HANDHELD WEAPONS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON
The first in a substantial series of studies on warfare in the Book of Mormon has been completed this month. This new Preliminary Report by Arabist William Hamblin, Ph.D. (Michigan), focuses on handheld weapons in the Book of Mormon, in pretechnical military practices of the Near East, and in Mesoamerican archaeology. Dr. Hamblin's work on this subject was funded by a research grant from F.A.R.M.S. He is currently working for the United States Department of Defense.
This paper deals with swords, cimiters, clubs, axes, spears, and daggers. It gives illustrations, for example, of curved "cimeters"—Egyptian, Israelity, and Hittite weapons from before the time of Lehi—to dispel doubts that such curved swords existed before the time of Lehi. A fine example is given of a very precious royal steel-bladed dagger with a richly ornamented gold hilt, which comes from the tomb of King Tutenkhamen. This provides a solid image of what the sword of Laban might have been like. It, too, had royal significance, and a hilt "of pure gold and . . . exceeding fine" workmanship, with a blade "of the most precious steel" (1 Nephi 4:9). The paper also shows that handheld weaponry analogues for these weapones mentioned in the Book of Mormon existed in Mesoamerica.
The series that this paper inaugurates will examine in detail Book of Mormon weapons, armor, fortifications, armies, strategies, and many other military practices and attitudes toward war.