (D&C 8:1-2; 9:7- 9). So, if there is any error in the scriptural translation, as Mesoamerican Theorists like Nibley and Sorenson continually try to intimate, either by Mormon, Moroni, or Joseph Smith, one can only say that the prophets and the Spirit were wrong.
    On the other hand, if Ether is listed as a descendant of Coriantor (Ether 1:6), he is later listed as his son (Ether 11:23), and the same is true of Aaron who is listed as both a descendant of Heth (Ether 1:16), and as his son (Ether 10:31). The only descendant listed that is not also given as a son is Morianton who is listed in two places as a descendant of Riplakish (Ether 1:23, 10:9)—however, the circumstances surrounding Riplakish and Morianton are such that we may conclude that Morianton was a son or grandson of Riplakish.
    It should be noted that as shown elsewhere Riplakish dies and his “descendants” are driven out of the land, but after the space of “many years,” Morianton, a “descendant,” gathers together an army of “outcasts” and went forth to battle, eventually conquering the entire land and becoming king (Ether 10:8-10).
    In this case “descendant” in both cases suggests a very near relative as Riplakish, who was probably about 60-70 years old when killed, having children and grandchildren (the first descendants) driven out of the land—then many years later, which is an unknown period and can mean a few or a lot, one of these “descendants” gathers together an army to return and reclaim the throne.
    This is not likely a distant relative, but a son or grandson. If a son born later in life (which seems a Jaredite custom) was about 10 when “driven out,” in thirty years he would be 40 and would have had plenty of time to gather together an army to return and reclaim his father’s throne.
    As has been stated elsewhere, looking at the generation gap among the Jaredites over their many centuries in the land of promise, we can also verify reasonable dates for the number of years. This would be 3300 BC date if the Sorenon’s Maya calendar date is used.
    As for Sorenson’s 3113 BC date—any Flood or Jaredite landing dates prior to 2344 B.C. would not agree with biblical dates. As an example, the Americas were separated from the general singular land mass during Peleg’s time (Genesis 10:25) when the earth was divided since originally all land was in the same location (D&C 133:23-24; Moses 2:9-10; Abraham 4:9-10).
    Orson Pratt claimed the Waters were in the Polar Regions in the beginning, and Joseph Fielding Smith said there was no Atlantic Ocean prior to Peleg’s time and the division of the earth. Thus, the Jaredites came to the land of promise after this division, or after the year 2344 (Orson Pratt, The Seer, Church publication, Washington DC, p 250; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol.III, compiled by Bruce R. McConkie, Bookcraft, 1954-1956, pp 74-75).
The General Gap difference, i.e., how many years are allowed for a generation. Our estimation of 53.0 years is far less than Sorenson’s gap of about 80 years
Regarding the 567 BC date, using the birth date and not the annihilation date, of the last generation, meaning Ether and Coriantumr, the actual generational numbers we provide are shown in the book Who Really Settled Mesoamerica (Chapter 12, p84). This leads to an actual annihilation date of 567 B.C.
    Thus, from all these figures, it seems far more likely that the landing date of the Jaredites was closer to 2100 B.C., which is consistent with the Biblical and Book of Moses dating. While the 1850 B.C. landing and a 200 B.C. annihilation date appear to be within an acceptable generation range, the dates do not coincide with the scriptural record since, in this case, the tower would have been built approximately 500 years after the ark landed and 146 years after the birth of Abraham!
    In addition, the scriptures tell us the earth was divided in Peleg’s time and he lived between 2247 BC and 2008 BC. This means, since the Jaredites crossed the great sea to reach the land of promise, that they did so after the earth was divided, or after 2247 BC. The only way the Book of Mormon scholars with their 2500 BC to 3000 BC landing dates and 200 BC annihilation date could be correct is if the Bible and Book of Moses accounts of the generations are wrong.
    Since Joseph Smith used the exact Biblical dates, after having translated them in the Book of Moses, to teach the second lesson in the School of the Prophets, spending the entire lesson and giving a test afterward on these dates to the brethren in attendance, it seems likely that the scriptural dates are correct.
    This means, then, that the landing date was very close to 2100 B.C. and unless we want a generation age of 62 1/2 years per generation resulting from a 200 B.C. annihilation date, we can also feel safe in understanding that the Jaredites were destroyed just after 600 B.C., despite what many Mesoamerican Theorists claim.


  1. Concerning Peleg, "Doctrines of Salvation" is not scripture any more than "Mormon Doctrine" is scripture. If the continent broke up and the Atlantic Ocean formed during the times of Peleg, he wouldn't have survived it. At least not without an ark.

    The dividing of the Earth at that time appears to mean something else.

    Also because of this:

    Ether 13:2 ...and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord...

    If when the waters receded off the Land of Promise, it was still part of Pangaea, then how was it the Land of Promise? Was all of the single continent then the Land of Promise, according to Ether? On the contrary, after the flood, the Land of Promise was already separate.

    UNLESS you're suggesting that after the flood it took generations (until Peleg) for the water to recede and the land merely appeared separated as water drained from it into the oceans.

    Until anything more convincing appears about the time of Peleg, I'll stick with Ether; that the Land of Promise (American continent) was already broken away after the flood. The tsunamis generated by the rapid separation of the continents constitutes an extinction level event.

  2. 23 He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land;
    24 And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.
    --D&C 133

    . . the Eternal God hath declared that the great deep shall roll back into the north countries and that the land of Zion and the land of Jerusalem shall be joined together, as they were before they were divided in the days of Peleg. – Joseph Smith

    This scripture and Joseph Smith quote do not say that the continents will move. They say that the great deep (the ocean) will go into the “north countries”. This sounds like there will be less water on the earth's surface and thus the continents will be connected.

    Remember also that part of what caused the flood – maybe the major cause-- was that the “fountains of the great deep opened up.” (Gen 7:11) This sounds like a massive amount of underground water came to the surface. Could ice be stopping the water from going back to where it came from?

    But where are the “north countries”? Is there an “empty place under the North” as it says in Job 26:7. Benjamin F. Johnson claims Joseph told him that the Ten tribes are in such a place:

    “I asked where the nine and a half tribes of Israel were. "Well," said he, "you remember the old caldron or potash kettle you used to boil maple sap in for sugar, don't you?" I said yes. "Well," said he, "they are in the north pole in a concave just the shape of that kettle. And John the Revelator is with them, preparing them for their return." --My Life's Review (second paragraph on page)

    These quotes do not seem to be saying the center of the earth is hollow, but that there is a large area under the north ice caps that now is empty and has Israelites in it – but when the water goes into it there will be less water on the surface.

    The return of the Ten tribes sounds like just such an event:

    26 And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
    27 And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
    --D&C 133

  3. Much of the scripture when we are talking about the events of the last days are metaphorical and can only be understood at that level. Of course some are literal and others have both. For example Revelation 21:1 says that when the earth is changed there will be no more sea. So then how can the sea be driven back into the north country when there won't be any when the earth is changed to a paradisaical state? That is because we are not talking about a real sea.

    In order to understand what the Lord is saying you need an understanding of metaphor as I said. Let me give you one that will help immensely in understanding these scriptures in the D&C. Water = people, in the case of sea it = many people. North country is also a metaphor but I think I'll stop there sense we are getting far afield of what this blog is all about.

    I agree with Todd that the continents were separated at the time of the flood and not at the time of Peleg. The separation at the tower of Babel occurred during the time of Peleg and the great sea of people was scattered throughout the world.