Who Was Jared In The Book Of Mormon?

There are times when reading the Bible can feel like skimming over a family tree without context, long lists of names with little to no information given about who these people are or why they matter, except as links in chains binding the notables. In the Book of Genesis (via Bible Gateway), Jared comes and goes in such a fashion, on the list of patriarchs leading to the birth of Noah. Jared was born to the sixth generation in the lineage that began with Adam and was the son of Mahalalel and the father of Enoch. His son was born when he was 162, and he himself lived to be 962. And that's all that's ever said of him in the Bible.

Nor is much said of him in additional religious texts of the Judeo-Christian tradition, many of which are not considered canonical by most denominations. The Book of Jubilees (via Sacred Texts) mentions his wife's name, and in the Book of Enoch (via Christian Classics Ethereal Library), he's only briefly mentioned, despite the book being named for his son. Jared's father Mahalalel is a more prominent figure in the book, interpreting Enoch's vision of the Great Flood.

But as an ancestor of Noah, Jared — a name that means "descent" according to Behind the Name — is also the ancestor of the men who came after the flood. Within Mormonism, one of those men, another Jared, was the founder of the Jaredite tribe who journeyed to the promised land (per the BYU Religious Studies Center).

Jared and his brother led their people to America

According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (LDS) Book of Ether, Jared was a patriarch who lived at the time of the Tower of Babel. When God came down to confound the language of men and scatter them across the Earth, Jared led his people out from the tower. He asked that his own family and his closest friends might be allowed to keep understanding one another.

Like Moses with Aaron, Jared had a brother whom he relied on to be his voice. In their case, though, the brother was nameless in the text (Joseph Smith later claimed his name was Mahonri Moriancumer), and instead of using him to pass God's word onto others, Jared had his brother speak to God on his behalf. It was the brother of Jared who delivered the prayer to save their language, and who asked where they were to go after the fall of the Tower of Babel. God sends them on to the "promised land" – the Americas in Mormon teaching — and promises that their people will become the greatest of nations.

The brother is the more prominent of the siblings in the Book of Ether, though their people are called the Jaredites. They were the second of the four groups of people under the covenant that Mormons believe journeyed to the New World. Upon arrival, the brother was given a spiritual vision of Jesus Christ and ordered to write down a secret account, to be revealed after Christ's incarnation.

Another Jared dethroned his father

After arriving in the Americas, the brother of Jared continued to be An emissary to God, while Jared went largely unmentioned in the Book of Ether until just before his death. His people asked that a king be set over them from their line. Jared and his brother were both against a king, but Jared ultimately bent to the peoples' will. He and his brother asked each of their sons to take up the mantle and were rejected by each one until they reached Orihah, one of Jared's children.

The brothers died, and Orihah enjoyed a long and righteous reign. His successors wouldn't be so lucky. Rebellions bred splinter kingdoms in each new generation, always defeated in the end and absorbed back into the fold. Under the reign of Omer, the fourth legitimate king of the Jaredites, another Jared entered the story. The son of Omer, this Jared coveted his father's throne. By flattery and deceit, he gained half the kingdom; by battle, he gained the other half and enslaved his father.

Jared's righteous brothers defeated his armies, restored their father, and would have slain Jared had he not pleaded for mercy. But the lust for power stayed with Jared. His daughter married a friend of Omer's, Akish, to corrupt him and bring him to her father's cause. Akish promised to deliver Omer's head, but the king was forewarned by God and fled. Jared regained the throne, but his treachery was repaid when Akish stole his crown and his head.