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The Jaredite Barges
The Jaredite Barges
Ether 6:7 says that the Jaredite barges "were tight like unto the ark of Noah." This comparison with the vessel constructed by Noah enables us to draw several parallels between the two vessels, each of which had been constructed according to the Lord's instructions. In order to provide light inside the vessels during the ocean crossing, the brother of Jared prepared sixteen crystalline stones that the Lord touched, making them glow (see Ether 3:1–6; 6:2–3).47 Similar stories are told of the ark of Noah.48
A number of early Jewish sources say that God had Noah suspend precious stones or pearls inside the ark to lighten it. The gems would glow during the night and dim during the day so Noah could tell the time of day and how many days had passed.49 This was the explanation the rabbis gave for the har that the Lord told Noah to construct in the ark. Though called a "window" in the King James version of Genesis 6:16, the sôhar is rendered "light" in some Bible translations."50 In a medieval Arabic text we read that it was the pegs that Noah used to construct the ark that shone.51
The Book of Mormon speaks of "the mountain waves" and the "furious wind" that the Jaredites encountered during their ocean voyage to the New World, stressing that "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters" (see Ether 6:5–8; see also 2:24–25), reminding us of the experience of Noah during the great flood.52
An Ethiopic Christian text, Conflict of Adam and Eve III, 9:6–7, describes the flood of Noah in terms similar to those used to describe the great storm that blew the Jaredite barges to the New World, including the description of "waves . . . high like mountains," as in Ether 2:24 and 6:6.53 The Book of Mormon indicates that the high waves resulted from intense winds from the Lord. Early Jewish and Christian traditions indicate that God sent strong winds to destroy the Tower of Babel, from which the Jaredites fled (see Ether 1:33). The story is found in the Chronography . . . of Bar Hebraeus 1, Jubilees 10:26, and Sibylline Oracles 3:101–107. Other texts (Conflict of Adam and Eve III, 24:8; Book of the Rolls, folio 120a; Book of the Cave of Treasures, folios 23b.2–24a.1; and Book of the Bee 23) have the wind, sometimes called a "wind-flood," destroying the idols erected by Nimrod, to whom both Jewish and Christian traditions attribute the building of the tower.The existence of details such as the glowing stones and furious winds in both the Book of Mormon story of the Jaredites and other ancient traditions about Noah's flood and the great "wind-storm" suggests more than coincidence.