Ether 7:4-11:23

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Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 7-11
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Ether. The relationship of Chapters 7-11 to the rest of Ether is discussed at Ether.

Story. Chapters 7-11 cover all of Jaredite history between the founding generation of Jared and his brother, and the final generation of Coriantumr and Ether. This middle portion of Ether consists of four major sections. In the first, destruction is averted by repentance. In the other three, secret combinations cause society to be destroyed:

  • Chapter 7 / 7:3b-27: Shule, destruction averted. Shule's brother takes the kingdom from their father. Shule eventually restores the kingdom to his father and then succeeds him as king. King Shule is likewise brought into captivity and is likewise rescued by his sons. In the days of Shule the people revile against the prophets. King Shule protects the prophets, which brings the people to repentance and spares them from destruction.
  • Chapter 8-9a / 8:1-9:15a: Omer and Jared II, first destruction. Jared brings his father King Omer into captivity, but his brothers restore Omer as king. Akish, in order to marry Jared's daughter, employs a secret combination to again overthrow King Omer. The Lord warns Omer to flee. Competing secret combinations cause the destruction of the Jaredites. Moroni strongly warns the Gentiles to put down secret combinations in order to avoid similar destruction.
  • Chapter 9b-10 / 9:15b-10:29: Twelve kings, second destruction. This chapter moves quickly through the reigns of twelve kings. The Jaredites enjoy periods of great righteousness and prosperity. But when King Heth embraces secret combinations and persecutes the prophets, the Jaredites are destroyed — for the second time — by famine and fiery serpents until Heth dies and the people repent. His successor Riplakish oppresses the people until they rise up against him.
  • Chapter 11 / 10:30-11:23: Twelve more kings and captives, third destruction. This chapter moves quickly through the reigns of another twelve kings (or their captive descendants). Eight of the twelve generations listed in this chapter die in captivity. This period is described in terms of increasing wickedness, secret combinations, and rejection of the prophets. Com II protects the prophets but is unable to overcome the secret combinations. Soon after his reign secret combinations lead to ignoring and killing the prophets. The Jaredites are destroyed — for the third time — by war and famine until the people repent.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 7-11 include:

  • Captivity. As the brother of Jared warned, monarchy leads to captivity.
  • Secret Combinations. As Moroni warns, secret combinations lead to destruction unless put down.

Discussion[edit]

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Ether 7-11: Organization of the text[edit]

  • Identifying constituent sections. The opening third of Ether (Chapters 1-6 — 5,304 words) centers on just two main characters, Jared and his prophet brother. The final third of Ether (Chapters 12-15 — 5,738 words) likewise centers on just two main characters, the king Coriantumr and the prophet Ether. All the intervening centuries of Jaredite history are covered here in the middle third (Chapters 7-11 — 5,201 words).
This middle third divides into four sections. The first section (Chapter 7) revolves around Jared's great grandson Shule. The second section revolves around the reign of Shule's son Omer, including Omer's son Jared and Jared's daughter and son in law Akish (Chapters 8-9a). This leaves only two and a half chapters (chapters 9b-11) for an extremely compressed account of more than a thousand years of history. That history is recounted in two sections that can be recognized by their use of inclusions, or repeated elements at the beginning and end of each section. The third section begins and ends with detailed accounts of Jaredite prosperity in a choice and of the poisonous serpents being introduced and eradicated. The fourth section begins and ends with multiple generations of the royal line dwelling in captivity.
  • Relationship of constituent sections. In the first section (Chapter 7) there is substantial contention for the throne, fulfilling the Brother of Jared's statement that the institution of monarchy would lead to captivity. But contention for the throne among aspiring elites does not lead to general destruction among the population.
In the second section (Chapters 8-9a) secret combinations first appear as an additional tool in competition for the throne. Within a generation or so those secret combinations leads to the almost complete destruction of the entire population.
In the third section (Chapters 9b-10) the people become ripe and begin to be destroyed because they cast out the prophets. But Moroni expressly states that this was done according to the commandments of a king who obtained the throne through the same secret plans (9:26-29).
In the fourth section (Chapter 11) the people again begin to be destroyed when the prophets are ordered killed by a contender for the throne and are ignored by the general population, again because of the secret combinations among them.
So while contention for the throne leads to the captivity of unsuccessful elites, secret combinations lead to the destruction of the general population.
It is also significant that only once in all of Ether, in the third section (Chapters 9b-10), Moroni provides the only account of the general population rising up against an oppressive king and exercising any influence over the kingship to hold it accountable to them.
  • Outline.
● Shule: Is protected and in turn protects the prophets, destruction averted (Chapter 7)
• Shule (follows Orihah and Kib) restores kingdom to his father Kib (7:3b-13)
• other half of kingdom restored to Shule (7:14-22)
• Shule protects prophets from the people (7:23-27)
● Omer: Secret combinations introduced, destruction #1 (Chapter 8-9a)
A. secret combinations introduced (8:1-19)
• Omer brougt into captivity and restored to throne, Jared repents (8:1-6)
• daughter of Jared suggests a secret combination (8:7-12)
• Akish's oath initiates the secret combination (8:13-19)
B. Moroni commanded to warn against: secret combinations (8:20-26)
A. secret combinations result in destruction (9:1-15a)
• Omer warned to flee (9:1-3)
• Akish kills his father in law Jared (9:4-6)
• Akish kills his son, another son flees (9:7-9)
• other sons rebel, secret combinations kill all but thirty, Omer rules over a remnant (9:10-15a)
● Twelve kings: Prosperity in a choice land, oppression, destruction #2 (Chapter 9b-10)
a. Emer: prosperity in a choice land (9:15b-22)
b. Coriantum and Com: minimal detail (9:23-25)
c. Heth: embraces secret combinations and persecutes prophets, destruction by famine and serpents until people repent (9:26-35)
d. Shez: descendant remembers the destruction of his fathers and builds up a righteous kingdom (10:1-4)
c. Riplakish: oppresses the people with taxation and servitude until they rise up against him (10:5-8)
d. Morianton: descendant eases the people's burden but is personally wicked (10:9-13a)
b. Kim, Levi, Corom, and Kish: minimal detail (10:13b-18)
a. Lib: serpents destroyed, prosperity in a choice land (10:19-29)
● Twelve kings and captives: Captivity, prophets withdraw, destruction #3 (Chapter 11)
a. Hearthom and four descendants in captivity (10:30-31)
• Com: protects prophets but cannot overcome secret combinations (10:32-11:3)
• Shiblom and Seth: prophets killed by usurper and ignored because of secret combinations, destruction by war and famine until people repent (11:4-9)
• Ahah and Ethem: prophets ignored and withdraw (10-14a)
a. Moron and Coriantor in captivity (11:14b-23)

Ether 7-11: Themes[edit]

  • Treatment of prophets. In verses 7:23-27, king Shule protects the prophets, and the people are spared. In verses 9:28-29 king Heth commands that the prophets be persecuted, and the people are destroyed. But in verses 11:1-3 king Com II protects the prophets, but the people reject the prophets and are destroyed once the new king ascends the throne.
  • Treatment of kings. In verses 8:20-26, the middle of Chapter 8-9a, Moroni warns us to actively oppose secret combinations. In verses 10:5-8, near the middle of another large section, the people rise up and oppose (smite down?) an oppressive king. This is the only time in Ether that the people, as opposed to a power hungry usurper, are described as taking any action to control their own political destiny.
  • Effect of kings. It is so interesting to see the effect that a king has upon his people. We see this over an over again in this book. When a king is good and remembers the Lord than the people in the kingdom usually do the same but when he is bad he usually ignites wickedness throughout the kingdom. It makes me grateful for freedom of religion.

Ether 7 / Verses 7:4-27[edit]

  • Ether 7:4-27. This passage follows on verses 6:12b-7:3a by showing the fulfillment of the Brother of Jared's statement that having a king would lead into captivity. This passage also, like the rest of chapters 7-11, races quickly through multiple generations with much less detail than the opening and closing narratives. But two things distinguish this passage from the remainder of chapters 7-11: (1) there are no secret combinations, and (2) while there is captivity, there is no widespread destruction.

Ether 8-9a / Verses 8:1-9:15a[edit]

Ether 9b-10 / Verses 9:15b-10:29[edit]

  • Verse 10:3-8: Intervention in the selection of kings. In verse 10:3 Shez II, a son seeking to take the throne from his righteous father Shez I, is smitten by a robber. In verses 10:5-8, the people rise up and oppose (smite down?) the next king, who is oppressive. This parallel is suggestive.
  • Verse 9:19: Elephants. Hugh Nibley saw the mention of "elephants" in this verse as evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon. See his book Lehi in the Desert and The World of Jaredites (ISBN 0884940225).
  • Verse 10:28: Hyperbole Moroni's phrase here "never could be a people more blessed than were they" seems like hyperbole in light of the blessings other communities have received (e.g. the City of Enoch).

Ether 11 / Verses 10:30-11:23[edit]

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  • Verse 8:9:: Use of history. How are we to understand the daughter's use of history for unrighteous purposes? Compare with Shule's remembering "the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land; wherefore he did execute judgment in righteousness all his days" (Ether 7:27).
  • Verse 8:10-11:: Akish's character. What do we learn of Akish's character, given that the daughter of Jared chose him to seduce? What does Omer's friendship with Akish tell us about Omer? If the daughter of Jared knew Akish to be capable of treachery, did Omer?
  • Verse 8:13-14:: Uninformed consent. Akish administers the oath before revealing his plan. What kind of people would Akish's relations have needed to be to swear such an oath? Were they blindly loyal to Akish? Were they enticed by greed? Did they suspect his plan?
  • Verse 8:15:: Oaths from Cain. Cain seems not to have had any accomplices. What does Cain's murder have to do with the oaths Akish administered?
  • Verse 8:23:: The work, yea, even the work of destruction. Was their language structure such that the describer “of destruction” came before the noun, so that when he first wrote “the work” he couldn't just add “of destruction” after it, but had to go back and re-write it completely to add the modifier “of destruction?” Otherwise why repeat what looks like a not too important item “the work”?
  • Verse 9:22:: The Son of Righteousness. It states that Emer saw the Son of Righteousness. Why are no more details given of this vision? What is the significance of referring to Christ here as the "Son of Righteousness"?
  • Verses 9:31-33:: Animals in America. This explains why Lehi's family found the cow and ox, etc. already present when they arrived in America. (1 Ne 18:25)
  • Verse 10:5:: Borrowed phrase? When this verse says the king did not "that which was right in the sight of the Lord," is it borrowing a formulaic phrase from the Old Testament?
  • Verse 10:30:: Hearthom. After such an elaborate description of the wealth and prosperity of the people, why does Moroni neglect to explain how and why Hearthom lost his kingdom?
  • Verse 11:22:: Social institutions. How did the social and political institutions and relationships they built make them unresponsive to revelation?

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Notes[edit]

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