Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon

If you're interested in possible Book of Mormon "Hebraisms" (language structures in the English translation suggesting Hebraic roots in the original), one good essay is "The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon" by Dr. John A. Tvedtnes. This is a chapter in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Comp., 1991), pp. 77-91. This is one of several excellent books available free online at the Maxwell Institute (FARMS).

Here a couple of excerpts:
Hebrew uses another compound preposition that would be translated literally as from before the presence of or from before the face of. English would normally use simply from. The influence of the Hebrew can be seen in these Book of Mormon passages:

"they fled from before my presence" (1 Nephi 4:28)

"he had gone from before my presence" (1 Nephi 11:12)

"they were carried away . . . from before my face" (1 Nephi 11:29)

And here's one from the discussion of conjunctions:
Another difference between Hebrew and English conjunctions is that in Hebrew the same conjunction can carry both the meaning and and also the opposite meaning but. Here are two well-known Bible passages in which the King James Version renders the conjunction but:

"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it" (Genesis 2:16-17).

"And as for Ishmael . . . I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac" (Genesis 17:20-21).

Evidence for Hebraism in the Book of Mormon lies in the fact that some passages use the conjunction and when but is expected. Here, for example, are two different versions of the Lord's promise to Lehi:

"Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence" (2 Nephi 1:20; compare Alma 50:20).

"Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence" (2 Nephi 4:4).

In one of the quotations of this promise, Joseph Smith rendered the conjunction and, while in another place, he rendered it but. In other Book of Mormon passages, Joseph translated and when in English we would expect but because a contrastive meaning is clearly called for:

"And when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and (= but) when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it" (Moroni 9:4).

"He commanded the multitude that they should cease to pray, and also his disciples. And (= but) he commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts" (3 Nephi 20:1).
And from his final section:
Words Used in Unusual Ways

At several points in the Book of Mormon, we encounter English words used in ways that are unknown or unexpected in our language. King Mosiah said, "I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may be distinguished above all the people" (Mosiah 1:11). In English we would expect distinguished from. But the Book of Mormon passage reflects the normal Hebrew expression, which uses the compound preposition that means from above.

Jacob wrote that Nephi instructed him regarding Nephite sacred preaching, revelations, and prophecies that "I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates" (Jacob 1:4). The term head seems out of place. We would expect something like most important to be used. But the expression is readily explainable in terms of Hebrew. The Hebrew word for the head of the body is sometimes used to describe things as chief (see Deuteronomy 33:15; Psalm 137:6; and Proverbs 1:21) or precious (see Amos 6:1; Song of Solomon 4:14; Ezekiel 27:22). This is probably the sense in which Jacob used the word.

Nephi wrote, "We are upon an isle of the sea" (2 Nephi 10:20). It seems strange to have Nephi call the American continent an island. But the Hebrew word generally translated isle in the Bible has a wider range of meaning than just island. It most often refers to coastal lands.
Food for thought, I hope.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is this such an amazing thing if so much of the BoM is taken from/influenced by the KJV?

Anonymous said...

What is there not to be amazed about? Either the original text came from a semitic language (similar to a significant portion of the Bible) or Joseph Smith had brilliant literary insight to make the Book of Mormon look like an ancient semitic text even if he based it on the Bible.

Russtafarian said...

Anon @8:43,

What you're suggesting is that Joseph was essentially a human sponge of not just words, but expressions/literary nuances...that somehow, he absorbed this stuff AND turned it into useable prose...

It's easy for us...we can just read the text and describe what we see...recognition and reproduction are two very different processes

Anonymous said...

Joseph was known by his family to be a great story teller. Is it any wonder that he happened to find a history of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas? I mean, these are some of the same types of stories he would share with his family even before he found the plates. Strange coincidence. hmmmm

Anonymous said...

And your source for that is? His mother is quoted as saying he told stories about the ancient Nephites and Lamanites - after his encounter with Moroni and the beginning of revelations to him. No fundamental problem. But it's easy to question just what she was recalling when.

Mormanity said...

Many of the Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon cannot be found by studying the KJV Bible. How many of the ones cited in this post could you have come up with from the KJV?

An another example, the concept of waiving the "rent" of a garment in the air - perfectly acceptable in Hebrew, and found in the original Book of Mormon, but it was later upgraded to better English by making it be the rent part of a garment that was used for Moroni's title of liberty. Can you get any hints about waving rents from the KJV? Don't think so.

Or even something so basic as chiasmus. It's all over the Bible, but is often obscured by the KJV. That may be why it was essentially unknown to most Bible scholars until very recently (and is still not well known among most students of the Bible). How did Joseph manage that Hebraic literary structure? Could you have done that, even if you were some kind of human sponge?

Mormanity said...

Many of the Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon cannot be found by studying the KJV Bible. How many of the ones cited in this post could you have come up with from the KJV?

Foranother example, consdier the concept of waiving the "rent" of a garment in the air - perfectly acceptable in Hebrew, and found in the original Book of Mormon, but it was later upgraded to better English by making it be "the rent part" of a garment that was used for Moroni's title of liberty (Alma 46:19. Can you get any hints about waving rents from the KJV? Don't think so.

Or even something so basic as chiasmus. It's all over the Bible, but is often obscured by the KJV. That may be why it was essentially unknown to most Bible scholars until very recently (and is still not well known among most students of the Bible). How did Joseph manage that Hebraic literary structure? Could you have done that, even if you were some kind of human sponge?

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhh the old, " You can't do it, so it must be from God" argument.
Jeff, what did I tell you before about truth and getting slapped in the face? Hmmmmmmm?

dave d said...

I read a book that surveyed language structures in the Book of Mormon - "The Literary Masterpiece Called the Book of Mormon" by James T. Duke. Besides chiasmus, the other literary construct that struck me as pointing to a Hebraic origin was word pairs. We use them without thinking, but they are unique to our language. If Joseph had made up the Book of Mormon, you would expect 19th century English word pairs to slip in here and there. But there are no "Lo and behold"s or "far and away"s, but rather there are plenty of "great and spacious" and other word pairings that are awkward in English and may make the Book of Mormon seem clumsy to a first time reader.

RWW said...

Jeff, what did I tell you before about truth and getting slapped in the face?

It's hard to keep track of who's said what on Jeff's blog these days, anonymous.

cold pizza said...

Normally, I too ignore anonymous comments. Like free advise, it's worth every penny you pay for it.
*******
One of my favorite tomes is the BoM formatted according to parallelistic patterns. The passages take on expanded meaning when you can see "nested statements" almost like a modern programming language.

Joseph must have a a C++ book somewhere in his extensive library and thought that by formating the text in a manner found in obscure 20th century computer language that he'd be able to slip a fast one past the ignernt yokels.

"You will know the truth and the truth will slap you in the face!" I guess I've been truth-slapped once again. -cp

PS, I've never left. I've lurked. But Jeff has a sizeable coterie of commenters that are so much more able than I and much less snarky. (BTW, I'd think the proper terminology would be "harem (of commentators)" but "coterie (of commentators)" has less snarkier connotations. Other fun groupings include a pod of whales, a murder of crows, and a foolsnest of anonymous.) --cp

cold pizza said...

Coolness. I think I've just coined a new word: foolsnest. Google yields 0 results.

If a crowsnest is where the lookout onboard a sailing ship stands, the foolsnest is the highest point from which one can see and point and shriek, and still get things very, very wrong (i.e. Rameumpton). -cp

Wookface said...

Anonymous @ 7:50 AM,

Maybe you could have managed such a feat. That isn't the question. The question is, could JOSEPH have managed such a feat by himself, without God's help? Looking at the evidence, such as the evidence Jeff sited on this post, it seems highly unlikely to me. My question is, what has made you so close minded towards the possibility that what Joseph said was true?

Cold Pizza, foolsnest does seem quite the appropriate word. I think I'll try to use it today!

Anonymous said...

"same types of stories he would share with his family even before he found the plates."


And where do we get this information. I looks like more stories are being told about what we think we know about Joseph that Joseph Smith was telling. You act like you were there with a u-tube vido, oh, yes those can be photo shopped and faked. But so and so said. No man that ain't history.

Anonymous said...

Arabic (الْعَرَبيّة al-ʿarabiyyah or just عَرَبيْ ʿarabī), in terms of the number of speakers, is the largest living member of the Semitic language family. Classified as Central Semitic, it is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic, and has its roots in a Proto-Semitic common ancestor.

A native Egyptian academic scholar embarked on the project of translating the Book of Mormon from English to Arabic.

His conversion came purely from the linguistics of the book which he found could not have been composed by an American, no matter how gifted. Some of these observations I think will be of interest to you, as they were to me, for they clarify some of the unique aspects of the book.

1. Jarom 2: "It musts needs be..." This expression, odd and awkward in English is excellent Arabic grammar.

2. Omni 18: "Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers, according to his memory." He indicates that this is a typical custom of his Semitic forbearers to recite their genealogy from memory.

3. Words of Mormon 17: Reference is made here as in other parts of the Book of Mormon, to the "stiffneckedness" of his people. An American youth like Joseph Smith would use adjectives such as stubborn or inflexable.

4. Mosiah 11:8 "King Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings and ornamented them with fine work and precious things, including ziff." This word, although in the Book of Mormon, is not contained in dictionaries of the English language. Yet it translates freely back into the Arabic language, for ziff is a special kind of curved sword somewhat like a scimitar.

6. Helaman 1:3 Here reference is made to the contending for the judgment seat. Yet, in Arabic custom, the place of power rests in the judgment seat and whoever occupies that seat, is the authority and power. The authority goes with the seat and not with the office or the person. So, this, in the Semitic languages, connotes the meaning exactly.

7. Helaman 3:14 In this verse, there are a total of eighteen "ands." Reviewers of the Book of Mormon have, on occasion, been critical of the grammar in such a passage where the use fo the word "and" seems so repetititious. Yet Brother Hanna explains that each of the "ands" in this verse is absolutely essential to the meaning, when this verse is expressed in Arabic, for the omission of any "and" would nullify the meaning of the words.

8. Helaman 3: 18-19 Have you wondered why the Book of Mormon cites a numbering system such as this? Do we say "forty and six, forty and seven, forty and eight?" He excitedly observes that the use of "and" in "forty and six" is precisely correct Arabic. Remember they number, as well as read, from right to left and recite their numbers with the "and" to separate the columns.

The fact that an Arabic scholar such as this sees a beautiful internal consistency in the Prophet Joseph Smith's translation of the book, is of great interest. The Prophet Joseph did not merely render an interpretation, but a word for word translation from the Egyptian type of hieroglyphic into the English language.

Hans said...

Anonymous at 1:23 AM,

Did you get the arabic information regarding the translation of the BoM from Elder Nelson's talk?

Also of note, the brother who was converted by this process has since left the church. Just an interesting tidbit.

glo said...

this may seem silly but i thought the BoM was written with reformed egyption. so why would looking at armaic, or Hebrew, or other middle eastern languages be of any conciquence?

From what i have studied in my bible courses i have come more and more to the conclution that the writter of the BoM was not Jewish becasue the things that would be culturaly importaint to the Jews at that time are missing from the BoM

Anonymous said...

There is a writing system (reformed Egyptian, Roman alphabet, Greek alphabet, Arabic script, etc) and then there is the language itself. i don't speak Latin but I definitely use the Roman alphabet.

Hans said...

glo,

You bring up good points, but fail to realize that Egyptian is itself a semetic language, though not as close to the Hebrew/Arabic family.

As for your second point about not having enough Jewish points of reference, keep in mind that the Kingdom of Judah was similar in siz to Rhode Island. Lehi and other people there did not live in a vacuum where they were not influenced by outside cultures. At the time, Judah was in the middle of a turf war between Egypt and Assyria. It was only natural that people including merchants (if Lehi was one) who travelled, interacted, and were influenced by these cultures.

A good example are the names of Lehi's six sons. Laman and Lemuel fit nicely into Arabic, perhaps suggesting that Lehi travelled in the Levant and interacted with Arab/Hebrew tribes in the Trans-Jordan. Sam and Nephi are Egyptian in origin, suggesting that Lehi interacted with Egypt during the time of his life when these boys were born. Finally, Jacob and Joseph are clearly Hebrew names, fitting for Lehi's journey in the wilderness.

Based on the economic super-power that was Egypt, Egyptian was the lingua france of its time, and perhaps Egyptian characters were used phonetically for other languages. As we do not have a blue-print of 600 BC life of Jerusalem beyond the limited space in the Old Testament, anything beyond that would be speculation. But to think that Judah was isolated like the YFZ Ranch would most likely be an incorrect assumption which ignores the importance of its location in the fertile crescent for trade.

cold pizza said...

"...things that would be culturaly importaint to the Jews at that time are missing from the BoM"

The period of the BoM that deals with Jerusalem is rather short. A good example of culturally significance can be found in the Nephi's discussion of Laban, a local Jewish leader who apparently had a small army of 50 men, but could command "tens of thousands" (see 1 Nephi 4:1).

During times of peace, only a small guard was necessary. In times of war, this home-guard became the cadre during the mobilization of the male populace. The complete article discussing this Jewish cultural snippet can be found in "New Approaches to the BoM" (and I've lost my copy otherwise I'd be able to provide you the proper citations).

This is NOT how the continental Army of Joseph Smith's time would have operated or which any veterans of the War of 1812 campaigns would have been familiar (where Joseph would have gotten his military information/stories from).

Regarding written language and translation, the symbols we assign to the markers (alphabet, runes, kanji, pictograms, stele carvings, hieroglyphs) are imperfectly used to convey meanings. Mandarin and Cantonese are separate dialects, yet the kanji symbols are the same, allowing for written communication between people who wouldn't normally be able to communicate.

Communication involves the transmission of ideas. Syntax is important as a cultural clue. The BoM has some syntax that sounds weird when read in English but apparently translates well and fits into a Mid-East mileau. Just as the internecine warfare among the descendants of Lehi (Nephits v Lamanites) mirrors Mid-East blood feuds (think Sunni-Shia).

You also have to consider the BoM was not written by Jewish hands. When Mormon abridged the records that were entrusted to his care, his lineage had been separated from the people at Jerusalem for around 1000 years. Different culture, different cultural imperatives, different emphasis on what was important to the dominent cultures in play.

In concluding, very little of the BoM is reflective of American frontier life of the early 1800s, other than sweeping generalities that plague humanity in all ages, in all places. If the BoM was a work of fiction, you'd expect frontier cultural imperatives to show up. We can't help it when we write--our words and syntax mark us (i.e. I can generally tell what part of the country you're from by what you call a soda: pop, soft drink, coke, soda, etc; words you're not even aware you're using).

-cp
(The more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to learn and how little I actually know. I hope to one day become so educated that I become completely ignorant. Then I'll be finally able to teach Arts & Humanities.)

Thomas said...

anonymous at 1:23:
Mormons need to stop telling the story of Sami Hanna as a testimony bolstering event! He did not do what Elder Nelson's talk claims (that talk is no longer available on lds.org. Check for yourself), and Brent Yorgason's book further muddies the waters. Sami has indeed left the church (as a simple google search will confirm) and most of the so called discoveries made by him were made by FARMS. Ask them yourself, but don't expect a kind answer.
As with all such faith promoting stories, find out for yourself before you spout off about them, especially in Gospel Doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Hans

"Did you get the arabic information regarding the translation of the BoM from Elder Nelson's talk?"

"Also of note, the brother who was converted by this process has since left the church. Just an interesting tidbit."


I got it off the internet. As a convert of over 30 years I also have left the church. My action does not make the restored gospel any less true.

Anonymous said...

"At 11:16 AM, April 23, 2008, Hans said... "

Good job Hans. The more we remove the layer of the BoM the more we can see where it came from. Thanks to you and Jeff for posting.

Anonymous said...

A"s with all such faith promoting stories, find out for yourself before you spout off about them, especially in Gospel Doctrine."

I spout off as I please. If the information is true, it does not matter where it came from. I have obtained truths from people that were totally unworthy. Besides this is not Gospel Doctrine it is Mormon Myth you need to learn the difference.

Anonymous said...

"... most of the so called discoveries made by him were made by FARMS..."

So some of the facts are correct but where the facts came from are incorrect. Sorry just had to spout off again.

Anonymous said...

"but don't expect a kind answer."

That would be nothing new. I have gotten a lot of unkind things from the Mormons. But the restored gospel is still true. You can't change that.

Anonymous said...

Just an apocryphal story. How many are in the Bible?

Anonymous said...

glo, said:

"From what i have studied in my bible courses i have come more and more to the conclution that the writter of the BoM was not Jewish becasue the things that would be culturaly importaint to the Jews at that time are missing from the BoM."

If you are like me I must take my information from some expert. Althought I might like to think I know a lot all I have learned I learned from some expert of the middle east 600 BC.

Remember that most of the BoM is written in Mesoamerica people. That is if that is where they landed. It was passed on from one person that was from a land much different than the middle east. The middle east record keeping and trainning of the scribes may have helped keep the middle east infulence, but a very different people keep the record. But because we do not know for sure where it came from then we just have to speculate.

Hans said...

Anonymous said:

"I got it off the internet. As a convert of over 30 years I also have left the church. My action does not make the restored gospel any less true."

I wondered if you had found an updated version of the article. When I first read it I did not realize that it was not given by Elder Nelson.

Regarding your second point, I whole-heartedly agree. Sami's reasons for leaving the church should not have a bearing on the truthfulness of the Gospel like you said. The three witnesses are another good example. If someone was converted soley because of his translation, I could see how a testimony of the truth could be lost, though the information still be correct. Wasn't it Ezra Booth that was converted because Joseph healed someone with an arm ailment. If I remember correctly, he was one of the people with tar and feathers not to long after that event.

Anonymous said...

hans, said:


"I wondered if you had found an updated version of the article. When I first read it I did not realize that it was not given by Elder Nelson."

I don't know, you know how the internet is. I think there was a statement at the bottom by his son that said they did not want to be contacted ect. As a convert of 30 years I have be told many Mormon Myths. Like the Bible, some stories may have been added but the Gospel and Jesus Christ is true.

glo said...

Hans and Anonimus:

Okay I get that egyption is a semantic language, that makes sence. except I am pretty sure that the Hebrew system of Writting had been at least faily established By the time of the babylonian captivity. Grant it egypt had marched through Judea at the end of Josiah's rule which would have given a rise in Egyption influence. expecily when P. Neco put Eliakim aka Jehoiakim in as king.

Hans:
i understand that Judah is very small, and that there would be nothing to keep influence from entering the jewish people. however I would like to point out that as people have been trying to find the lost tribes of Isreal (9 tribes that disapeard after the distruction of the N. Kingdom) they have been finding them through looking for similarities in what jewish culture was and has relitively been unchanged dispight the influx of other cultures coming into it.
(also the truff war between egypt and assyria was going on any more concidering babylonia had taken over assyria by 600 bc.)

now i am in the prosses of reading the book of mormon and i must admit i am not very far, i was just getting to the migration to Mesoamerica.

Cold pizzia:
Like i already said i am not very far in the bom So far i have not delt with anything other then those who were from Jeruselam. and besides small things that show signs of non hebraic background there are some large things that were and are central to Jewish culture, so much that for them to be missing shows that this group was not a part of the 'ritcheous remnent'(like i said this is comeing out of reading what Nephi wrote, enless of course you want to say that Nephi did not write Nephi.)

now if we are going to say that the missing cultureal points of contact between Judaism and Nephitism are irrelevent why Should we be excited about points of contact between the uses of language (which we really can not verify because we have no acces to the original texts, or have anything to compair it to because we have not extra BoM texts to compair it to.) there are thousands of miles and years between the middle eastern language and that of the BoM, if there are any it is more likely to be conincidence. using you same logic of why there are not cultural points of contact.

Hans said...

Glo said:

"(also the truff war between egypt and assyria was going on any more concidering babylonia had taken over assyria by 600 bc.)"

You are 100% correct. I have been reading in Isaiah and my mind was about 120 years earlier than Lehi when writing. But Babylon filled the same role as Assyria before as an East/West fight continued.

I think you bring up a good point regarding the lost tribes and being able to connect them through Jewish cultural elements still present. Perhaps a reason why you see less of this in the BoM is that Lehi's group relatively small compared to the amount of people displaced in the Northern Kingdom. The Mulekites that show up in the Book of Omni were another group but it appears that because they had no record that they lost a substantial part of their Jewishess. I am only hypothesizing so take that for what it's worth. We unfortunately do not have the 116 pages that cover Lehi's version of events so we are at a disadvantage in that regard.

I think that you will see an eventual diminshment in the BoM of Hebraic influence to MesoAmerican influence as it becomes apparant that there are other cultures already interacting with the main group. Sherem in Jacob 7 was not from Lehi's group and most likely the Nephite culture was influenced.

Are you not convinced of some Jewish elements that Jeff's original post covers? The description of Laban and his 50's and thousands? How about where Lehi offers special sacrifices in the wilderness only two times. Under the law of Moses, these sacrifices were to occur when there had been sin. Oddly enough, the sacrifices happen when Laman and Lemuel attempted to kill Nephi. While that connection could have been picked up by JS from simply reading the Bible, many of us who are familiar with the scriptures fail to catch such a small detail that is technically accurate. Enjoy reading the BoM!

Anonymous said...

glo, said:

"besides small things that show signs of non hebraic background there are some large things that were and are central to Jewish culture, so much that for them to be missing shows that this group was not a part of the 'ritcheous remnent'"

Without each example it is hard to try to explain what is that you think is hebraic and what is not. There were many groups in the Jewish culture of that time peroid. One that came later were the people of he Dead Sea Scrolls. At one time the Jewish temple go so far off that one of the kings at the time had of clean up the temple worship. The problem is we do not have all the history of the Bible or the Book of Mormon.

Ryan said...

glo said:

There are some large things that were and are central to Jewish culture, so much that for them to be missing shows that this group was not a part of the 'ritcheous remnent'

Without examples these are just weasel words. If you have specific examples we'd love to discuss them; otherwise it's hard to take that statement seriously.

Also, remember that the Jews at Jerusalem were about to be destroyed because of their wickedness. Is it really a Bad Thing for the "righteous remnant" to be a bit different than them?

As a shot in the dark, are you concerned that Lehi's group doesn't seem to eat, sleep and breathe the Law of Moses the way we normally expect Jews to? They, unlike the vast majority of Judah (at any point in their history!), understood why the Law of Moses was given and were able to keep it in perspective:

24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.

-- 2 Ne 25:24-27

I, for one, consider this difference a Good Thing. My opinion about other differences will have to wait until I know what they are.

VB said...

"I would like to point out that as people have been trying to find the lost tribes of Isreal . . . they have been finding them through looking for similarities in what jewish culture was and has relitively been unchanged dispight the influx of other cultures coming into it."

So they are "know" they are the lost tribes because of cultural similarities.

And they have cultural similarities because they are the lost tribes.

circular reasoning no?

Maybe they are just dispersed members of Judah?

Ryan said...

Ooh! I think that passage I quoted was a Chiasmus:

- And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses,
- - and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
- - - For, for this end was the law given;
- - - - wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith;
- - - - - yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

- - - - - Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law;
- - - - and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ,
- - - and know for what end the law was given.
- - And after the law is fulfilled in Christ,
- that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.

A Christ-centered passage -- literally. Sorry if this example is old news to everyone else.

Abe Bird said...

Fascinating! the Hebrew roots of English. Surprising and Amazing site! http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/26_edenics.html

glo said...

I wasn't planing on posting again because jeff has moved on.

I didn't list examples because I didn't want to take up space. but Hans listed a big one for me and that is that there are sacrifices outside the temple preformed by people who were not of the tribe of Levi, or more spicificly Aaron. after the taking of canon in Joshua the tribes on the east side of the jordon set up an alter and those on the west side were going to kill them. this was becasue there were not to be sacrifices any where but where the ark of the covenent was.

as second one would be the lack of ark importaince. the ark of the covenent wasn't just a symbol it was where God said he was going to be. yse God is everywhere but the ark was a spicfic place that he was. why is the ark not even talked about in 1 nephi.

a third is the lack of geneologies. yes they go and get the geneologies but then he doesn't put it in his writting. geneologies are recorded in the bible because they give proof of God's presence in the past, they also provide the resoning for why sertain people are blessed and others are not.

a fourth is actually the reason that mormons point out why the geneologies are missing. the jewish and the surounding area did not departmenteliz religion form everyday stuff as we do. the geneologies were very much a part of thier relationship with God as were many other aspects of thier lives. theology was a part of everything else.

there were bad things happening in this time of jewish history, but it is also the time in which the most prophets were around. there is also the several good kings, and reforms that happened.

Hans pointed out that the babylonians influenced the same as the assirians would have. now if you belive in JPED then i can see how this would work. I do not belive in JPED theory and it is interesting to note that the babylonian captivity is what caused the jews in general to hold on more tightly to thier law and prophets. they knew they had been destroyed because of their lack in following the law and it caused them to be more set apart.

as for the lost tribes of isreal there is more then just cultural issues and they are not 100% sure that they have found them, but the government of isreal has been spending a lot of money to relocate them.

Ryan said...

Thanks for the specifics, glo! Here's my responses:

1. From the LDS perspective, performing ordinances without authority is a Bad Thing. Those in the East did not have the authority and were in the wrong. However, seems that Lehi held the greater priesthood (the same that Moses held) and therefore had the proper authority to perform sacrifices. We don't know where he got it from, but that authority comes up several times later in Nephite history.

2. I hadn't ever thought about the Ark before. The only thing that comes to mind right off is what I've heard about the rise of the Deuteronomists (which was happening around the time Lehi left Jerusalem). They put a huge emphasis on the Law, the Exodus, and the wanderings in the wilderness. Some historians (Margaret Barker, maybe?) are pretty sure history (and the Old Testament) got re-spun to reflect this emphasis. If so, and this is my speculation, maybe the emphasis on the Ark wasn't actually as entrenched in 600BC as we now think it was.

3. This one, at least, is very simple:

And now I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record; neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work. -- 1 Ne. 6:1

The record kept by Lehi was none other than the lost 116 pages that should have been the first section of the Book of Mormon but for human foibles.

Also, several folks later do give genealogies. Amulek comes to mind, as does a huge chunk of the Book of Ether. Keep reading!

4. I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. The Nephites definitely didn't compartmentalize their secular and religious lives. It ran through their government, their warfare, and their family life.

I don't know what JPED is, and had not heard about the Israeli hunt for the lost tribes, so I won't comment on them.

Anonymous said...

glo, said:

"as second one would be the lack of ark importaince. the ark of the covenent wasn't just a symbol it was where God said he was going to be. yse God is everywhere but the ark was a spicfic place that he was. why is the ark not even talked about in 1 nephi."

Is there anything in the Book of Mormon to indicate that Lehi took the Ark with him? There are several places which indicate to me a possible connection. We know that, as plainly stated, that he took with him the Brass Plates of the Torah and other scriptures. Was there anything else? It seems there is no indication that he took anything else until we come to Third Nephi. Here we read at the beginning of 3rd Nephi a curious entry:

"And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son, Nephi, who was the eldest son, concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, AND ALL THOSE THINGS WHICH HAD BEEN KEPT SACRED from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem." (chap 1, verse 2)

All those things? What things? The connection between having the Ark and the need to house it in a sacred place. One of the main reasons for building the Temple of Solomon was to house the Ark. The Temple built in Egypt must have had this idea in mind. It was built with the same dimensions as Solomon's. Likewise, one of the very first things the Nephites did was to build a Temple "after the manner of Solomon." It appears, too, it was an urgent matter. Animal sacrifices could be done in the open, as was done by Lehi during the journey. But having the Ark in one's possession would make it much more urgent for them to build a Temple like Solomon's.

Furthermore, there are the names of two individuals in the line of succession with the names, "Amaron," and "Ammaron." The first name is Hebrew for "people of the Ark," and the second is Aramaic for "people of the Ark." (The Aramaic has a dagesh, a little dot in the MEM, which doubles it in transliteration). Amm, Am = People (Aramaic, Hebrew) Aron = Ark (Aramaic, Hebrew)

There are no individuals in the Tenach (Bible) with these names. How is it these names show up in the Book of Mormon? To me, these are among the "tell-tale" signs of an extra- ordinary dimension to the Book of Mormon. There are more details, but this is probably enough to assimilate for now. (I have a tendency, I know, to overwhelm people with information--not always wanted information.)

Latter-Day James said...

That is some cool info there, anon, about the meanings of Amaron and Ammaron. Not doubting here but where is that info found? I believe there is never anything as too much information, this is right on with the whole Hebrew topic. Ever think of getting an id? I would like to distinguish you from the other anons.
Nice comment.

Anonymous said...

http://www.greaterthings.com/Word-Number/Ark/


I got it off the internet. I have no idea if it is factual all this stuff is just amateur hour for me.

Anonymous said...

glo, said:


"From what i have studied in my bible courses i have come more and more to the conclution that the writter of the BoM was not Jewish becasue the things that would be culturaly importaint to the Jews at that time are missing from the BoM."

You need to read and study Jeff's new post below. This for me is one of the more compelling parts that Joseph Smith could not have made up. Joseph Smith nailed this one. I would say more but you must take some time to read it and study what some experts have said.

Sunday, April 27, 2008
Olive Trees and the Book of Mormon

Mormanity said...

That Greater Things page has some crazy stuff on it, IMO.

Here's an example of the evidence for the miraculous link between the Ark and Sanpete County, Utah:
"Third, "Lehi" is word 3895 in the OT lexicon. The number 8395 has the digits "835" in it, which is Manti's prefix. It also has "385:" the new area code in Utah coming December."

Beware this kind of stuff on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

"That Greater Things page has some crazy stuff on it, IMO"

But this is the fun stuff of Mormonism. The Mythology, the hunt for the gold plates ect. One of the coolest things are the ghost stories of Utah or members that had their own personal seer stone. Just take it all with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

"Third, "Lehi" is word 3895 in the OT lexicon. The number 8395 has the digits "835" in it, which is Manti's prefix. It also has "385:" the new area code in Utah coming December."

It is like all the 9-11's found after the towers came down. Not to be take serious just fun or the Bible Code. I don't think there is anything to it but...? I know I have to much time on my hands.

GB said...

Speaking of Hebrew sentence structure (specifically, the use of "and" at the beginning of a sentence), I wonder if anyone has insights into Mosiah 4:11-16. Verse 11 lists some things we should do (remember the greatness of God, pray, etc.) Then, verse 12 states what will happen if we do what verse 11 says: "if ye do this ye shall always rejoice . . . ." Verse 13 says "And ye will not have a mind to injure one another . . . ." Verse 14 says "And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry . . . neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God." Verse 16 says "And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor."

My question is, should verses 13, 14, and 16 be read similarly to verse 12, i.e., natural consequences of doing what verse 11 instructs? Or did King Benjamin intend verses 13, 14, and 16 to be separate commandments, unrelated to verses 11-12? I generally hear these verses taught as separate commandments, but I've always wondered--mainly because verses 13, 14, and 16 begin with the word "and" (which makes it seem like a continuation of the natural consequences mentioned in verse 12)--if King Benjamin was simply continuing the list of the blessings we'll receive by doing what verse 11 instructs.