Helaman Chapter 1 Critique
Setting: Pahoran the second
becomes chief judge and is murdered by Kishkumen—Pacumeni fills the
judgment seat—Coriantumr leads the Lamanite armies, takes Zarahemla,
and slays Pacumeni—Moronihah defeats the Lamanites and retakes
Zarahemla, and Coriantumr is slain. About 52–50 B.C.
Verses 1-5: And now behold, it
came to pass in the commencement of the fortieth year of the reign of
the judges over the people of Nephi, there began to be a serious
difficulty among the people of the Nephites. For behold, Pahoran had
died, and gone the way of all the earth; therefore there began to be a
serious contention concerning who should have the judgment-seat among
the brethren, who were the sons of Pahoran. Now these are their names
who did contend for the judgment-seat, who did also cause the people to
contend: Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni. Now these are not all the sons
of Pahoran (for he had many), but these are they who did contend for
the judgment-seat; therefore, they did cause three divisions among the
people. Nevertheless, it came to pass that Pahoran was appointed by the
voice of the people to be chief judge and a governor over the people of
Note: Democracy and judges did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
Subgroupings of the Muisca were mostly identified by their allegiances
to three great rulers: the Zaque, centered in Chunza, ruling a
territory roughly covering modern southern and northeastern Boyacá and
southern Santander; the Zipa, centered in Bacatá, and encompassing most
of modern Cundinamarca, the western Llanos and northeastern Tolima; and
the Iraca, ruler of Suamox and modern northeastern Boyacá and
southwestern Santander. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 6-8: And it came to pass
that Pacumeni, when he saw that he could not obtain the judgment-seat,
he did unite with the voice of the people. But behold, Paanchi, and
that part of the people that were desirous that he should be their
governor, was exceedingly wroth; therefore, he was about to flatter
away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren. And
it came to pass as he was about to do this, behold, he was taken, and
was tried according to the voice of the people, and condemned unto
death; for he had raised up in rebellion and sought to destroy the
liberty of the people.
Note: Slavery not liberty was a common occurrence in Pre-Columbian America.
Slavery among the indigenous peoples of the Americas took many forms
throughout North and South America. Slavery was a common institution
among various Pre-Columbian indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Verses 9-13: Now when those
people who were desirous that he should be their governor saw that he
was condemned unto death, therefore they were angry, and behold, they
sent forth one Kishkumen, even to the judgment-seat of Pahoran, and
murdered Pahoran as he sat upon the judgment-seat. And he was pursued
by the servants of Pahoran; but behold, so speedy was the flight of
Kishkumen that no man could overtake him. And he went unto those that
sent him, and they all entered into a covenant, yea, swearing by their
everlasting Maker, that they would tell no man that Kishkumen had
murdered Pahoran. Therefore, Kishkumen was not known among the people
of Nephi, for he was in disguise at the time that he murdered Pahoran.
And Kishkumen and his band, who had covenanted with him, did mingle
themselves among the people, in a manner that they all could not be
found; but as many as were found were condemned unto death. And now
behold, Pacumeni was appointed, according to the voice of the people,
to be a chief judge and a governor over the people, to reign in the
stead of his brother Pahoran; and it was according to his right. And
all this was done in the fortieth year of the reign of the judges; and
it had an end.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives did not believe in an everlasting Maker.
The first gods, constructors of the universe, built the first cuca or ceremonial temple. They were:
• Bachué (“The one with the naked breasts”): the
mother goddess who raised from the underworld to give birth to the
• Cuza (“The one who is like the night”): the male principle of creation
• Chibchachum (“The one who holds the earth”): the universal legislator
• Bochica (“The father of civilization”) also called Nemqueteba, Nemquereteba, Sadigua, Chimizapagua
• Nem-catacoa ("The protector of festivities, beer, and the arts")
• Chiminigagua: trinity deity, constituted by Chí, Chímini and Chiminigagua.
The gods danced a very long dance (sas quyhynuca), with the music of
the fo drum, in the first ceremony. This ceremony gave origin to space
and time. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 14: And it came to pass
in the forty and first year of the reign of the judges, that the
Lamanites had gathered together an innumerable army of men, and armed
them with swords, and with cimeters and with bows, and with arrows, and
with head-plates, and with breastplates, and with all manner of shields
of every kind.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives did not use cimeters and swords.
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
Verse 15: And they came down
again that they might pitch battle against the Nephites. And they were
led by a man whose name was Coriantumr; and he was a descendant of
Zarahemla; and he was a dissenter from among the Nephites; and he was a
large and a mighty man.
Note: People are descendants of people not non-existent cities.
Descendant defined: Someone who is related to a person or group of people who lived in the past. Merriam-Webster.
Verses 16-17: Therefore, the
king of the Lamanites, whose name was Tubaloth, who was the son of
Ammoron, supposing that Coriantumr, being a mighty man, could stand
against the Nephites, with his strength and also with his great wisdom,
insomuch that by sending him forth he should gain power over the
Nephites. Therefore he did stir them up to anger, and he did gather
together his armies, and he did appoint Coriantumr to be their leader,
and did cause that they should march down to the land of Zarahemla to
battle against the Nephites.
Note: Large armies cannot travel through the Amazon jungle.
As much of the Amazon is unexplored, many of its indigenous plants
animals and insects are unknown. Plant growth is dense and its variety
of animal inhabitants is comparatively high due to the heavy rainfall
and the dense and extensive evergreen and coniferous forests. The
sunlight can not reach the ground because of the dense roof created by
plants. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 18-21: And it came to
pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty in the
government, that they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of
Zarahemla; for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into
the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla. But it
came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth at the head of his
numerous host, and came upon the inhabitants of the city, and their
march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for
the Nephites to gather together their armies. Therefore Coriantumr did
cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth
with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did
oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city.
And it came to pass that Pacumeni, who was the chief judge, did flee
before Coriantumr, even to the walls of the city. And it came to pass
that Coriantumr did smite him against the wall, insomuch that he died.
And thus ended the days of Pacumeni.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were mostly hunter–gatherers.
American hunter-gatherers were spread over a wide geographical area,
thus there were regional variations in lifestyles. However, all the
individual groups shared a common style of stone tool production,
making knapping styles and progress identifiable. This early
Paleo-Indian period lithic reduction tool adaptations have been found
across the Americas, utilized by highly mobile bands consisting of
approximately 25 to 50 members of an extended family. Wikipedia
Verses 22-26: And now when
Coriantumr saw that he was in possession of the city of Zarahemla, and
saw that the Nephites had fled before them, and were slain, and were
taken, and were cast into prison, and that he had obtained the
possession of the strongest hold in all the land, his heart took
courage insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land.
And now he did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla, but he did march
forth with a large army, even towards the city of Bountiful; for it was
his determination to go forth and cut his way through with the sword,
that he might obtain the north parts of the land. And, supposing that
their greatest strength was in the center of the land, therefore he did
march forth, giving them no time to assemble themselves together save
it were in small bodies; and in this manner they did fall upon them and
cut them down to the earth. But behold, this march of Coriantumr
through the center of the land gave Moronihah great advantage over
them, notwithstanding the greatness of the number of the Nephites who
were slain. For behold, Moronihah had supposed that the Lamanites durst
not come into the center of the land, but that they would attack the
cities round about in the borders as they had hitherto done; therefore
Moronihah had caused that their strong armies should maintain those
parts round about by the borders.
Note: Solomon Spauding did not know South American geography.
The north-central part of the Guiana Highlands is dominated by high
flat-topped peaks called tepuis, of the Roraima supergroup and
Quasi-Roraima formation, and the rounded granite peaks of the Parguaza
and Imataca complexes to the north and southwestern edges of the area.
The highest point in the shield is Pico da Neblina in Brazil at 2,994 m
(9,822 ft). Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 27-29: But behold, the
Lamanites were not frightened according to his desire, but they had
come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which
was the city of Zarahemla, and were marching through the most capital
parts of the land, slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men,
women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many
strongholds. But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately
sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they
should come to the land Bountiful. And thus he did; and he did head
them before they came to the land Bountiful, and gave unto them battle,
insomuch that they began to retreat back towards the land of Zarahemla.
Note: Solomon Spauding did not know South American geography.
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at 2,140
kilometres (1,330 mi). Its drainage basin, sometimes called the
Orinoquia, covers 880,000 square kilometres (340,000 sq mi), with 76.3
percent of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia. The Orinoco
and its tributaries are the major transportation system for eastern and
interior Venezuela and the llanos of Colombia. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 30-34: And it came to
pass that Moronihah did head them in their retreat, and did give unto
them battle, insomuch that it became an exceedingly bloody battle; yea,
many were slain, and among the number who were slain Coriantumr was
also found. And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either
way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on
the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites. And
thus had Coriantumr plunged the Lamanites into the midst of the
Nephites, insomuch that they were in the power of the Nephites, and he
himself was slain, and the Lamanites did yield themselves into the
hands of the Nephites. And it came to pass that Moronihah took
possession of the city of Zarahemla again, and caused that the
Lamanites who had been taken prisoners should depart out of the land in
peace. And thus ended the forty and first year of the reign of the
Note: Pre-Columbian natives did not let prisoners go in peace.
Some of the most famous forms of ancient human sacrifice were performed
by various Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas that included
the sacrifice of prisoners as well as voluntary sacrifice. Wikipedia
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