Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Stature of the Jaredites – Part I

In describing the Jaredites, Ether on three separate occasions, described them as having impressive size and strength.

• “And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man” (Ether 1:34)

• “And Lib was a man of great stature” (Ether 14:10)

• “And they were large and mighty men as to the strength of men” (Ether 15:26)

While we do not know against whom Ether was judging the height and strength of his people, for some reason he saw fit to tell us that the Jaredites were large and mighty men with great strength, and it might well be that directly after the Flood (as well as before) mankind was larger and stronger than later people, such as the Nephites and Lamanites. Or, that the Jaredites, themselves, were larger than the normal men of Mesopotamia.

Just prior to the time of Noah, Moses wrote: “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4). He then followed up that statement with: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7). Then Moses added, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

Whether this means that Noah and his sons were linked with the large and mighty men, and large in stature themselves, is not known, but if they were, then carrying over the seeds of this size beyond the Flood would have happened, and makes sense out of: “giants in the earth in those days; and also after that.”

The point is, however, that mighty men of great stature generally leave behind them some legends and myths about their unusual size. Usually, with almost all myths and legends, they would have grown in size and stature to even greater proportions over time—the longer the period, the greater the size and dimensions of the tales told. Even Moses wrote about giants upon seeing the entire human race in his vision before writing Genesis.

According to James R. Clark, professor emeritus of ancient scripture at BYU, in a 1976 Ensign article, called Moses’ writing of Genesis (and in the Pearl of Great Price) “The Vision of Moses.” So, if Moses’ vision and Ether’s writings, are correct in the size of some men, and the Jaredites, then we ought to find some record of “giants” in regard to an area of Nephi’s Land of Promise—at least in the Land Northward, where the Jaredites landed, and in times of great antiquity.

It should also be remembered that these Jaredites were only two or three generations removed from the Great Flood, and were direct offspring (grandsons or great-grandsons) of Noah through Shem. This is borne out in the understanding that Noah’s son, Ham (Genesis 10:1), fathered Cush (Genesis 10:6), who fathered Nimrod (Genesis 10:8), who is described as being a “mighty hunter” (Genesis 10:9)built the great tower (Genesis 10:10). As a side note, the word “mighty” is “gabar” in Hebrew, whose basic meaning is “to be strong.”

In addition, the Jaredites were outdoorsmen who labored with brute strength to build and carve out an existence in an untamed and inhospitable land along the Euphrates River which is an area that is extremely hot in the summer months, reaching 120ºF, and below freezing in the winter months. In addition, two types of wind phenomena occur in the summer months: 1) From April to June, and from September through November, the southern and southeasterly “sharqi” is a dry, dusty wind with occasional gusts to fifty miles an hour; and 2) the “shamal,” is a steady wind from the north and northwest, prevails from mid-June to mid-September, with very dry air that causes intensive sun heating of the land surface, with dust storms that may rise to height of several thousand feet. This was the generation of men that built Nimrod’s Great Tower, and though Jared, his brother and friends would not have been involved in that labor, they were men of great strength and resolve as the time required.

(See the next post, “The Stature of the Jaredites – Part II,” for the continuation of this subject about the Jaredites and where they landed based on legends and myths of giants in the land)


  1. This is very interesting to me. When I read the B of M, I always wonder what happened to the evidence of the life of the Jaredites. Lately I've been reading a lot about the burial mounds here in the Midwest. I am from Michigan so we see then every now and then. They've found many very large skeletons inside them. From 7' to 11' tall. I wonder if there is any relation there with the Jaredites.

  2. Interestingly this giant topic also fits very well the "Heartland Theory." There is a lot of archeology that supports this quite well. I came to your site looking to see if others have had the same or similar thoughts and was happy to see corroboration in your writing!