Alma Chapter 52 Critique
Setting: Ammoron succeeds
Amalickiah as king of the Lamanites—Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi lead the
Nephites in a victorious war against the Lamanites—The city of Mulek is
retaken, and Jacob the Zoramite is slain. About 66–64 B.C.
Verses 1-6: And now, it came to
pass in the twenty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the
people of Nephi, behold, when the Lamanites awoke on the first morning
of the first month, behold, they found Amalickiah was dead in his own
tent; and they also saw that Teancum was ready to give them battle on
that day. And now, when the Lamanites saw this they were affrighted;
and they abandoned their design in marching into the land northward,
and retreated with all their army into the city of Mulek, and sought
protection in their fortifications. And it came to pass that the
brother of Amalickiah was appointed king over the people; and his name
was Ammoron; thus king Ammoron, the brother of king Amalickiah, was
appointed to reign in his stead. And it came to pass that he did
command that his people should maintain those cities, which they had
taken by the shedding of blood; for they had not taken any cities save
they had lost much blood. And now, Teancum saw that the Lamanites were
determined to maintain those cities which they had taken, and those
parts of the land which they had obtained possession of; and also
seeing the enormity of their number, Teancum thought it was not
expedient that he should attempt to attack them in their forts. But he
kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war; yea, and
truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up
walls round about and preparing places of resort.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know that Venezuela Indians were hunters-gatherers.
When the Spanish arrived in Aruba around 1500 they found the Caiquetios
in Aruba, living much as they did in the Stone Age. The Caiquetios had
probably migrated to Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire in canoes made from
hollowed out logs they used for fishing. Such crossings from the
Paraguana peninsula in Venezuela, across the 17 miles of open sea to
Aruba, would be possible in the canoes the Caiquetios of Venezuela
built. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 7-8: And it came to pass
that he kept thus preparing for war until Moroni had sent a large
number of men to strengthen his army. And Moroni also sent orders unto
him that he should retain all the prisoners who fell into his hands;
for as the Lamanites had taken many prisoners, that he should retain
all the prisoners of the Lamanites as a ransom for those whom the
Lamanites had taken.
Note: Prisoners were typically sacrificed to pagan gods.
Important rituals such as the dedication of major building projects or
the enthronement of a new ruler required a human offering. The
sacrifice of an enemy king was the most prized offering, and such a
sacrifice involved decapitation of the captive ruler in a ritual
reenactment of the decapitation of the Maya maize god by the Maya death
gods. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 9-10: And he also sent
orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure
the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites
should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every
side. And Moroni also sent unto him, desiring him that he would be
faithful in maintaining that quarter of the land, and that he would
seek every opportunity to scourge the Lamanites in that quarter, as
much as was in his power, that perhaps he might take again by stratagem
or some other way those cities which had been taken out of their hands;
and that he also would fortify and strengthen the cities round about,
which had not fallen into the hands of the Lamanites.
Note: The “narrow pass” of the Darien Gap did not need to be secured.
The geography of the Darién Gap on the Colombian side is dominated
primarily by the river delta of the Atrato River, which creates a flat
marshland at least 80 km (50 mi) wide, half of this being swampland.
The Serranía del Baudó occupy Colombia's Pacific coast and extend into
Panama. The Panamanian side, in sharp contrast, is a mountainous
rainforest, with terrain reaching from 60 m (200 ft) in the valley
floors to 1,845 m (6,053 ft) at the tallest peak (Cerro Tacarcuna).
Verses 11-14: And he also said
unto him, I would come unto you, but behold, the Lamanites are upon us
in the borders of the land by the west sea; and behold, I go against
them, therefore I cannot come unto you. Now, the king (Ammoron) had
departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and had made known unto the
queen concerning the death of his brother, and had gathered together a
large number of men, and had marched forth against the Nephites on the
borders by the west sea. And thus he was endeavoring to harass the
Nephites, and to draw away a part of their forces to that part of the
land, while he had commanded those whom he had left to possess the
cities which he had taken, that they should also harass the Nephites on
the borders by the east sea, and should take possession of their lands
as much as it was in their power, according to the power of their
armies. And thus were the Nephites in those dangerous circumstances in
the ending of the twenty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over
the people of Nephi.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know about the Andean Mountains.
The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world. It is
a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South
America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700
km (120 to 430 mi) wide (widest between 18° south and 20° south
latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The
Andes extend from north to south through seven South American
countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and
Argentina. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 15-17: But behold, it
came to pass in the twenty and seventh year of the reign of the judges,
that Teancum, by the command of Moroni—who had established armies to
protect the south and the west borders of the land, and had begun his
march towards the land Bountiful, that he might assist Teancum with his
men in retaking the cities which they had lost— And it came to pass
that Teancum had received orders to make an attack upon the city of
Mulek, and retake it if it were possible. And it came to pass that
Teancum made preparations to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and
march forth with his army against the Lamanites; but he saw that it was
impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their
fortifications; therefore he abandoned his designs and returned again
to the city Bountiful, to wait for the coming of Moroni, that he might
receive strength to his army.
Note: No fortified cities ever existed in eastern Venezuela.
In 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan
coast. The stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the
navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, so he named the
region "Veneziola". Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 18-19: And it came to
pass that Moroni did arrive with his army at the land of Bountiful, in
the latter end of the twenty and seventh year of the reign of the
judges over the people of Nephi. And in the commencement of the twenty
and eighth year, Moroni and Teancum and many of the chief captains held
a council of war—what they should do to cause the Lamanites to come out
against them to battle; or that they might by some means flatter them
out of their strongholds, that they might gain advantage over them and
take again the city of Mulek.
Note: There were no ancient cities in northern South America.
Making up for lack of written records, archaeologists have to date
uncovered 273 Amerindian archeological sites on only 310 km² of the
land recovered from the Sinnamary River by the Petit-Saut Dam. Some
date back as far as two thousand years, establishing the antiquity of
the Amerindian presence in this area. The weak historical clues
available indicate that before 1492, the Kali'na inhabited the coast
(from the mouth of the Amazon River to that of the Orinoco), dividing
their territory with the Arawak, against whom they fought during their
expansion toward the east and the Amazon River. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 20-22: And it came to
pass they sent embassies to the army of the Lamanites, which protected
the city of Mulek, to their leader, whose name was Jacob, desiring him
that he would come out with his armies to meet them upon the plains
between the two cities. But behold, Jacob, who was a Zoramite, would
not come out with his army to meet them upon the plains. And it came to
pass that Moroni, having no hopes of meeting them upon fair grounds,
therefore, he resolved upon a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites
out of their strongholds. Therefore he caused that Teancum should take
a small number of men and march down near the seashore; and Moroni and
his army, by night, marched in the wilderness, on the west of the city
Mulek; and thus, on the morrow, when the guards of the Lamanites had
discovered Teancum, they ran and told it unto Jacob, their leader.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know about the Orinoco Delta.
The Orinoco Delta is fan-shaped, formed by the Orinoco River as it
splits into numerous distributaries, called caños, which meander
through the delta on their way to the sea. The main distributary is
called the Rio Grande, which empties south-southeast through the
southern portion of the delta, and the second major distributary is
Caño Manamo, which runs northward along the western edge of the delta.
Verses 23-26: And it came to
pass that the armies of the Lamanites did march forth against Teancum,
supposing by their numbers to overpower Teancum because of the
smallness of his numbers. And as Teancum saw the armies of the
Lamanites coming out against him he began to retreat down by the
seashore, northward. And it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw
that he began to flee, they took courage and pursued them with vigor.
And while Teancum was thus leading away the Lamanites who were pursuing
them in vain, behold, Moroni commanded that a part of his army who were
with him should march forth into the city, and take possession of it.
And thus they did, and slew all those who had been left to protect the
city, yea, all those who would not yield up their weapons of war. And
thus Moroni had obtained possession of the city Mulek with a part of
his army, while he marched with the remainder to meet the Lamanites
when they should return from the pursuit of Teancum.
Note: There were no ancient cities in northern South America.
The Kalina, also known as the Caribs, mainland Caribs and several other
names, are an indigenous people native to the northern coastal areas of
South America. Today, the Kalina live largely in villages on the rivers
and coasts of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil.
Verses 27-30: And it came to
pass that the Lamanites did pursue Teancum until they came near the
city Bountiful, and then they were met by Lehi and a small army, which
had been left to protect the city Bountiful. And now behold, when the
chief captains of the Lamanites had beheld Lehi with his army coming
against them, they fled in much confusion, lest perhaps they should not
obtain the city Mulek before Lehi should overtake them; for they were
wearied because of their march, and the men of Lehi were fresh. Now the
Lamanites did not know that Moroni had been in their rear with his
army; and all they feared was Lehi and his men. Now Lehi was not
desirous to overtake them till they should meet Moroni and his army.
Note: Why didn’t the Lamanites encounter the Maracaibo Basin in their 1,000 mile march?
The Maracaibo Basin is a foreland basin found in the northwestern
corner of Venezuela in South America. Covering over 50,000 square km,
it is a hydrocarbon-rich region that has produced over 30 billion bbl
of oil with an estimated 44 billion bbl yet to be recovered. The basin
is characterized by a large shallow lake, Lake Maracaibo, located near
its center. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 31-35: And it came to
pass that before the Lamanites had retreated far they were surrounded
by the Nephites, by the men of Moroni on one hand, and the men of Lehi
on the other, all of whom were fresh and full of strength; but the
Lamanites were wearied because of their long march. And Moroni
commanded his men that they should fall upon them until they had given
up their weapons of war. And it came to pass that Jacob, being their
leader, being also a Zoramite, and having an unconquerable spirit, he
led the Lamanites forth to battle with exceeding fury against Moroni.
Moroni being in their course of march, therefore Jacob was determined
to slay them and cut his way through to the city of Mulek. But behold,
Moroni and his men were more powerful; therefore they did not give way
before the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they fought on both
hands with exceeding fury; and there were many slain on both sides;
yea, and Moroni was wounded and Jacob was killed.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know about the Cordillera de Merida mountain ranges.
The Cordillera de Mérida is a series of mountain ranges, or massif, in
northwestern Venezuela. The Cordillera de Mérida is a northeastern
extension of the Andes Mountains. The ranges run southwest-northeast
between the Venezuelan-Colombian border and the Venezuelan Coastal
Ranges. The Táchira depression separates the Cordillera de Mérida from
the Cordillera Oriental, which forms the Colombia-Venezuela border.
Verses 36-40: And Lehi pressed
upon their rear with such fury with his strong men, that the Lamanites
in the rear delivered up their weapons of war; and the remainder of
them, being much confused, knew not whither to go or to strike. Now
Moroni seeing their confusion, he said unto them: If ye will bring
forth your weapons of war and deliver them up, behold we will forbear
shedding your blood. And it came to pass that when the Lamanites had
heard these words, their chief captains, all those who were not slain,
came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni,
and also commanded their men that they should do the same. But behold,
there were many that would not; and those who would not deliver up
their swords were taken and bound, and their weapons of war were taken
from them, and they were compelled to march with their brethren forth
into the land Bountiful. And now the number of prisoners who were taken
exceeded more than the number of those who had been slain, yea, more
than those who had been slain on both sides.
Note: Native Americans never used swords as weapons.
Cutting weapons were used by the Native Americans for combat as well as
hunting. They preferred shorter blades, and did not use long cutting
weapons, like the swords that the Europeans used at the time. Wikipedia
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