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Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapter 6 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.
Story. The Jaredite travels that began in Chapter 1b-2 are concluded in Chapter 6. This concluding half consists of two major sections:
- ● The ocean journey (Chapter 6a)
- ● Settling in the promised land (Chapter 6b)
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 6 include:
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Ether 6a / Verses 6:1-12: The ocean journey
- Ether 1b-2 recounted the travels of the Jaredites in the Old World. Chapters 3-5 interrupted that travel narrative to recount the Brother of Jared's encounter with the Lord. Chapter 6 resumes the travel narrative where the it left off at the end of chapter 2. All of chapters 1b-6 form a single unit as they tell the story of the first generation Jaredites receiving a land of inheritance. The relationship of verses 2:13-25 to the rest of chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6. Verses 2:13-25 can be outlined as follows:
- a. subsist on food and light from two stones (2-4)
- b. wind, protected, Noah (5-8)
- c. praise God the whole way (9)
- b. light, protected, Noah (10-12a)
- b. wind, protected, Noah (5-8)
- a. arrive in promised land and tender mercies (12b)
- Ether 6:2-4. In verse 3 the stones are to give light to men, women and children, not specifically to these particular people. Hence their story is meant to be instructive for all of us.
- Chaos of life motif. Crossing the ocean is a "chaos of mortal life" motif. In the ancient world wind often symbolized life or spirit, good things from God. Large open bodies of untamed water, on the other hand, often symbolized the evil forces opposing God, namely death and chaos.
- The Lord gives two stones to each boat so they will not go through life in darkness. The stones recall the urim and thummim, which are tools for receiving revelation and dispelling spiritual darkness. Eight submerged boats recalls baptism in particular and accountability in general. The people never cease to praise God, the wind of the Lord's spirit never ceases to blow upon them, and therefore no evil power can harm or overcome them, and they all end up reunited in the promised land of inheritance that the Lord has prepared for them. This is just like committing ourselves to mortality where we are surrounded and assaulted by the forces of evil and must rely upon the Lord's guidance and protection if we are to arrive at the end in the promised land of heaven.
Ether 6b / Verses 6:13-7:3: Settling in the promised land
- a. multiply, walk humbly, and prosperous (13-18)
- b. stewardship accounting of leadership (19-21)
- b. allowing the people to choose a king (22-27)
- a. prosperous, walk humbly, and multiply (6:27-7:3)
- Ether 6:19-21. Other final stewardship accountings include Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman where he blessed his posterity, Jacob blessing his sons at the end of Genesis, King Benjamin preaching to his people in Mosiah 2-5, and Alma the Younger to his sons in Alma 36-42. Here the story is silent about blessing or telling, and instead recounts the significant fact that Jared and his Brother asked what the people wanted.
- Ether 6:22-27. Here the people request a king. The Brother of Jared, the prophet, warns that this will lead to captivity. But the political leader Jared for the first time rejects the prophet's advice and the people choose a king. The opening narrative has shown the people travel to and establish themselves in the promised land under very favorable conditions as they make requests of the Lord and follow his instructions. But at the end of the opening narrative they ask a person, albeit the prophet, and then reject his warning. That single ignored warning establishes a principal difference between the Jaredite experience with monarchy (in Ether) and the Nephite experience rejecting unaccountable monarchy in favor of accountable democracy (in Mosiah-Helaman). It is interesting that the people surrender their personal accountability to a king on the same occasion at which Jared and his Brother appear to be making their final accounting of their mortal stewardships.
- Ether 6:23. Here the Brother of Jared warns that monarchy leads to captivity. In the central passage of Ether (8:20-26) Moroni will warn that secret combinations lead to destruction. In the central division of Ether (chapters 7-11) the Jaredites will suffer repeated destructions as a result of secret combinations. They will also on occasion rise up and hold their monarchs accountable when their captivity to a king becomes too oppressive.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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