Though the brother of Jared prophesied that establishing a Jaredite king would lead to captivity, his words were not immediately fulfilled. The first Jaredite king, Orihah, ruled in righteousness. However, a man named Jared became king two generations later by forming a secret combination. During the reigns of their kings, the Jaredites went through several cycles of listening to the prophets and living in righteousness, and rejecting the prophets and living in wickedness.
How do you think someone might feel living in captivity? Have you ever had similar feelings of being restrained because of incorrect choices you have made? Look for insights into how you can avoid physical and spiritual captivity as you study Ether 7–11.
When Jared and his brother became old, the Jaredites asked for a king. The brother of Jared warned the people that having a king would lead to captivity (see Ether 6:19–23). Prophets have always prophesied against actions that will lead us into physical or spiritual captivity.
Write in your scripture study journal one or two examples of actions that modern prophets warn against and how those actions could lead to physical and spiritual captivity.
Despite the brother of Jared’s warning, the people chose to have a king. Read Ether 7:1–2 to learn if the brother of Jared’s prophecy was fulfilled in the days of Orihah, who was a son of Jared. Think about what you would say to someone who lived in the days of King Orihah and did not believe that the brother of Jared’s prophecy was going to be fulfilled.
Within two generations the brother of Jared’s prophetic warning was fulfilled. Read Ether 7:3–7, and discover how Kib and his people dwelt in captivity under Corihor, whose selfish desire to be the king brought him to rebel against his father. This captivity was the result of selfishness and rebellion.
In your scripture study journal, write down what you would say to people today who disobey the counsel of the prophets but don’t feel like they are in spiritual captivity. (In your answer, you may want to include the idea that those becoming entangled in spiritual captivity are often the last to realize it. Give a modern situation of something that could place someone in spiritual captivity.)
This portion of the history of the Jaredites illustrates the principle that rejecting the words of the prophets leads to captivity. Ponder ways you may have experienced spiritual captivity because of disobedience to the commandments or prophetic counsel.
The rebellion of Corihor against his father, Kib, led to ongoing strife and war. While in his old age, Kib had another son—Shule. When Shule grew up, he fought against his rebellious brother, Corihor.
Imagine you are a reporter assigned to cover the story of Shule. Read Ether 7:8–13, and write a short paragraph in your scripture study journal reporting what you would highlight in your coverage of Shule’s life.
During Shule’s reign, many prophets came among the people and warned them of their wickedness. Read Ether 7:23–25, and identify what the prophets prophesied and how the people reacted. How did Shule react? How did Shule’s protection of the prophets bless his people?
Read Ether 7:26–27, and look for what happened when the people obeyed the words of the prophets. Shule “remembered the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers” (Ether 7:27). When you remember the great things the Lord has done for you, then you are more likely to have gratitude for Him and live righteously.
These events testify of an important principle: As we repent of our iniquities, we begin to prosper. The word prosper means “hope” and also “succeed,” and it “is often used in the sense of material success, [but] it does not necessarily mean an abundance of temporal possessions—or even a relatively comfortable, problem-free life. …
“The truly righteous are prosperous, in the sense that they have confidence, which triggers faith into activity and creates beneficial circumstances from less-favorable ones. They do not wait for the Lord to give or withhold rewards, but instead call on him for guidance about what will be most beneficial for them, both temporally and spiritually. Such guidance may lead to changing occupations, moving to another district, acquiring training or new skills, or accepting things as they are but working within one’s own limitations and following the Spirit’s direction in other ways” (Alan Webster, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Apr. 1990, 52–53).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How have you been blessed for heeding the words of the prophets?
What is one thing you can do to better heed the words of the prophets and qualify for the Lord’s blessings?
Read over the following list: music you listen to, thoughts you entertain, how you act in school, movies you watch, your dating behavior, activities you do with your friends, what you do when no one else is around. Why might someone who is engaged in wicked behavior want to hide how they participate in one or more of these activities from their friends, parents, or leaders? What is the danger of engaging in unrighteous secret activities?
According to Ether 8, Omer became the king after Shule died, but Omer’s son Jared “rebelled against his father” (Ether 8:2) and “set his heart upon the kingdom and upon the glory of the world” (Ether 8:7). Jared’s daughter devised a plan with her father that would give him the kingdom. She was a beautiful woman, and when she danced before a man named Akish, he wanted to marry her. Jared told Akish that he could only marry his daughter “if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king” (Ether 8:12). Akish entered into a secret combination with his friends to kill King Omer. A secret combination is where two or more people swear oaths to keep their unrighteous acts secret in order to avoid the consequences of their actions.
Read Ether 8:15–18, and identify words and phrases that describe some of the motives and methods behind those who embrace secret combinations.
Answer two or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do some people participate in secret combinations?
Which phrase in Ether 8:18 indicates how the Lord feels about secret combinations? Why do you think such combinations are considered “wicked above all”?
Read Ether 8:20–22, 25 and Ether 9:5–6, 11–12, looking for the consequences of supporting secret combinations. Summarize what you learned: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
One of the truths you may have identified in these verses is: Supporting secret combinations leads to the destruction of individuals and societies.
Moroni paused in writing about the Jaredite wars to speak to us. Read Ether 8:23–24, 26, and identify how Moroni encouraged the people of our day to apply his warnings about secret combinations.
Think about answers to the following questions: Why do you think a nation, a society, or another group is in an “awful situation” (Ether 8:24) when it has secret combinations in its midst? How does secrecy give power to these combinations? How can knowing the truth about secret combinations help people do away with this evil?
Refer back to the list of actions given at the beginning of this portion of the lesson. Though making unrighteous choices in these areas of your life would not necessarily be categorized as a secret combination, write in your scripture study journal the danger that comes from choosing to engage in activities that a person would feel a need to keep secret from others.
As recorded in Ether 9–11, many kings ruled over the Jaredites, some in righteousness and some in wickedness. Read Ether 9:26–35 (during the reign of Heth) and Ether 11:1–8 (during the reign of Com and Shiblom), looking for evidence of the truthfulness of the principle that rejecting the words of the prophets leads to captivity, which was discussed earlier in this lesson.
Recall the way you thought of to better heed the words of the prophets. In the coming days, follow through with this goal and look for opportunities to share your testimony about the importance of obeying the words of the prophets.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Ether 7–11 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: