JOHN - Please help me understand the difference
in the “large stone’s engravings” from Omni 20-22 and
the engravings on the 24 plates of gold (Mosiah 8:8-9) discovered by the
people of Limhi.
In the book of Omni (20-22) we learn from Amaleki that Mosiah (Benjamin’s father) received a large stone with engravings on it that he translated.
20 And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.
21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.
22 It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people; and the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward.
This is obviously different than the 24 plates translated by the other Mosiah (Benjamin’s son). Mosiah 8:8-9 states:
8 And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel.
9 And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold.
It sounds as if the early people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) originally discovered Coriantumr and the large stone containing a brief Jaredite history. Why, then, are the people of Limhi credited with discovering these people? I’m also presuming that much more information was contained on the 24 plates than was on the large stone.
JOEL - I think the Book of Mormon makes it clear that both the people of Zarahemla and the people of Limhi can share the credit for discovering the Jaredites.
You are correct in that Mosiah I first found out about the Jaredites through the large stone that was given to him by the Mulekites.
After Coriantumr killed Shiz he fell to earth as if he had no life (Ether 15:32). This is the last we know of him until in Omni, which tells of the Mulekites, who according to the large stone, apparently found him after he had wandered south to Zarahemla where he stayed for about nine months(Omni 1:21).
Fast forward a couple of generations later, King Limhi reported to Ammon that he had sent out an exploring party which had discovered ruins and gold plates on a battleground to the distant north.
One would think that Ammon would have known who the people were who once lived there, because of the historical experience of Mosiah I and the large stone and that he would have mentioned this fact to Limhi.
But Ammon gives no hint of making any such mental connection, either to the Coriantumr tradition or to Mulek. The two incidents are separated by as much as 160 years, so it is possible that, because it happened so long ago, that Ammon simply never heard of the large stone's account of Coriantumr's survival, or perhaps he belonged to a section of Zarahemla's people who had not heard about it. And of course the people of Limhi didn't know about it before either.
Remember also that Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon from hundreds of other plates which probably had a lot more detailed information about this.
I think we just have to look at it as two different groups of people independently discovering the same thing.
The main difference between the two records(large stone and 24 plates) is that the large stone more particularly referred to Corriantumr and what happened during his reign and his 9 month stay with the Mulekites.
The 24 gold plates found later by King Limhi gave a much more extensive record of the Jaredite nation.
JOHN - Since the Brass Plates were maintained in Jerusalem by Laban, why were they written in Egyptian? Mosiah 1:3-4
3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.
4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.
JOEL - The Brass plates were probably not started until after the flood and the tower of Babel, as there was no Egyptian language before these events. And they were probably not started until after the Israelites went down into Egypt in the days of Joseph.
Scholars have suggested that records from which the brass plates were taken were originally in Hebrew but then later translated into Egyptian. Laban had a copy of the Egyptian translation.
Noone knows for sure why they were written with Egyptian characters. However, the Israelites spent centuries in Egyptian bondage and since Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham, spent a total of ninety-three years in Egypt, he surely would have become proficient in the language of the Pharaohs. He was a distinguished member of the pharaoh's court and even married an Egyptian wife (Gen. 41:45). That the records of his posterity should be kept in Egyptian is not surprising. Moses, spent the first forty years of his life in Egypt and "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22).
So these are a few reasons I can think of why Laban's brass records were written in the Egyptian language.
Return to top
Return to Questions