“Akish Sought the Life of His Father-in-law”

Alan C. Miner

When Jared2 was anointed king over the people, he gave unto Akish his daughter to wife. But Akish was apparently not content, for he, sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne . . . and Akish reigned in his stead. And it came to pass that Akish began to be jealous of his son, therefore he shut him up in prison, and kept him upon little or no food until he had suffered death.

And now the brother of him that suffered death, (and his name was Nimrah) was angry with his father because of that which his father had done unto his brother . . . and he fled out of the land, and came over and dwelt with Omer.

And it came to pass that Akish begat other sons, and they won the hearts of the people . . .wherefore, the sons of Akish did offer them money, by which means they drew away the more part of the people after them.

And there began to be a war between the sons of Akish and Akish, which lasted for the space of many years, yea, unto the destruction of nearly all the people of the kingdom, yea, even all, save it were thirty souls, and they who fled with the house of Omer. (Ether 9:5-12)

According to Warren and Palmer, there is an external source which may be relevant to the name Akish and the development of secret combinations in the Jaredite culture. It is found in a Guatemalan (Quiche-Maya) account known as the Popol Vuh. It mentions a person, Cakix (pronounced Caw Kish), and his two sons. Their names were Cipacna and Cabracan. They exalted themselves among the sun, planets, and stars, and became desirous of great riches, power and conquest. They were so abusive that the gods decided they must be destroyed. The account describes the birth of the hero twins who would carry out the task of the gods, destruction of the father and his two malevolent sons.

Akish of the Book of Ether, could conceivably be Cakix (Caw Kish) of the Popol Vuh account. He beheaded his father to get the throne, and then starved to death one of his sons. Other sons eventually warred with him and they were killed. It is not clear who the hero twins may have been. Many illustrations can be given from codices and Late Classic Maya polychrome vessels which have scenes dealing with the hero twins and the downfall of Cakix and his two sons. [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, 7-11, unpublished]

Ether 9:5 Akish (Illustration): The Hero Twins [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, 7-11, unpublished]

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