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Relationship to Chapters 12-15. The relationship of Chapters 13b-15 to the rest of Chapters 12-15 is discussed at Chapters 12-15.
Story. Chapters 13b-15 consists of three major sections:
- Ether's warning to avoid destruction by repenting (Chapter 13b)
- Coriantumr tries to avoid destruction by fighting four usurpers (Chapter 14)
- Coriantumr tries to avoid destruction by negotiating, destruction fulfilled over eight days (Chapter 15)
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 13b-15 include:
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● Ether's warning to avoid destruction by repenting (Chapter 13b)
- a. Ether rejected, views destruction from hiding (13:13-14)
- a. Ether prophesies final destruction and in hiding, no one repents (13:20-22)
● Coriantumr tries to avoid destruction by fighting four usurpers (Chapter 14)
- a. Corinatumr and Shared battle three days (13:23-30)
- a. Coriantumr and Shiz battle three days (14:26-31)
● Coriantumr tries to avoid destruction by negotiating, destruction fulfilled over eight days (Chapter 15)
- a. Coriantumr sees that prophecy is being fulfilled, tries to avoid destruction by negotiating (15:1-5)
- b. battle at seashore, Coriantumr faints (15:6-11)
- b. Shiz and Coriantumr both faint, Coriantumr kills Shiz (15:29b-32)
- a. Ether's witness that prophesied destruction is fulfilled (15:33-34)
How to avoid destruction
A main point of this section is that the destruction can be avoided only through repentance. Ether tells Coriantumr at the beginning to repent. Coriantumr tried to overcome the destructive forces within his society instead by force of arms, or by relying upon the arm of flesh. He then tries to reach an accommodation through negotiation. Neither works because he does not repent as the prophet insisted must be done. So Coriantumr and his people are destroyed over the course of an eight day battle.
The first section (verses 13:13-22) sets up the thesis of the closing narrative in Ether: Destruction may be avoided only by repentance. This is that the prophet Ether tells the king Coriantumr. The rest of this closing narrative is a lesson about what happens when the king ignores this message from the prophet. Throughout this closing narrative Coriantumr thinks he is fighting a succession of competing political foes: Shared, Gilead, Lib, Shiz, but really it is about the conflict between Coriantumr and the prophet Ether.
Ether 13b / Verses 13:13-22
- Ether 13:20-22. In Verse 12:1-3; 13:2, 13 the people rejected Ether's warning to repent. Now in Verse 13:20-22 the king Coriantumr also rejects the warning to repent. Coriantumr was given the chance to repent for his people, much like a Davidic king who stands between the Lord and his people.
Ether 14 / Verses 13:23-14:31
- Ether 13:23-30. We do not know anything about the geography mentioned in the first episode (13:23-30) except that "hills, plains and valleys" may be intended to mean everywhere.
- Ether 13:27: Prophecy. This verse seems to state that Ether would be alive with Coriantumr when he is found in the book of Omni. But then in the last chapter of Ether, it states that all of the Lord's words had been fulfilled, yet I still don't see how Ether saw the Nephites possess this land. Does anyone have any insight into this passage?
- One view might be that when Ether "beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled" (Ether 15:34), Ether witnessed the people of Zarahemla discover Coriantumr. This is reading a bit into the text, but would seem to resolve the issue. Another view might be that the prophecy in verse 21 only consists of the first sentence—that Coriantumr's household would all be destroyed except himself—and that the rest of the verse is an editorial comment by a later redactor.
- Ether 13:31-14:2, 14:17-25. In the first of these two episodes (13:31-14:2) the great curse is that people cannot hang on to their possessions. In the second, parallel episode (14:17-25), the piles of dead bodies indicate that one has trouble even hanging to his or her own life.
- Ether 14:3-8, 11-17. We know that Moron was the Jaredite capitol (7:6; 14:6). We also know that the Wilderness of Akish shares the same name with the man who first introduced secret combinations to the Jaredite people, that he ascended the throne through intrigue against his own father, and that under his rule the Jaredite people were almost completely destroyed for the first time. A connection is thus drawn in the middle episodes (14:3-17) between Corinatumr and his challengers, who alternately occupy these two locations. In fact, at the center of this section (13:23-14:31) it is Coriantumr who dwells in the Wilderness of Akish. Coriantumr and his challengers are thus shown to really all be the same, and Coriantumr is not be viewed as better than his challengers or as the last remaining bastion of civil order.
- Ether 14:9-10. Gilead is murdered by his high priest (nice religion!) while sitting on his throne, who is in turn killed in a hidden secret passageway. While the battles in most of this section (13:23-14:31) show open formal challenges for power, these two central events demonstrate that in an environment of secret combinations no one can be trusted anywhere. Even far removed from battle, even the most powerful man in the country is not safe, not on his public throne, not in a secret passage.
Ether 15 / Verses 15:1-34
- Baptism occurs at the age of eight years, circumcision at eight days, Noah was saved as one of eight people on the ark, the Jaredites arrived in eight boats, and now the Jaredites are destroyed in eight days of battle. They are being held accountable by God.
- Ether 15:1-5: Corinatumr misunderstands his situation. The destruction is finally reaching Coriantumr's heart. He wants it to stop. But the problem is that he still fails to recognize his true opponent. He still thinks he can cut a deal with Shiz. In fact he is standing in opposition to God and his prophet Ether, and Ether has already provided the terms under which the destruction will stop. Because Coriantumr instead asks the wrong person (Shiz) to stop the destruction on the wrong terms, the effort is doomed to fail before it even begins.
- Ether 15:1-5: Coriantumr is not a good shepherd. In the opening section of this closing narrative Coriantumr was unwilling to repent, or to give up his way of life. Here he is unwilling to give up his life. He is not a good shepherd.
- Ether 15:12-15. Everyone is forcibly brought into this Satanic machine of destruction, and people are denied the choice of opting out. Society is ripe for destruction.
- Ether 15:15-17. You cannot run away from this machine of destruction. It will chase you down.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Ether 15:31: Death of Shiz. Why is there such a graphic description of the death of Shiz? What's to be gained from reading this?
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