“I Will Speak Unto You Somewhat Concerning Mosiah”

Alan C. Miner

When was Amaleki born? Amaleki was born "in the days of Mosiah1 (Omni 1:24), which we might assume means that he was born during the reign of Mosiah1. Thus, Amaleki might have been at least 30 years younger than Mosiah1 if Mosiah1 became king at age 30 (see Mosiah 6:4). If Mosiah1 was born between the years 367 and 387, and began to reign between the years 397 and 417, then Amaleki would have had to be born sometime after 397. If Mosiah2 was born between the years 446 and 447, we have assumed that the reign of Mosiah1 would have ended soon after (30-year reign), or at the most his reign would have ended in the year 457 (40-year reign). Therefore, our targeted range for the birth of Amaleki is between the years 397-457.

Year 397-457 Amaleki is born [Reasoning #1]

We can also approximate the birth of Amaleki by tracing the dated lineage of the small plates recordkeepers from Nephi to Amaleki. According to 2 Nephi 5:28-34, Nephi was commanded to make and keep the small plates between 30 to 40 years after he left Jerusalem. It was probably closer to 40 because of 1 Nephi 19:4 & 2 Nephi 5:34; however, we will assume 36 years. Nephi was then 52 years old (16 + 36 = 52) and was to keep the plates for 20 years before he turned them over to Jacob.

According to Jacob 1:1, when “55 years had passed away from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem” (Year 56), Jacob was given charge of the small plates by Nephi. Nephi was now approximately 72 years old and Jacob was approximately 52 [Assuming Jacob was born 3 years after Lehi left Jerusalem would make (-3 + 55 = 52)]

No date is given for the transfer of plates from Jacob to Enos, only the words that Jacob “began to be old” (Jacob 7:26-27).

According to Enos 1:25, Enos transferred the plates to Jarom when “179 years had passed away from the time that our father Lehi left Jerusalem” (Year 180). Therefore, between Jacob and Enos, the plates were taken care of for approximately 124 years (180 - 56 = 124). According to our culture, in an older father/younger son relationship, a father would be between 40 and 50 when the son was born. This would mean that if a 20 year old Enos got the plates from a 70 year old Jacob, and if Enos kept them to age 70, we would have the following time spans:

Jacob 52 to 70 = 18 years as recordkeeper

Enos 20 to 70 = 50 years as recordkeeper

Total = 68 years = This is 56 years short of the above mentioned 124 years.

Therefore, the following might have to change:

1. Jacob might have been born a little later than the supposed three years after Lehi left Jerusalem.[see discussion on 1 Nephi 2:16]

2. Jacob and Enos might have had to keep the plates to an older age.

3. Enos might have been born when Jacob was much older. (See the commentary on Enos 1:25)

4. The plates might have been turned over before Enos was 24 (much like happened when Ammaron gave charge of the plates to 10 year old Mormon--Mormon 1:2-3), but with a commandment for him to attain the age of 24 before taking possession of them. [Note* At least with Enos, he was old enough to say that “[Jacob] taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Enos 1:1).]

5. Jacob and Enos might have had their first wives die and taken a younger second wife, thus allowing the birth of a son at an advanced age for the father. [Note* Jacob preached against plural marriages (Jacob 2:27,34)]

Therefore, this plausible scenario can be made:

Year (Years Since Lehi Left Jerusalem)

56 Jacob obtained the plates at age 52.

81 Enos was born when Jacob was 77.

101 Jacob gave the plates to Enos (age 20) just before he died (age 97).

(Jacob has had the plates 45 years (97 - 52 = 45). (Enos is now age 20.)

180 Enos lives to age 99 (Enos 1:25).

According to Enos 1:25-27 and Jarom 1:1, Enos never does mention giving the plates to Jarom when “179 years had passed away” (Year 180), he only mentions that he “began to be old.” Jarom mentions that he writes “according to the commandment of my father.” Now, if Enos is 99, then Jarom could have been born when Enos was 79 and would be age 20. Thus:

Year (Years Since Lehi Left Jerusalem)

160 Jarom was born when Enos was 79.

180 Jarom received the plates at age 20.

239 Jarom gave the plates to Omni (assume age 24) when 238 years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem (Jarom 1:13, 15).

Jarom has had the plates 59 years (239 - 180 = 59).

Jarom is 79 years old (20 + 59 = 79).

215 Thus, Omni was born when Jarom was 55.

According to Omni 1:3, Omni gave the plates to Amaron “when 282 years had passed away” (Year 283). Thus: Omni has the plates 283 - 239 = 44 years, and lived to age 68 (44 + 24 = 68).

283 Omni (age 68) gave the plates to Amaron (assume Amaron is 24).

259 Amaron was born when Omni was 44 (68 - 24 = 44).

According to Omni 1:5,8, Amaron gave the plates to his brother Chemish when “320 years had passed away” (Year 321). Thus, Amaron has the plates 321 - 283 = 38 years, and lives to age 62 (24 + 38 = 62).

We will assume that Omni (the father) was 44 at the birth of Amaron. We will assume that Amaron’s brother Chemish was born 15-20 years later. (Omni’s first wife would probably have died and he would have married a younger second wife.) We will assume Chemish was born 20 years after Amaron (Year 279), with the maximum limit of 30 years after Amaron (Year 289). Thus:

Year (Years Since Lehi Left Jerusalem)

259 Amaron was born (Omni is 44).

279 Chemish was born (Omni is 64).

283 Omni (68) gave the plates to Amaron (age 24).

321 Amaron (62) gave the plates to his brother Chemish (42).

By living to age 85, Chemish would have had the plates 43 years (85 - 42 = 43). If Abinadom was born when Chemish was 65, then he would be 20 at Chemish’s death. Abinadom could have waited four years to age 24 before he took over keeping the plates. We will also assume that he took care of the plates until age 86. If we apply the maximum limits as stated above for the birth of Chemish, then Abinadom could have been born when Chemish was 55. However, we will assume the following:

Year (Years Since Lehi Left Jerusalem)

344 Abinadom was born when Chemish was 65.

364 Chemish (85) gave the plates to Abinadom (20).

430 Abinadom (86) gave the plates to Amaleki (24).


(406) Amaleki was born about the year 406 when Abinadom was 62 [Reasoning #2]

Although it is very apparent that many assumptions and approximations have been used to construct this chronology, we do have a date for the birth of Amaleki which falls within the limits established. The reader should note, however, that although we have come to this date by approximation, there are circumstances which limit the range of this approximation. For example, the later the birth of Amaleki, the older Abinadom would have been. On the other hand, the earlier the birthdate of Amaleki, the more we extend beyond the year 397 (the earliest possible projected beginning of Mosiah1’s reign). Thus,

Year 397-406 An approximate range of years for the birth of Amaleki.

In this scenario, Amaleki might have been at most only nine years old when Mosiah1 left the land of Nephi and traveled to Zarahemla. On the other hand, Abinadom might have accompanied Mosiah1 on his exodus a few years before the birth of Amaleki.

[Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See Appendix A]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary