Bibliography by Author
This Old Testament Bibliography is based on two previous publications, with the permission and help of their primary author, David Seely:
- Seely, David Rolph, W. Kenneth Hamblin, and Erica L. Holland. “Old Testament Bibliography: Latter-day Saint Publications, 1997–2005.” BYU Studies 45, no. 1 (2006): 143-171. https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/old-testament-bibliography-latter-day-saint-publications-19972005/
- Seely, David Rolph. “Reading the Old Testament in Light of the Restoration: A Comprehensive Bibliography of LDS Writings on the Old Testament (1830–1997).” BYU Studies 37, no. 2 (1997–98): 155-279. https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/reading-the-old-testament-in-light-of-the-restoration-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-lds-writings-on-the-old-testament-18301997/
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Most scholars who reject the one-man authorship of Isaiah do so because they reject prophecy
How faith gives strength to avoid the natural fight or flight syndrome
Includes Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Asenath, and Jezebel
Jesus showed impressive ability both to use the Old Testament and to depart from it, as he did in the Sermon on the Mount. Even speaking “as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:29), he insisted that he had not come “to destroy the law, or the prophets” (Matt. 5:17).
Abstract: After about 1500 years of slumber, ancient Egyptian was brought back to life in the early 19th century, when scholars deciphered hieroglyphs. This revolutionary success opened the door to a reevaluation of history from the viewpoint of ancient Egypt. In the wake of this new knowledge, the first scholar posited the idea in 1849 that the name of Moses stemmed from the Egyptian word for child. Subsequently, this idea was refined, and currently the majority of scholars believe Moses’s name comes from the Egyptian verb “to beget,” which is also the root for the Egyptian word for child, or in the case of a male child, a “son.” Before this discovery and certainly before a scholarly consensus formed on the Egyptian etymology of the name of Moses, Joseph Smith restored a prophecy from the patriarch Joseph that played upon the name of Moses and its yet to be discovered Egyptian meaning of “son.” This article explores the implications of this overt Egyptian pun and its role as a key thematic element in the restored narratives in the Book of Moses.
Strengthening testimonies of Christ by using Old Testament passages
“Now for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” So lamented Moses in utter humility after seeing in vision the complexities of the planet Earth and her countless inhabitants. Shortly thereafter Moses was to see once again the earth and her. Imagine, however, his profound astonishment when, in answer to his plea for an explanation, the Lord revealed himself to Moses and told him of even more wondrous creations. “And worlds without number have I created. . . . For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power.” Other heavens and earths had already expired. New heavens, star systems with inhabitable planets, would be born in the distant future. Moses would surely have felt even more insignificant had not the Lord reassured him with his presence and the counsel that “all things are numbered unto me.”
Isaiah’s indictment of Israel
Plant imagery used to teach man’s relationship to God, the need to repent, and Israel’s future in God’s plan
Plant imagery used to teach man’s relationship to God, the need to repent, and Israel’s future in God’s plan
Letter to the editor that criticizes Melodie Moench Charles’s article “The Mormon Christianizing of the Old Testament, which appeared in Sunstone.
A follow-up on a previous article on enallage provides further strength for a pattern of a speech to a prophet in which later verses seem to be addressed to both the prophet and his posterity by use of the plural ye.
Joseph Smith spent Sunday afternoon, April 7, 1844, in a grove behind the Nauvoo Temple. There he gave a funeral sermon, which lasted for over two hours, dedicated to a loyal friend named King Follett, who had been crushed by a bucket of rocks while repairing a well.1 Known today as the King Follett Discourse and widely believed to be the Prophet’s greatest sermon,2 this address was Joseph’s most cogent and forceful presentation of his Nauvoo doctrine on the nature of God, including the ideas of a plurality of Gods and the potential of man to become as God.3 Several times in the first part of the discourse, Joseph expressed his intention to “go back to the beginning” in searching out the nature of God, and a little before midway through the sermon, he undertook a commentary on the first few words of the Hebrew Bible in support of the speech’s doctrinal positions.
Review of Donald W. Parry. Harmonizing Isaiah: Combining Ancient Sources.
Within the corpus of psalms in the Hebrew Bible is a group known as the communal laments. Characterized by their use of the first person common plural pronoun, some type of calamity experienced by the community, and a petition to God, these psalms incorporate similar imagery, terminology, and structure. This study explores these psalms and suggests that they relate closely to the Hittite treaty-covenant formula found elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, yet differ in that they reflect an ongoing covenantal relationship rather than the establishment of such. Thus, these psalms enphasize Israel’s expectation that God, as the senior covenantal party, will fulfill his covenantal obligations if Israel remained worthy. These psalms, therefore, are representative of the unique relationship that Israel had with her God, a relationship reflected in Latter-day Saint theology as well.
For some, the Old Testament is a difficult volume to read, much less understand. The language, symbolism, and history depicted within it can be challenging and at times frustrating. Modern biblical research and the methodologies used in that research have opened up this book of scripture to greater understanding. So too have the restoration of the priesthood and continuing revelation, which have revealed that the Old Testament patriarchs are not simply literary examples of righteous behavior in the past but living beings who have engaged with the Saints in this dispensation. This volume incorporates both academic insights and restoration revelation, thus demonstrating the way in which both can be used to gain greater insight into these pivotal narratives. ISBN 978-1-9503-0419-6
Amos, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Elijah
Bennion’s response to Melodie Moench Charles’s “The Mormon Christianizing of the Old Testament, which appeared in Sunstone.
Selections from this book can be found in Sunstone 6 (May–June 1981): 56–58
Abstract: Captain Moroni cites a prophecy regarding Joseph of Egypt and his posterity that is not recorded in the Bible. He accompanies the prophecy with a symbolic action to motivate his warriors to covenant to be faithful to their prophet Helaman and to keep the commandments lest God would not preserve them as he had Joseph.
Luke 1:5-25 shares several themes and type-scenes in common with other biblical narratives, and yet one major allusion has often been overlooked: its connection with Isaiah 6:1-8. Like the first chapter of Luke, Isaiah 6 is also a prophetic call narrative that takes place in the temple, involves and angelic encounter, and explores the themes of silence and language. Despite the centrality of the temple in Israelite theology, temple epiphanies are surprisingly uncommon in the Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, in no other biblical texts does the recipient of the vision encounter an angel specifically at the temple’s altar. Where Zechariah is struck dumb, Isaiah also finds himself unable to speak and must have his language cleansed prior to his prophetic task. Because these are the only two texts in the Bible that share these convergences, it is clear that Luke intentionally alluded to Isaiah 6:1-8 in crafting the opening of his narrative. This allusion helps inform his audience about Jewish theology, sets John the Baptist apart as a prophetic figure, and introduces Luke’s later use of Isaiah 6:9-10 in Luke-Acts.
Linguistic studies used to trace the scattering of Israel
Lehi’s exodus to the promised land is only the first of a series of exoduses occurring throughout the Book of Mormon. Indeed, Lehi’s exodus becomes mere precedent for later flights into the wilderness by Nephi, Mosiah, Alma1, Limhi, and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. For the Nephites, continuing exodus is not merely historical fact. Understanding the biblical exodus as a type and shadow, the Nephites come to see their wandering as a metaphor of their spiritual condition. Thus, even centuries after Lehi’s arrival in the promised land, Nephite prophets recognize their status as “wanderers in a strange land” (Alma 13:23). As did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Nephites also looked beyond their temporal land of promise “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
This essay analyzes examples of poetry in the Hebrew Bible and the Book of Mormon that do not conform to the standards to which prose is typically confined. Each of these poems contains a syntactic device that scholars have come to identify by the term enallage (Greek for “interchange”). Rather than being a case of textual corruption or blatant error, the grammatical variance attested in these passages provides a poetic articulation of a progression from distance to proximity.
Genesis 27 is a story that depicts a series of ancient ritual performances. The narrative recounts the time when Jacob, the son of Isaac, received his father’s blessing by means of an act of deception. As an account that contains explicit examples of performances designed to set the activities apart from other less sacred occurrences, the blessing story in Genesis 27 contains features of what scholars refer to as \"ritualization\" in narrative. Ritualization can be defined as actions designed to distinguish and privilege what is being done in comparison to other, usually more commonplace, activities. Ritualization can assist those of a lesser status in accomplishing their objectives that stand in opposition to the desires of the powerful. When read as ritualization in narrative, Genesis 27 can be interpreted as an account that portrays the use of ancient temple and sacrificial imagery in order to secure a sacred blessing.
This article illustrates that for Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon can function as an interpretive guide to Isaiah’s writings. The analysis explores some ways in which the Book of Mormon can aid in identifying textual meaning in the story of Isaiah’s prophetic commission, especially on the topic of Christ and covenants. Lehi’s call narrative in the Book of Mormon shares much in common with Isaiah 6. Based on analogy with Lehi’s comparable dream, LDS readers can connect the seraph that interacts personally with Isaiah to Jesus Christ—that is, the Being with great luster who descends out of heaven to meet with the Book of Mormon prophet.
**Only a selection of these chapters are available for online reading. An introduction to several key literary, cultural, linguistic, and religious connections between the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament. Since 1830, millions of people have read the Book of Mormon and studied its claims for ties with the ancient world. The Book of Mormon begins with references to Jerusalem and the Hebrew Bible. Readers often wonder to what extent the Book of Mormon reflects the literary, cultural, and religious world of ancient Israel. In the book Testaments, these and other issues are carefully addressed in a reader-friendly style. The authors, David E. Bokovoy and John A. Tvedtnes illustrate that the Book of Mormon shares much in common with the Old Testament. These exciting links provide clear evidence that the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible serve as related testaments of the Savior Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.
Abstract: The Book of Mormon features an esoteric exchange between the prophet Nephi and the Spirit of the Lord on an exceedingly high mountain. The following essay explores some of the ways in which an Israelite familiar with ancient religious experiences and scribal techniques might have interpreted this event. The analysis shows that Nephi’s conversation, as well as other similar accounts in the Book of Mormon, echoes an ancient temple motif. As part of this paradigm, the essay explores the manner in which the text depicts the Spirit of the Lord in a role associated with members of the divine council in both biblical and general Near Eastern conceptions. .
Select bibliography of LDS research on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Abstract: Beyond his autobiographic use of Joseph’s name and biography, Nephi also considered the name Joseph to have long-term prophetic value. As a Semitic/Hebrew name, Joseph derives from the verb yāsap (to “add,” “increase,” “proceed to do something,” “do something again,” and to “do something more”), thus meaning “may he [God] add,” “may he increase,” or “may he do more/again.” Several of the prophecies of Isaiah, in which Nephi’s soul delighted and for which he offers extensive interpretation, prominently employ forms of yāsap in describing iterative and restorative divine action (e.g., Isaiah 11:11; 26:15; 29:14; cf. 52:1). The prophecy of the coming forth of the sealed book in Isaiah 29 employs the latter verb three times (Isaiah 29:1, 14, and 19). Nephi’s extensive midrash of Isaiah 29 in 2 Nephi 25–30 (especially 2 Nephi 27) interpretively expands Isaiah’s use of the yāsap idiom(s). Time and again, Nephi returns to the language of Isaiah 29:14 (“I will proceed [yôsīp] to do a marvelous work”), along with a similar yāsap-idiom from Isaiah 11:11 (“the Lord shall set his hand again [yôsîp] … to recover the remnant of his people”) to foretell the Latter-day forthcoming of the sealed book to fulfill the Lord’s ancient promises to the patriarch. Given Nephi’s earlier preservation of Joseph’s prophecies regarding a future seer named “Joseph,” we can reasonably see Nephi’s emphasis on iterative divine action in his appropriation of the Isaianic use of yāsap as a direct and thematic allusion to this latter-day “Joseph” and his role in bringing forth additional scripture. This additional scripture would enable the meek to “increase,” just as Isaiah and Nephi had prophesied. “May [God] Add”/“May He Increase”.
Abstract: In this brief note, I will suggest several instances in which the Book of Mormon prophet Enos utilizes wordplay on his own name, the name of his father “Jacob,” the place name “Peniel,” and Jacob’s new name “Israel” in order to connect his experiences to those of his ancestor Jacob in Genesis 32-33, thus infusing them with greater meaning. Familiarity with Jacob and Esau’s conciliatory “embrace” in Genesis 33 is essential to understanding how Enos views the atonement of Christ and the ultimate realization of its blessings in his life.
Abstract: Moses 1:41 echoes or plays on the etymological meaning of the name Joseph — “may he [Yahweh] add,” as the Lord foretells to Moses the raising up of a future figure through whom the Lord’s words, after having been “taken” (away) from the book that Moses would write, “shall be had again among the children of men.” Moses 1:41 anticipates and employs language reminiscent of the so-called biblical canon formulas, possible additions to biblical texts meant to ensure the texts’ stability by warning against “adding” or “diminishing” (i.e., “taking away”) from them (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:2; 5:22 [MT 5:18]; 12:32 [MT 13:1]; cf. Revelation 22:18– 19). This article presupposes that the vision of Moses presents restored text that was at some point recorded in Hebrew.
Abstract: The mention of “Abish” and a “remarkable vision of her father” (Alma 19:16) is itself remarkable, since women and servants are rarely named in the Book of Mormon text. As a Hebrew/Lehite name, “Abish” suggests the meaning “Father is a man,” the midrashic components ʾab- (“father”) and ʾîš (“man”) being phonologically evident. Thus, the immediate juxtaposition of the name “Abish” with the terms “her father” and “women” raises the possibility of wordplay on her name in the underlying text. Since ʾab-names were frequently theophoric — i.e., they had reference to a divine Father (or could be so understood) — the mention of “Abish” (“Father is a man”) takes on additional theological significance in the context of Lamoni’s vision of the Redeemer being “born of a woman and … redeem[ing] all mankind” (Alma 19:13). The wordplay on “Abish” thus contributes thematically to the narrative’s presentation of Ammon’s typological ministrations among the Lamanites as a “man” endowed with great power, which helped the Lamanites understand the concept of “the Great Spirit” (Yahweh) becoming “man.” Moreover, this wordplay accords with the consistent Book of Mormon doctrine that the “very Eternal Father” would (and did) condescend to become “man” and Suffering Servant.
Abstract: The biblical etiology (story of origin) for the name “Cain” associates his name with the Hebrew verb qny/qnh, “to get,” “gain,” “acquire,” “create,” or “procreate” in a positive sense. A fuller form of this etiology, known to us indirectly through the Book of Mormon text and directly through the restored text of the Joseph Smith Translation, creates additional wordplay on “Cain” that associates his name with murder to “get gain.” This fuller narrative is thus also an etiology for organized evil—secret combinations “built up to get power and gain” (Ether 8:22–23; 11:15). The original etiology exerted a tremendous influence on Book of Mormon writers (e.g., Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Mormon, and Moroni) who frequently used allusions to this narrative and sometimes replicated the wordplay on “Cain” and “getting gain.” The fuller narrative seems to have exerted its greatest influence on Mormon and Moroni, who witnessed the destruction of their nation firsthand — destruction catalyzed by Cainitic secret combinations. Moroni, in particular, invokes the Cain etiology in describing the destruction of the Jaredites by secret combinations. The destruction of two nations by Cainitic secret combinations stand as two witnesses and a warning to latter-day Gentiles (and Israel) against building up these societies and allowing them to flourish.
Abstract: The Book of Enos constitutes a brief literary masterpiece. A close reading of Enos’s autobiography reveals textual dependency not only on 1 Nephi 1:1-2 and Genesis 32–33, but also on earlier parts of the Jacob Esau cycle in Genesis 25, 27. Enos’s autobiographical allusions to hunting and hungering serve as narrative inversions of Esau’s biography. The narrative of Genesis 27 exploits the name “Esau” in terms of the Hebrew verb ʿśh/ʿśy (“make,” “do”). Enos (“man”) himself incorporates paronomastic allusions to the name “Esau” in terms of ʿśh/ʿśy in surprising and subtle ways in order to illustrate his own transformation through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. These wordplays reflect the convergence (in the Genesis narratives) of the figure of Esau before whom Jacob bows and whom he embraces in reconciliation with the figure of the divine “man” with whom Jacob wrestles. Finally, Enos anticipates his own resurrection, divine transformation, and final at-one-ment with the Lord in terms of a clothing metaphor reminiscent of Jacob’s “putting on” Esau’s identity in Genesis 27.
Abstract: Nephi’s preservation of the conditional “first blessing” that Lehi bestowed upon his elder sons (Laman, Lemuel, and Sam) and the sons of Ishmael, contains a dramatic wordplay on the name Ishmael in 2 Nephi 1:28–29. The name Ishmael — “May El hear [him],” “May El hearken,” or “El Has Hearkened” — derives from the Semitic (and later Hebrew) verb šāmaʿ (to “hear,” “hearken,” or “obey”). Lehi’s rhetorical wordplay juxtaposes the name Ishmael with a clustering of the verbs “obey” and “hearken,” both usually represented in Hebrew by the verb šāmaʿ. Lehi’s blessing is predicated on his sons’ and the sons of Ishmael’s “hearkening” to Nephi (“if ye will hearken”). Conversely, failure to “hearken” (“but if ye will not hearken”) would precipitate withdrawal of the “first blessing.” Accordingly, when Nephi was forced to flee from Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, Lehi’s “first blessing” was activated for Nephi and all those who “hearkened” to his spiritual leadership, including members of Ishmael’s family (2 Nephi 5:6), while it was withdrawn from Laman, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael, and those who sympathized with them, “inasmuch as they [would] not hearken” unto Nephi (2 Nephi 5:20). Centuries later, when Ammon and his brothers convert many Lamanites to the truth, Mormon revisits Lehi’s conditional blessing and the issue of “hearkening” in terms of Ishmael and the receptivity of the Ishmaelites. Many Ishmaelite-Lamanites “hear” or “hearken” to Ammon et al., activating Lehi’s “first blessing,” while many others — including the ex-Nephite Amalekites/Amlicites — do not, thus activating (or reactivating) Lehi’s curse.
Abstract: For ancient Israelites, the temple was a place where sacrifice and theophany (i.e., seeing God or other heavenly beings) converged. The account of Abraham’s “arrested” sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22) and the account of the arrested slaughter of Jerusalem following David’s unauthorized census of Israel (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21) served as etiological narratives—explanations of “cause” or “origin”—for the location of the Jerusalem temple and its sacrifices. Wordplay on the verb rāʾâ (to “see”) in these narratives creates an etiological link between the place-names “Jehovah-jireh,” “Moriah” and the threshing floor of Araunah/Ornan, pointing to the future location of the Jerusalem temple as the place of theophany and sacrifice par excellence. Isaac’s arrested sacrifice and the vicarious animal sacrifices of the temple anticipated Jesus’s later “un-arrested” sacrifice since, as Jesus himself stated, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day” (John 8:56). Sacrifice itself was a kind of theophany in which one’s own redemption could be “seen” and the scriptures of the Restoration confirm that Abraham and many others, even “a great many thousand years before” the coming of Christ, “saw” Jesus’s sacrifice and “rejoiced.” Additionally, theophany and sacrifice converge in the canonized revelations regarding the building of the latter-day temple. These temple revelations begin with a promise of theophany, and mandate sacrifice from the Latter-day Saints. In essence, the temple itself was, and is, Christ’s atonement having its intended effect on humanity. .
Abstract: The name Jacob (yaʿăqōb) means “may he [i.e., God] protect,” or “he has protected.” As a hypocoristic masculine volitive verbal form,
it is a kind of blessing upon, or prayer on behalf of the one so named that he will receive divine protection and safety (cf. Deuteronomy 33:28). Textual evidence from Nephi’s writings suggests that his brother Jacob’s protection was a primary concern of their parents, Lehi and Sariah. Lehi saw Nephi as the specific means of divine protection for Jacob, his “first born in the wilderness.” Moreover, the term “protector” is used twice in LDS scripture, in both instances by Jacob himself (2 Nephi 6:2; Jacob 1:10), this in reference to Nephi, who became the “great protector” of the Nephites in general and Jacob in particular. All of the foregoing is to be understood against the backdrop of the patriarch Jacob’s biography. Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, and Enos all expressed their redemption in terms reminiscent of their ancestor Jacob’s being “redeemed … from all evil,” a process which included Jacob “wrestling” a divine “man” and preparing him to be reconciled to his estranged brother by an atoning “embrace.” Mormon employed the biblical literary etymology of the name Jacob, in the terms “supplant,” “usurp,” or “rob” as a basis for Lamanite accusations that Nephites had usurped them or “robbed” them of their birthright. Mormon, aware of the high irony, shows that the Gadianton [Gaddianton] robbers take up the same polemic. The faithful Lehites, many of whom were descendants of two Jacobs, prayed “May the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall call on the name of their God for protection” (3 Nephi 4:30). By and large, they enjoyed the God of Jacob’s protection until they ceased to call upon their true protector for it.
Abstract: Nephi quotes or alludes to four distinct Old Testament passages — Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 29:14; Isaiah 49:22–23; and Isaiah 52:10 — twice each in 1 Nephi 22:6, 8–12. These four texts form the basis of his description of how the Lord would bring to pass the complete fulfillment of the promises in the Abrahamic covenant for the salvation of the human family. These texts’ shared use of the Hebrew word gôyim (“nations” [> kindreds], “Gentiles”) provides the lexical basis for Nephi’s quotation and interpretation of these texts in light of each other. Nephi uses these texts to prophesy that the Lord would act in the latter-days for the salvation of the human family. However, Nephi uses Isaiah 29:14 with its key-word yôsīp (yôsip) to assert that iterative divine action to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant — taking the form of “a marvelous work and a wonder” — would be accomplished through a “Joseph.” Onomastic wordplay involving the names Abram⁄Abraham and Joseph constitute key elements in 1 Nephi 22:8–12.
Abstract: Several of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s earliest revelations, beginning with Moroni’s appearance in 1823, quote the prophecy of Malachi 3:1 with the Lord “suddenly com[ing] to his temple” as “messenger of the covenant.” Malachi 3:1 and its quoted iterations in 3 Nephi 24:1; Doctrine and Covenants 36:8; 42:36; 133:2 not only impressed upon Joseph and early Church members the urgency of building a temple to which the Lord could come, but also presented him as the messenger of the Father’s restored covenant. Malachi’s prophecy concords with the restored portion of the “fulness of the record of John” and its “messenger” Christology in D&C 93:8 in which Jesus Christ is both “the messenger of salvation” (the “Word”) and the Message (also “the Word”). The ontological kinship of God the Father with Jesus, angels (literally messengers), and humankind in Joseph’s early revelations lays the groundwork for the doctrine of humankind’s coeternality with God (D&C 93:29), and the notion that through “worship” one can “come unto the Father in [Jesus’s] name, and in due time receive of his fulness” (D&C 93:19; cf. D&C 88:29). D&C 88 specifies missionary work and ritual washing of the feet as a means of becoming, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, “clean from the blood of this generation” (D&C 88:75, 85, 138). Such ritual washings continued as a part of the endowment that was revealed to Joseph Smith during the Nauvoo period. Missionary work itself constitutes a form of worship, and temple worship today continues to revolve around missionary work for the living (the endowment) and for the dead (ordinances). The endowment, like the visions in which prophets were given special missionary commissions, [Page 2]situates us ritually in the divine council, teaches us about the great Messenger of salvation, and empowers us to participate in his great mission of saving souls.
Abstract: Although not evident at first glance, shared terminology and phraseology in Malachi 3:1 (3 Nephi 24:1) and Moroni 7:29–32 suggest textual dependency of the latter on the former. Jesus’s dictation of Malachi 3–4 to the Lamanites and Nephites at the temple in Bountiful, as recorded and preserved on the plates of Nephi, helped provide Mormon a partial scriptural and doctrinal basis for his teachings on the ministering of angels, angels/messengers of the covenant, the “work” of “the covenants of the Father,” and “prepar[ing] the way” in his sermon as preserved in Moroni 7. This article explores the implications of Mormon’s use of Malachi 3:1. It further explores the meaning of the name Malachi (“[Yahweh is] my messenger,” “my angel”) in its ancient Israelite scriptural context and the temple context within which Jesus uses it in 3 Nephi 24:1.
Abstract: In sermons and writings, Jacob twice quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 11:11 (“the Lord [ʾădōnāy] shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to gather the remnant of his people”). In 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2, Jacob uses Isaiah 11:11 as a lens through which he interprets much lengthier prophetic texts that detail the restoration, redemption, and gathering of Israel: namely, Isaiah 49:22–52:2 and Zenos’s Allegory of the Olive Trees (Jacob 5). In using Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14, Jacob, consistent with the teaching of his father Lehi (2 Nephi 2:6), identifies ʾădōnāy (“the Lord”) in Isaiah 11:11 as “the Messiah” and the one who will “set himself again the second time to recover” his people (both Israel and the righteous Gentiles who “believe in him”) and “manifest himself unto them in great glory.” This recovery and restoration will be so thoroughgoing as to include the resurrection of the dead (see 2 Nephi 9:1–2, 12–13). In Jacob 6:2, Jacob equates the image of the Lord “set[ting] his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover his people” (Isaiah 11:11) to the Lord of the vineyard’s “labor[ing] in” and “nourish[ing] again” the vineyard to “bring forth again” (cf. Hebrew yôsîp) the natural fruit (Jacob 5:29–33, 51–77) into the vineyard. All of this suggests that Jacob saw Isaiah 49:22–52:2 and Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5) as telling essentially the same story. For Jacob, the prophetic declaration of Isaiah 11:11 concisely summed up this story, describing divine initiative and iterative action to “recover” or gather Israel in terms of the verb yôsîp. Jacob, foresaw this the divine action as being accomplished through the “servant” and “servants” in Isaiah 49–52, “servants” analogous to those described by Zenos in his allegory. For Jacob, the idiomatic use of yôsîp in Isaiah 11:11 as he quotes it in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2 and as repeated throughout Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5) reinforces the patriarch Joseph’s statement preserved in 2 Nephi 3 that this figure would be a “Joseph” (yôsēp).
Abstract: The historian who wrote 2 Kings 23:5 and Mormon, who wrote Mosiah 11:5, used identical expressions to describe King Josiah’s and King Noah’s purges of the priests previously ordained and installed by their fathers. These purges came to define their respective kingships. The biblical writer used this language to positively evaluate Josiah’s kingship (“And he put down [w<ĕhišbît] the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained”), whereas Mormon levies a negative evaluation against Noah (“For he put down [cf. Hebrew (wĕ)hišbît] all the priests that had been consecrated by his father”). Mormon employs additional “Deuteronomistic” language in evaluating Mosiah, Noah, and other dynastic Book of Mormon leaders, suggesting that the evident contrast between King Noah and King Josiah is deliberately made.
Abstract: The most likely etymology for the name Zoram is a third person singular perfect qal or pôʿal form of the Semitic/Hebrew verb *zrm, with the meaning, “He [God] has [is] poured forth in floods.” However, the name could also have been heard and interpreted as a theophoric –rām name, of which there are many in the biblical Hebrew onomasticon (Ram, Abram, Abiram, Joram/Jehoram, Malchiram, etc., cf. Hiram [Hyrum]/Huram). So analyzed, Zoram would connote something like “the one who is high,” “the one who is exalted” or even “the person of the Exalted One [or high place].” This has important implications for the pejoration of the name Zoram and its gentilic derivative Zoramites in Alma’s and Mormon’s account of the Zoramite apostasy and the attempts made to rectify it in Alma 31–35 (cf. Alma 38–39). The Rameumptom is also described as a high “stand” or “a place for standing, high above the head” (Heb. rām; Alma 31:13) — not unlike the “great and spacious building” (which “stood as it were in the air, high above the earth”; see 1 Nephi 8:26) — which suggests a double wordplay on the name “Zoram” in terms of rām and Rameumptom in Alma 31. Moreover, Alma plays on the idea of Zoramites as those being “high” or “lifted up” when counseling his son Shiblon to avoid being like the Zoramites and replicating the mistakes of his brother Corianton (Alma 38:3-5, 11-14). Mormon, perhaps influenced by the Zoramite apostasy and the magnitude of its effects, may have incorporated further pejorative wordplay on the Zoram-derived names Cezoram and Seezoram in order to emphasize that the Nephites had become lifted up in pride like the Zoramites during the judgeships of those judges. The Zoramites and their apostasy represent a type of Latter-day Gentile pride and apostasy, which Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni took great pains to warn against.
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
Abstract: Nephi’s record on the small plates includes seven distinct scenes in which Nephi depicts the anger of his brethren against him. Each of these scenes includes language that recalls Genesis 37:5‒10, 20, the biblical scene in which Joseph’s brothers “hate him yet the more [wayyôsipû ʿôd] for his dreams and for his words” because they fear that he intends to “reign” and to “have dominion” or rule over them (Genesis 37:8). Later, they plot to kill him (Genesis 37:20). Two of these “anger” scenes culminate in Nephi’s brothers’ bowing down before him in the same way that Joseph’s brothers bowed down in obeisance before him. Nephi permutes the expression wayyôsipû ʿôd in terms of his brothers’ “continuing” and “increasing” anger, which eventually ripens into a hatred that permanently divides the family. Nephi uses language that represents other yāsap/yôsîp + verbal-complement constructions in these “anger” scenes, usage that recalls the name Joseph in such a way as to link Nephi with his ancestor. The most surprising iteration of Nephi’s permuted “Joseph” wordplay occurs in his own psalm (2 Nephi 4:16‒35).
Abstract: In two related prophecies, Moroni employs an apparent wordplay on the name Joseph in terms of the Hebrew idiom (lōʾ) yôsîp … ʿôd (+ verbal component), as preserved in the phrases “they shall no more be confounded” (Ether 13:8) and “that thou mayest no more be confounded” (Moroni 10:31). That phraseology enjoyed a long currency within Nephite prophecy (e.g., 1 Nephi 14:2, 15:20), ultimately having its source in Isaiah’s prophecies regarding Jerusalem/Zion (see, for example, Isaiah 51:22; 52:1– 2; 54:2–4). Ether and Moroni’s prophecy in Ether 13 that the Old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem would “no more be confounded” further affirms the gathering of Israel in general and the gathering of the seed of Joseph in particular.
Abstract: From an etiological perspective, the Hebrew Bible connects the name Noah with two distinct but somewhat homonymous verbal roots: nwḥ (“rest”) and nḥm (“comfort,” “regret” [sometimes “repent”]). Significantly, the Enoch and Noah material in the revealed text of the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis (especially Moses 7–8) also connects the name Noah in a positive sense to the earth’s “rest” and the Lord’s covenant with Enoch after the latter “refuse[d] to be comforted” regarding the imminent destruction of humanity in the flood. The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, connects the name Noah pejoratively to Hebrew nwḥ (“rest”) and nḥm (“comfort” and “repentance” [regret]) in a negative evaluation of King Noah, the son of Zeniff. King Noah causes his people to “labor exceedingly to support iniquity” (Mosiah 11:6), gives “rest” to his wicked and corrupt priests (Mosiah 11:11), and anesthetizes his people in their sins with his winemaking. Noah and his people’s refusal to “repent” and their martyring of Abinadi result in their coming into hard bondage to the Lamanites. Mormon’s text further demonstrates how the Lord eventually “comforts” Noah’s former subjects after their “sore repentance” and “sincere repentance” from their iniquity and abominations, providing them a typological deliverance that points forward to the atonement of Jesus Christ.
“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” (Isaiah 49:13).
Abstract: To the ancient Israelite ear, the name Ephraim sounded like or connoted “doubly fruitful.” Joseph explains the naming of his son Ephraim in terms of the Lord’s having “caused [him] to be fruitful” (Genesis 41:52). The “fruitfulness” motif in the Joseph narrative cycle (Genesis 37–50) constitutes the culmination of a larger, overarching theme that begins in the creation narrative and is reiterated in the patriarchal narratives. “Fruitfulness,” especially as expressed in the collocation “fruit of [one’s] loins” dominates in the fuller version of Genesis 48 and 50 contained in the Joseph Smith Translation, a version of which Lehi and his successors had upon the brass plates. “Fruit” and “fruitfulness” as a play on the name Ephraim further serve to extend the symbolism and meaning of the name Joseph (“may he [God] add,” “may he increase”) and the etiological meanings given to his name in Genesis 30:23–24). The importance of the interrelated symbolism and meanings of the names Joseph and Ephraim for Book of Mormon writers, who themselves sought the blessings of divine fruitfulness (e.g., Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob), is evident in their use of the fuller version of the Joseph cycle (e.g., in Lehi’s parenesis to his son Joseph in 2 Nephi 3). It is further evident in their use of the prophecies of Isaiah and Zenos’s allegory of the olive tree, both of which utilize (divine) “fruitfulness” imagery in describing the apostasy and restoration of Israel (including the Northern Kingdom or “Ephraim”).
Abstract: In the latter part (1 Nephi 13–14) of his vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 11–14), Nephi is shown the unauthorized human diminution of scripture and the gospel by the Gentile “great and abominable church” — that plain and precious things/words, teachings, and covenants were “taken away” or otherwise “kept back” from the texts that became the Bible and how people lived out its teachings. He also saw how the Lord would act to restore those lost words, teachings, and covenants among the Gentiles “unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks” (1 Nephi 14:1). The iterative language of 1 Nephi 13 describing the “taking away” and “keeping back” of scripture bears a strong resemblance to the prohibitions of the Deuteronomic canon-formula texts (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:31 [MT 13:1]). It also echoes the etiological meanings attached to the name Joseph in Genesis 30:23–24 in terms of “taking away” and “adding.” Nephi’s prophecies of scripture and gospel restoration on account of which “[the Gentiles] shall be no more [cf. Hebrew lōʾ yôsîpû … ʿôd] brought down into captivity, and the house of Israel shall no more [wĕlōʾ yôsîpû … ʿôd] be confounded” (1 Nephi 14:2) and “after that they were restored, they should no more be confounded [(wĕ)lōʾ yôsîpû … ʿôd], neither should they be scattered again [wĕlōʾ yôsîpû … ʿôd]” (1 Nephi 15:20) depend on the language of Isaiah. Like other Isaiah-based prophecies of Nephi (e.g., 2 Nephi 25:17, 21; 29:1–2), they echo the name of the prophet through whom lost scripture and gospel covenants would be restored — i.e., through a “Joseph.”
Abstract: Nephi, in composing his psalm (2 Nephi 4:15–35), incorporates a poetic idiom from Psalm 18:10 (2 Samuel 22:11) and Psalm 104:3 to describe his participation in a form of divine travel. This experience constituted a part of the vision in which he saw “the things which [his] father saw” in the latter’s dream of the tree of life (see 1 Nephi 11:1–3; 14:29–30). Nephi’s use of this idiom becomes readily apparent when the range of meaning for the Hebrew word rûaḥ is considered. Nephi’s experience helps our understanding of other scriptural scenes where similar divine travel is described.
Abstract: Genesis 30:23–24 offers a double etiology for Joseph in terms of “taking away”/“gathering” (ʾāsap) and “adding” (yāsap). In addition to its later narratological use of the foregoing, the Joseph cycle (Genesis 37–50) evidences a third dimension of onomastic wordplay involving Joseph’s kĕtōnet passîm, an uncertain phrase traditionally translated “coat of many colours” (from LXX), but perhaps better translated, “coat of manifold pieces.” Moroni1, quoting from a longer version of the Joseph story from the brass plates, refers to “Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces” (Alma 46:23). As a military and spiritual leader, Moroni1 twice uses Joseph’s torn coat and the remnant doctrine from Jacob’s prophecy regarding Joseph’s coat as a model for his covenant use of his own coat to “gather” (cf. ʾāsap) and rally faithful Nephites as “a remnant of the seed of Joseph” (Alma 46:12–28, 31; 62:4–6). In putting that coat on a “pole” or “standard” (Hebrew nēs — i.e., “ensign”) to “gather” a “remnant of the seed of Joseph” appears to make use of the Isaianic nēs-imagery of Isaiah 11:11–12 (and elsewhere), where the Joseph-connected verbs yāsap and ʾāsap serve as key terms. Moroni’s written-upon “standard” or “ensign” for “gathering” the “remnant of the seed of Joseph” constituted an important prophetic antetype for how Mormon and his son, Moroni2, perceived the function of their written record in the latter-days (see, e.g., 3 Nephi 5:23–26; Ether 13:1–13).
Abstract: The verbal expression “we might have enjoyed,” as used in a complaint that Nephi attributes to his brothers, “we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance” (1 Nephi 17:21), reflects a use of the Hebrew verb yrš in its progressive aspect, “to enjoy possession of.” This meaning is evident in several passages in the Hebrew Bible, and perhaps most visibly in the KJV translation of Numbers 36:8 (“And every daughter, that possesseth [Hebrew yōrešet] an inheritance [naḥălâ] in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy [yîršû] every man the inheritance [naḥălat] of his fathers”) and Joshua 1:15 (“then ye shall return unto the land of your possession [lĕʾereṣ yĕruššatkem or, unto the land of your inheritance], and enjoy it [wîrištem ʾôtāh].” Examining Laman and Lemuel’s complaint in a legal context helps us better appreciate “land[s] of … inheritance” as not just describing a family estate, but as also expressing a seminal Abrahamic Covenant concept in numerous Book of Mormon passages, including the covenant implications of the resettlement of the converted Lamanites and reconverted Zoramites as refugees in “the land of Jershon” (“place of inheritance”).
Review of Jana Riess, “‘There Came a Man’: Sherem, Scapegoating, and the Inversion of Prophetic Tradition,” in Christ and Antichrist: Reading Jacob 7, eds. Adam S. Miller and Joseph M. Spencer (Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 2017), 17 pages (chapter), 174 pages (book).
Abstract: The Neal A. Maxwell Institute recently published a book on the encounter between Jacob and Sherem in Jacob 7. Jana Riess’s contribution to this volume demonstrates the kind of question-asking and hypothesis formation that might occur on a quick first pass through the text, but it does not demonstrate what obviously must come next, the testing of those hypotheses against the text. Her article appears to treat the text as a mere afterthought. The result is a sizeable collection of errors in thinking about Jacob and Sherem.
By Miles Gerald Bradford, Published on 01/01/97
Abstract: Jeffrey M. Bradshaw compares Moses’ tabernacle and Noah’s ark, and then identifies the story of Noah as a temple related drama, drawing of temple mysticism and symbols. After examining structural similarities between ark and tabernacle and bringing into the discussion further information about the Mesopotamian flood story, he shows how Noah’s ark is a beginning of a new creation, pointing out the central point of Day One in the Noah story. When Noah leaves the ark, they find themselves in a garden, not unlike the Garden of Eden in the way the Bible speaks about it. A covenant is established in signs and tokens. Noah is the new Adam. This is then followed by a fall/Judgement scene story, even though it is Ham who is judged, not Noah. In accordance with mostly non-Mormon sources quoted, Bradshaw points out how Noah was not in “his” tent, but in the tent of the Shekhina, the presence of God, how being drunk was seen by the ancients as a synonym to “being caught up in a vision of God,” and how his “nakedness” was rather referring to garments God had made for Adam and Eve.
[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.
See Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, “The Ark and the Tent: Temple Symbolism in the Story of Noah,” in Temple Insights: Proceedings of the Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, “The Temple on Mount Zion,” 22 September 2012, ed. William J. Hamblin and David Rolph Seely (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2014), 25–66. Further information at https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/temple-insights/.].