“The Messiah Will Set Himself Again”:
Jacob’s Use of Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2

  • Article Formats:
  • MP3 audio
  • PDF
  • MOBI
  • ePub
  • Kindle store
  • NOOK store
  • Order Print Copy

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).


[Page 288]Nephi regarded the prophecy of Isaiah 11:11 (“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover the remnant of his people … ”)1 as having transcendent covenant significance. He recognized that the Lord’s “set[ting] his hand again” — literally, “add[ing] his hand” — to gather the “remnant” of Israel “the second time” would signal his “commenc[ing]” the work to fulfill all of the covenants of the Father for the final time.2

Beyond his wholesale quotation of Isaiah 11 in 2 Nephi 21, Nephi quotes Isaiah 11:11 in two additional Gezera Shawa-type3 juxtapositions with quotations of Isaiah 29:14 (“Therefore, behold, I will proceed [yôsīp] to do a marvellous work among this people,” see 2 Nephi 25:17, 21; 2 Nephi 29:1) on the basis of the use of the verb yôsîp/yôsīp in both passages4 (cf. also 1 Nephi 22:8–12). For his part, Nephi’s brother Jacob also understood Isaiah 11:11 as nothing less than a prophecy of the final and complete5 gathering of Israel in fulfillment of divine covenant. Jacob quotes Isaiah 11:11 twice in juxtaposition with other prophetic texts in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2.

In 2 Nephi 6:14, Jacob interpretively quotes Isaiah 11:11 as part of a catena (or “chain”) of Isaianic texts and allusions (e.g., Isaiah 49:22–23; 29:8; 49:23–24; 11:11; 28:16; 29:6) as an introduction (2 Nephi 6:6–15) to his covenant speech comprising 2 Nephi 6–10.6 This covenant sermon, which includes important doctrinal statements about the implications [Page 289]of Christ’s atonement for Israel and humankind, was likely given at the temple in the city of Nephi,7 perhaps at the time of the autumn festival complex and the Day of Atonement.8 In the sermon, Jacob offers a sophisticated and rich exegesis of Isaiah 49:22–52:2 (quoted in full in 2 Nephi 6:6–7; 2 Nephi 6:16–8:25).9 Jacob’s use of Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14, as part of the Isaiah catena, provides a prophetic framework for the fulfillment of the covenant made effective through Jesus’s atonement. Much later in life, Jacob uses Isaiah 11:11 in Jacob 6:2 as one of two major hermeneutical lenses10 through which he interprets the entirety of Zenos’s Allegory of the Olive Tree — a grand parable of Christ’s Atonement and the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.11

In this study, I will explore both of Jacob’s uses of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:11 (in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2) within the contexts in which he uses it and the implications of each. I will further examine the specific relationship between Jacob’s quotation of Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14 as part of his covenant sermon (2 Nephi 6–10) and Jacob’s use of Isaiah 11:11 as a hermeneutical lens (or interpretive framework) for Zenos’s allegory in Jacob 6:2. Jacob’s use of Isaiah 11:11 in both instances suggests that he saw Isaiah 49:22–Isaiah 52:2 and Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5) as telling essentially the same story: the gathering, redemption, and restoration of the house of Israel, including Israel’s full restoration in the flesh (i.e., resurrection from the dead, cf. Romans 11:15).12 Hence, [Page 290]I further propose that Jacob’s description of “the Messiah … set[ting] himself again” (2 Nephi 6:14) has important implications for the identity of the servant of the Lord of the vineyard (and his fellow-servants) and the nature of their latter-day “labor” to gather Israel for the final time. Jacob understood that the Messiah would accomplish this through a commissioned “servant” with royal and priestly authority. These texts hint that the servant would be a “Joseph.”

“The Messiah … Made Manifest” as Suffering Servant and Divine Warrior: 2 Nephi 6:14

John W. Welch has proposed that Jacob gave the speech preserved in 2 Nephi 6–10 at the recently-built temple in the land of Nephi,13 possibly “at or shortly after Nephi’s coronation as king.”14 This scenario, however, must allow for a roughly ten-year gap between the time that Nephi’s people “would [willed] that I should be their king” (2 Nephi 5:18) and Nephi’s eventual assumption of kingship,15 if he ever really indeed assumed such.16

At first, Nephi appears to decline the proposition that he “be their king” (“But I, Nephi, was desirous that they should have no king; nevertheless, I did for them according to that which was in my power,” 2 Nephi 5:18), just as Gideon appears to decline the offer of dynastic rule in Judges 8:22–23: “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you.” Gideon then proceeds to act like a king (establishing a cult site at Ophrah [Judges 8:26–27], having a large harem [Judges 8:29–30]), even naming a son Abimelech (“my father is king”), with its double [Page 291]entendre “my Father [God] is king”/“my father [Gideon] is king.” Katie Heffelfinger argues that Gideon is, in fact, accepting the offer of kingship even in the act of declining it.17

It is conceivable that Nephi does something similar. Nephi “build[s] a temple … after the manner of the temple of Solomon” (2 Nephi 5:16) — i.e., a royal cult site. Nephi’s small plates record is superscripted with the subtitle “his reign and ministry,” which should probably be understood in terms of the Israelite/Judahite notion of mĕlûkâ (“status as king,” “kingship,” or “kingdom”)18 or mamlākâ (“dominion,” “kingdom,” “kingship,” “royal sovereignty”)19 rather than the centuries later Nephite notion of regime as in “the reign of the judges.”20 Also, Jacob records that Nephi eventually “anointed a man to be a king and a ruler over his people. Now according to the reigns of the kings … wherefore the people were desirous to retain in remembrance [Nephi’s name], and whoso should reign in his stead were called by the people second Nephi and third Nephi etc., according to the reigns of the kings” (Jacob 1:9). This second “king and a ruler” was likely Nephi’s own son (see especially Mosiah 25:13).21 Whatever the case, a royal, temple, covenant context makes best sense as the Sitz im Leben for Jacob’s first recorded sermon.

[Page 292]John Thompson identifies Jacob’s speech in 2 Nephi 6–10 as a “covenant speech” given at the time of the ancient Israelite autumn festival complex,22 which includes the Feast of the Tabernacles (sukkôt). Under Thompson’s model, 2 Nephi 6:1–4 form a kind of “preamble and titular.”23 2 Nephi 6:5–9:22 constitutes the “historical overview and [the] covenant speech proper.”24 2 Nephi 9:23–26 provides “the stipulations of the covenant/treaty.”25 2 Nephi 9:27–43 lists out “cursings and blessings” for “those who do not keep the law.”26 Finally, there follows a “witness formula” in 2 Nephi 9:44 in which Jacob invokes the Lord as a witness that he was “rid of [the] blood” of his people and a “recording of the contract” by urging his people to “remember the words of your God” (i.e., the terms of the covenant).27 Jacob’s use of Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14, then, belongs to the “historical overview” portion of the covenant speech, as does most of the rest of the Isaiah material that Jacob [Page 293]quotes (see especially the quotation of Isaiah 51–52 in 2 Nephi 7–8 and Jacob’s interpretation of Isaiah in 2 Nephi 9).

In Jacob’s covenant speech, the Lord’s “way of deliverance” for Israel (and all humankind) from monster-enemies death (Mot), hell (Sheol), and the devil had a firm basis in his previous ransom and redemption of Israel from monster-enemies Rahab (Egypt), Yamm (the Sea), and the Dragon.28 Israel and Zion can rely on the Lord to gather and protect them precisely because he has done so in the past: “Wherefore after they are driven to and fro — for thus saith the angel: many shall be afflicted in the flesh and shall not be suffered to perish because of the prayers of the faithful — wherefore they shall be scattered and smitten and hated. Nevertheless the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance” (2 Nephi 6:11; cf. 1 Nephi 10:14). The horizon of this gathering extends even beyond death and hell (physical death and the intermediate state of the spirit world) to resurrection. In other words, the resurrection from the dead “to lands of their inheritance” constitutes a vital part of that promised regathering (see especially 2 Nephi 9:1–22).

An important part of Jacob’s rhetorical strategy in his covenant speech is his adaptation of Isaiah’s so-called “Zion theology.”29 This expression refers to the perceived doctrine or premise in Isaiah’s writings that Yahweh’s promises regarding the inviolability or unconquerability of Zion were unconditional and irrevocable. These included promises such as the Lord’s dynastic promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:16 regarding his “house” being “established” or “made sure” (wĕneʾman bêtĕkā … ) — understood to [Page 294]be a “sure house” (bayit neʾĕmān,30 i.e., a perpetual dynasty)31 in the context of later conditional reiterations of that covenant (see, e.g., 1 Kings 8:25; 9:5).

Some divine promises, like the promise of the resurrection of the dead, represent unconditional divine promises.32 In fact, Luke interprets Isaiah’s covenant expression “the sure mercies of David [ḥasdê dāwid hanneʾĕmānîm]”33 (Isaiah 55:3) — a phrase referring to the guaranteed covenant promises to David — as having direct reference to Jesus Christ and the resurrection (see Acts 13:34). Yahweh’s promises to Ahaz of preservation and protection for Jerusalem and the house of David from the Syro-Ephraimite and (later) Assyrian threat in Isaiah 7 notwithstanding Ahaz’s unfaithfulness,34 arguably represent the type of promise in view here. Matthew recognized that the “Immanuel” prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 and the divine preservation of the Davidic line had special significance for Jesus as a Davidic descendant. The “Immanuel” child of the 8th century bce — son of Ahaz, Isaiah himself, or otherwise — symbolized that “God” was “with” Jerusalem and the house of David (Isaiah 8:8, 11). Jesus in the 1st century ce did not merely symbolize “God with us”; indeed, he came as “God with us” in the flesh (see Matthew 1:23; 17:17; 28:20).

In 2 Nephi 6:13, Jacob invokes so-called “Zion theology” when he employs the language of two important Isaianic Zion prophecies: Isaiah 29:7–8 (“they that fight against Zion”)35 and Isaiah 49:23 (“lick up the dust of thy feet”; “they shall not be ashamed that wait for me”): [Page 295]“Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah” (2 Nephi 6:13). With the “Zion theology” of Isaiah 29:7–8 and 49:23 as a backdrop, Jacob transforms Isaiah 11:11 into one of the most powerful expressions of so-called “Zion theology” conceivable:

 

Isaiah 11:11 2 Nephi 6:14
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord [ʾădōnāy] shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again [yôsîp] the second time to recover them. Wherefore he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him. And none will he destroy that believe in him.

Jacob, who had been taught by his father Lehi that redemption comes “in and through the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:6), identifies the figure of ʾădōnāy (“the Lord”) from Isaiah 11:11 (cf. Psalms 110:1) with “the Messiah.” Accordingly, he makes “the Messiah” the subject of the verb rendered “set himself again” (cf. Hebrew yôsîp). This adaptation suggests that the Messiah’s “recovering” (i.e., gather[ing] together, v. 11) his people as Divine Warrior “a second time” and “manifest[ing] himself unto them in power and great glory” was preceded by a first attempt — or earlier attempts — at recovery that met with unwillingness on the part of the house of Israel.36 Jacob had reference to this attempt at gathering when he stated “after he should manifest himself, they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel which spake it unto me” (2 Nephi 6:9).

The Lord’s “set[ting] himself” or “manifest[ing] himself” a “second time” to gather his people coincided with his “proceed[ing] to do a marvelous work and wonder” (Isaiah 29:14; 2 Nephi 25:17; 29:1) with the coming forth of the contents of “the book that is sealed” (Isaiah 29:11). The “words of the book” would come forth, in the words of Moroni “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations” (Book of Mormon title page). In other words, the Lord’s “set[ting] himself” or “manifesting himself” [Page 296]a “second time” to Israel and to the world, would begin with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon prior to his Second Coming in glory.

The promise of gathering in Isaiah 11:11–12, including the images of the gathering “hand” and the lifted up “ensign” [Hebrew nēs] or standard in Isaiah 11:12, paints a picture very similar to the prophecy of Isaiah 49:22–23, which Jacob had previously quoted in 2 Nephi 6:6–7: “Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up [ʾeśśāʾ] mine hand [yādî] to the Gentiles [gôyim, nations] and set up my standard [my ensign, nissî] to the people. And they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers. They shall bow down to thee with their faces towards the earth and lick up the dust of thy feet. And thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me” (2 Nephi 6:6–7). One important exegetical result of Jacob’s use of Isaiah 49:22–23 (2 Nephi 6:6–7, 13) in connection with Isaiah 11:11–12 (2 Nephi 6:14), is that the former text in the broader covenant context of Jacob’s speech gives a detailed picture of just how his ancient hearers and modern readers can expect the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:11–12. In other words, Jacob uses Isaiah 11:11–12 to adumbrate the more detailed prophecy of Isaiah 49:22–52:2 in his covenant speech (2 Nephi 6–10) and convey his prophetic vision of its fulfillment. He will use Isaiah 11:11 (11–12) very similarly to adumbrate Zenos’s prophetic allegory as recorded in Jacob 5 (cf. Jacob 6:2).

In addition to its attestation in Isaiah 11:12 in connection with Israel’s gathering, there exists one additional attestation of nēs (“ensign,” “standard”) in Isaiah 11, two verses earlier: “And in that day there shall be a root [šōreš] of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” The “root of Jesse” and the “ensign” nēs in Isaiah 11:10 were interpreted widely in Second Temple Judaism37 as having reference to a Messianic king. For example, Paul quoted Isaiah 11:10 as having reference to Jesus Christ (ἡ ῥίζα τοῦ Ἰεσσαί, hē riza tou Iessai, “the root of Jesse”) and John, on the same basis, describes Jesus as ἡ Ῥίζα Δαυίδ (=hē riza Dauid, “the root of David,” Revelation 5:5).

Jacob’s use of Isaiah 11:11 (11–12) in 2 Nephi 6:14 supports this interpretation of Isaiah 11:10. Lehi’s interpretation of the prophecy of Joseph in Egypt, which also employs the language of Isaiah, further supports this christological/messianic interpretation of Isaiah 11:10:

 

[Page 297]2 Nephi 6:14 2 Nephi 3:5
And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again [yôsîp] the second time to recover them. Wherefore he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him. And none will he destroy that believe in him. Wherefore Joseph [yôsēp] truly saw our day, and he obtained a promise of the Lord that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel, not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days in the spirit of power unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light, yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.

Lehi’s words to Jacob’s brother Joseph, as preserved in 2 Nephi 3:5, shed additional light on the meaning of Jacob’s picture of “the Messiah” who would “manifest himself unto [his people] in power and great glory.” Prior to the Messiah’s “destruction of [the] enemies” of his people, he would “be manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power” in bringing his people, like liberated war captives, “out of darkness unto light, yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” Jacob describes the results of that divine action later in his speech: “And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion from the isles of the sea and from the four parts of the earth. And the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance” (2 Nephi 10:8). Here again, Jacob incorporates the language of Isaiah 11:11–12 (“from the islands of the sea,” “[he] shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth”) and Isaiah 49:22 (“carried upon their shoulders”).

In March 1838 at Far West, Missouri, the prophet Joseph Smith offered a second interpretation for the “root of Jesse”: “What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter? [i.e., Isaiah 11:10]. Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.” Beyond the traditional messianic interpretations, Joseph Smith saw in Isaiah 11:10 a prophecy of a mortal man living in the last days in whose hands would be concentrated both royal authority (“keys of the kingdom”) and priestly authority (“priesthood”).

This figure suggests both the figure of “the servant of the Lord of the vineyard” recurring throughout Zenos’s allegory and the polyvalent [Page 298]figure of the “servant” as found in Isaiah 48–53. Isaiah 49:3: “And [the Lord] said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified … And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:3, 5–6). In this text, the Lord commissions the prophet (cf. vv. 1–2)38 or “Israel” (v. 3) as a “servant” to gather and “raise up the tribes” of scattered Jacob/Israel39 (“though Israel be not gathered” [MT, wĕyiśrāʾēl lōʾʾāsēp]40 or “to gather Israel to him” [*wĕyiśrāʾēl lô yēʾāsēp])41 and to bring Jacob again to him.42 In other words, Israel must gather Israel.

The commissioning of collective “Israel” as a servant (and “servants”) — a temple and priestly term43 as well as prophetic — to gather “Israel” echoes the special commissioning of the servant of the Lord of the Vineyard and his fellow servants in Zenos’s allegory: “And it came to pass [Page 299]that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant, and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him and brought other servants, and they were few. And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to and labor in the vineyard with your mights. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard” (Jacob 5:70–71). When we consider the fulfillment of this prophecy, it is both interesting and significant that one of the most recurrent expressions in the Doctrine and Covenants is the expression, “my servant Joseph”44 and numerous revelations address other specific individuals as “my servant.”45 Several of these individuals receive their own “commissioning” as they are addressed with this expression.

“And in the Day That He Shall Set His Hand Again”:
The Servant[s] of the Lord of the Vineyard and the Function of Isaiah 11:11 in Jacob 6:2

Jacob’s second direct quotation of Isaiah 11:11 occurs when he uses the latter text as a concise summary of Jacob 5:51–74 and thus as an interpretive lens for the entire allegory in Jacob 6:2. Jacob equates the Lord’s “set[ting] his hand again … to recover his people” with “the servants of the Lord” or the servants of the Lord of the vineyard “go[ing] forth in [the Lord’s] power to nourish and prune his vineyard”:

 

Isaiah 11:11 Jacob 6:2
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And in the day that he shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover his people is the day — yea, even the last time — that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.

[Page 300]Jacob’s second quotation of Isaiah 11:11 in Jacob 6:2, like the first quotation in 2 Nephi 6:14, employs the key Hebrew idiom yôsîp (or its functional scribal equivalent). Recalling Nephi’s quotation of Isaiah 11:11 and 29:14 in 2 Nephi 25:17 and (in reverse order) in 2 Nephi 29:14 as a wordplay on the name Joseph (cf. 2 Nephi 25:21),46 we can plausibly posit that Jacob is engaging in a similar type of wordplay in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2. I will discuss the significance of this further below.

Another key term in Isaiah 11:11 and Jacob 6:2, viewing the latter as a hermeneutical lens for Zenos’s entire allegory (Jacob 5), is the noun “hand” (Hebrew yad or yād). Jacob augments the image of the Lord “set[ting] his hand again the second time” to gather Israel with additional “hand” gesture imagery found in both Isaiah and Zenos’s allegory. Jacob avers, “And how merciful is our God unto us! For he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches. And he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long. And they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people, but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (Jacob 6:4). Jacob quotes part of Isaiah 65:2: “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people.” Nearly the same language evident in Isaiah 65:2 — along with Isaiah 5:4, 6 — occurs in Zenos’s allegory, in Jacob 5:47: “But what could I have done more in my vineyard? [Isaiah 5:4] Have I slackened mine hand that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it and I have digged it and I have pruned it and I have dunged it, and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long; and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that hath corrupted my vineyard?”

Although the Lord of the vineyard first mentions his intention to “labor again in the vineyard” a final time as early as Jacob 5:29–33, that final labor does not commence until Jacob 5:51 after he laments having “stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long” (Jacob 5:47). The divine hand in Jacob 6:2 (Isaiah 11:11) belongs to the same pair of hands mentioned in Jacob 6:4: “he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long” (quoting Jacob 5:47 and Isaiah 65:2).

[Page 301]The Messiah “Set[ting] Himself Again”
as The Lord of the Vineyard Calling Servants
“to Bring Forth Again the Natural Fruit”

One of the earliest, unmistakable quotations from Zenos’s Allegory of the Olive Trees from the brass plates prior to Jacob’s full-length inclusion of it in Jacob 5 comes in Lehi’s interpretation of Zenos:47 “And after the house of Israel should be scattered, they should be gathered together again, or in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fullness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree or the remnants of the house of Israel should be grafted in or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 10:14).

Jacob’s later prophecy as a part of his covenant speech in 2 Nephi 6–10 appears to have direct reference to Lehi’s interpretation of Zenos: “wherefore they shall be scattered and smitten and hated. Nevertheless the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance. And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written … ” (2 Nephi 6:11–12).48 Jacob uses the Gentiles mentioned in Isaiah 49:23 and 1 Nephi 10:14 to segue into his interpretive quotation of Isaiah 49:23 in 2 Nephi 6:13 (see above).

Lehi’s interpretation of Zenos’s allegory in 1 Nephi 10:14 and Jacob’s recapitulation of that interpretation in 2 Nephi 6:11–12 both employ the nearly identical expressions, “they should be gathered together again” and “they shall be gathered together again.” It is probable that the Hebrew idiom hôsîp/yôsîp (+ʿôd), “add,” “to do again, more,” “continue to do more,” “do something yet more”49 underlies these expressions, at least conceptually. This idiom etiologizes the name Joseph (“may he add,” “may he do again”) in the Genesis narratives (see Genesis 30:24, 37:5, 8) and constitutes a key term in Isaiah 11:11, 29:14. We should also note that the Hebrew words qibbēṣ (“gather”) and ʾāsap (“gather,” “take away”), the latter of which etiologizes the name Joseph in Genesis 30:23 may also underlie the notion of “gathering” here.

[Page 302]In terms of semantics, the verbs yāsap and ʾāsap are closely related: yāsap — “add, increase” — and ʾāsap — “to gather, collect,” which in some contexts constitutes an “increase.” In Genesis 30:23–24, where Rachel explains Joseph’s naming, they express the antonymic notions of “taking away” and “adding.” In at least one passage, the waw-consecutive form wayyōsep also denotes “gathering”: “and he [David] gathered [wayyōsep]” (2 Samuel 6:1). Significantly, both are used as key terms in Isaiah 11:12 to describe the gathering of Israel:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble [wĕʾāsap] the outcasts of Israel, and gather together [yĕqabbēṣ] the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11–12)

Jacob sees Isaiah 11:11–12 as the appropriate conceptual framework for interpreting Zenos’s allegory. The Lord of the vineyard’s declared intention that he and his “servant[s]” (the divine “we”) would “labor again” in his corrupted vineyard in order “that I may preserve again good fruit” comes relatively early in the allegory (Jacob 5:29, 33). Thus, the Hebrew idiom yôsîp + verbal component (“do … again”) or its functional scribal equivalent occurs twice in the early part of the allegory. More noteworthy, however, this idiom constitutes a dominant motif in Jacob 5:51–77. That idiom occurs as many as thirteen times: Jacob 5:58, 60–61 (4x), 63–64 (possibly 2x), 67–68 (2x), 73–75 (3x), 77.50

Following his quotation of the entirety of Zenos’s allegory, Jacob immediately quotes Isaiah 11:11, offering it as the interpretive lens through which to view the whole of Jacob 5:51–77. It must be significant that Jacob quotes the same Isaiah passage that he transformed into such an emphatic expression of “Zion theology” in his covenant speech (see 2 Nephi 6:14). Jacob now uses that passage in which Hebrew yôsîp describes iterative divine action to serve as the key term to interpret [Page 303]Zenos’s allegory, especially that part of the allegory (Jacob 5:51–77) in which the same yôsîp idiom (or something very similar) occurs:

 

Jacob 5:61–63 Jacob 6:2
[W]herefore go to and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our mights in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way that I may bring forth again [cf. ʾōsîp < yôsîp] the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit. Wherefore let us go to and labor with our might this last time; for behold, the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard. … Graft in the branches … and dig about the trees … that all may be nourished once again for the last time. And in the day that he shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover his people [quoting Isaiah 11:11] is the day — yea, even the last time — that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.

The lexical content of Jacob 6:2 makes it virtually certain that Jacob has the last movement of Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5:51–77) generally in view there, but also Jacob 5:61–63 in particular, much of which he replicates in that verse. Moreover, Jacob’s quotation of Isaiah 11:11 and re-quotation of Zenos from Jacob 5:61–62 in Jacob 6:2 functionally equates the sentences “wherefore go to and call servants … that I may bring forth again the natural fruit” and “he [Yahweh] shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people.” In other words, for Jacob, the Lord “adding” (cf. ʾōsîp) to “bring forth again the natural fruit” meant his “adding” (yôsîp) his “hand … to recover his people.” As Lehi taught his son Joseph — and as Nephi and Jacob surely also learned — from the words of Joseph in Egypt regarding the human instrumentality of divine “adding” to “bring forth” and “adding” to “recover” or “gather”:

And his name shall be called after me [Joseph], and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation. (2 Nephi 3:15)

Joseph — Hebrew yôsēp (“may he [God] add”) the jussive form of yôsîp, is the evident key term in Jacob 5:61–62 (and more broadly in vv. 51–77) as well as 6:2. Taken together, the term “servant” and the replete use of the Hebrew idiom yôsîp in Jacob 5:51–77 bring to mind the expression “my servant Joseph” used ubiquitously throughout the Doctrine and Covenants51 and the plural “servants” mentioned in Jacob 5:61, 70, 72, [Page 304]75 and 6:2 remind us of the other individuals addressed as “servant” in those revelations.

We compare Jacob’s two individual quotations of Isaiah 11:11 to help round out his hermeneutical view of Isaiah’s prophecy:

 

2 Nephi 6:14 and 2 Nephi 3:5 Jacob 6:2
And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again [yôsîp] the second time to recover them. Wherefore he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him. And none will he destroy that believe in him. (2 Nephi 6:14)

Wherefore Joseph [yôsēp] truly saw our day, and he obtained a promise of the Lord that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel, not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days in the spirit of power unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light, yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom. (2 Nephi 3:5)

And in the day that he shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover his people [quoting Isaiah 11:11] is the day — yea, even the last time — that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.

2 Nephi 6:14 and 2 Nephi 3:5 exhibit striking lexical and phraseological similarities: “will set [himself] again” (yôsîp) ≅ “Joseph” (yôsēp); “the Messiah will … be made manifest unto them in power and great glory” ≅ “the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days in the spirit of power”; “unto the destruction of their enemies” (acting as Divine Warrior) ≅ “unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light and out of captivity unto freedom” (acting as Divine Warrior). In fact, Jacob plausibly relied on the language of Lehi (as recorded by Nephi), “the Messiah should be made manifest in the latter days” in foretelling of the “day” when “the Messiah … will manifest himself.”

Jacob 6:2 shares significant terminology with both 2 Nephi 6:14 and 2 Nephi 3:5, including “he shall set … again” (yôsîp)/Joseph (yôsēp), “power,” and “the day.” Jacob’s interpretation of Zenos through the lens of Isaiah 11:11 establishes congruity between his earlier statement that “the Messiah will … be made manifest unto them in power and [Page 305]great glory” (2 Nephi 6:14), Lehi’s statement that “the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days in the spirit of power” (2 Nephi 3:5), and his later statement that “the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard” (Jacob 6:2). In other words, prior to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, the Messiah would “manifest himself” or “be made manifest” to his commissioned servants (in theophanies and through the Holy Ghost) and through those same servants as they would “go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard.” These servants would do all the work necessary to gather Israel a final time.

Moreover, Lehi’s (1 Nephi 10:14) and Jacob’s (2 Nephi 16:14) respective uses of the distinctive Hebrew title “the Messiah” — Hebrew māšîaḥ, “the anointed one” — in texts with strong lexical affinities to Isaiah 11:11–12 and the olive-horticulture and -harvest metaphor of Jacob 5 (interpreted through the lens of Isaiah 11:11 in Jacob 6:2) creates a Christocentric framework within which to view all of these passages. Given this context, when one considers what happened long ago in an olive garden called “Gethsemane,” it hardly needs to be pointed out just how profoundly appropriate was the meaning of the garden’s name: “oil press” (Aramaic gat šĕmānê = Hebrew gat šĕmānîm, both literally, “press of oils”).

Conclusion

Jacob twice uses the prophecy of Isaiah 11:11 (“the Lord shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover [liqnôt, “buy, acquire”] the remnant of his people”) as an interpretive lens for understanding and explaining lengthier prophecies of Isaiah and Zenos that detail the restoration, redemption, and gathering of Israel (Isaiah 49:24– 52:2 [49:22–52:2]; Jacob 5). In 2 Nephi 6:14, Jacob uses language from Isaiah (Isaiah 11:11) and Lehi (2 Nephi 3:5) to identify Yahweh as “the Messiah” who will “set himself again [Hebrew yôsîp] 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. In Jacob 6:2, Jacob equates the image of the Lord “set[ting] his hand again [yôsîp] 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” the natural fruit (Jacob 5:29–33, 51–77) into the vineyard.

All of the foregoing suggests that Jacob saw Isaiah 49:22–52:2 and Zenos’s allegory as telling essentially the same story as summed up in the prophetic declaration of Isaiah 11:11, which describes divine [Page 306]initiative and action to “recover” or gather Israel in terms of the verb yôsîp (“he shall set … again”). Jacob, foresaw this the divine action as being accomplished through the “servant” and “servants” analogous to those described by Zenos in his allegory. The idiomatic use of yôsîp in Isaiah 11:11 as quoted 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).

[Author’s Note: I would like to thank Suzy Bowen, Jeff Lindsay, Allen Wyatt, Victor Worth, Tanya Spackman, Don Norton, and Daniel C. Peterson.]


1. Book of Mormon throughout will generally follow Royal Skousen, ed., The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (New Haven: Yale, 2009). Emphasis in all scriptural citations is mine.
2. See 1 Nephi 14:17; 2 Nephi 3:13; 30:8; see further especially 3 Nephi 21:26–28; Mormon 3:17.
3. Gezera Shawa (or gĕzērâ šāwâ = “equal statute”) is a later rabbinic term applied to the practice of mutually interpreting two passages in light of each other on the basis of a shared term. See, e.g., H. L. Strack and Günter Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, trans. Markus Bockmuehl (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 18–19.
4. Matthew L. Bowen, “‘He Shall Add’: Wordplay on the Name Joseph and an Early Instance of Gezera Shawa in the Book of Mormon,” Insights 30, no. 2 (2010): 2–4; Bowen, “Onomastic Wordplay on Joseph and Benjamin and Gezera Shawa in the Book of Mormon,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 255–73, https://interpreterfoundation.org/onomastic-wordplay-on-joseph-and-benjamin-and-gezera-shawa-in-the-book-of-mormon/.
5. The seven nations mentioned in Isaiah 11:11 from which Yahweh would yôsîp “his hand” to “recover [reacquire] his people” are perhaps as significant for their number as for the individual names mentioned.
6. On 2 Nephi 6–10 as a “covenant speech,” see John S. Thompson, “Isaiah 50–51, the Israelite Autumn Festivals, and the Covenant Speech of Jacob in 2 Nephi 6–10,” in Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, eds. Donald W. Parry and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 123–50.
7. John W. Welch, “The Temple in the Book of Mormon: The Temples at the Cities of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful,” in Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism, ed. Donald W. Parry (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 334–37.
8. Thompson, “Isaiah 50–51,” 128–36.
9. Daniel Belnap, “‘I Will Contend with Them That Contendeth with Thee’: The Divine Warrior in Jacob’s Speech of 2 Nephi 6–10,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Restoration Scripture 17, no. 1–2 (2008): 20–39, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1438&context=jbms.
10. One lens is Jacob 4:16–17, see Matthew L. Bowen, “‘I Have Done According to My Will’: Reading Jacob 5 as a Temple Text,” in The Temple: Ancient and Restored, Proceedings of the Second Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, “The Temple on Mount Zion,” 25 October 2014, eds. Stephen D. Ricks and Donald W. Parry (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation, 2016), 235–72.
11. Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 165–66.
12. Romans 11:15: “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” On the conceptual relationship between Romans 11 and Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5), see James E. Faulconer, “The Olive Tree and the Work of God: Jacob 5 and Romans 11,” The Allegory of the Olive Tree, eds. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 347–66, https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/olive-tree-and-work-god-jacob-5-and-romans-11.
13. See Welch, “Temples in the Book of Mormon,” 322–37.
14. John W. Welch, “Legal Perspectives on the Slaying of Laban,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1, no. 1 (1992): 138, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=jbms.
15. Thompson, “Isaiah 50–51,” 123–50.
16. For an evaluation of the evidence that suggests that Nephi’s status as “king” is ambiguous at best or even non-existent, see Noel B. Reynolds, “Nephite Kingship Reconsidered,” in Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World: Studies in Honor of John L. Sorenson, ed. Davis Bitton (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 151–89, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2489&context=facpub.
17. Katie Heffelfinger, “‘My Father is King’: Chiefly Politics and the Rise and Fall of Abimelech,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 33, no. 3 (2009): 277–92.
18. Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden, NDL: Brill, 2001), 587. Hereafter cited as HALOT.
19. HALOT, 595. See also *mamlākût, “royal dominion, kingship” (ibid.) The term malkût (“royal dominion,” “kingship, royal honor,” “royal accomplishments”) is used in generally later texts (see HALOT, 592–93).
20. Reynolds (“Nephite Kingship Reconsidered,” 165) argues for the idea of regime based on “reign of the judges” in Mosiah 29:44 and “reign of the king” in 47. Nevertheless, Nephi’s own notion of “reign”/“kingship” would have been based on what he knew from personal experience growing up in Jerusalem and from the plates of brass. Mormon, writing in the 3rd century ad, was removed somewhat in time from what Nephi would have understood by the notion of “reign” or “kingship.”
21. Keith J. Allred (“Who Was Second Nephi?” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 42, no. 4 [2009]: 1–17, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/dialjmormthou.42.4.0001) attempts to make the case that Nephi’s political heir (“Second Nephi”) was either Sam or one of Sam’s sons. In support of this thesis he cites the tribal incorporation or “adoption” of Sam’s family into Nephi’s family by Lehi in 2 Nephi 4:31. The language Lehi used in this so-called “adoption” was that Sam’s “seed” would be “numbered with” Nephi’s “seed” and that Sam would “be even like unto [his] brother” (2 Nephi 4:11). While this language certainly seems to designate Nephi’s and Sam’s families as a single organizational (later political) unit under “like” patriarchs, it is a stretch to suggest that this is tantamount to “the inclusion of Sam and his posterity among Nephi’s descendants” or that “Sam may no longer be Nephi’s brother, but his adopted son” (p. 11) both of which his argument requires to avoid running afoul of Mormon’s statement in Mosiah 25:13. Allred himself recognizes the problem presented by Sam being older than Nephi (p. 4). Jacob’s statements that “Nephi began to be old and he saw that he soon must die. Wherefore he anointed a man to be king …” (Jacob 1:10) make little sense if the “man” is Nephi’s older brother Sam, who would be aging near death himself if he was indeed still alive. Nevertheless, he further reasons that since “[t]he text does not mention a son” of Nephi and because Jacob became heir to the Nephi’s small plates, “[i]t appears that either Nephi had no son or, for unknown reasons, his son was not the successor” (p. 4). This argument is largely one made from silence. Nephi mentions his immediate “children” on multiple occasions (see, e.g., 1 Nephi 18:19; 2 Nephi 4:15; 5:14; 25:6, elsewhere this designation seems to refer to later descendants), a gender-neutral term that would presumably include one or more “sons.” The simplest solution, in my view, is to accept Mormon’s statement in Mosiah 25:13 on its face and see one of Nephi’s sons as the “man” anointed in Jacob 1:10. Nephi’s initial plan to have the small plates kept by his “seed” (1 Nephi 6:6), may have been complicated and ultimately altered by Jacob’s emergence as a man of great spiritual stature (see especially 2 Nephi 11:3). It is not a stretch to recognize that Jacob would have been more qualified for the task of keeping the small plates than Nephi’s (putative) royal son, under whom “the people of Nephi … began to grow hard in their hearts and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old, desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon his son” (Jacob 1:15).
22. Thompson, “Isaiah 50–51,” 123–50.
23. Ibid., 125–26.
24. Ibid., 126.
25. Ibid.
26. Ibid., 126–27.
27. Ibid, 127.
28. Matthew L. Bowen, “Messengers of the Covenant: Mormon’s Doctrinal Use of Malachi 3:1 in Moroni 7:29–32,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 31 (2019): 111–38, https://interpreterfoundation.org/messengers-of-the-covenant-mormons-doctrinal-use-of-malachi-31-in-moroni-729-32/. See also Belnap, “I Will Contend with Them That Contend With Thee,” 30–32.
29. See, e.g., John H. Hayes, “The Tradition of Zion’s Inviolability,” Journal of Biblical Literature 82, no. 4 (December 1963): 419–26, https://www.jstor.org/stable/3264697. See further Taylor Halverson, “Ancient Israelite Zion Theology, Judeo-Christian Apocalypticism, and Biblical (Mis)interpretation: Potential Implications for the Stability of the Modern Middle East,” Comparative Civilizations Review 64 (Spring 2011): 75–89, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1818&context=ccr.
30. This phrase occurs at 1 Samuel 2:35; 25:28; 1 Kings 11:38.
31. See also, e.g., Jeremiah 33:17.
32. See e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:20–32 (especially vv. 22–26); Alma 11:41–45; 42:16–26.
33. The “sure mercies” (ḥasdê dāwid hanneʾĕmānîm) are to be distinguished lexically from “tender mercies” (Hebrew raămîm) but both are rooted in divine covenant. We note that ḥesed/ḥasādîm and raămîm are paired together in Psalms 25:6; 40:11 [Masoretic Text 10, hereafter MT]; 51:1 [MT 3], and 69:16 [MT 17]. Thus Nephi’s statement in 1 Nephi 1:20 (“But behold, I Nephi will shew unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord is over all them whom he hath chosen because of their faith to make them mighty, even unto the power of deliverance”) should be understood in a covenantal context.
34. Cf. Isaiah 7:11: “If you do not have faith, it is because you have not been faithful” (translation mine).
35. Isaiah 29:7–8: “And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.”
36. See, e.g., Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34; 3 Nephi 10:4–5.
37. See, e.g., David Aune, Revelation 1–5, Word Biblical Commentary 52a (Dallas, TX: Word, 1997), 350–51.
38. The language here is ambiguous enough to refer to the prophet Isaiah or some other prophet, who may be accompanied by other servants. It can also be interpreted messianically to refer to Jesus Christ and his disciples (see the use of Isaiah 49:6 in Luke 2:32 as a prophecy of Jesus and Paul’s and Barnabas’s use of Isaiah 49:6 to describe their mission to evangelize the Gentiles in Acts 13:47). From a Latter-day Saint perspective it can be interpreted to refer to the prophet Joseph Smith and his fellow servants (see further on). In a forthcoming study I will show how Nephi uses ʾāsēp in Isaiah 49:5 (1 Nephi 21:5) as a wordplay on the name “Joseph.”
39. Jacob and Israel are equivalent or interchangeable when referring to the tribes.
40. The KJV follows Masoretic Text wĕyiśrāʾēl lōʾʾāsēp and the Book of Mormon preserves the same reading.
41. Other ancient witnesses to Isaiah 49:5 suggest that MT ʾ (“not,” “no”) originally was (“to him”). For example, LXX reads: tou synagagein ton Iakōb kai Israel pros auton. Although, LXX reduces the matching (parallelistic) bicolon to a single colon, the verb synagagein clearly attempts to preserve the meaning of ʾāsēp (“gather”) rather than lĕšôbēb (“bring back”). The Syriac Peshitta has ʾknš (“I will gather”).
42. The Servant is “to bring Jacob back to Him, and that Israel be gathered to Him” (JPS). NIV has “to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself.” The New American Bible has “That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him.” The Jerusalem Bible has: “to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him.”
43. For an excellent treatment of this subject from a Latter-day Saint perspective, see Donald W. Parry, “Service and Temple in King Benjamin’s Speech,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 16, no. 2 (2007): 42–47, 95–97, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1428&context=jbms.
44. See, e.g., D&C 1:17, 29; 5:1–2, 7, 9, 21, 23, 29; 6:18, 25, 28; 9:1, 4, 12; 17:4–5; 18:7; 19:3; 25:5; 28:2; 31:4; 35:17; 41:7; 43:12; 47:1; 50:37; 55:2, 6; 56:12; 60:17; 63:41; 64:5; 67:5, 14; 70:1; 78:9; 81:1; 82:11; 93:45; 100:9; 103:21–22, 35, 37, 40; 104:26, 43, 45–46; 105:16, 21, 27; 112:17; 115:1, 13, 16, 18; 124:1, 16, 22, 42, 56, 58–59, 72, 79, 89, 91, 94–95, 102–103, 105, 107, 112, 115; 125:2; 132:1, 7, 30, 40, 44, 48, 52–57, 60.
45. E.g., “my servant Martin Harris” (D&C 5:1, 26, 32); “my servant John [Whitmer]” (D&C 15:1; 30:9); “my servant Peter [Whitmer]” (D&C 16:1); “my servant Oliver Cowdery” (D&C 18:1; 25:6; ); “my servant Parley P. Pratt” (D&C 32:1); “my servant Sidney [Rigdon]” (D&C 35:3; 36:2); “My servant Edward [Partridge]” (D&C 36:1). Many more examples could be multiplied here.
46. Bowen, “He Shall Add,” 2–4; Bowen, “Onomastic Wordplay on Joseph and Benjamin,” 261–64.
47. Noel B. Reynolds, “Nephite Uses and Interpretations of Zenos,” in The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5, eds. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1994), 21–49, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2499&context=facpub.
48. Cf. Jesus’s later statement to the Lamanites and Nephites at the temple in Bountiful: “Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance” (3 Nephi 20:33).
49. HALOT, 418.
50. Matthew L. Bowen and Loren Spendlove, “‘Thou Art the Fruit of My Loins’: The Interrelated Symbolism and Meanings of the Names Joseph and Ephraim in Ancient Scripture,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 28 (2018): 294–96, https://interpreterfoundation.org/thou-art-the-fruit-of-my-loins-the-interrelated-symbolism-and-meanings-of-the-names-joseph-and-ephraim-in-ancient-scripture/. See also Bowen, “I Have Done According to My Will,” 247–48.
51. See again D&C 1:17, 29; 5:1–2, 7, 9, 21, 23, 29; 6:18, 25, 28; 9:1, 4, 12; 17:4–5; 18:7; 19:3; 25:5; 28:2; 31:4; 35:17; 41:7; 43:12; 47:1; 50:37; 55:2, 6; 56:12; 60:17; 63:41; 64:5; 67:5, 14; 70:1; 78:9; 81:1; 82:11; 93:45; 100:9; 103:21–22, 35, 37, 40; 104:26, 43, 45–46; 105:16, 21, 27; 112:17; 115:1, 13, 16, 18; 124:1, 16, 22, 42, 56, 58–59, 72, 79, 89, 91, 94–95, 102–103, 105, 107, 112, 115; 125:2; 132:1, 7, 30, 40, 44, 48, 52–57, 60.

Posted in Article and tagged , , , , , , on . Bookmark the permalink.
Referenced scriptures: , ,
mm

About Matthew L. Bowen

Matthew L. Bowen was raised in Orem, Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young University. He holds a PhD in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and is currently an associate professor in religious education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He is also the author of Name as Key-Word: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and The Temple in Mormon Scripture (Salt Lake City: Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2018). He and his wife (the former Suzanne Blattberg) are the parents of three children: Zachariah, Nathan, and Adele.

Go here to see the one thought on “““The Messiah Will Set Himself Again”: Jacob’s Use of Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2”” or to comment on it.