“The Land North Was Called Mulek Which Was After the Son of Zedekiah”

Alan C. Miner

Helaman 6:10 implies that "Mulek" was the name of "the son of Zedekiah." Zedekiah was the king of Judah at the time Lehi and his colony fled from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4). A few years later when the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem, , we find written that they "slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes" (2 Kings 25:7). Most people have assumed that all of the sons of Zedekiah were killed at that time; however, the Book of Mormon records that the sons of Zedekiah were slain "all except it were Mulek" (Helaman 8:21). Is there a logical explanation?

According to Verneil Simmons, Zedekiah was only thirty-two years of age when his rule in Jerusalem came to an ignominious end. We do not know how many sons he had, since he had more than one wife, but none could have been older than fourteen or fifteen years of age and they could well have been much younger. In Ezekiel's prophecy the Lord had referred to them as "young twigs" (Ezekiel 17:4,22). Nebuchadnezzar had little interest in the household of Zedekiah. His contempt for the substitute king is evidenced by the manner in which he treated him and his family. He was publicly humiliated, his sons killed, and his daughters sent back to join the few people left in the land (Jeremiah 41:10).

Could a son of Zedekiah's house have escaped the fate of his brothers, and if so, how was it done? What was Jeremiah's fate when the city fell? Could Jeremiah have had a hand in the avowed purpose of the Lord to "plant a tender twig" in another place?

While the biblical account is garbled as to time and place, it is certain that at Ramah, north on the road to Riblah where the king of Babylon awaited the captives, Jeremiah was not only freed but also given food and money and permission to travel where he chose. He was invited to Babylon where he would have been treated honorably, but if he did not wish to accept the king's invitation, then he was to do whatever seemed good to him. In other words, he had complete freedom to move about the country at will (Jeremiah 39:11-15; 40:1-6). Later we find him living with Gedaliah, the governor of the province under the king of Babylon, among the poor people left behind, and we discover that the daughters of Zedekiah are also in this group (Jeremiah 41:10). Were these children returned to Gedaliah in the care of Jeremiah? The king's daughters were obviously not considered valuable as marriage pawns and were not even taken to Babylon but sent back to remain in the care of Gedaliah. It is possible that among the king's daughters, who would have been small children, there could have been a young or infant son who was still included with the "little ones."

In Old Testament writing we find evidence that male infants were numbered among the "little ones" still in the care of the women in the royal nursery. Those old enough to be under the care of palace officials in the men's quarters were termed "sons." (See Numbers 16:27; 31:7-9). That there were males among the "little ones" is indicated by the following, "Thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: but the women, and the little ones" (Deuteronomy 20:13,14).

On biblical precedent a male infant, still among the "little ones' of the women's courts, would be excluded as a "son" of Zedekiah. Thus the historian could have been technically correct in reporting that the "sons" of Zedekiah were beheaded (2 Kings 25:7), even though a male heir might have been left alive.

Jeremiah had been told in his initial call that part of his work would be to "plant." (Jeremiah 1:10) Ezekiel said the Lord would take an heir of the king of Judah and "plant" him in an eminent "mountain," or nation (Ezekiel 17:22). Is it possible that the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophetic statement occurred when Jeremiah preserved an infant son of King Zedekiah by arranging for his escape from the country? [Verneil W. Simmons, Peoples, Places and Prophecies, p. 94-95] [See the commentary on Mosiah 25:2; Omni 1:15; Mormon 6:6]

Geographical Theory Map: Helaman 6:10-13 Mulek = The Land North / Lehi = The Land South (64th Year)

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