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Ether 11


A Confirming Covenant Witness

      Mormon 8 -- Moroni



Ether 11:4 Shiblom (Shiblon):


     In Ether 11:4 we find the name "Shiblom." The reader should note that in the genealogical listing in Ether 1:11-12, Shiblom's name is given with a slightly different ending of "Shiblon." Here in chapter 11, Shiblon had to fight a great war against those who followed his brother.

     According to Warren and Palmer, it is interesting to note that the name "Shiblon" can mean "lion cub" in Semitic languages (Urrutia:1982). In the Popol Vuh, an ancient Mesoamerican history of their native origins, one of the hero twins carries the name of Ixbalanque. It means "small jaguar deer." The consonants of the name correspond to the name of Shiblon! The meaning of those two names both mean a small animal (lion in the Semitic language and jaguar in Maya). The other twin is called Huapu, possibly referring to Shiblon's brother. It can mean hunter and flower (Warren, 1983). [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, p. 8-22, unpublished]


Ether 11:4 Shiblom:


     According to research by the Zarahemla Research Foundation, the first occurrence of the name for the son of Com is spelled "Shiblon" (Ether 1:12) in the Printers Manuscript. However, the six references to the son of Com found in Ether 11:4-9 are all spelled "Shiblom." [Zarahemla Research Foundation, A Comparison of the Manuscripts and Editions of the Book of Mormon, p. 269]

       Note* Because the name Shiblom ends with the letter "m," it might be more characteristic of Jaredite names. This practice of ending names with "m" is called "mimmation," and has been commented on by Hugh Nibley. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]


Ether 11:4 There Began to Be an Exceeding Great War in All the Land:


     According to John Sorenson, Ether 11 makes clear that from the time Com ruled, the system was in trouble. The internal dating of the account puts the sensational destruction at San Lorenzo close to the time of the troubles mentioned in Ether 11:4 and 6, although of course we have no way to confirm a direct correlation. [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 119]


Ether 11:7 A Great Destruction Such an One As Never Had Been Known:


     During the reign of Shiblom, "the brother of Shiblom rebelled against him, and there began to be an exceeding great war in all the land." Shiblom's response was to put to death all the prophets "who prophesied of the destruction of the people." The record states that, they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations; wherefore, there began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth. (Ether 11:7)


     So awful was this destruction that the people began to repent, but their king, Shiblom, was slain. A man by the name of Seth is mentioned here as being "brought into captivity, and did dwell in captivity all his days," yet nothing is said here about the genealogy of Seth. However, in Ether 1:11 we find that Seth was "the son of Shiblon."

     While in captivity, Seth had a son he named Ahah. When Ahah reached manhood he escaped, organized a counter revolution, and recaptured the kingdom (apparently from his uncle, the brother of Shiblom). King Ahah was unrighteous and though he held the throne all his life, "he did cause the shedding of much blood; and few were his days."


Ether 11:11 Ethem, Being a Descendant of Ahah, Did Obtain the Kingdom:


     Moroni writes few details concerning the period following Ahah's short and bloody reign, except that "Ethem, being a descendant of Ahah, did obtain the kingdom." (Ether 11:11). This might suggest that considerable time may have passed in the interim; however, Ether 1:9 says that "Ethem was the son of Ahah." King Ethem was also wicked to the point that "there came many prophets and prophesied again unto the people . . . that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth except they repented of their iniquities." Yet, Ethem and the people continued in their wickedness and the prophets withdrew. King Ethem was succeeded by his son, Moron, who was no better than his wicked father.


Ether 11:9-14 Seth . . . Ahah . . . Ethem . . . Moron:


     According to Warren and Ferguson, four generations followed Shiblom in which there were iniquitous kings; they were Seth, Ahah, Ethem, and Moron (see Ether 11:9-14). At the site of La Venta, there are in fact four colossal Olmec heads. It is interesting to compare the number of rulers at both San Lorenzo and La Venta with the numbers of Olmec colossal heads discovered. Eight colossal heads have been found at San Lorenzo. Although the book of Ether does not tell us how many kings there were in the ruling class, the subjected class of Jaredites had eight generations from Lib to Shiblom. In a SEHA newsletter (#103.60, August 12, 1967) Dr. Fred W Nelson Jr. concludes that "these heads could have been sculpted to represent the kings or famous generals of the period."

     These giant Olmec stone heads were quarried and carved in the Tuxtla mountains, and then transported by land and water to the site of San Lorenzo. The actual distance travelled would have been over eighty kilometers. Some of those monuments weighed twenty tons!      

     Though the heads superficially appear negroid, most experts now dismiss that possibility. As far as the stubby noses and facial features, Michael Coe makes the comment that to sculpt a protruding nose would have meant removing several additional tons of basalt by the most tedious process and would have increased the chances of breakage in transport. In actuality, very little rock was removed from the boulders. [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, pp. 8-12--16]


Geographical Theory Map: Ether 11:15 - 11:32 Ether Prophesies Doom to Coriantumr (Chronology)


Ether 11:15 There Arose a Mighty Man among Them . . . He Did Overthrow Half of the Kingdom:


     Ether 11:15 says that,

           there arose a rebellion among the people [of King Moron], because of the secret combination which was built up . . . and there arose a mighty man among them in iniquity, and gave battle unto Moron, in which he did overthrow the half of the kingdom; and he did maintain the half of the kingdom for many years. And it came to pass that Moron did overthrow him, and did obtain the kingdom again.


     The word "overthrow" seems to imply an internal conflict, but one might ask, From where did King Moron still reign over half of the kingdom? And from where did the "mighty man" reign over the other half of the kingdom? [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]


Ether 11:17 There Arose Another Mighty Man; and He Was a Descendant of the Brother of Jared:


     After King Moron had regained the kingdom from the first "mighty man," there arose "another mighty man, and he was a descendant of the brother of Jared" (Ether 11:17). This second "mighty man" overthrew King Moron and obtained the kingdom; "wherefore, Moron dwelt in captivity all the remainder of his days; and he begat Coriantor. . . . and Coriantor dwelt in captivity all his days. . . and Coriantor begat Ether" (Ether 11:18,19,23). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]


Ether 11:22 And They Did Reject All the Words of the Prophets:


     The last prophet called of God to warn the Jaredite nation and to witness against them was Ether, the son of Coriantor. Donl Peterson notes that Moroni could have empathized with Ether, since both were prophets of God sent to preach to a people who were "past feeling" and who "did reject all the words of the prophets" (Ether 11:23). Both men were the last of their once great civilizations, and both were called upon to record their final struggles and then were charged to be responsible for preserving the precious records of their fallen people. [H. Donl Peterson, Moroni: Ancient Prophet Modern Messenger, p. 47]