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-Book of Alma



THE BOOK OF ALMA

CHAPTER 11

How much is a Senine of gold worth?
Mosiah's legal system--Judges receieve a senine of gold each day--Senines, seons, shums, limhahs, amnors, ezroms, ontis, shbloms, shiblums, and leahs are defined--Zeezrom was a lawyer, expert in the devices of the devil, who stirred up the people to riotings--Zeezrom offers Amulek six onties of silver to deny the existence of God--Jesus is his own father.

LDS.org Cartoon Version - Chapter 22: Alma’s Mission to Ammonihah


11:1 Now it was in the law of Mosiah that every man who was a judge of the law, or those who were appointed to be judges, should receive wages according to the time which they labored to judge those who were brought before them to be judged. (11:1-2) The law of Mosiah
The Law of Mosiah established a basic legal system to deal with disputes (mostly financial disputes from the sound of it). A plaintiff could bring a case to the Judges, and then the accused person would be brought to the courtroom for a trial. Pretty basic stuff.

(11:3) The judge received for his wages according to his time -- a senine of gold for a day.
More importantly, though, was how the Judges were compensated. They were paid one senineof gold per day that they spent in court trying cases.

You might be asking yourself: "Is that a fair amount? How much is a senine, really?" Good question. Luckily Joseph Smith has an answer for us.

(11:5-19) Now the reckoning is thus -- a senine of gold, a seon of gold, a shum of gold, and a limnah of gold. A senum of silver, an amnor of silver, an ezrom of silver, and an onti of silver.

A senine of gold = a senum of silver = A measure of barley (or any other grain)
A seon of gold = 2 senines of gold
A shum of gold = 2 seons of gold
A limnah of gold = the value of them all*

*Most people interpret this as a limnah being worth 1 senine + 1 seon + one shum, or 7 senines.

(Also, it's worth noting that a person could become rich very quickly speculating on the Nephite commodities market, since all crop prices were pegged to their coinage.)

And for silver they had names, too!

An amnor of silver = 2 senums
An ezrom of silver = 2 ammors
An Onti of silver = the value of them all.

Smaller amounts had awesome, made-up sounding names, too:

A shiblon of silver = 1/2 senum
A shiblum of silver = 1/2 shiblom
A leah of silver = 1/2 shiblum

Also, just in case we needed a unit for gold that was equal to 1.5 senines, they invented the antion of gold, which was worth 3 shibloms of silver (1.5 senums, which are equal to 1.5 senines of gold). I wish we had a 1.5 dollar bill!

Okay, good. So how much were the Judges paid, and was it a fair amount?

For an honest day's work, a Judge could be paid:

A.) 1 senine of gold
B.) 1 senum of silver
C.) 1 measure of barley
D.) 1 measure of any other grain
E.) 1/2 amnor of silver
F.) 1/4 ezrom of silver
G.) 1/7 onti of silver
H.) 2 shiblons of silver
I.) 4 shiblums of silver
J.) 8 leahs of silver
K.) 2/3 antion of gold
L.) 1/2 seon of gold
M.) 1/4 shum of gold
N.) 1/7 leah of gold

So they had plenty of options. But we still don't really have a good idea of how much these coins were worth, unless we figure out how much a "measure of barley" is. Some people have claimed that a "measure" is as much as 6 bushels. If so, then a Judge was being paid quite well for his day of work.

I suppose they could also have paid the judges with change, like 1/8 ezrom of silver and a half measure of barley, but that would have been rude with all of the other options. (None of these coins have ever been found, by the way.)

But on with the story.

(11:20) They did stir up the people to riotings.
The judges were greedy people, and they convinced the people to file frivolous lawsuits, because they wanted more work.

(11:21) Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil,
Remember Zeezrom from the last chapter? He was the clever lawyer that was out to get Alma and Amulek. He was expert in the devices of the devil.

(11:22) Six onties of silver ... will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.
Zeezrom tried to bribe Amulek to deny the existence of God. He offered him six onties of silver!

(11:23-39) O thou child of hell
Amulek didn't take him up on his kind offer. Zeezrom continued to question Amulek about God, and Amulel continued to answer him. Amulek knows how many gods there are (1), that the Son of God will come, that he will save people from their sins, and that the son of God is also (somehow) his own father. (This, by the way, is an idea that is rempeated many times in the Book of Mormon, and is found nowhere else, that I know of anyway.)

11:2 Now if a man owed another, and he would not pay that which he did owe, he was complained of to the judge; and the judge executed authority, and sent forth officers that the man should be brought before him; and he judged the man according to the law and the evidences which were brought against him, and thus the man was compelled to pay that which he owed, or be stripped, or be cast out from among the people as a thief and a robber.
11:3 And the judge received for his wages according to his time -- a senine of gold for a day, or a senum of silver, which is equal to a senine of gold; and this is according to the law which was given.
11:4 Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value. And the names are given by the Nephites, for they did not reckon after the manner of the Jews who were at Jerusalem; neither did they measure after the manner of the Jews; but they altered their reckoning and their measure, according to the minds and the circumstances of the people, in every generation, until the reign of the judges, they having been established by king Mosiah.
11:5 Now the reckoning is thus -- a senine of gold, a seon of gold, a shum of gold, and a limnah of gold.
11:6 A senum of silver, an amnor of silver, an ezrom of silver, and an onti of silver.
11:7 A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain.
11:8 Now the amount of a seon of gold was twice the value of a senine.
11:9 And a shum of gold was twice the value of a seon.  
11:10 And a limnah of gold was the value of them all.
11:11 And an amnor of silver was as great as two senums.
11:12 And an ezrom of silver was as great as four senums.
11:13 And an onti was as great as them all.
11:14 Now this is the value of the lesser numbers of their reckoning --
11:15 A shiblon is half of a senum; therefore, a shiblon for half a measure of barley.
11:16 And a shiblum is a half of a shiblon.
11:17 And a leah is the half of a shiblum.
11:18 Now this is their number, according to their reckoning.
11:19 Now an antion of gold is equal to three shiblons.
11:20 Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek.
11:21 And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?
11:22 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. And Zeezrom said unto him: bBehold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.
11:23 Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?
11:24 Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him.
11:25 And now thou hast lied before God unto me. Thou saidst unto me -- bBehold these six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee -- when thou hadst it in thy heart to retain them from me; and it was only thy desire that I should deny the true and living God, that thou mightest have cause to destroy me. And now bbehold, for this great evil thou shalt have thy reward.
11:26 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?
11:27 And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.
11:28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?
11:29 And he answered, No.
11:30 Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things?
11:31 And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me.
11:32 And Zeezrom said again: Who is he that shall come? Is it the Son of God?
11:33 And he said unto him, Yea.
11:34 And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people in their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.
11:35 Now Zeezrom said unto the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people -- as though he had authority to command God.
11:36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: bBehold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
11:37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.
11:38 Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? (11:38-39) Jesus is both the "Son of God" and "the very Eternal Father."

(11:38) Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?

(11:39) Yea, he is the very Eternal Father.

11:39 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; phe is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;
11:40 And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.
11:41 Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death; for bbehold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works.
11:42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
11:43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
11:44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
11:45 Now, bbehold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.
11:46 Now, when Amulek had finished these words the people began again to be astonished, and also Zeezrom began to tremble. And thus ended the words of Amulek, or this is all that I have written. (11:46) The people began again to be astonished.
After this little speech, everyone was astonished, and Zeezrom trembled. And that's the end of the chapter, or at least all that he bothered to write down.

Dwindling in Unbelief
Mitt Romney's Jesus: Father, Son, and Satan's older brother

Behold [11:22, 25(2), 36, 41, 45]

(11:39) I am ... the beginning and the end, the first and the last. -- Revelation 22:13


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The Annotated Book of Mormon
Alma 11