Ether 7:2 he begat sons and daughters; yea, he begat thirty and one
It is hard to imagine how Orihah had 31 children unless he had more than one wife. The practice of polygamy (or more accurately, polygyny) was probably regularly practiced among the Jaredites. The brother of Jared had 22 children (Ether 6:20), Shule also begat many sons and daughters (v. 12), Corihor had many sons and daughters (v. 14), and the people had become exceedingly numerous (v. 11) in the space of only a couple of generations. The practice was abused by Riplakish, who did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines (Ether 10:5). The record implies not that he started the practice, but that he abused it.
However, among the Lamanites and Nephites, the practice of polygamy was expressly forbidden, For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none (Jacob 2:27). The only known instance in which it was practiced among them was the wicked king Noah, who had many wives and concubines...and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness (Mosiah 11:2).
Thus, the Lord allows the practice under certain special conditions-specifically, he has said, if I will...raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things (Jacob 2:30).
Ether 7:4-5 when Corihor was thirty and two years old he rebelled against his father
"...the Nephite epic is told with...depth and power...the case of the Jaredites, whom Moroni never knew, is set forth as a clinical study. In reading it we seem to be watching some organism through a microscope, first undergoing a process of fission, after which one part attacks and convulsively consumes part or all of the other, and then after a pause begins to show signs of splitting to start the process all over again.
"It will be necessary to run through this dismal tale at some length to bring out the full flavor of its insanity. A grand cycle running from unity of the nation to division, conflict, and hence to paralysis or extinction is repeated at least a dozen times, with significant variations over which we cannot linger here.
"The sorry round begins when one Corihor, the great-grandson of the original Jared, rebelled against his father the king, moved out of the land, and 'drew away many people after him' (Ether 7:4), until he had an army that was able to beat the king and take him captive. Corihor was now what he wanted to be-Number One-until his brother Shule beat him and restored the kingdom to their father, again Number One. Then Corihor does a surprising thing-he repents-and Shule gives him a share of the kingdoms; that is the first time around. Each cycle ends with repentance; it is repentance alone that saves the people from total extinction as they move from one period to the next." (The Prophetic Book of Mormon, p. 439)
Ether 7:6 the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land...Desolation
"The Land of Moron: The king dwelt here. (Ether 7:5-6; 17) It was the capital, the center of Jaredite culture. To the generation of Orihah and Kib, following immediately after that of Jared and his brother, Moron was the Land of their first inheritance, (vv. 16-17) because it was a land which the two great leaders, before they passed away, undoubtedly, bequeathed to their posterity. In time it became the center of Jaredite history as well as culture. (Ether 14:11)" (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 6, p. 38)
Ether 7:7 Kib dwelt in captivity...until he became exceedingly old
"Such is the practice, mentioned many times in the book, of keeping a king prisoner throughout his entire lifetime, allowing him to beget and raise a family in captivity, even though the sons thus brought up would be almost sure to seek vengeance for their parent and power for themselves upon coming of age...It seems to us a perfectly ridiculous system, yet it is in accordance with the immemorial Asiatic usage...Benjamin of Tudela tells how the khalif, the spiritual ruler of all western Asia, arranged for 'the brothers and other members of the khalif's family' to live lives of ease, luxury, and security: 'Every one of them possesses a palace within that of the khalif, but they are all fettered by chains of iron, and a special officer is appointed over every household to prevent their rising in rebellion against the great king.' ...It was the custom of the Turkish kings, as was long doubted by scholars but has recently been proved, to allow their defeated rivals to sit upon their thrones by day, but lock them up in iron cages for the night! ...Moving back to the earliest records of all, we find a large class of legends all over the ancient world telling how a victorious god in the beginning bound and imprisoned his rebellious relatives - not killing them, since they partook of his own divine nature..." (Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites, pp. 207 - p.208 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 495)
Ether 7:9 he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel
"A few years ago your loudest objection to the Jaredite history would most certainly have been its careless references to iron and even steel (Ether 7:9) in an age when iron and steel were supposedly undreamed of. Today the protest must be rather feeble...Let me refer you to Wainwright's recent study on 'The Coming of Iron.' There you will learn that the use of iron is as primitive as that of any other metal: 'In using scraps of meteoric iron while still in the Chalcolithic Age the predynastic Egyptians were in no way unusual...it now transpires that...man was able at an extremely early date to smelt his own iron from its ores and manufacture it into weapons.'...Certainly there is no longer any reason for denying the Jaredites iron if they wanted it. A Mesopotamian knife blade 'not of meteoric origin' and set in a handle has been dated with certainty to the twenty-eighth century B.C.; iron from the Great Pyramid goes back to 2900 B.C. and 'might perhaps have been smelted from an ore.'...As early as 1925 B.C., a Hittite king had a throne of iron, and in Hittite temple inventories 'iron is the common metal, not the bronze to which one is accustomed in other lands of the Near East.' If we move farther east, into the region in which the Jaredites took their rise, we find the manufacture of iron so far advanced by the Amarna period that the local monarch can send to the king of Egypt two splendid daggers 'whose blade is of khabalkinu,' the word being usually translated as 'steel.' Though the translation is not absolutely certain, literary references to steel are very ancient...If we would trace the stuff back to its place and time of origin, we should in all probability find ourselves at home with the Jaredites, for theirs was the land of Tubal-cain, 'the far northwest corner of Mesopotamia,' which, Wainwright observes in approving the account in Genesis 4:22, is 'the oldest land where we know stores of manufactured iron were kept and distributed to the world.' It is to this region and not to Egypt that we must look for the earliest as well as the best types of ancient iron work, even though the Egyptians knew iron by 3500 B.C. at least." (Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites, pp. 214-6)
Ether 7:16-17 The geography of the Jaredites
Chapter 7 teaches us quite a bit about the lands of the Jaredites. We learn that the land of their first inheritance was likely not very far from Moron (see vs. 16-17). We are told that the land of Moron...was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites (v. 6). We are told that the land of Desolation (so named because the Jaredites were destroyed there, see Hel 3:6) was near the narrow neck of land (Alma 22:31-32). Therefore, the Jaredites landed north of the narrow neck of land, but not by very far. For the most part, they lived in the same general area for their entire history.
"Where were the last great battles of the Jaredites taking place? Obviously in the land of or near the first inheritance of that people, near 'the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites,' a long way, as every Book of Mormon student knows, from what is now Cumorah in the state of New York. One would have to be very credulous, indeed, to believe that Coriantumr and Shiz would lead their already exhausted armies about 3,000 miles from the region of Moron to fight their very last battles around the Hill Ramah in what is now New York state. The logistical problems for both armies would be immense and completely ridiculous to assume." (Sidney B. Sperry, Book of Mormon Compendium pp. 450-451)
Ether 7:25 he did execute a law...which gave power unto the prophets that they should go whithersoever they would
This righteous command is reminiscent of the command of Lamoni's father, Behold, now it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land (Alma 23:1). Certainly, it is a wicked society in which legislation is required to protect the prophets.
"Among the Jaredites, 'the people were brought unto repentance' when the king protected the prophets (Ether 7:25). In contrast, when a later king did not protect the prophets, 'the people hardened their hearts' and 'did reject all the words of the prophets' (Ether 11:13, 22), with the result that 'the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people' (Ether 15:19). They then reached 'the fulness of iniquity,' which brought down upon them 'the fulness of the wrath of God' (Ether 2:10-11)." (Byron R. Merrill, Ensign, Jan. 2000, "They Wrote To Us As If We Were Present")