“Book of Mormon Geography: Alma 5:59—The Nephites Lived near Wolves; Are There Wolves in Mesoamerica?””
The book of Mormon says that there were wolves among the Nephites, and this might give us a clue as to where the Book of Mormon geographical setting was (Mesoamerica, New York, etc.).
In Alma 5, Alma says:
59 For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.
3 Nephi 14:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Wolves were there! Alma 5:59 especially is not just “a reference” to wolves (like perhaps in Isaiah), but a verse clearly showing that the Nephites lived near wolves.
Where are wolves in the Americas? Guatemala? Central America? Peru? New York? Utah? Looking at www.discoverlife.org, currently (not back then) I see this geographical distribution:
Canis rufus: North America and possibly northern Mexico, at lowest
Canis lupus: North America; Mexico (very little), Argentina (very little, if any?)
Ouch! That doesn’t seem to fare well for the Guatemala-as-the-Book-of-Mormon-geography folks.
Maybe a jackal?
Jackals are noted in the Bible; Nephi and likely Jacob would know what they were; so unless they showed up later than Nephi and Jacob, wolf =/= jackal. Still (discoverlife.org again, and in the future, too):
Black-backed jackals: California, possibly New York?
I imagine coyotes would be with jackals or dogs more than with wolves, but… Maybe, maybe not.
Coyote: everywhere in North and Central America—except the Yucatan Penninsula.
Wild (feral) dogs?
There are three mentions of (wild) dogs in the Book of Mormon, from Mosiah to Helaman:
Mosiah 12:2 Yea, wo be unto this generation! And the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thy hand and prophesy, saying: Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh.
Alma 16:10 But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcases were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.
Helaman 7:19 And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts.
It seems that these dogs are meat scavengers; also, “dog” always appears right in front of “wild beasts”. Dogs have been in the Americas since before the Lehites, though I’m not sure where…
Searching for Mayan myths about wolves, or just anything between Mayas and wolves, I have only found a photo of a “wolf man” sculpture.
And that’s all for here, now.
Perhaps someone could look into geographical distribution for wolves in 83 BC in the Americas? :)