Friday, March 6, 2020

The Wandering of Coriantumr, Last Jaredite King

And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood. And when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz…after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died. And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life” (Ether 15:29-32).
    Obviously, at some point, Coriantumr revived from his wounds after this final battle with Shiz, it would be understood that at some point later, he probably wandered about through all the dead and back over the trail of bloodshed, and carnage as the Lord, certainly, wanted him to see all the destruction and death he had caused because of his unrepentant arrogance as the last king over all the people.
    It would be assumed that Coriantumr searched out where his family had been, if he had not done this earlier, to make sure they were not still living.
Coriantumr looking over the battlefield dead

It would be assumed that Coriantumr searched out where his family had been, if he had not done this earlier, looking for the bodies of his wife and children to make sure they were not just wounded. After agonizing over their loss and his role in that, he no doubt sought out the bodies of his closest friends and allies, which to found that all had fallen and perished.
    No doubt, he wandered across the land among the tens of thousands of dead long enough for him to realize that everyone had been killed in the long-lasting impassioned wars, and that he was the “last man standing” as Ether had prophesied to him earlier. One can only imagine the deep despair and depression he must have felt at the loss of all he loved, and of all the people who had been his subjects, and all the friends and their families for whom he had cared, as he realized he could have avoided this when Ether first came to him back during the second year of the war. All he and his household needed to do was repent and the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people (Ether 13:20). But he had arrogantly rejected such a course of action, and now came to realize that Ether had been right and he had brought the wrath of God down upon the Jaredite kingdom until none were left but himself (Ether 13:21).
    How long he wandered and both mentally and physically suffered, how long he might have camped on a hillside overlooking the valleys of the dead whose “bones were heaps of earth upon the face of the land,” and hearing in his mind “the howling and lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people that was so great that they did rend the air exceedingly” (Ether 15:16), is not known. How long he willed himself to endure the sights and sounds of the battles he had fought and of the death cries of five or six million men, women and children thus killed (Ether 15:2), can only be assumed; but the suffering would have been intense.
    It should be noted that Ether lists two million mighty men, and also their wives and their children, which would amount to around five or 6 million (Ether 15:2), and earlier states that “the loss of men, women and children on both sides was so great” (Ether 14:31), whether this means in addition to the earlier count or not is unknown—if in addition, the numbers would have been significantly larger.
Members of the 43-man expedition to locate Zarahemla, reporting back to King Limhi about what they found

After the record and the battle scenes had been viewed by Limhi’s 43-man expedition to find Zarahemla, Limhi described the conditions of the land northward to Ammon as a land “covered with bones of men and of beasts and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind...a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel.” (Mosiah 8:8) In the time of Coriantumr, these bones would have been of men, women and children only recently dead, and the “scent thereof went forth upon the face of the land, even upon all the face of the land” (Ether 14:23).
    Eventually, Coriantumr began wandering again, perhaps driven out of the Land Northward from the stench of bodies covering “the whole face of the earth” (Ether 14:21), and the vultures and wild animals roaming among them and feasting upon the dead.
    Hugh Nibley states that “since Coriantumr had been very badly wounded and with not a soul to help him could not have got very far; the fact that he lingered only nine months after his rescue implies as much, though it does not necessarily prove it” (Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites, p244); however, if Coriantumr would have been among the Mulekites soon after the battle, being so wounded he could not have wandered about to see the death and destruction he had caused among his people, it seems the prophesy to him by Ether may not have come to his mind. In the scenario described here in this article, however, Coriantumr would have been well enough to wander among the Jaredite lands long enough to have realized what he had done and been continually reminded of the prophesy, culminated by his encounter with the Mulekites.
    As it is, Coriantumr probably knew about the Land Southward, about that land which had been preserved from the time of Lib (Ether 10:19-21), and that he might find some sanctuary there away from the stench of the dead and the carnage he had caused, and his dreaded memory of his role in the death of millions of people.
    In his wandering, which might have covered a year, or two, or more—the Jaredites’ final destruction took place after the arrival of the Mulekites and the discovery of the 24-gold plates, probably around 350 BC (Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, pp 15, 27).
Coriantumr wanders into the Mulakite settlement of Zarahemla

Coriantumr eventually made his way into the Land of Zarahemla—with the Lord keeping him alive until he came upon the Mulekites, for that was the prophecy and Coriantumr came to understand its fullness as he encountered another “people receiving the land for their inheritance” (Ether 13:21).
    Perhaps during this time he wandered through vast lands of virgin growth where no man had been, seeing the land of his inheritance pass from him, maybe even looking for this people who Ether told him would inherit the land after him. In his wanderings, it seems the people of Zarahemla ran across him, and not knowing who he was but obviously knowing he was not a Mulekite, took him back to their city where he became a curiosity; however, his strength gone, ill from numerous wounds and internal damage from the battles and the years of his wandering, he finally succumbed and died among the Mulekites as had been prophesied, and “received a burial by them.”
    It is possible that not being able to communicate with these strange people Coriantumr now lived among, and seeing their war- like natures (Ether 1:17), their numerous graves, the swords and armor they wore, he saw in them the same attitudes that led to the destruction of his own people, and feared for their future—he sought out a stone and engraved a little on it regarding the slain of his people, (Omni 1:21) hoping they might come to understand the importance of not repeating his mistakes. Or maybe he just wanted to leave something of himself and a little about the history of his people (Omni 1:22).
    In any event, Coriantumr lived among the people of Zarahemla for only nine months before dying—living all this time knowing the horrible mistakes he had made and the terrible decisions that led to the annihilation of his people and others inheriting the land.
    At some point after this, Ether finished his record, and hid the plates in an obvious manner knowing others would be along in due course who would inherit the land as the Lord had told him.
    Obviously, the record does not state categorically when the destruction of the Jaredite nation occurred, however, the events outlined regarding their demise, and the promise that Coriantumr would live only long enough to see another people inherit his land of promise because of his wickedness, suggests that these two events happened within a very short time frame of each other. That is, the Jaredite nation was annihilated about the time the Mulekites arrived in the promised land, with an overlapping interval, perhaps, of the final battle and then while Coriantumr, a broken, lonely, and depressed individual wandered around his land to see the total death and destruction his evil ways had brought upon his own people.

No comments:

Post a Comment