The Prophet Isaiah

Click here to listen to Jared Anderson’ podcast that goes over this lesson. 

Jesus Quotes Isaiah 54:1-17:  3 Nephi 22:1-17

“Although Mormon, as narrator, never inserts scriptural passages he does recount how Jesus quoted Isaiah, Micah, and Malachi” (Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon,  A Reader’s Guide, pg. 299, note 5)

22:4  The phrase “…and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth…”  Does not appear in the KJV.  I thought nothing of the variation until Jared Anderson pointed out that the variation did not exist in the original 1830 Book of Mormon;  I decided to investigate.

Below, you will find three pictures of different texts.   The first two are pictures from my, “The Parallel Book of Mormon:  The 1830, 1837, and 1840 Editions.”  This book takes the three editions of the Book of Mormon that were printed during Joseph Smith’s life (and under his supervision) and lays them out in parallel form so one can compare and contrast the differences.   By comparing the 1830 and 1837 versions, it is seen that 3 Nephi 22:4 did not exist as we have it now in the 1830 edition, but did in the 1837;  it appears to be either a scribal or printer’s error that has not been corrected.

The third picture comes from Royal Skousen’s “The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text.”  This is also an important book in Book of Mormon scholarship.   Some members do not realize that much of the original hand-writtenmanuscript for the Book of Mormon was damaged by water.  What Royal Skousen attempted to do was to reconstruct the wording of the original manuscript; that is what “The Earliest Text” is.  In the back of his book, Dr. Skousen has documented many of the variations in the different editions and what he sees as variations from the original  manuscript.  As you will see in the third picture, there is a fancy looking “P”.  The “P” means “the printer’s manuscript, August 1829-March 1830; a handwritten copy of the original manuscript.”  You will also see “1908R” that refers to the third RLDS edition, published in Lamoni, Iowa.   The Bold type refers to additions to the text.  As one can see, Royal Skousen points out that the 1830 printer’s manuscript does not have the variant that we now have in our LDS Book of Mormon.  What I found even more interesting is that the RLDS’ 1908 version does not have the variant either.

OK.  I hope that wasn’t too confusing.  Here are the pictures from my  copies of the books I mentioned above:

From “The Parallel Book of Mormon”pg. 550 Notice the line that is missing.

From “The Parallel Book of Mormon” pg. 550. Notice the line in question is now there.

From Royal Skousen, “The Earliest Text” pg. 783. See above for explanation of annotations.

Since we don’t have any extant Reformed Egyptian manuscripts, we don’t know what was actually said on the Golden Plates.  Since much 3 Nephi 22 comes from Isaiah 54, we can look at the original Hebrew to provide us with some more meaning and insight.  The information below came form a bible lexicon and from Barnes Commentator:

“For thy Maker, thy husband” -Both these words, ‘maker’  ( בֹעֲלַ֙יִךְ֙  vo·’a·la·yich  which means to do or to make )  and ‘husband,’ (עֹשַׂ֔יִךְ o·sa·yich,which means to marry or rule over)  in the Hebrew are in the plural number. But the form is evidently the pluralis excellentiae – a form denoting majesty and honor (see 1 Samuel 19:13, 1 Samuel 19:16; Psalm 149:2; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 30:3; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Hosea 12:1).

“The Lord of Hosts”  Here it refers to ‘Yahweh ( יְהוָ֥ה )  of hosts,’  it is necessarily in the singular
“The God of the whole earth”  ( אֱלֹהֵ֥י   e·lo·hei) – He shall no more be regarded as uniquely the God of the Jewish people, but shall be acknowledged as the only true God, the God that rules over all the world.   (http://barnes.biblecommenter.com/isaiah/54.htm,  http://biblelexicon.org/isaiah/54-5.htm)

I asked Jared Anderson the following question:

“I have a nerdy question for you that relates to this lesson. I decided to look at a Bible lexicon and Strong’s Concordance to see what the original Hebrew meant in Isaiah 45:5 Why does the lexicon give a different transliteration of the words “Maker” and “Husband” than Strong’s does? For example, Strong’s says the transliteration for Husband is baal (http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/1166.htm) While the lexicon says it is vo·’a·la·yich (http://biblelexicon.org/isaiah/54-5.htm).”

This was his answer:

“The word is “Ba’al” in both instances, a word that means husband, Lord, and master. The form in the lexicon has a possessive suffix and the “vo·’a·l” part equals “Ba’al”. The same letter can make a B or V sound depending on whether it has a dot in it. Hope that was a nerdy enough answer. :)”

22:6 I was tripping over the phrasing  “…thou wast refused…” So, I decided to look it up in  a different Bible translation.
The New American Standard Bible renders this verse as follows:

“For the LORD has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.

The following came from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:

“The Septuagint renders this very strangely,  “The Lord hath not called thee as a wife forsaken and disconsolate; nor as a wife that hath been hated from her youth;’ showing conclusively that the translator here did not understand the meaning of the passage, and vainly endeavored to supply a signification by the insertion of thee negatives, and by endeavoring to make a meaning.   The idea is that of a wife wedded in youth; a wife toward whom there was early and tender love, though she was afterward rejected. God had loved the Hebrew people as his people in the early days of their history.  Yet for their idolatry he had seen occasion afterward to cast them off, and to doom them to a long and painful exile. But he would yet love them with all the former ardor of affection, and would greatly increase and prosper them” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible) .

Gill’s Exposition:

“…and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God; or, “and as a wife of youth (m)”; whom a man marries in his youth, and she a young woman herself, which makes it the more grievous to be despised, refused, and forsaken, or to seem to be so. The words may be rendered thus, “and”, or “but, a wife of youth thou art, though thou wast despised” (n), or “refused, saith thy God”; that is, though thou hast been seemingly despised and cast off, my providential dispensations towards thee may be so interpreted by thyself and others; yet I am thy God, thy Maker, Redeemer, and Husband, and thou art as dear to me as the wife of a man’s youth, for whom he has the most passionate love; and which agrees with what follows”  (Gill’s Exposition on the Entire Bible).

22:12 “…make thy windows agate, and thy gates of carbuncles…”   

“Of agates – Agates are a class of silicious, semi-pellucid gems, of many varieties, consisting of quarts-crystal flint, horn-stone, chalcedony, amethyst, jasper, cornelian, etc., variegated with dots, zones, filaments, ramifications, and various figures. They are esteemed the least valuable of all the precious stones. They are found in rocks, and are use, for seals, rings, etc.

The carbuncle is a beautiful gem of a deep red color, with a mixture of scarlet, called by the Greeks anthrax, found in the East Indies. It is usually about a quarter of an inch in length. When held up to the sun it loses its deep tinge, and becomes exactly the color of a burning coal (Webster). Hence, its name in Greek. The Hebrew name אקדח ‘eqeddâch is derived from קדח qâdach, “to burn,” and denotes a flaming or sparkling gem. The word occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).

An agate

A Carbuncle

“…thy window…”   This would perhaps be better translated as  “ your battlements”   The Hebrew is: שִׁמְשֹׁתַ֔יִךְ, the transliteration is  shim·sho·ta·yich, which literally means  “sun”  The New American Standard Version will sometimes translated it as:  battlements , daylight , daylight, east side, east, sun, sun’s, sundown, sunrise,  sunset ,  west .

Jesus on the Words of Isaiah1:  3 Nephi 23:1-5

23:1 “…search these things…”  I find this to be an interesting verb to use.  Search, to me, implies looking for something that is lost.

23:3 “…have been and shall be…”  Is this touching on the idea of  what is called dual fullfilment?  Jared Anderson had the following to say regarding dual fulfilment:  “That is the standard take when engaging with Messianic scriptures. It is actually a softening of Christian exclusivism, acknowledging that in addition to pointing toward Jesus the Old Testament prophecies meant something in their original contexts too.”

Grant Hardy states:

“From this perspective, when Jesus praises Isaiah and observes that “all things that he spake have been and shall be“, he does not necessarily mean that some of his prophecies have been fulfilled and others are yet to come;  rather, some predictions are apparently germane to both the past and the future simultaneously” (Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 207)

23:5 “…for many there be that testify of these things.”   What does “theses things” refer to?  The prophecies of Isaiah regarding the House of Israel and the Gentiles, or the need to hearken to Jesus’ words, repent and be baptized?

Jesus Corrects the Nephites’ Records:  3 Nephi 23:6-14

23:8-13 “…I commanded by servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people…how be it that ye have not written this thing?…Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written….” I believe that the reason the Nephites did not write down what Samuel had said was because he was a Lamanite.   This view would be completely congruent with what I see as the  racist views the Nephites held towards the Lamanites.

Grant Hardy notes:

“In his instructions to Nephi3 about record keeping, Jesus mentions a particular prophecy of Samuel’s, but it does not figure in his teachings to the people” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 311 note 10).

23:13 “…and Jesus commanded that it should be written..” If the things that Samuel said are being written 5-7 years after he had said them, I wonder how accurate the record would actually be.

Jesus Quotes Malachi 3 and 4: 3 Nephi  24:1-25:5

Artist:Artist Duccio di Buoninsegna Title: Maestà, Altarretabel des Sieneser Doms, Vorderseite, Predella mit Szenen aus der Kindheit Jesu und Propheten, Szene: Prophet Malachias Date: 1308-1311

24:1  This sentence is constructed in an odd way.   We may safely assume that the Nephites did not have any of Malachi’s prophecies with the exception of what Jesus had dictated during his post-resurrection appearances to the Americas.  The reason being, Lehi left Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE and Malachi lived between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE; after Lehi had left.     The way the first sentence in this verse is constructed makes it sound like this:   Jesus told the Nephite record keeper to write the words of Malachi as they were dictated by Jesus to the Nephites.  After the dictated words were written, Jesus expounded what had been written.


“When the Nephites at the temple in Bountiful first heard the words, “The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in” , they must have thought they were witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy on that very day.  After all, in his sermons and instructions to them, Jesus had presented himself principally as “the messenger of the covenant” ( the word covenant appears more than twenty times in 3 Nephi 11-29) and, like Malachi’s promise that God would “purify the sons of Levi,” Christ had visibly purified his servants so they could administer his ordinances (3 Nephi 19:25-26; 24:3, ). In addition, many more of Malachi’s words would have seemed tragically apt to the survivors of the widespread devastation” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 206).

24:1 “The word “temple” appears only twice in Third Nephi:  once in a quotation of Malachi 3:1 (3 Nephi 24:1), and once in a description of the setting (3 Nephi 11:1) which sounds conventional rather than integral to the meaning of the sermon” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 313, 314, note 26).

24:10 “tithes”  I was interested in knowing what “tithe” means in Hebrew:  Tithe הַֽמַּעֲשֵׂ֜ר ham·ma·’a·ser (transliteration)   (Strong’s Number4643) meaning tenth part, tithe

24:13 “…stout against me…”   What does this even mean?  I have an idea.  Let’s look at the original Hebrew again:  Stout-  חָזְק֥וּ cha·ze·ku (transliteration) (Strong’s Number 2388) to be or grow firm or strong, strengthen.   How is what we say “stout”  things against God?

24:14 “…it is vain…”  Vain:  שָׁ֖וְא sha·ve (transliteration) (Strong’s Number 7723)  emptiness, vanity from an unused word.

24:15 “…tempt God..”  How does one tempt God?   Let’s look at the original Hebrew to see if that provides any insight.  Tempt: בָּחֲנ֛וּ ba·cha·nu (transliteration) (Strong’s Number 974) to examine, try.

24:16 “…that thought upon his name…”   What does it mean to “think upon the Lord’s name”?  Hey!  I have an idea.  Let’s look at the original Hebrew:   חָשַׁב chashab (transliteration) properly, to plait or interpenetrate, i.e. (literally) to weave or (gen.) To fabricate; figuratively, to plot or contrive (usually in a malicious sense); hence (from the mental effort) to think, regard, value, compute — (make) account (of), conceive, consider, count, cunning (man, work, workman), devise, esteem, find out, forecast, hold, imagine, impute, invent, be like, mean, purpose, reckon(-ing be made), regard, think.

Here is how it is rendered in other Bible translations:

New American Standard Version (NAS): the LORD and who esteem His name.
Biblos Interlinear Bible (INT): fear the LORD esteem his name

25:2 Note the pun on “Sun of Righteousness” (as it originally appears in Malachi 4:2 see 2 Nephi 26:9;  Ether 9:22.

25:3 “…tread down…” 

“Jesus’ discourse is made even more dense and complex by his use of connecting catchphrases.  The phrase”tread(eth) down” appears in 3 Nephi 16:14, 15, 20:16, 21:12, and 25:3, often in biblical quotations or allusions (Micah 5:8; Malachi 4:3;  Matthew 5:13) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 203).

25:4 “…Remember ye the law of Moses…” 

“Jesus extensive use of Hebrew prophecies in his teachings in the New World can sometimes make for remarkable acts of multiple appropriation.  Malachi originally prophesied to listeners  in postexilic Israel;  his words were then quoted by Jesus to an audience of Nephites several centuries later,  who would have understood his message from a quite different perspective (for instance, they would have felt free to pass over his injunction to keep the law of Moses with all its “statutes and judgments” (Malachi 4:4).  Jesus’ comments, in turn, were recorded by Nephi3, whose account was the basis for Mormon’s abridgment, in which he selected a few of Jesus’ teachings for the benefit of modern readers, who themselves come to the text with very distinct concerns  and experiences.  From the perspective of the Book of Mormon, none of this is considered strange or strained.  It is assumed that it was part of God’s plan for prophecies to be multiply fulfilled and recurrently relevant”  (Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 205, 206).


“…So also, the attention given to prophecy in Jesus’ sermons – with a reminder that “ye are the children of the prophets” (3 Nephi 20:25) – and the extensive discussion of the future destiny of the House of Israel, including the part that the descendants of Lehi would play in the unfolding story, would have served to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”  in a powerful manner (Malachi 4:5).  It must have been reassuring for the Nephites to realize that everything that had happened to them was part of God’s overall design, and that Malachi, a prophet long before, had unbeknownst to them foreseen and described it all…The relationship of Mormon’s readers to his own book is similar – they also, through divine intervention, have been presented with a text that reveals that previously unknown prophets had foreseen and written about their lives” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 207, 316, note 45).

Jesus Expounds All Things:   3 Nephi 26:1-5

“In his role as moral guide, Mormon seems content to stand back and let Jesus take the lead in theology and doctrine, though after so much attention to the issues of prophecy and covenants we expect some sort of summation or an exhortation to give heed to scripture or a declaration that the promises made to Israel are indeed the key to the spiritual interpretation of world history.  In the end, however, Mormon does not simply draw our attention to significant lessons from the past, rather, he moves from telling stories about prophets to speaking as a prophet himself.   It is a remarkable development, for as Arnaldo Mamigliano once noted:

‘The Hebrew historian never claimed to be a prophet.  He never said ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is Upon me.’  But the pages of the historical books of the Bible are full of prophets who interpret the events because they know what was, is and will be.  The historian by implication subordinates himself to the prophet,  he derives his values from him’ (Arnaldo Mormigliano, Essays in Ancient and Modern Historiography, pg. 195).

This would have been a fitting description of Mormon as well, until 3 Nephi 26. 

“Actually Mormons’ transformation is neither instantaneous nor complete, after all, he still has his history to finish.  So after being directed away from what he himself had wanted to write (that is additional details from the third day of Jesus’ ministry), Mormon instead, describes a later visitation of  Christ to his twelve disciples when they were instructed concerning the proper name of the church and essentials of the gospel….” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 210)


“When Nephi1 prophesied that Christ would show himself among the Nephites, he did so in terms that appear in the book of Malachi (see 2 Nephi 26:3-9).  All of this came to pass exactly as Nephi1 had predicted, yet when Jesus begins to explain the meaning of Malachi 3-4, he speaks of events still to come, in the time of Mormon’s future readers.  Hence it appears that, at least in some aspects, Malachi’s predictions were both fulfilled and still in effect;  that is, prophecies could be applicable to several eras and might be realized more than once…Even in Abinadi’s original reading, he suggested that some prophecies might be continuously operable, identifying the welcoming heralds of Isaiah 52:7 as prophet’s “who have published peace,” as well as “those that are still publishing peace” and “those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea , from this time henceforth and forever” (Mosiah 15:14-17) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 207, 316, note47) 


“Jesus quotes Malachi 4, [as being] new to the Nephites since it had not been included in the Brass Plates that Nephi and his brothers had brought from Jerusalem (3 Nephi 26:2).  These citations generally follow the King James Version, but they are not simply a matter of cutting and pasting.  There are often interpretive insertions and substitutions that highlight the themes of Christ’s discourse to the Nephites – just as the Sermon on the Mount …Although Jesus states that Malachi 3-4 are new to the Nephites, phrases from Malachi 4:1-2 were quoted in 1 Nephi 22:15-23 and 2 Nephi 26:4,6,9.  The first of these citations is ascribed to an otherwise unidentified “prophet,” probably Zenos (cf. 1 Nephi 19:8-20).  This means that for Latter-day Saints, Malachi could be a composite book that incorporated earlier prophecies, some of which were on the Brass Plates (much of Micah 4:1-5 seems to quote Isaiah 2:2-5).  For non-Mormons, the easiest explanation is that Joseph Smith made a mistake…

“…One further wrinkle in the text is Jesus’ awareness of a dual audience comprising both the Nephites at Bountiful and also latter-day readers who wold someday peruse Third Nephi.  This double mindfulness is in striking contrast to other figures in the the Book of Mormon, such as Alma2, or Samuel the Lamanite, who when they spoke to the people of Zarahemla showed no awareness that their words would be meaningful to anyone other than the crowds at hand.  We can see Jesus nodding toward the other, later audience when he tells the Nephites “These scriptures [from Malachi], which ye had not with you, the father commanded that I should give you;  for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations”  (vs. 2).  (Of course, Christians and Jews who would someday read the Book of Mormon already had access to Malachi in the Bible, so the idea here must be that Malachi’s message needed to be reaffirmed, or put in the context of prophecies concerning the last days) And he speaks of the prophecies of Isaiah as having particular meaning for both his immediate audience and also the later Gentiles:

“A commandment I give unto you…it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles…the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles…”(3 Nephi 23:1-5)

“Nevertheless, Jesus was obviously addressing the Nephites who had gathered to hear him, and it is important to determine what the prophecies he quoted would have meant to his original audience at the temple in Bountiful”  (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg.202-204, 316, note 40, 42)

26:3 “…and he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory…” Because we are told earlier in 3 Nephi 24:1 that Jesus would expound the words of Malachi, are we to assume then that what we have recorded of Malachi in 3 Nephi 24-25 deals with “the beginning until the time that [Jesus] should come in his glory”?

“In fact, aside from Old Testament quotations generally associated with the end of times (Isaiah 11:4-9 >>2 Nephi 30:8;  Malachi 3-4>>3 Nephi 24-25), there are only four places in the entire Book of Mormon that directly reference the Second Coming or the Millennium:  1 Nephi 22:24-26;  3 Nephi 26:3, 28:7-8, and 29:2.  Book of Mormon prophecies are concerned with general conditions in the last days rather than the culminating event that will bring them to a conclusion, and in particular, Third Nephi speaks much, much more about the gathering of Israel than about the second coming” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 298, note 27)

26:5  This is where the original chapter break was (Chapter XII)

Mormon2 Forbidden to Give a Full Account:  3 Nephi 26:6-14

26:6-13 This is a huge editorial interruption by Mormon explaining his record

“Just at this point, Mormon interrupts his narrative and reminds us again of his selective editing (“there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people  (vs. 6).  From everything we know of him (Mormon), we expect a “thus we see”  observation here –  something about how Christ’s coming to the New World fulfilled prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi, or how the faithful response of the Nephites could serve as an example to future readers, or how the accuracy of some predictions makes it reasonable to believe that other prophecies will likewise come to pass, or how Jesus’ visit to the Americas might foreshadow his Second Coming.  Indeed, this comment sections comes right on the heels of one of the most provocative summaries in the entire book:  “When Jesus had told these things [that is, recited Malachi 3-4], he expounded them unto the multitude…and he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory – yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even together as a scroll” (3 Nephi 26:1, 3; cf. 2 Peter 3:10, Isaiah 34:4).  These explications concerned events of the last days, the time period that presumably would be of most interest to Mormon’s future audience (Mormon’s clearest identification of his presumed audience is Mormon 3:17-22, where he lists four distinct groups:  the Gentiles, the Jews, other scattered descendants of Israel, and the remnants of the Lehites).  As he seeks to engage and persuade those particular readers, it is hard to imagine any information better suited to the task;  in fact, detailed predictions of the last days could function much like the signs proclaimed by Samuel –  they would provide sure evidence, at the time of heir fulfillment, such that “there should be no cause for unbelief” (Helaman 14:28).  But even though Mormon is eager to transcribe a fuller account of Jesus’ words as contained in his sources, he does not do so.   Instead, his ambitions as a historian are suddenly deflected by a somewhat frustrating revelation.

“In his remarks in 3 Nephi 26 , Mormon describes how he heard the voice of the Lord directly, instructing him to take his history in a different direction.   At this moment, Jesus becomes doubly present both in Mormon’s life and in his text, not just as the central figure in his record of events AD 34 but also as his contemporary in the late fourth century – his interlocutor and supervising editor.

Behold, I was about to write them all, which were engraven upon the Plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it saying, “I will try the faith of my people.”  Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord” (3 Nephi 26:11-12). 

“In other words, Mormon’s message and agenda are no longer of his own design;  instead, he is speaking for God, as prophets do.  He appears somewhat reluctant to assume this role, which of course is part of the tradition.  In this case, however, his qualms are not the result of fearfulness or concerns about personal inadequacies.  Rather, his hesitancy stems from the fact that Jesus’ methods are at odds with those he has been developing over the last three hundred pages.  Mormon admits that he is editing against his own best judgment about how to meet his longstanding objectives.  Indeed, he is confident that if his readers had access to everything he knew about Jesus’ Nephite sermons, they would find his account persuasive or even compelling, but he nevertheless complies with the divine injunction.  In 3 Nephi 28:33 we again sense his regret at mandated omission: “And if ye had all the scriptures which give an account of all the marvelous works of Christ [i.e. those he was commanded  to pass on], ye would, according to the words of Christ, know that these things must surely come to pass.”  As Mormon is transformed here from historian to prophet, he concludes his remarks with a sentence that, if read literally, marks the transition with some poignancy: “And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings, and proceed to to write the things which have been commanded me” (vs. 12(Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 207-209, 317, note 48).

26:6 Can we then assume that Jesus dictated the whole book of Malachi and that we only have a portion of what he dictated to the Nephites?

26:6-7 “…there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach…” 

“As a historian, Mormon adds a few brief comments intended to increase our confidence in his narrative [such as] caution(ing) us that his account is an extremely abbreviated version of what was contained in his sources” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 209).

26:8 see 3 Nephi 21:2-7

26:9 “…when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first…that they shall believe these things…”  To whom does “they” refer?  The Gentiles? The House of Israel (as a whole or just the Lehite descendants)?.    To what do “these things”  refer?   The Bible?  The Book of Mormon?  The things that Mormon has just written down (meaning parts of the Book of Malachi)?   What Jesus taught, en toto, while in the Americas?

26:11   Grant Hardy suggests:  “I was about to write them all, which were engraven…” (Grant Hardy, The Book of Mormon, A Reader’s Edition, pg. 539, footnote 11c)

“Mormon’s new role as a prophet transcends his threefold agenda of history, literature, and morality, but it does not entirely supplant it.  Jesus does not demean Mormon’s efforts as a conscientious historian (keep in mind the story of Jesus’ taking a personal interest int he accuracy of the Nephite records in 3 Nephi 23:6-14, where he instructed Nephi3 to add a notation concerning a fulfilled prophecy of Samuel’s that had been overlooked), but at the same time he decisively orders Mormon to cut his account short in 3 Nephi 26:11,  suggesting that at this point the interests of the two audiences diverge, and for later readers a different approach was preferable” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 212).

“It appears that the resurrected Jesus in Third Nephi is concerned less with conveying precise information than inviting his listener, both ancient and modern, to come into a particular sort of relationship with him.. He told Mormon to omit certain details because he wanted to “try the faith of [his] people,” but Mormon understands this to be a promise of knowledge yet to be revealed: “if it shall so be that they shall believe these things, then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.”  The key is to ask. “Go ye unto your homes,” Jesus urged the Nephites at the end of the first day, “and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand” (3 Nephi 17:3)”. (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 212).

26:12 “…I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings…”  Mormon makes four lengthy comments.  Each are discrete and readily identifiable sections, containing the phrase “I make an end of my sayings/speaking” (3 Nephi 5:19; 10:19; 26:12;  28:24) (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 311, note 12).

“We encounter the phrase “I, Mormon”  several times in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 5:12;  26:12; 28:24;  4 Nephi 1:23)  Even so, he is a historian rather than a memoirist, so his usage is minimal compared with the eighty-eight times we read “I, Nephi” in the First and Second Books of Nephi.  Perhaps a better comparison would be with Mormon’s autobiographical writings. “I, Mormon” appears three times in the single chapter of Words of Mormon, and an additional eight times in the seven chapters of the book of Mormon that were written by Mormon himself, but this is still quite sparse compared to Nephi.  The loss of the 116 pages complicates the discussion since Mormon cold have introduced himself at the beginning of his record (in the now lost “book of Lehi”)  in much the way that Nephi did” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 99, 296, note 9).

26:13 “…for the space of three days…”  Is this just speaking of the time spent while giving his second sermon to the Nephites or is this speaking of the total time he spent with the Nephites (which would include his first and second sermons) up to this time?

26:13 “…did show unto himself unto them oft…”  I never noticed this part of vs 13 before.  Can Jesus visit us oft?

[End of Jesus’ Second Sermon to the Nephites:  3 Nephi 19:15-26:14]

Infants Speak; the Twelve Baptize:  3 Nephi 26:15-21

26:16 these children”  When “these” is used as an adjective, as it is in this sentence,  it indicates something that has just been mentioned.  So, I am assuming that it is referring to the children spoken of in 3 Nephi 26:14.    Is it safe to assume that the miracles recorded in vs. 15-16  occured  during one of Jesus’ visits after his second ascension?

26:17 Had people been baptized “in the name of Jesus” before this?

Miguel is a Guatemalan-American Mormon living in the Northwest with his family. He is one of the proprietors of the Rational Faiths blog.

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