Isaiah in the Book of Mormon...and Joseph Smith in Isaiah
David P. Wright
Introduction

Part 1: King James Version Language
Part 2: KJV Italics and the BM Isaiah
Part 3: KJV Translation Errors in the BM Isaiah
Part 4: Disparities with Hebrew Language, Text, and Style
Part 5: The Secondary Nature of Variants in the BM Isaiah
Part 6: Supposed Proofs for the Antiquity of the BM Isaiah
Conclusions
Appendix


Part 4: Disparities with Hebrew Language, Text, and Style
(updated 8/28/98)

Some variants in the BM Isaiah reveal a dependence on the English text in ways other than those examined so far. These readings show, on the one hand, an ignorance of Hebrew language, text, style, and context and, on the other, an attachment to the KJV text. Three types of variants are of concern here: those that reflect ambiguities of English terminology that do not exist in Hebrew, those that show an ignorance of the meanings of Hebrew words and syntax, and those which upset the smooth poetic style of the Hebrew text.53

1. Variants developing from English polysemy: There are several cases where the same English word appears in both the KJV and BM, but in the BM has a meaning different from the word in the KJV and the underlying Hebrew. In these cases the surface similarity to the English reading but dissimilarity to the Hebrew reveals that the variant comes from revision of the English text.

The treatment of italicized words (Part 2, above) presented two examples of this. The word "for" in Isaiah 13:3 and its parallel, 2 Nephi 23:3, have different functions: one is a preposition, the other a conjunction. "Wherefore" in Isaiah 50:2//2 Nephi 7:2 has different functions, one an interrogative, the other a conjunction. These two examples require different underlying Hebrew terms and texts. Ten other examples (counting two for Isa 50:2//2 Ne 7:2, below) can be added:54

Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21//2 Nephi 12:10, 19, 21: The KJV reads in the three verses: "for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty." The BM reads in v. 10: "for the fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty shall smite thee"; in v. 19: "for the fear of the Lord shall come upon them and the glory of his majesty shall smite them"; and in v. 21: "for the fear of the Lord shall come upon them and the majesty of his glory shall smite them."55 The word "for" which begins the phrases has different functions in the two versions. In the KJV it is a preposition meaning "because of" and is syntactically part of the previously described action of entering into and hiding in the rocks (see the beginning of vv. 10, 19, 21). In the BM it is a conjunction, which introduces a syntactically complete phrase, with its own verb. Though the English word is the same, two different Hebrew terms are necessary. The Hebrew behind the MT is the preposition mippe; the BM requires a conjunction such as .56

Isaiah 5:4//2 Nephi 15:4: This case is like that in Isaiah 50:2//2 Nephi 7:2, noted already above, but not connected with italicized words. The KJV reads: "Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" The BM's last verb and subject switched places creating a statement: "it brought forth wild grapes." The "wherefore" in the KJV is an interrogative; it translates Hebrew maddûac"why." This Hebrew term cannot be taken as the conjunction "wherefore" (= "therefore") as in the BM reading.57

Isaiah 10:10//2 Nephi 20:10: The KJV reads "As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols." The BM has a verb which looks similar but has an entirely different meaning: "As my hand hath founded the kingdoms of the idols." The BM variant is so minor that it may be an English dictation, transcription, or copying error.58 But observe that the idiom of a hand "finding" kingdoms is not quotidian. This may have led to an intentional alteration. Though a similar idiom appears in v. 14 which has no variant in the BM, this may not have been changed because "riches" or "nests" are not usually "founded." The case in v. 10, if an intentional modification, is significant since the similar looking verbs require completely different Hebrew verbs. The Hebrew verb underlying "found" in the KJV is mä&ä'. The BM reading requires yäsad "to found" or a synonym.

Isaiah 14:19//2 Nephi 24:19: The KJV reads "_and _as the raiment of those that are slain." The BM has: "and the remnant of those that are slain." The underlying words are different: the Hebrew behind the KJV is lebû$, while the word for the BM would be  $e'är, $e'ërît, or a synonym. It is possible that this variant is an English dictation, transcription, or copying error. At the same time the proximity of italicized words, one of which is deleted, suggests that the variant is intentional and by Smith. The appearance of "remnant" in v. 22 may have suggested the replacement term.59

Isaiah 29:19//2 Nephi 27:30: The KJV reads "The meek also shall increase _their joy in the Lord." The BM reads: "And the meek also shall increase and their joy shall be in the Lord." Though both texts have the word "increase," they require two different Hebrew words. The verb behind the KJV, weyäse, is transitive and takes the term çimxâ "joy" as a direct object. Quite literally it means "they shall add joy." This verb is not used intransitively in the sense of "increase" with reference to the subject, as in the BM. Another Hebrew verb must be used (e.g., rbh). A further sign that this is a revision of the KJV is the italicized pronoun "their" with which the variant seems associated. The BM variant also upsets the parallelism in the poetry (see below).

Isaiah 48:3//1 Nephi 20:3: The KJV reads "and I shewed them; I did _them suddenly." The BM reads: "and I shewed them, I did shew them suddenly." The BM has the word "did" as in the KJV, but requires a different underlying Hebrew term. The KJV translates the verb caçîtî "I did, performed, acted," as an independent verb. The word "did" in the BM is not independent but an auxiliary with a following infinitive "shew." The underlying Hebrew would be hir'îtîm "I showed them," or better, hi$mactîm "I announced them," the verb which KJV translates "shew" in vv. 3 and 5.60 A further indication that this variant is English-based is that it occurs next to a word italicized in the KJV.

Isaiah 48:16//1 Nephi 20:16: The KJV reads: "from the time that it was, there _am I"; the BM: "from the time that it was declared have I spoken." In the BM the passive participle "declared" is appended after the existing verb "was." This is not possible in Hebrew. The Hebrew has the infinitive plus pronoun heyôtäh "it was." The BM reading requires replacement of this word with an entirely different Hebrew verb (e.g., huggad or hugge). The italicized word "_am" is likely part of the motivation for the change. The stimulus for the idea of "declaration" comes from earlier in the chapter in vv. 3, 5, 6, 14.61

Isaiah 50:2//2 Nephi 7:2: The KJV reads: "I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because _there _is no water"; the BM: "I make their rivers a wilderness and their fish to stink because the waters are dried up." There are two examples of variants based on English polysemy here. First, the verb "make." In the BM this serves double-duty, taking both the noun "rivers" and the noun "fish" (with its infinitive "to stink") as objects. This is not possible in Hebrew; the verb çîm, that lies behind "make" in the KJV, cannot be used as an auxiliary verb with an infinitive (in the BM "to stink") to form a causative construction.62 The BM needs a separate verb for this, such as 'ab'î$ ""I cause (something) to stink." If the BM text were a translation one would expect the rendition of separate verbs: "I make their rivers a wilderness, I cause their fish to stink."

Similarly, the usage of "because" shows that the English text is being revised. The underlying Hebrew of the KJV is 'ên mayim "because there is no water." The preposition më- (min), literally "from," which underlies "because" in the KJV cannot underlie the BM's "because," since the syntax of the larger clause does not allow for use of the preposition më-. Another word must be used (e.g., or the simple conjunction w-). For further discussion of this passage, see example 23 in the appendix.

Isaiah 51:4//2 Nephi 8:4: The KJV reads: "and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people." The BM, in the P manuscript and 1830 edition, reads: "and I will make my judgment to rest for a light thing of the people."63 The KJV properly translates the Hebrew word 'ôr "light." This Hebrew word does not include the semantic range of lightness in terms of weight. Another Hebrew term is required. One can compare KJV Isaiah 49:6 "Is it a light thing...?" where the Hebrew term is näqël (a verb).

2. Lack of understanding Hebrew syntax and semantics: This category, similar in some respects to the foregoing, involves cases where variants in the BM create a text markedly at odds with the word order or agreement in the Hebrew text or where the meaning of Hebrew words does not appear to be known.

Two cases have already been discussed in detail in the section on variants at the italics (see Part 2). In these cases deletion of italics led to texts that require a word order and grammatical construction notably different from the existing Hebrew text (Isa 51:17//2 Ne 8:17: "the dregs of the cup of trembling, _and wrung _them out" > "the dregs of the cup of trembling rung [sic] out"; Isa 54:5//3 Ne 22:5: "For thy Maker _is thine husband" > "For thy Maker, thine husband"). In another case a noun disagrees in gender with the context of the Hebrew (Isa 51:19//2 Ne 8:19: "These [feminine] two _things [feminine] are come [feminine] unto thee" > "These two sons [masculine] are come unto thee").

An additional example, similar to the last mentioned, is in Isaiah 5:9//2 Nephi 15:9. The KJV reads: "many houses shall be desolate, _even great and fair, without inhabitant." The BM reads: "many houses shall be desolate, and great and fair cities, without inhabitant." The adjectives "fair and great" in the Hebrew (gedölîm wetôbîm) agree with the masculine plural noun "houses" (bättîm) in the first clause. The noun "cities" (cärîm) is feminine and requires adjectives with different endings.64

The BM manifests an ignorance of Hebrew terminology in 2 Nephi 12:9. The KJV reads "And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself" (Isa 2:9). The previous verse speaks of the people's idolatry. The people's humility in v. 9 seems to pose a contradiction. The BM reading suits the context better. The P and 1830 texts read: "and the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself not." The Pc adds "not" after "boweth," apparently for consistency.65 The problem with the BM reading is that in the Hebrew negatives are not needed. The "bowing" and "humbling" are themselves negative in character. Wildberger's commentary, which renders the verbs in the past tense, translates: "Then the human being was bowed down and the man was brought low."66 The NJPS similarly, though in the future tense, translates: "But man shall be humbled, and mortal brought low." The same verbs are found in Isaiah 5:15 where the KJV renders the negative connotation more suitably: "And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled." Compare also the verbs in 2:11, 17. The BM here thus seems to be a reaction to the inadequate translation of the KJV. But it does not realize the problem is in the translation of the Hebrew verbs. The ironic thing is that the existence of negative particles in the original text would have created the very contextual problem that the BM seeks to solve.

3. Interruption of poetic style: The distinguishing feature of ancient Hebrew poetry, which is found in works such as the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, as well as in many of the prophetic works, including Isaiah, is parallelism. This is where a line immediately following another echoes or reflects in some way the thought of the previous line. Parallelistic lines most often occur in pairs; a couplet of this sort is called a bicolon. Sometimes three lines are parallel (a tricolon). Less frequently four or more lines are coordinated in this way. Each grouping of parallel lines in this way is called a strophe. An example of a simple bicolon is found in Isaiah 40:31:

They shall run and not be weary,
   they shall walk and not faint.

"Running" is paralleled by "walking," "being weary" by "fainting," and negative particles appear in both lines.67

Several variants in the BM produce texts which are poetically less elegant than the original Hebrew. This indicates that they are secondary and fits with the thesis that the text is a revision of the KJV Isaiah. A sampling of cases follows:68

Isaiah 10:13//2 Nephi 20:13: The KJV reads "By the strength of my hand I have done _it, / and by my wisdom: for I am prudent." (The slash [/] marks the division between parallel lines.)69 Here "by my wisdom" parallels "by the strength of my hand," and "for I am prudent" parallels (at least grammatically) "I have done it." In this case the word "my hand" has no parallel but is balanced by inserting the conjunction rendered "for." The BM has a different word order: "By the strength of my hand and by my wisdom I have done these things, for I am prudent." If we attempt to divide this as a poetic strophe, it appears that the nouns have to be assigned to the first line and the verbs to the second. The BM reading thus lacks a parallelistic structure. It seems that a motivation for the variant in the BM is the italicized word "it." This connects the variant specifically with the English text.

Isaiah 13:17//2 Nephi 23:17: The KJV reads "which shall not regard silver, / and _as _for gold, they shall not delight in it."70 Here "gold" is parallel to "silver," "regard" to "delight in it," and negative particles appear in both lines (the relative pronoun "which" at the beginning is negligible in this analysis). The BM reads: "which shall not regard silver and gold, nor they shall not delight in it."71 This puts the word "gold" in the first poetic line; parallelism between the metals does not therefore exist.  The bicolon is consequently less artistic than in the Hebrew version. The problem was clearly created by the removal of italicized words.

Isaiah 14:11//2 Nephi 24:11: One matter of Hebrew poetry that is quite debated is whether it has meter. Hebrew does not have meter the same as western poetry, but patterns appear. The foregoing examples (in the MT) are cases where each poetic line can be analyzed as having three word-stress units, yielding a 3 + 3 pattern. Sometimes, especially in literature connected with lament, a pattern of 3 + 2 appears. This pattern is found for the most part in Isaiah 14:4b-21, a lament for the king of Babylon. One bicolon of interest is v. 11a: "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, / _and the noise of thy viols." The 3 + 2 pattern can be seen by looking at the distribution of Hebrew words: hûrad $e'ôl ge'ônekä / hemyat nebälêkä. The BM reading does not follow this pattern: "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the noise of thy viols is not heard." Converted to Hebrew, this would read hûrad $e'ôl ge'ônekä / hemyat nebälêkä lö' ni$mecâ. The pattern here is 3 + 3 (counting ', the negative particle, as part of the verb). Even though some verses in this lament do not have a 3 + 2 pattern, the tendency is toward it; this suggests that the MT is correct. Further inspection makes it clear that the BM text is secondary and a revision of the English: it has deleted the italicized word "_and." This leaves the second clause "the noise of thy viols" hanging. The verbal phrase "is not heard" is therefore added, to complete the sense.

Isaiah 2:12-16//2 Nephi 12:12-16: These verses display a neat poetic pattern in the Hebrew. Here is the Hebrew text with the KJV translation:

(A) kî yôm lyhwh &e'ôt For the day of the LORD of hosts _shall _be

(B) cal kol-gë'eh wäräm
wecal kol-niççä' we$äpël
upon every _one _that is proud and lofty,
and upon every _one _that _is lifted up; and
        he shall be brought low:

(C) wecal kol-'arzê hallebänôn
<härämîm wehanniççä'îm>
wecal kol-'allônê habbä$än
and upon all the cedars of Lebanon,
<_that _are high and lifted up,>
and upon all the oaks of Bashan,

(D) wecal kol-hehärîm härämîm
wecal kol-haggecôt hanniççä'ôt
and upon all the high mountains,
and upon all the hills _that _are lifted up,

(E) wecal kol-migdäl gäböah
wecal kol-xômâ be&ûrâ
and upon every high tower,
and upon every fenced wall,

(F) wecal kol-'onniyyôt tar$î$
wecal kol-çekiyyot haxemdâ
and upon all the ships of Tarshish,
and upon all pleasant pictures.


Each alphabetic letter designates a strophe. (A) is a monocolon which introduces the series. All of the other strophes are bicola except for (C). The middle line of this strophe is probably secondary because bicola appear elsewhere in the series and because this line does not contain the pattern w- (conjunction) + cal (preposition "upon") followed by kol- ("all/every") and then two words, found in the other cases.72

It has been argued that the corresponding BM verses, which have significant variants, are ancient because they manifest poetic parallelism.73 This argument does not hold. The truth is, the BM variants break up the neat parallelistic structure of the MT. The BM text may be laid out as follows (the strophes unique to the BM are marked with the letters X, Y, and Z; variants are in boldface print and curved brackets):
(A) For the day of the Lord of hosts {soon cometh}
(X) upon {all nations}
{yea, upon}every one,
(B) {yea, upon the}proud and lofty,
and upon every one {which} is lifted up, and he shall be brought low,
(Y) {yea,} and {the day of the Lord shall come}
(C) upon all the cedars of Lebanon,
{for they} are high and lifted up,
and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
(D) and upon all the high mountains
and upon all the hills,
(Z) {and upon all the nations which are lifted up,
and upon every people,
}
(E) and upon every high tower,
and upon every fenced wall,
(F) {and upon all the ships of the sea}
and upon all the ships of Tarshish,
and upon all {the} pleasant pictures.


The BM has two additional bicola, (X) and (Z), which appear to fit the requirements of Hebrew parallelism: in each the second line echoes the first. Closer inspection reveals, however, that they are really at odds with the larger pattern seen in the MT. Bicolon (X) does not have the pattern of w+ cal + kol + two terms. Its first line, to convert it schematically to Hebrew, would have only cal (no w-), kol, and one following term. The second line is even less apt, having w- (for "yea"?), cal, and only kol (for "every one"), with no word following.74 Bicolon (Z) similarly, while having the MT pattern in the first line, has only a single term rather than two at the end of the second.

Other variants in the passage do not match the neat MT pattern. The first line of (B) does not have the term kol "all." (F) has an extra line which matches the MT line pattern but which makes the strophe a tricolon, inconsistent with the other strophes. Finally it should be noted that the BM's unique monocolon (Y) breaks up the flow of the passage.

All in all, the BM text is less consistent and less structured than that in the MT. It cannot be claimed that its text "enhances the parallels found in the poetry."75 It does the opposite. Since the MT text reads so smoothly over against the BM's, the latter must be secondary. It is thus highly unlikely that scribal omission has occurred  to produce the MT.76

The BM variants here can be explained as modifications of the English KJV text. Many of the changes are linkable to italics. In (A) "_shall _be" is changed and expanded to "soon cometh upon all nations."77 The first line of (B), "upon every _one _that _is proud and lofty" is expanded to "upon all nations, yea, upon every one, yea upon the proud and lofty."78 This produces the very problematic strophe (X) and the deficient first line of BM (B). A minor change of italicized "_that" to "which" is made in (B) line 2. The line "_that _are high and lifted up" in (C) becomes the rationale clause, "for they are high and lifted up." And in (D) the line "and upon all the hills _that _are lifted up" is expanded to read "upon all the hills, and upon all the nations which are lifted up, and upon every people," which creates (Z). The variant (Y), not connected with italics, is still explicable as a revision of the KJV text. The KJV devotes six words to translating the last single word of (B): we$äpël "and he shall be brought low." This English translation interrupts the flow of the passage. The added phrase at (Y) acts as a resumptive repetition of line (A) to put the reader back on course. Such a repetition is not necessary in the Hebrew.79 Finally, the extra line in (F), on the basis of evidence to be considered in Part 6, is clearly an addition to the text.

One might still ask why parallelistic bicola at (X) and (Z), as ungainly as they are, appear at all if this is a revision made by Smith. While Smith was not a scholar of Semitic languages and the Bible, he seemed to have absorbed a sense and intuition for parallelism through his conscientious reading of the Bible as is evident in the parallelistic structures that are scattered throughout the Doctrine and Covenants.80

In summary, the three classes of variants discussed in this section show various ways in which the BM Isaiah is not consistent with the Hebrew text, in semantics, syntax, and style.81 This evidence complements that of the first three sections of this paper in two ways. It gives further proof of how the BM Isaiah is connected to the KJV English. It also shows in several respects how distant the BM text is from Hebrew language and text.

Notes to Part 4

53. The BM is not clear about whether the Isaiah texts that it says were written on the Brass Plates and the BM's Gold Plates are to be viewed as written in Hebrew or Egyptian (or an Egyptian script that was purely ideographic and somehow detached from the Egyptian language per se). For the problems of the different theories, see Edward H. Ashment, "'A Record in the Language of My Father': Evidence of Ancient Egyptian and Hebrew in the Book of Mormon," in Metcalfe, ed., New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993), 329-393. It is likely that the evidence is not clear because it reflects Smith's own ignorance and folkloric ideas about linguistic matters (cf. Edwin Firmage, Jr., "Historical Criticism and the Book of Mormon: A Personal Encounter," Suntone 16/5 [July 1993] 59-60). At any rate, even if the BM intends us to think that its texts were not written in Hebrew, the comparison of the BM with the Hebrew Isaiah undertaken in this section of the paper and occasionally in other places is legitimate since the BM Isaiah, according to its internal assumptions, would ultimately depend on a Hebrew text.

54. In addition to the examples below, one can consider Isa 14:25//2 Ne 24:25 "I will break the Assyrian" vs. "I will bring the Assyrian." Note that the BM also lacks the parallelistic context of destruction, another sign of its unoriginality. Cf. also the variation between "remove" and "move" in Isa 10:13//2 Ne 20:13 and "before" > "behold" in Isa 8:4//2 Ne 18:4.

55. The inconsistency in the BM rendering is hard to explain. Perhaps it is evidence of the unsystematic and ad hoc nature of the revision. Each time, a different revision might be made. This may indicate that the revision of Isaiah proceeded as it was dictated, without reference back to how similar phrases were revised.  This then lends support to the argument here that the BM Isaiah derives from working directly with the KJV.  The BM Isaiah shows other inconsistencies, e.g., Isa 49:25 is rendered differently in 1 Ne 21:25 and 2 Ne 6:17 (see the discussion of this, Part 5, below). Additionally, not all italics are modified.

56. One could make the argument that the preposition mippe is being used as a asyndetic conjunction for mippea$er (for this full conjunctive phrase, see Exod 19:18; Jer 44:23). But there are no cases in the Hebrew Bible where mippe alone appears as a conjunction. On the other hand, the term as a preposition is found in other cases of hiding (Gen 3:8; 4:14) which shows that a preposition makes perfect sense here. Cf. Tvedtnes, The Isaiah Variants, 25: he recognizes the problem but has no satisfactory answer in support the antiquity of the text.

57. It is doubtful this variant is an accident (so Tvedtnes, The Isaiah Variants, 35, 116-117) since the same sort of variant occurs at 2 Ne 7:2, which is clearly intentional (see note 39). BMCT 1:180 n. 452 (on 2 Ne 15:4) notes the use of maddûac in an indirect question in Exod 3:3 and the conjunctive transaltion of the LXX in Isa 5:4 (dioti "for what reason"). This does not change the fact that the Hebrew does have an interrogative in Isa 5:4 (note the parallelism with the first bicolon in the verse) which should appear as such in a translation that tries to hold to the original. Smith had a predisposition for using "wherefore" as a conjunction (so Tvedtnes observes; cf. also Brent Metcalfe, "The Priority of Mosiah: A Prelude to Book of Mormon Exegesis," in Metcalfe, New Approaches, 408-414). This may explain why these changes occurred; the conjunctive use was more idiomatically natural to him and consequently he reread these KJV Isaiah passages in that way.

58. Cf. Tvedtnes, The Isaiah Variants, 49, 114-115.

59. Cf. Tvedtnes, The Isaiah Variants, 59, 114-115.

60. This is one of the cases where the BM maintains imprecise KJV language. It could be added to the list of questionable translations in the KJV in Part 3.

61. Tvedtnes' argument (The Isaiah Variants, 71, 114-115) that "declared" is a scribal (dictation) mistake for "there" because they sound similar makes cannot be maintained since the two words are really dissimilar and there is another variant in the line ("have I spoken") with which "declared" is conceptually consistent and coordinated. Too, a reading like "from the time that it was there have I spoken" does not make much sense (expecially against the Hebrew).

62. This type of construction is not attested among the 586 examples of the verb sym (cf. the discussion in Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Lexicon, 962-964).

63. So is the reading in P and 1830. According to BMCT (1:153 n. 231) Pc and later editions have "for a light for the people." I examined a photocopy of P. It had "for a light thing the people" with "of" written with a caret sign above and between "thing" and "the." The word "for" is written at a different angle over "thing" (it was not clear to me if "thing" underneath was crossed out). Tvedtnes (The Isaiah Variants, 84, 118) says the BM reading is a scribal error, specifically an "overcorrection." He does not specify who made the mistake and how a word like "thing" could have inadvertently slipped into the text.

64. Tvedtnes, The Isaiah Variants, 36-37, recognizes the problem. His suggestion that "MT means to understand 'cities' as conglomerates of 'houses' without writing it" is forced.

65. Cf. BMCT 1:173 n. 373. Tvedtnes (The Isaiah Variants, 23, 115) suggests the "not" of the Pc is perhaps a scribal error. This leaves an inconsistency. The addition is conceptually consistent with the negation at the end of the entire phrase.

66. Wildberger, Isaiah, 98. He notes (p. 110) that the punitive submission (from God) spoken of in this verse plays against the idolatrous prostration in v. 8.

67. A good introductory article is still Norman K. Gottwald, "Poetry, Hebrew," Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed. G. Buttrick, 4 vols. & supplement (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962, 1976), 3:829-838. For more detail see Adele Berlin, The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985); Wilfred G. E. Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 26 (Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, 1986).

68. For other cases, see notes 27a and 38, the comment on 2 Ne 27:30 in this section, and examples 11 and 27i in the appendix. The vocative plus "O isles of the sea" in 1 Ne 21:8 (//Isa 49:8) also breaks up a parallel bicolon.

69. The Hebrew bicolon is:  beköax yädî cäçîtî / ûbehokmätî nebunôtî.

70. The Hebrew bicolon is:  'a$er kesep lö' yax$ebû/ wezähäb lö' yaxpe&û bô.

71. The double negative "nor...not" is found in P, 1830, and later editions and was only "corrected" in 1920 (BMCT 1:202 n. 625).

72. So BHS; Wildberger, Isaiah, 101; Kaiser, Isaiah 1-12, 31; Gray, Isaiah, 59. Kissane, Isaiah, 1:24, 30, retains the line.

73. Tvedtnes, "Isaiah Variants," 169; The Isaiah Variants, 25-26.

74. Note that in the KJV the word "one" appears twice (strophe B). This word is italicized which means that the Hebrew has no corresponding individual Hebrew words. The BM text also has the word "one" twice whose occurrences correlate more or less with where they appear in the KJV. I will point out below that the italicized words in the KJV are one of the motivations for the variants in this passage. Here it should be noted that because of the correlation with occurrences of the KJV's term "one" it is difficult to argue that the BM text converted to Hebrew should have a separate word meaning "one" (e.g., wecal kol-'exäd).

75. Tvedtnes, "Isaiah Variants," 169.

76. Cf. Tvedtnes, The Isaiah Variants, 25.

77. See note 30 on the tendency to change italicized verb "_be" to "come."

78. Tvedtnes' textual arguments about this line are confusing (The Isaiah Variants, 25). Either his paper is missing a point of discussion or he is mistaken about 1QIsaa: this text lacks cal kol "upon every" before niççä' "(a person who is) lifted up" not before 'eh "proud" as he appears to imply. This text, then, gives no support to the BM reading. The abbreviation he proposes does not make sense since the MT has both "upon all nations" and "upon the proud." Furthermore, the parablepsis he proposes is problematic. His conversion of the BM to Hebrew is wrong; it should not have cal kol before 'eh and should read, in full:  cl kl gwym wcl kl wcl g'h.... With the lack of  cl kl before g'h, the mechanism for textual error is reduced.

79. The verb we$äpël itself is problematic; it does not fit the context. Scholars have suggested that originally another term with a meaning of "high" similar to other terms in the colon and passage was here originally (cf. Wildberger, Isaiah, 101).

80. Cf. for example D&C 1:1-6; 3:1-3; 5:19-20; 45:1-9; 76:1-10.  The existence and nature of parallelism in biblical poetry was already recognized in popular writings on the Bible before Smith produced the Book of Mormon.  For example, the Reverend Dr. John Smith published in 1804 a tract entitled "A Summary View and Explanation of the Writings of the Prophets," of which Adam Clarke cites a substantial portion in the preface to his commentary on Isaiah (The Holy Bible Containing the Old and new Testaments...with a Commentary and Critical Notes: Volume IV: Isaiah to Malachi (Nashville: Abingdon, n.d. [preface date 1823]) cited on pp. 7-13 in the section on Isaiah).  The Reverend Smith notes that "the greatest part of the prophetic writings was first composed in verse, and still retains, notwithstanding all the disadvantages of a literal prose translation [of the KJV], much of the air and cast of the original, particularly in the division of the lines, and in that peculiarity of Hebrew poetry by which the sense of one line or couplet so frequently coresponds with that of the other.  [He cites Isa 61:10, in verse form, as an example.]  Attention to this peculiarity in sacred poetry will frequently lead to the meaning of many passages...as the one line of a couplet, or member of a sentence, is generally a commentary on the other."  After citing another example he notes that "it must be observed that the parallelism is frequently more extended."  Then, after citing Isaiah 44:3, he says that "the two last lines explain the metaphor in the two preceding" (Clarke, p. 13).  One may ask just how familiar Joseph Smith was with this issue as part of his religious education in the various churches he attended.

81. There is one case in which a variant shows a lack of knowledge of cultural-geographical context. In Isa 9:1//2 Ne 19:1 the KJV has "by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations"; the BM has "by the way of the Red Sea, beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations." Tvedtnes agrees that the refererence to the "Red Sea" does not fit the context (The Isaiah Variants, 45, 115; he dissociates this from Smith, saying that it is due to "scribal overcorrection [what scribe?], due to prior mention of the Red Sea in the BM text"; it could as easily have come from Smith).

Note in passing that apologetic arguments often seek to insulate Joseph Smith from problematic evidence by ascribing error to scribes or journal writers, who were most often responsible for recording his words and deeds. This is found in Tvedtnes' work in several places, some of which have been noted.  Robert Matthews, for example, sought to attribute the striking out of italics in the Bible used for the JSR to a "different person" than Smith (see Part 2).  Smith has also been distanced, for example, from statements about the existence of Nephites in North America (Sorenson), from statements about the antiquity of the Kinderhook Plates (Kimball), and from the production of the "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" (Nibley) by ascribing these views to diarists or the feeble endeavors of lesser brethren. While these observations or arguments have taught us to be critically aware of evidence and sources, they reveal a bias which must be kept in mind when examining these sorts of works and their conclusions.


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