There is one thought on ““But That Thou Wouldst Clear My Way Before Me”: A Note on the Personal and Emotional Rendering of an Ancient Idiom in 2 Nephi 4:33”.

  1. Matthew, I have a couple of thoughts –

    I think that the metaphor can be used in more than one way. Hosea 2:8 doesn’t seem to me to be about a stumbling block or a barrier that must be cleared away. Rather it is a barrier restricting movement in specific ways – one that isn’t cleared away. God is walling up his adulterous wife, and keeping her from chasing after her lovers. Used this way, Hosea 2:8 is much closer to Job 3:23: “Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?” The hedge here is closer to the wall that was built around a vineyard. And in Hosea 2, it isn’t just making a wall – we have וְגָֽדַרְתִּי֙ אֶת־ גְּדֵרָ֔הּ – he will “wall-in her wall”. This is reminiscent of a siege wall – like the one that Hezekiah built around Jerusalem in the 8th century to prepare for Sennacherib’s campaign – Isa. 22 (or perhaps even a reference to the same siege from the other side – the Assyrian account records that: “I surrounded him [Hezekiah] with earthworks, and made it unthinkable for him to exit by the city gate.” COS 2.119B). Also, Lamentations 3:7-9 seems closely related to the Hosea passage.

    I think its possible to read Nephi’s plea in 2 Ne. 4:33 in terms of this metaphor of being walled in. Nephi writes: “O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies!” This may not be entirely metaphorical in the sense that Nephi’s family previously escaped the walled city Jerusalem, where the Jews are eventually trapped and conquered. And, of course, in 2 Ne. 5, the pattern repeats, with Nephi and those who follow him separating from the others and heading into the wilderness.

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