Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Man Jared and His Brother – Part V

Continuing with the connection between Jerah and Ophir, Joktan’s sons of the Old Testament, and Jared and Mahonri Moriancumer, leaders of the Jaredites, in the Book of Mormon. In this final post, the areas of settlement of two of these thirteen sons, which are “missing” from both Biblical and historical records, will be covered. 
    It is written of the sons of Joktan, “The borders of the region where they lived stretched from Mesha, the western border, toward Sephar, the eastern border, in the eastern hill country” (Genesis 10:30).
Mesha is identified along the Arabian east coast of the Red Sea, and Sephar “a mount of the east” as part of the mountains of Jabal bin Kushayt or even Jabal Mahra in Yemen
    In the previous post we showed eleven of Joktan’s sons, each with a claimed settlement area in southern Arabia well known to historians. However, two of those sons, Jerah and Ophir, have area listings that are not associated with tribal settlement.
    Take, for instance, Joktan’s fourth son, Jerah (je-ra). Suddenly, in the Biblical narrative for no apparent reason, this fourth son is skipped over by Moses, and also by historians, with little or no commentary at all. The basic listing of these first four sons read: “The first son is Almodad, a south Arabian name. Sheleph is a Yemenite tribe or district. Hazarmaveth is a clan or district in South Arabia. It was once the home of a great civilization, the capital being Sabata. And the fourth was Jerah.”
    In fact, no district or region has been yet discovered bearing his name, though both Yurakh in Yemen and Yarach in Hijaz are places named by the Arabic geographers, both meaning “moon.” Jerah, whose name means “month,” is thought by some to be connected to “moon,” and shows up in Ghubb el-Qamar, “Bay of the moon,” and Jebel el-Qamar, “the mountains of the moon,” but no people or posterity, tribe or region is so named. In addition, a place name can indicate that the person indicated was merely remembered there and did not settle there.
It is also noted that in every instance where Joktan’s sons are mentioned, the first four are always listed: “Almodad and Sheleph and Hazarmaveth and Jared,” with the first three being given regional, tribe and distribution, but nothing given for Jared—as though his name is mentioned as an afterthought.
    Certainly, no posterity in the region is listed for him, nor are any of his sons or anything about him mentioned. We know he existed because Moses listed him as a son of Joktan, but nothing further is known of him while much is known of all the others except Ophir, which brings us to the second of the unknown sons of Joktan, that of Ophir, the eleventh born.
    It is claimed that his descendants settled in Somalia (Africa), but upon investigation, this is so listed only because it was an area famous for its gold, and the place name of Ophir is well associated with gold (I Chronicles 29:4; II Chronicles 8:18; Job 22:24, 28:16; and Psalm 45:9). Besides, it is well known that Cush and his descendants settled in this area.
Ophir and Somalia are really only a match of convenience for historians, but does not follow any of the lineage patterns of Joktan’s other sons, nor that of the lineage of his day, nor the location mentioned in Genesis 10:30. Africa was an area settled by Ham’s descendants, specifically Ham’s daughter, Egyptus and her son, Pharoah, as well as Ham’s sons who settled in Africa: Phut, Mizraim, Cush, Lud, Evilas, and Judadas.
    Consequently, it is unlikely that one of Joktan’s sons settled in Africa while all the others settled in southwest Arabia, since there has always been a distinct separation of these two areas, both geographically, and ideologically. Thus, the question becomes, where did Ophir settle? And earlier, the question, where did Jerah settle, since neither have long-term origins or tribal lineage connected to Arabia.
    In addition, while Ophir is mentioned only as a place from which Solomon’s fleet brought gold, silver, thyine (probably sandalwood), precious stones, ivory, apes, and peacocks (1 Kings 9:26-28; 10:11,22; II Chronicles 8:17-18; 9:10), it does not necessarily stand that all these products came from Ophir. Historians have now accepted the fact that these items were not likely native to one area, but probably purchased from several areas and then sold there, or even purchased by the mariners at intervening ports along a route from Ophir to Solomon’s port at Asiongaber (Ezion-geber).
The route of Solomon’s fleet to their furthest destination, the port of Ophir (Khor Rori), stopping to trade along the way there and back, including dropping down to the gold fields of Africa (Somalia)
    What was actually found at the port of Ophir is unknown, it could have been any one of these items, or none at all, or perhaps just the gold. On the other hand, it may have been the furthest port to the east along the southern Arabian coast that Solomon’s ships sailed, there to put in, refresh supplies, make repairs, and return back again along the same route to their home port at the top of the Red Sea.
    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 one son to another son—never to two sons. 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. 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). 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).
The Jaredites traveling from the area of the Persian Sea to the area of Salalah along the Arabian coast, then across the desert and to the inlet of Khor Rori
    Certainly, the roles of Jared and his brother denote an obvious separation of responsibilities: 1) Jared the (political or ruling) leader of the entire group, and 2) The brother of Jared, the spiritual leader of the group. We see in Jared from the beginning his role of leadership in instructing his younger brother to inquire of the Lord for them and their friends (other families within Shem’s lineage [Genesis 11:11,17] not connected to the rebellion of the Tower). While it was the brother of Jared who spoke out against their descendants naming a king (Ether 6:23), it was Jared who, as the leader of the group, made the decision for the people to choose a king (Ether 6:24).
    While we don’t know how much older Jared was than his brother, we can figure that Jerah was about 20 years older than Ophir, which may well match the relationship so described of its two leaders in the Jaredite story.

1 comment:

  1. Jerah as Jared has some logic to it. But Choosing Ophir of the 12 brother Jerah had for Morian is reaching to high.

    Ophir is undeniably in Yemen, closely linked thorught it's History with Sheba and Havilah. If a name linked to Solomon's Trade network is a New World nation it's Tarshish, which is know to be Reachable from both Seas. I have considered Tarshish as the Olmecs.