2 Nephi 13
A Covenant Plan of Salvation
2 Nephi 13 (Isaiah Text & Commentary):
(Compare Isaiah 3)
The Fruits of Wickedness Are Everlastingly the Same
Judah's Worldly Society Will Collapse
1 For behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem, and from Judah, the stay (Heb. for "support," masculine) and the staff (Heb. for "support," feminine), the whole staff of bread (or all support systems related to food), and the whole stay of water (or all support systems related to water) (that is, all the props will be pulled out from under the Jew's wicked economic society and the whole thing will collapse)--
2 [The Lord doth take away] The mighty man (or leaders), and the man of war (or warriors and military chiefs), the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent (or diviners), and the ancient (or elders) (or in other words, all the stable, capable leaders will be vanish);
3 [The Lord doth take away] The captain of fifty (security personnel), and the honorable man (men of repute), and the counselor, and the cunning artificer (or skilled craftsman), and the eloquent orator (that is, all the apparent benefits of the Jew's worldly society will suddenly be gone).
4 And I [the Lord] will give children unto them to be their princes (or leaders), and babes shall rule over them (or in other words, immature, irresponsible leaders will take over).
5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor (that is, there will be no brotherly love); the child shall behave himself proudly (or insolently) against the ancient (or elderly), and the base against the honorable (or in other words, there will be no respect for authority or decency).
6 When (or at that time) a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, and shall say: Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let not this ruin come under thy hand (that is, everybody will look for someone else to blame for their problems and will be willing to trust anyone who claims to have a solution to their woes)--
7 In that day shall he swear (or protest), saying: I will not be a healer (that is, don't ask me to defend and protect you!), for in my house there is neither bread nor clothing; make me not a ruler of the people (in other words, I've got problems enough of my own; why should I care about anyone else's).
The Reason for Judah's Collapse Is Disobedience
8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, because their tongues and their doings have been against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory (or in essence, this calamity has befallen the Jews because in word and actions, the people are completely against the Lord).
9 The show of their countenance doth witness against them (that is, their fallen countenance is evidence of their wickedness), and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom (or in other words, they are wicked through and through, the graphic indicator of this being homosexuality--see Gen. 19, footnote 5a), and they cannot hide it (that is, their wickedness is finally destroying their society). Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves (or in other words, they are finally getting just exactly what they deserve)!
10 Say unto the righteous that it is well with them; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings (that is, righteousness will always pay off).
11 Wo unto the wicked, for they shall perish; for the reward of their hands shall be upon them (that is, as they sow, so shall they reap).
12 And my people, children (or immature leaders) are their oppressors, and women rule over them (that is, because of the breakdown of righteous priesthood leadership and family structure, society is all screwed up). O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths (or in other words, when covenants are broken, leaders become wicked, and teachings are perverted, your society will come apart).
The Lord Will Judge -- Not Men
13 The Lord standeth up to plead (or contend against the people's complaints), and standeth to judge the people.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients (or the wicked elders--the primary administrators of justice) of his people and the princes (or the wicked royally appointed rulers) thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard (that is, in order to finance your luxuries, you have eaten up the "seed corn" of the future, or in other words you have gone way too far into debt for selfish reasons) and [have eaten up] the spoil of the poor in your houses (or in addition, you have no money left for the poor because you have built such expensive houses).
15 What mean ye (or what have you got to say for yourselves)? Ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith THE LORD GOD OF HOSTS.
Isaiah now shows what happens when women get as wicked as men, and points out that when this happens, society is doomed -- see verse 25 and 26.
Judah's Women Will Become a Sign of Their Wickedness
16 Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty (or full of wicked pride), and walk with stretched-forth necks (symbolizing scorn towards others) and wanton (or lustful) eyes, walking and mincing (or taking short, rapid steps in order to flaunt themselves) as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet (from ankle bracelets with bells--symbols of expensive, attention-grabbing footwear) (In essence because the women have become so vain ---)--
17 Therefore (or for these reasons) the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head (or make the head hairless) of the daughters of Zion (that is they will come to be treated or scorned as slaves, or objects of derision, rather than held in high esteem), and the Lord will discover their secret parts (or put them to shame by exposing their evil deeds).
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery (or the beauty) of their tinkling ornaments (or expensive footwear), and calls ("cauls"--headbands), and round tires like the moon (or moon shaped necklaces and earrings);
19 The chains (or pendant necklaces and earrings) and the bracelets, and the mufflers (or veils);
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs (or ankle chains), and the headbands, and the tablets (or perfume boxes), and the ear-rings;
21 The rings, and nose jewels;
22 The changeable suits of apparel (or resplendent clothing worn for festivals only), and the mantles (or gowns), and the wimples (or cloaks or shawls or veils worn over women's heads), and the crisping-pins (or money purses);
23 The glasses (either mirrors or see-through clothing), and the fine linen, and hoods (or turbans), and the veils (In essence, Isaiah has just described female high-society fashions, arrogance and materialism in terms of such things in his day).
Judah Will Be Cursed and Will Be Destroyed
24 And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell there shall be stink (that is, a stink from corpses of people killed by invading armies: also slavery); and instead of a girdle (or a nice waistband), a rent (that is, a rope--used to bind slaves); and instead of well set hair, baldness (or another sign of slavery); and instead of a stomacher (or an ornamented piece of cloth formerly worn over the chest and abdomen by women), a girding of sackcloth (that is, cloth make from black goat's hair and worn in times of mourning); burning (or branding -- a mark of slavery) instead of beauty.
25 Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war (or in other words, wars will deplete your male population).
26 And her (Jerusalem's -- see verse 8) gates (where public business and displays took place) shall lament and mourn; and she shall be desolate (or cleaned out -- see Isaiah 3, footnote 26d), and shall sit upon the ground (a posture of mourning) (or in essence, Jerusalem -- the symbol of Judah and Israel -- will be brought down because of wickedness).
[Alan C. Miner, Step by Step through the Book of Mormon: The Covenant Story, Vol. 2. Adapted from David J. Ridges, Isaiah Made Easier / The Book of Revelation Made Easier, 1994]
2 Nephi 13:1,8 The whole stay of bread (Illustration): The governments of Israel and Judah kept reserve supplies of grain, wine, oil, and weapons in store cities, such as Jerusalem, Beth Shemesh, and Megiddo. The empty grain storage of Megiddo is an example of one reserve. [Donald W. Parry, Visualizing Isaiah, p. 7]
2 Nephi 13:1,8 The whole stay of water (Illustration): Empty water cistern, Gibeon. Cisterns served as the main water source for many ancient villages and towns. Villagers built channels that collected winter rains into one or more cisterns. Water users would draw from the cistern for domestic purposes. Photograph by Tana and Mac Graham. [Donald W. Parry, Visualizing Isaiah, p. 7]
2 Nephi 13:7 I Will Not Be a Healer [Ruler]:
John Tvedtnes writes that in comparing the Isaiah text from the King James Bible with the Book of Mormon, we find that the RLDS version of the Book of Mormon reads "ruler" instead of "healer" for 2 Nephi 13:7. However the word "healer" appears in the KJV, 1830 edition and our present LDS edition. The word "ruler" seems more logical, since the person speaking has been asked to be "ruler" in the preceding verse. Moreover, the person speaking repeats "ruler" later in this same verse. One must assume that the RLDS committee consulted some Biblical commentary on this, unless the original manuscript so reads (in which case, this would be greater evidence for the Book of Mormon. [John A. Tvedtnes, "The Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon," FARMS, p. 29]
2 Nephi 13:9 Sodom:
The city of Sodom (2 Nephi 13:9), according to one viewpoint, is thought to be one of the cities of the plain located north of the Dead Sea, where the Jordan Valley broadens into the "Circle" or "Plain" of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 34:3), the evidence being "that Abraham and Lot looked upon the cities from near Bethel (Genesis 13:10).
On the other hand, there is a view that Sodom lies buried beneath the shallow waters of the southern tip of the Dead Sea.
As Lot saw it, the Circle of the Jordan was supremely attractive from every material viewpoint (Genesis 13:10), but it was to become desolate. The efficient cause of this destruction of the cities was probably an earthquake, with an accompanying release and explosion of gaseous deposits. Biblically and fundamentally it was God's judgment, remembered again and again throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 29:23; Isaiah 1:9; Jeremiah 49:18; etc.) and Sodom became synonymous with brazen sin (Isaiah 3:9; Lamentations 4:6; Jude 7). Whereas Ezekiel 16:49-51 lists the sins of Sodom as pride, prosperous complacency and "abomination", Genesis 19:4-5 concentrates on sexual perversion, particularly homosexuality. [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary , Vol. 3, p. 1237] [See 2 Nephi 23:19]
2 Nephi 13:9 Sodom:
According to Walter Kaiser, the five sites of the plain, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zoar and Zeboiim, were located along the southern portion of the Jordan Valley (Genesis 13:10-11). But these same five cities were overthrown by a cataclysmic destruction of unusual proportions according to the biblical description (Genesis 19:18-20; 19:1-13). God sent a conflagration of "fire and brimstone" on all five of these cities for their reputation as centers for gross sin.
So significant was this divine act of destruction that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah became a byword among the authors of Scripture. Even nonbiblical authors wrote about Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction in a way that indicated they regarded it as a real event. For instance, the first-century A.D. historian Flavius Josephus devoted a large section of his work to this destruction as did Philo.133 Some of these authors even claimed that the results of the destruction could be seen up to their own day.
But where are these cities, precisely? At first it was held that these cities were to be located at the bottom of the southern end of the Dead Sea where the sea floor (even in wet years) is not more than ten or twenty feet deep in the area below the "tongue" or Lisan that protrudes out from the southeastern shore of Transjordan. In 1960 Ralph Baney explored the floor of the sea and found trees standing in water down tot he twenty-three-foot level at that time. This proved Albright's theory that the water level had risen, submerging ancient structures, but it did not show that any of them were any of the famous five cities of the plain.134
In the course of time, the search focused on the eastern shore of Transjordan at, and just south of, the Lisan. One site, known as Bab edh-Dhra, contains the remains of a heavily fortified and settled community, dating from 3150 to 2200 B.C.
In 1965 and 1967, Paul Lapp began his excavation of the site of Bab edh-Dhra. These explorations were continued by Walter Rast and Thomas Schaub in 1973. The excavations revealed a huge fortification wall some twenty-three feet thick surrounding the city, with mud-brick houses and a Canaanite temple inside the walls. But what startled the excavators was the huge layers of ash reaching many feet in its depths. Moreover, so hot and intense had been the flames that destroyed this site that the bricks had turned red permanently from the intense heat. Bryant Wood concluded that:
the evidence would suggest that this site of Bab edh-Dhra is the biblical city of Sodom. . . . What [the first archaeologists who excavated buildings related to this site] discovered was that the fire started on the roof of the building, then the roof burned through, collapsed into the interior, and then the fire spread inside the building. And this was the case in every single charnel house that they excavated. Now this is something that is quite difficult to explain naturally . . . How do you explain the burning of these charnel houses in a cemetery located some distance from the town?135
The biblical account that God had rained down fire and brimstone on these five cities of the plain finds strong confirmation in the archaeological evidence. Rast and Schaub's investigations found other sites in addition to the proposed location of Sodom at Bab edh-Dhra (in the Wadi Kerak) just east of the Lisan, or "Tongue" that protrudes out into the Dead Sea. They were Numeria, in the Wadi Numeria (perhaps the site of Gomorrah); es Safi, in the Wadi Hesa (probably the site of Zoar); Feifa, in the Wadi Feifa (maybe the site of Admah); and Khanazir, near the Wadi Khanazir (perhaps the site of Zeboiim). All these sites were destroyed or abandoned at about the same time, about 2450-2350 B.C., according to the archaeologists' dating.136 Four of them exhibit the same huge ash layers that were found at Bab edh-Dhra. At Numeria, this heavily fortified city had an ash layer that topped seven feet.
While we await final identification and confirmation, it does appear that we are very close to confirming what the Bible had disclosed about these sites that became legends in their own times. [Water C. Kaiser Jr., The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant?, pp. 91-94]
2 Nephi 13:12 And My People:
In comparing 2 Nephi 13:12 with Isaiah 3:12, the King James Version reads, "As for my people," and the Book of Mormon reads, "And my people." Sidney Sperry explains that if the last letter of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 3:11 is placed in front of the first word in Isaiah 3:12, we have precisely the Book of Mormon reading. Here is another sample of wrong word division, which the Prophet Joseph Smith corrected; only a translator could reasonably do this. [Sidney Sperry, "The Book Of Mormon As Translation English," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, F.A.R.M.S., Spring 1995, p. 213]
2 Nephi 13:14 Ye Have Eaten up the Vineyard and the Spoil of the Poor in Your Houses:
Franklin Harris makes an interesting comment concerning an Isaiah variant:
In some cases the Book of Mormon text adds "and," which in Hebrew is represented by a single character "waw," inferring there has been an omission from the present Hebrew text, the addition is confirmed by the Septuagint and the Syriac. Examples are found in Isaiah 3:14 (2 Nephi 13:14), 48:13 (1 Nephi 20:13); 50:9 (2 Nephi 7:9); 51:18 (2 Nephi 8:18). (Franklin S. Harris, Jr., The Book of Mormon: Messages and Evidences, pp. 50-52)
[Quoted by Jeff Lindsay, "Did Joseph Smith Plagiarize from the King James Bible?," Book of Mormon Commentary, www.jefflindsay.com]