Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Four Brothers That Came to South America – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the rest of this ancient legend and its application to the Book of Mormon story of Lehi and Nephi settling in the Land of Promise. The first seven matches were shown in the previous post, here we continue with #8:
8)  Who had prevailed upon to return to the place of origin – Lehi asked Laman, as his first-born son, with his brothers to return to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:2-5) which was their place of origin for Lehi had spent all his days at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4);
9)  To retrieve some golden vessels – the brothers were sent back to retrieve the brass plates (1 Nephi 3:3) and in so doing, they obtained the gold and silver and all manner of riches from their father's house (1 Nephi 3:16, 22) to use in purchasing the brass plates from Laban (1 Nephi 3:24);
10)  When one of the brothers was near death, he designated his grown son as his heir and successor – Nephi, upon getting old and ready to die, appointed his successor (Jacob 1:9), who the people decided to call Second Nephi (Jacob 1:11). In fact, Nephi appointed his brother, Jacob, to be his religious successor, or prophet (Jacob 1:1-4), to maintain the records and oversee the people.  At the same time, a ruler, or king, was appointed who may have been Nephi's own son.  This parallel is found among the Jaredites, for when the youngest son of Jared was appointed king (Ether 6:27), the record and religious leadership was maintained by the Brother of Jared and his descendants (Ether 1:34; 2:14; 3:25; 4:1).  In fact, the religious record of the Nephites was maintained down through Amaleki (Omni 1:12), a descendant of Jacob, who died without a son, and his brother had gone with Zeniff back to the Land of Nephi (Omni 1:25, 30), so he gave the records to king Benjamin, the political ruler and king (Omni 1:23; Words of Mormon 1:17).  About a thousand years later, through this line we come to Mormon who called himself a pure descendant of Lehi (3 Nephi 5:20) through Nephi (Mormon 1:5). Thus it might be that Nephi's political leader, the man who became known as Second Nephi, was one of Nephi's own sons;
11)  These people considered themselves indigenous to the land – the Nephites separated themselves from the Lamanites and settled a new land which they called the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:7-8). There they spent about 300 years until Mosiah was told to flee and take those Nephites who would go with him to a land further north (Omni 1:12). For 300 years, the Nephites would have considered themselves indigenous to the Land of Nephi—it had been their only home in the land of promise;
12)  Considered themselves unwarlike – the Nephites were taught never to give an offense or raise the sword except it were against an enemy in the saving of their lives (Alma 48:14).  They were taught to fight only to defend themselves (Alma 43:9-13) and maintained throughout their periods of righteousness a benevolent attitude toward their enemy, the Lamanites, often freeing their captured armies when the Lamanite soldiers covenanted to go in peace and make war no more (Alma 62:16-17);
13)  Chose leaders who were war-leaders –Nephi was chosen by his people to be their king, but he chose the title of ruler (2 Nephi 5:18-19).  He defended them and led them in many wars (Jacob 1:10), and those who followed him as leaders (Jacob 1:11) were mighty in battle (Omni 1:3, 10; Words of Mormon 1:13).  When the Large Plates of Nephi are finally obtained, we will have a more complete record of the kings and the wars of the people and will learn the role played by Second Nephi, Third Nephi, etc., who obviously served as "war-leaders";
14)  One brother moved further away – Nephi was told by the Spirit to escape his brothers (2 Nephi 5:5-7) which he did, and settled in the land they called Nephi;
15)  The leading brother of the four was elected to be the war-leader and his great successes earned him the coveted title of capac—chieftan which was an honorific title of true eminence—he was loved by his people (Jacob 1:10), was elected by them to be their king (2 Nephi 5:18), defended them against the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:34, Jacob 1:10); and achieved high eminence among them (Jacob 1:11)
16)  Appointed one of his brothers to be the "field guardian" of the community – Nephi appointed his two younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph, as teachers and priests over the land (2 Nephi 5:26) and later Jacob became the prophet (Jacob 1:1, 4);
17)  Three brothers who became the leaders of three groups who called themselves separately but were united as one people – the Nephites were called Nephites, Jacobites, and Josephites (Jacob 1:13).  The Zoramites mentioned were descendants of Zoram, Laban's servant, and not a brother to Nephi.  Sam's descendants were never called by a separate tribal name, but were joined with Nephi's descendants (2 Nephi 4:11). Yet all were called Nephites (Jacob 1:14);
18)  The three brothers had to escape into the Andes with some of their people – After Lehi died, Nephi was told by an angel to take as many as would go with him and flee into the wilderness (2 Nephi 5:5).  That Nephi went into a highland or mountain valley can be seen in the numerous references to the Land of Nephi, which he founded at this time (2 Nephi 5:8), was up in the hills or mountains or highlands from the land of Zarahemla for the Lamanites always went down to fight with the Nephites after taking over the Land of Nephi;
19)  A long-lasting dualism occurred between the two groups – The Nephites and Lamanites separated (2 Nephi 5:5) and fought many battles (1 Nephi 12:19) until the Lamanites conquered the Nephites (1 Nephi 12:20; Mormon 8:7). These wars covered almost 1,000 years;
20)  Each cherished a separate history – The Nephite history was well documented throughout the written records, and the Lamanite history was retained through word-of-mouth for nearly 600 years (Alma 54:17, 24) and those two histories differed greatly (Alma 54:21; 55:1).
21)  There was a brother who did not combine with the league of three and led his people into the wilderness where the "warlike orientation of these footloose people was evidenced" -- Nephi described the Lamanites as "an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and seeking in the wilderness for beasts of prey" (2 Nephi 5:24) while Enos said they had an evil nature, were wild and ferocious, both bloodthirsty and full of idolatry and filthiness, and that they wandered in the wilderness (Enos 1:20). He also said the Lamanites were continually seeking to destroy the Nephites;
22)  These people of the one brother became adept at raiding the valley below --  Once King Mosiah fled northward to Zarahemla, the Lamanites took over the vacated highland homes of the Nephites in the Land of Nephi.  From that point on the scriptures talk of the Lamanites going “down” to attack the Nephites (Words of Mormon 1:13; Alma 63:15; Helaman 1:15).  Obviously, the Lamanite lands of the Land of Nephi, which was to the south of Zarahemla (Alma 22:28-34), was in a highland valley at a greater elevation than the land of Zarahemla, thus, the Lamanites continually raided the valley below;
23)  These people of the one brother perfected the ritual huarachicoy or breechcloth ceremony – The Lamanites were described as going naked (Mosiah 10:8) except for a short skin girdle—breechcloth—about their loins (Enos 1:20);
24)   One brother was so brave and strong and skilled with weapons that the other two brothers were affronted and humiliated at not being able to match his feats – Nephi was the one brother who felt capable of doing whatever was asked of him (1 Nephi 3:7, 15; 16:23; 17:50), was the better hunter for it was he that secured food along the trail when all the bows broke or lost their spring (1 Nephi 16:30-31), was skilled with the bow and sling (1 Nephi 16:15), and obviously the most steadfast and brave in following the directions of the Lord. And in all this, Laman and Lemuel were affronted that their younger brother should rule over them (1 Nephi 18:10);
25)  They were galled by envy and sought to kill their brother – Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael sought to kill Nephi on several occasions (1 Nephi 7:16; 17:48)

Four main brothers came to the Land of Promise:  Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi (1 Nephi 2:5).  These were the sons of Lehi at the time the family left Jerusalem.  Two more sons were born in the wilderness during an eight-year trek (1 Nephi 17:4; 18:7), and were quite young when they reached the Land of Promise for during the voyage, they still required much nourishment (1 Nephi 18:19), very possibly one was still at his mother's breast. However, there can be no doubt that four main brothers were among the Lehi Colony when it reached the Land of Promise.
    Therefore, we should find something in the history or legends regarding the first settlers of this land as brothers, and we do in South America, in the ancient history of Andean Peru.
     Of all the old legends and myths of native beginnings of various cultures, this one of Peru is the most consistent with the Book of Mormon.

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