Monday, March 26, 2012

Zarahemla

The term "Zarahemla" occurs 147 times in the text of The Book of Mormon with five different meanings:
  • Zarahemla was the leader of the Mulekites, originally immigrants from Jerusalem, at the time Mosiah I discovered them ca. 200 B.C. Omni 1:14. Zarahemla ceded power and Mosiah I became king over the newly merged Nephite/Mulekite nation Omni 1:19.
  • Zarahemla was the name of a local land west of the river Sidon in the land southward Mosiah 1:18. This is the most common use of the term in the text.
  • Zarahemla was also the capital city of the Nephites from ca. 200 B.C. to ca. 50 B.C. and sporadically thereafter, located in the local land of Zarahemla Alma 2:26. The text is ambiguous on the relative location of the city of Zarahemla within the local land of  Zarahemla. 
  • In addition, the Nephites conceived of a greater land of Zarahemla that was comprised of many local lands, one of which was the local land of Zarahemla. This greater land of Zarahemla was all the territory under Nephite control north of the narrow strip of wilderness Alma 22:27 and south Alma 22:29Alma 50:11 and east Alma 22:32-33, Alma 63:5 of the land Bountiful. The text is often ambiguous whether the local land of Zarahemla or this greater land of Zarahemla is the contextual referent.
  • There was also a continental land of Zarahemla that included the land Bountiful. Together with the land of Nephi, this continental land of Zarahemla constituted the entire land southward Alma 22:32, Alma 46:17Ether 9:31.