Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"And he fastened it upon the end of pole"

In Alma 46 we read of Moroni's effort to rally the Nephites against dissenters who threatened the Church of Christ and the liberty of the people. "And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it--In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children--and he fastened it upon the end of a pole" (Alma 46:12) he then took the pole upon which he placed his torn coat and rallied the people to his cause (Alma 46:13). And "the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins" (Alma 46:21). There are many aspects of this account which are of interest and shed light upon this episode, some of which have been explored by scholars. 

Roland de Vaux, an authority on ancient Israelite institutions and practices notes that the Hebrew term nes, often translated as a banner (Isaiah 5:26; 11:10, 12; 13:2; 18:3; Jeremiah 4:6; 51:12, 27;  Exodus 17:15) "is not really an ensign, but a pole or mast, which was raised on a hill to give the signal to take up arms or to rally together (Is 5:26; 11:10, 12; 13:2; 18:3; Jr 4:6; 51:12, 27; cf. Ex 17:15)." He noted that "the custom exists among the Arabs, and only a few years ago, when a surveyor named Schumacher was making topographical surveys in Galilee, he [inadvertently] brought about the mobilization of a neighboring tribe by fixing a sighting picket on the top of a hill" (Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel: its Life and Institutions. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, 227).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.