Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, October 24

BOOK OF MORMON: IMAGERY OF THE CHIEF ZERAHEMNAH’S SCALP LIFTED UP ON THE SWORD by grego

BOOK OF MORMON: IMAGERY OF THE CHIEF ZERAHEMNAH’S SCALP LIFTED UP ON THE SWORD

grego
(c) 2009

I opened the Book of Mormon the other day, and something hit me.
I had written this before, about Captain Moroni and covenants:
“In fact, Mormon shows that Captain Moroni and his way of dealing with men is representative of God. There is an abrupt change from Alma’s spiritual treatise to his son regarding the justice and mercy of God towards sinners in Alma 42, to the episode of Zerahemnah’s attack and Moroni’s defense in Alma 43 and 44. However, the parallels are many. In Alma 42 we read of God’s plan of salvation; he is a just God that allows sinners to suffer the consequence of breaking the law, which is death; but he is also a merciful God in that sinners may be redeemed, but only by choosing to obey a covenant that God puts forth. Moroni treats the enemies of freedom the same way, according to their circumstances. When Zerahemnah and the Lamanites sin in attacking the Nephites, Moroni gives them two choices–die, which is your natural consequence of being an enemy; or take an oath to never come back and fight (Alma 44:6). Interestingly, Zerahemnah tries another trade-off (Alma 44:8)–one in which mercy robs justice; Moroni therefore necessarily refuses (see Alma 42:25)…. Just like God, Moroni gives men liberty to choose death or life (for example, see 2 Nephi 10:23, Helaman 14:30-31, 2 Nephi 2:27). (King Benjamin mentioned that the natural man is an enemy of God.) For Mormon, Moroni is the epitome of mortal man attaining godliness; the best representative of lion and lamb, of justice and mercy; the closest and clearest that a man has become Man (see 3 Nephi 11:8), other than Jesus Christ himself.

Now, I read Alma 44 again, and I connected something in a way I hadn’t before: the imagery and metaphor of putting the scalp on the sword and lifting it up, and the promise of similarity between that and what the Lamanites would suffer if they didn’t enter into the covenant of peace.
Here it is in Alma 44:
1 And it came to pass that they did stop and withdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: Behold, Zerahemnah, that we do not desire to be men of blood. Ye know that ye are in our hands, yet we do not desire to slay you.
5 And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God…
6 …I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us.
7 And now, if ye do not this, behold, ye are in our hands, and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you, and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies, that ye may become extinct…
8 And now it came to pass that when Zerahemnah had heard these sayings he came forth and delivered up his sword and his cimeter, and his bow into the hands of Moroni…
10 And now when Zerahemnah had made an end of speaking these words, Moroni returned the sword and the weapons of war, which he had received, unto Zerahemnah, saying: Behold, we will end the conflict.
11 Now I cannot recall the words which I have spoken, therefore as the Lord liveth, ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath that ye will not return again against us to war. Now as ye are in our hands we will spill your blood upon the ground, or ye shall submit to the conditions which I have proposed.
12 And now when Moroni had said these words, Zerahemnah retained his sword, and he was angry with Moroni, and he rushed forward that he might slay Moroni; but as he raised his sword, behold, one of Moroni’s soldiers smote it even to the earth, and it broke by the hilt; and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers.
13 And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, TOOK UP THE SCALP FROM OFF THE GROUND BY THE HAIR, AND LAID IT UPON THE POINT OF HIS SWORD, AND STRETCHED IT FORTH UNTO THEM, SAYING UNTO THEM WITH A LOUD VOICE:
14 EVEN AS THIS SCALP HAS FALLEN TO THE EARTH, WHICH IS THE SCALP OF YOUR CHIEF, SO SHALL YE FALL TO THE EARTH EXCEPT YE WILL DELIVER UP YOUR WEAPONS OF WAR AND DEPART WITH A COVENANT OF PEACE.
15 Now there were many, when they heard these words and saw the scalp which was upon the sword, that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. And as many as entered into a covenant they suffered to depart into the wilderness.

This reminded me of other scriptures:

1 Nephi 11:33 And I, Nephi, saw that HE (CHRIST) WAS LIFTED UP UPON THE CROSS AND SLAIN FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD.

3 Nephi:14 And my Father sent me that I might be LIFTED UP UPON THE CROSS; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, TO BE JUDGED of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And FOR THIS CAUSE HAVE I BEEN LIFTED UP; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause HE FULFILLETH THE WORDS WHICH HE HATH GIVEN, AND HE LIETH NOT, BUT FULFILLETH ALL HIS WORDS.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:1 I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.
2 I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this THAT I MIGHT SUBDUE ALL THINGS UNTO MYSELF—
3 Retaining all power, EVEN TO THE DESTROYING OF SATAN AND HIS WORKS at the end of the world, and the last GREAT DAY OF JUDGMENT, WHICH I SHALL PASS UPON THE INHABITANTS THEREOF, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.
4 And surely EVERY MAN MUST REPENT OR SUFFER, for I, God, am endless.
5 Wherefore, I REVOKE NOT THE JUDGMENTS WHICH I SHALL PASS, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
13 Wherefore, I COMMAND YOU TO REPENT, AND KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;
14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;
15 Therefore I command you to repent–REPENT, LEST I SMITE YOU by the rod of my mouth, and by MY WRATH, and by MY ANGER, and YOUR SUFFERINGS BE SORE–
HOW SORE YOU KNOW NOT, HOW EXQUISITE YOU KNOW NOT, YEAH, HOW HARD TO BEAR YOU KNOW NOT.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But IF THEY WOULD NOT REPENT THEY MUST SUFFER EVEN AS I;
18 Which SUFFERING CAUSED MYSELF, EVEN GOD THE GREATEST OF ALL, TO TREMBLE BECAUSE OF PAIN, AND TO BLEED AT EVERY PORE, AND TO SUFFER BOTH BODY AND SPIRIT–AND WOULD THAT I MIGHT NOT DRINK THE BITTER CUP, AND SHRINK–
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
20 Wherefore, I command you again to REPENT, LEST I HUMBLE YOU WITH MY ALMIGHTY POWER; and that you confess your sins, LEST YOU SUFFER THESE PUNISHMENTS OF WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

Even the end is nice:
16 Now it came to pass that Zerahemnah was exceedingly wroth, and he did STIR UP THE REMAINDER OF HIS SOLDIERS TO ANGER, to contend more powerfully against the Nephites.
17 And now Moroni was angry, because of the stubbornness of the Lamanites; therefore he commanded his people that they should fall upon them and slay them. And it came to pass that they began to slay them; yea, and the Lamanites did contend with their swords and their might.
18 But behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites; yea, behold they were pierced and smitten, yea, and did fall exceedingly fast before the swords of the Nephites; and they began to be swept down, even as the soldier of Moroni had prophesied.
19 Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them.
20 And it came to pass that Moroni CAUSED THAT THE WORK OF DEATH SHOULD CEASE again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a covenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.

These are like those who are stirred up by Satan and reject the gospel and suffer in their sins, STILL to receive a kingdom of glory…

Doctrine and Covenanats 76:85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.

Doctrine and Covenants 76:106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;

Doctrine and Covenants 76:81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.
88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
89 And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;

Doctrine and Covenants 88:24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

Moroni 9:3 And now behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people; for they do not repent, and SATAN STIRRETH THEM UP CONTINUALLY TO ANGER one with another.

Helaman 16:22 And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for SATAN DID STIR THEM UP TO DO INIQUITY CONTINUALLY; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that HE MIGHT HARDEN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE AGAINST THAT WHICH WAS GOOD and AGAINST THAT WHICH SHOULD COME.
23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, SATAN DID GET GREAT HOLD UPON THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE upon all the face of the land.

3 Nephi 2:2 Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did SATAN GET POSSESSION OF THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE again, insomuch that he did BLIND THEIR EYES and LEAD THEM AWAY to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.

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