“Two Hundred and Thirty and Eight Years Had Passed Away”

W. Cleon Skousen

Jarom appears to have stopped writing a second time after finishing verse 12. Now, for the third time he picks up the stylus to make his last entry in these small plates. He says 238 years have now passed away bringing us down to 361 B.C.This means that 38 years have passed away since verse 12. He says this interval has been occupied with additional wars and dissensions much of the time.

We never learn for certain whether the wonderful prosperity and righteousness of the Nephites described in verses 8-11 survived during this interval of 38 years, or whether some of the "contentions and dissensions" which Jarom mentioned were among the Nephites themselves. Omni 1:3 would suggest that Jarom ended his days during a period of Nephite decline when they were no longer being "pricked in their hearts" when their leaders admonished them.

Whatever the sad story might have been, Jarom elects not to write it on these plates. He says they are small and if anyone wishes to get the details of their history he will have to examine the historical plates, that is the large plates of Nephi where these details have been recorded. Jarom states that he is delivering the small plates into the hands of his son, Omni, that they may continue to be kept and inscribed and preserved according to the commandment of the Lord.

We note from verse 13 that Jarom seems to have received the plates from his father, Enos, around 420 B.C.1 and since he did not turn them over to Omni until 361 B.C.,2 we know that Jarom had custody of these records 81 years and must have lived to be considerably more than a hundred years old before he died.

Treasures from the Book of Mormon