Wars, dissensions, and wickedness dominate Jaredite life—Their prophets predict the utter destruction of the Jaredites unless they repent—The people reject the words of the prophets.
1 AND there came also in the days of Com many prophets, and prophesied of the destruction of that great people except they should repent, and turn unto the Lord, and forsake their murders and wickedness.
The population had increased as well as the prevalence of the secret combinations, which profited from evil, particularly murder. The Lord raised up and inspired prophets from the general population to counteract these evils.
2 And it came to pass that the prophets were rejected by the people, and they fled unto Com for protection, for the people sought to destroy them.
The people in general rejected the prophets and are so opposed to their teachings that they try to kill them. This is always Satan's ultimate strategy to eliminate the influence of the prophets. They go to Com for protection. This would imply that Com is righteous. But this verse also Implies that Com doesn't have that much control over the actions of his people.
3 And they prophesied unto Com many things; and he was blessed in all the remainder of his days.
The prophets reveal many things to Com. Such divine revelations always bless ones life. Com, in contrast to his people, believes and accepts these teachings and as a result is blessed all the rest of his life.
4 And he lived to a good old age, and begat Shiblom; and Shiblom reigned in his stead. And the brother of Shiblom rebelled against him, and there began to be an exceedingly great war in all the land.
Com reaches an advanced age and has a son who he names Shiblom. Shiblom is subsequently anointed king. This is possibly another example of youngest son tradition. Shiblom's jealous (probably older) brother rebels against him, and initiates a civil war in an attempt to gain the kingship himself.
5 And it came to pass that the brother of Shiblom caused that all the prophets who prophesied of the destruction of the people should be put to death;
Apparently the brother of Shiblom is wicked and joins with the populace in trying to silence the prophets. This might imply that Shiblom was righteous and supported the prophets.
6 And there was great calamity in all the land, for they had testified that a great curse should come upon the land, and also upon the people, and that there should be a great destruction among them, such an one as never had been upon the face of the earth, and their bones should become as heaps of earth upon the face of the land except they should repent of their wickedness.
Calamity is defined as affliction, disaster or distress. It sounds similar to Ether's prophecies. The prophets warned of unprecedented destruction if the people didn't repent. Their dead bodies would be heaped upon the earth to rot.
7 And they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations; wherefore, there began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth; and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom.
Because of their membership in the secret societies they have lost the Spirit and they disbelieved all the warnings of the prophets. Wars and contentions increase and they are plagued with famine and pestilence until the destruction among them is greater than any previous destruction. This all happened in lifetime of Shiblom.
8 And the people began to repent of their iniquity; and inasmuch as they did the Lord did have mercy on them.
As a result of the destruction, the people began to realize their precarious position and started to repent. The Lord had Mercy on them and apparently paused the destruction, although civil disturbance continued on.
9 And it came to pass that Shiblom was slain, and Seth was brought into captivity, and did dwell in captivity all his days.
Shiblom was killed, probably in the civil war, although he could have been assassinated. Seth is mentioned. Who was he? According to the genealogy in chapter 1 he is son of Shiblom. He is captured by the enemy (possibly his uncle), made a slave, and serves in captivity all his life.
10 And it came to pass that Ahah, his son, did obtain the kingdom; and he did reign over the people all his days. And he did do all manner of iniquity in his days, by which he did cause the shedding of much blood; and few were his days.
Ahah, the son of Seth, is able to break free himself and recover the kingdom, probably in battle against his captors (his uncle, the brother of Shiblom?). He was a wicked man and caused much bloodshed. Suggests that the wicked do not have a long life.
11 And Ethem, being a descendant of Ahah, did obtain the kingdom; and he also did do that which was wicked in his days.
Next Ethem became king. He was listed as a descendant of Ahah, however, this could also mean he was his son. He was also a wicked king following in the footsteps of Ahah. We are told that he “obtained” the kingdom. This could mean by inheritance from Ahah, or more likely by force.
12 And it came to pass that in the days of Ethem there came many prophets, and prophesied again unto the people; yea, they did prophesy that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth except they repented of their iniquities.
13 And it came to pass that the people hardened their hearts, and would not hearken unto their words; and the prophets mourned and withdrew from among the people.
14 And it came to pass that Ethem did execute judgment in wickedness all his days; and he begat Moron. And it came to pass that Moron did reign in his stead; and Moron did that which was wicked before the Lord.
Ethem was not only wicked personally, but reigned in wickedness. He probably encouraged wickedness among his people and/or oppressed them. In his old age he has a son who he names Moron. Moron may have been his youngest son. Reigned in his stead probably refers to an orderly passage of power from father to son. Moron follows the example of his father and reigns wickedly.
15 And it came to pass that there arose a rebellion among the people, because of that secret combination which was built up to get power and gain; and there arose a mighty man among them in iniquity, and gave battle unto Moron, in which he did overthrow the half of the kingdom; and he did maintain the half of the kingdom for many years.
A secret combination can be used by an ambitious man to gain and hold power. But there are always other ambitious rivals, in or outside the combination who, given the opportunity, will try and gain the power for themselves. This is one of the weaknesses of Satan's kingdom – there is no real loyalty or unity, except that motivated by fear or force. We see evidence of this time and again throughout the history of the Jaredites. In this case, another challenger, as wicked, or more so, than Moron rose up and with his supporters fought against Moron and his army and gained half the kingdom. He maintained this position for many years.
16 And it came to pass that Moron did overthrow him, and did obtain the kingdom again.
Apparently this “many years”was not a time of peace, and the conflict continued between the two rivals until finally Moron prevails and consolidates the kingdom once again.
17 And it came to pass that there arose another mighty man; and he was a descendant of the brother of Jared.
But Moron's troubles were not over. A mighty man, this time from the line of Moriancumer, rose up to challenge him. This challenger also probably had a secret society supporting him in his efforts and ambitions.
18 And it came to pass that he did overthrow Moron and obtain the kingdom; wherefore, Moron dwelt in captivity all the remainder of his days; and he begat Coriantor.
This Moriancumerite defeats Moron and enslaves him for the rest of his life. Thus begins another cycle of a slave king and his family. He apparently has children in captivity, and one of these is Coriantor. Coriantor appears to be the youngest child of Moron.
19 And it came to pass that Coriantor dwelt in captivity all his days.
Coriantor, of the royal line of Jared, is a king slave all his life as well, but apparently maintains the tradition of his royal descent.
20 And in the days of Coriantor there also came many prophets, and prophesied of great and marvelous things, and cried repentance unto the people, and except they should repent the Lord God would execute judgment against them to their utter destruction;
At this time many prophets again come among the people crying repentance and warning of complete destruction if they do not repent. Great and marvelous things – they apparently revealed many great things to the people, in spite of their wickedness.
21 And that the Lord God would send or bring forth another people to possess the land, by his power, after the manner by which he brought their fathers.
These prophets warned that if the people did not repent, they would be destroyed, and another people would come to inhabit the land of Moron, and would be brought in the same way that the Lord brought the original Jaredites to the Americas. I assume that means across the ocean from the old world. This could refer to the Nephites, the Mulekites, or some other unmentioned people.
22 And they did reject all the words of the prophets, because of their secret society and wicked abominations.
Because of their wickedness, and involvement in the secret societies, they could not perceive the truth in the prophets warning and ignored or rejected all their preaching. The Spirit had ceased striving with them.
23 And it came to pass that Coriantor begat Ether, and he died, having dwelt in captivity all his days.
Coriantor dies in captivity having spent his entire life as a slave. While in captivity he bears a son who is named Ether. It is interesting that in the genealogy in chapter one Ether is said to be a descendant of Coriantor, but here he is referred to as a son. It may be that the other individuals referred to as descendants are actually sons as well.