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Omni 1:14

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Omni 1Â*

14 And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla. Now, there was great rejoicing among the people of Zarahemla; and also Zarahemla did rejoice exceedingly, because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews.

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People of Zarahemla

The people of Zarahemla are known as the “people of Mulek” in later Book of Mormon passages because Mulek, a son of Zedekiah, was among them (see Mosiah 25:2; Helaman 6:10). They are also commonly referred to as Mulekites in Church literature, although the name is never used in the Book of Mormon. They had left Jerusalem at the time “Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried captive into Babylon” (Omni 1:15). The Bible records that the army of the Chaldees “slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes’ (2 Kings 24:7). The Book of Mormon tells us that his sons were slain “all except it was Mulek” (Helaman 8:21). Josephus wrote that Zedekiah took his wives and his children, and his captains and friends, and with them fled out of the city. The Babylonians “overtook him not far from Jericho” and the friends and captains “dispersed themselves; some one way and some another, and every one resolved to save himself; so the enemy took Zedekiah alive, when he was deserted by all but a few, with his children and his wives, and brought him to the king [Nebuchadnezzar].[1]

Since Zedekiah was made the puppet king of Judah at age twenty-one, and reigned eleven years, he would have been thirty-one or thirty-two at the time of his capture by the Babylonians. Thus his children would not have been very old at the time (see 2 Kings 24:7). Based on these facts, some postulations have been made:

According to Jewish tradition, the number of his sons who were slain by the order of Nebuchadnezzar was ten.

Assuming that Zedekiah was married at the early age of eighteen, his oldest child could not have exceeded twelve or thirteen years of age at the time of his death (sic-captivity). If ten of his sons were slain, and in the meantime he had a family of daughters, as is well attested, then there is a high probability that Mulek was a mere infant at the time he escaped…male babies were not counted among the sons or men of Israel as such and were the subjects of a special immunity, along with women and girls….

It is at once apparent that where the word all is not used…the narrative is even weaker, and it is perfectly proper to reach the true sense by inferring “they slew the sons of Zedekiah who did not escape.[2]

That one escaped is not too surprising after all. Remember, Zedekiah was only thirty-two at his capture. All his children must have been pre-adolescent. Mulek might very well have been a disguised infant whom devoted servants spirited out of the Babylonian grasp. Possibly he was in the company of the “king’s daughters” when they finally reached Egypt along with Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 41:10; 43:6).[3]

While these postulations of why Mulek was not killed with Zedekiah’s other sons are very probably true, we do know what the Book of Mormon tells us is true. Mulek was not slain.

Monte S. Nyman, These Records Are True, p. 158-161

[1] Josephus’ Complete Works, translated by William Whiston, A. M. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503, 1960, book X, chapter VIII, 2:220

[1] Ariel L. Crowley, About the Book of Mormon, The Escape of Mulek, pp. 86-90, copyright 1961 Idaho City, Idaho, originally printed in The Improvement Era, May 1955, 324-25

[1] A Book of Mormon Treasury: selections from the pages of the Improvement Era, [1959]. Bible Prophecies of the Mulekites, 229-237. John L. Sorenson, “The Twig of the Cedar.” The Improvement Era, May [1957], 330

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