Melek (Malay geography model)

Nephite land west of Sidon

Melek (Malay geography model)

Melek is described in the Book of Mormon as a Nephite region located west of the River Sidon, situated “on the west by the borders of the wilderness,” and a three days’ journey to the south of the city of Ammonihah (Alma 8:3-4). During the early period of the reign of the judges, around 82 B.C., the prophet Alma2 visited this land and actively ministered to its inhabitants, leading to a significant number of conversions and baptisms “throughout all the land” (Alma 8:5).

The land of Melek gained prominence toward the end of Alma’s life when, in 73 B.C., he left Zarahemla and was last seen heading toward Melek. This departure was shrouded in mystery, as it was asserted among the members of the church that he was “taken up by the Spirit” and neither his death nor his burial place was known (Alma 45:18-19).

Additionally, in 74 B.C., the land of Melek was chosen by the Ammonites as a refuge when they vacated the land of Jershon to free up space for Nephite military forces, who were preparing for conflict with the Lamanites and the Zoramites (Alma 35:13). Melek’s proximity to the wilderness and the Sidon River suggests it was strategically important and also well-suited for agricultural pursuits, which likely provided for the needs of its growing population.

Over time, the term “land of Zarahemla” came to encompass a larger territory, which likely included Melek, as the Nephite centralized governance expanded its influence over time (Alma 50:7,11). Thus, the significance of Melek within Nephite society was not static, reflecting the evolving political and geographic definitions within the Nephite lands.

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