2 Nephi 18
A Covenant Plan of Salvation
2 Nephi 18 (Isaiah Text & Commentary):
(Compare Isaiah 8)
Isaiah Makes a Documented Witness
Assyria Will Destroy Israel and Syria
1 Moreover, the word of the Lord said unto me (Isaiah): Take thee a great roll (or a large scroll), and write in it with a man's pen, concerning MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ (Isaiah's newborn son, whose name literally means "to speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey"--symbolic of the impending fall of Syria and Israel).
2 And I (Isaiah) took unto me faithful witnesses to record (the required two witnesses for a proper legal document, and also for making sure that the recorded events were prophesied of prior to their occurrence), URIAH the priest, and ZECHARIAH the son of JEBERECHIAH.
3 And I went unto the PROPHETESS (Isaiah's wife); and she conceived and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me: Call his name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
4 For behold, the child shall not have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, before the riches of Damascus (Syria) and the spoil of Samaria (Northern Israel) shall be taken away before (or by) the king of Assyria . (In essence, the Lord will give me a son whose name will be a testament that before he is even old enough to say "Daddy," and "Mommy," Assyria will attack Northern Israel and Syria).
The Lord Is in Control
Assyria Will Also Afflict Judah
5 The Lord spake also unto me (Isaiah) again, saying:
6 Forasmuch as this people (or the people of Judah and Jerusalem) refuseth the waters of Shiloah (waters of Siloam--which waters constituted a major source of supply and only perennial spring for the city of Jerusalem -- thus, "living waters" -- see John 4:10) that go softly (or easily--as in the tender soothing care of Christ), and [as much as this people] rejoice in (or celebrate the downfall of) Rezin (the king of Syria) and Remaliah's son (Pekah - the king of northern Israel); (The reason for this celebration being the secret alliance of king Ahaz with Assyria)
7 Now therefore (or because of this unfaithfulness), behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them (or upon Judah) the waters of the river, strong and many (that is, the ravaging waters of the Euphrates river located in Assyria), even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks. (or in other words, the people of Judah will suffer the same fate as northern Israel; they will be flooded with the armies and power of the Assyrians)
8 And he (Assyria) shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck (that is, Judah will be up to its neck in Assyrians--with the armies reaching clear to Jerusalem, the head or capital city); and the stretching out of his (or Assyria's) wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel (that is, Assyria will occupy the land of the future Messiah).
9 Associate yourselves [through alliances with earthly kings], O ye people (of Judah), and ye shall be broken in pieces (that is, if you form political alliances for protection rather than turning to God you will be destroyed); and give ear all ye of far countries (or foreign nations who might rise against Judah); gird yourselves (or prepare for war), and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces (that is, even though the house of Israel is continuously going through the refiners fire because of their disobedience, it is the Lord that is in control of their destiny, and other nations who might take advantage of their situation better beware) (Note that the phrase "broken in pieces" is repeated three time for emphasis; 3 times in Hebrew is a form of superlative).
10 Take counsel together (that is, go ahead and plot against Judah, you foreign nations), and it shall come to naught (or you won't succeed); speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us (that is, God is directing the destiny of the house of Israel).
11 For the Lord spake thus to me (Isaiah) with a strong hand (or with power), and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:
12 Say ye not, A confederacy (or an alliance), to all to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid (that is: Isaiah, don't endorse Judah's plan for confederacy with Assyria. Don't tell them what they want to hear.).
The Lord: A Sanctuary or a Stumbling Stone?
13 Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread (that is: Isaiah, you rely on the Lord, not public approval).
14 And he (the Lord) shall be for a sanctuary (for you, Isaiah); but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense (scriptural symbols used to imply the covenant rejection of the Lord - see Genesis 49:24; 2 Samuel 23:3) to both the houses of Israel, for a gin (or a trap) and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (In essence, Israel will stumble because they reject the Lord, the Stone of Israel--D&C 50:44, the chief Cornerstone--Eph. 2:20)
15 And many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
Trust in the Scriptures and the Lord's Prophet
16 Bind up the testimony (that is: Finish recording your prophecy, Isaiah, just like the other prophets), seal the law (or confirm the Lord's commandments) among my disciples (that is: Say this to my righteous followers:).
17 And I (Isaiah) will wait upon (or trust in) the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob (Israel), and I will look for him.
18 Behold, I (Isaiah-meaning "Jehovah saves") and the children whom the Lord hath given me (Shear-jashub-meaning "a remnant shall return," and Maher-shalal-hash-baz-meaning "he hastens the prey") are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion (or the temple) (that is, we the righteous covenant vessels of the Lord are the ones to watch for spiritual things).
19 And when they (the wicked) shall say unto you: Seek unto them (or unto spiritualists, mediums, fortune tellers, etc.) that have familiar spirits (that is, who contact dead relatives etc.), and unto wizards that peep and mutter (or unto those who talk to spirits of the underworld through their "crystal balls," etc)--should not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?
20 To the law (that is, Go to the books of Moses) and to the testimony (of the prophets) (or in other words, consult the scriptures); and if they (that is, the spiritualists and their media) speak not according to this word (or the scriptures), it is because there is no light in them .
21 And they (the wicked of Judah) shall pass through it (or through the trouble described in verses 7&8 etc.) hardly bestead (or severely distressed) and hungry (or unsatisfied with everything around them); and it shall come to pass that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves (or become enraged), and curse their king and their God, and look upward [in a proud and defiant manner].
22 And they shall look unto the earth (or they will look around them) and behold (or see only) trouble, and darkness, dimness of anguish (or gloom), and shall be driven to darkness (that is, they will be thrust into utter despair -- the results of their 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 18:1 Take Thee a Great Roll, and Write in It with a Man's Pen:
[See the commentary on Jacob 4:1]
2 Nephi 18:6 Waters of Shiloah:
One of the principal sources of water supply to Jerusalem was the intermittent pool of Gihon ("Virgin's Fountain") below the Fountain Gate (Nehemiah 3:15). This fed water along an open canal, which flowed slowly along the southeast slopes, called siloah, ("Sender"; LXX Siloam--Isaiah 8:6). It followed the line of the later "second aqueduct" (Wilson) discharging into the Lower or Old Pool. This Old Pool was probably the "Pool of Siloam" in use in New Testament times for sick persons and others to wash (John 9:7-11). [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, p. 1452]
The Bible also indicates that the kings of Israel were buried in a special area near Jerusalem. These tombs were close to the pool of Shelah ("Siloam"--RSV) or ("Siloah" --AV) (see Nehemiah 3:15). [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, pp. 1416, 1435]
According to the Talmud (Sukkoth 4.9), water was drawn from Siloam's pool in a golden vessel to be carried in procession to the Temple on the Feast of Tabernacles. [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, p. 1452]
. Finally, the waters of Shiloah were near the fuller's field, where garments were cleansed and bleached and spread to dry in the sun (2 Kings 18:17; Isaiah 7:3; 36:2). [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, p. 128]
2 Nephi 18:6 Waters of Shiloah (Illustration): Plan of the Siloam area, including the pools and the channels which carried the water into the city of Jerusalem. [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, p. 1452]
2 Nephi 18:6 Waters of Shiloah (Illustration): Plan showing the probable location of the "Sepulchres of the Kings" within the city of David, and the positions of other tombs dating from Solomon to the fall of Judah. [Tyndale House, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3, p. 1416]
2 Nephi 18:6-7 The waters of Shiloah (Illustration): The Pool of Siloam of New Testament times is thought to be the same as the "waters of Shiloah" mentioned by Isaiah. The pool receives its waters from the Gihon Spring that flows through Hezekiah's Tunnel. Photograph by Arnold H. Green. [Donald W. Parry, Visualizing Isaiah, p. 30]
2 Nephi 18:6-7 The waters of Shiloah (Illustration): The Gihon Spring at the entrance of Hezekiah's Tunnel, Jerusalem. The Gihon Spring flows from a natural cave on the west side of the valley of Kidron, south of where Solomon's temple once stood to the Pool of Siloam of New Testament times. In the Old Testament period, the spring was the chief source of water for Jerusalem's inhabitants. Solomon was anointed king near the spring in a sacred ceremony. Perhaps other kings were anointed here as well. From this spring King Hezekiah's engineers ran a tunnel under the city to safeguard Jerusalem's water supply from the invading Assyrians. The Gihon Spring is likely the "upper pool" mentioned by Isaiah. Photograph by Arnold H. Green. [Donald W. Parry, Visualizing Isaiah, p. 9]
2 Nephi 18:6-7 The Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria (Illustration): The waters of the river represent the king of Assyria who leads his great, destructive armies "like a flood" to "cover the earth" (see Jeremiah 46:8). Tiglath-pileser III's Flood Metaphor. Map: The Assyrian Empire, 9th to 7th Centuries B.C. [Donald W. Parry, Visualizing Isaiah, p. 31]
2 Nephi 18:8 He [Assyria] Shall Reach Even to Thy Neck:
Assyria fulfilled this prophecy before being stopped via death by plague of 185,000 soldiers:
Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.
For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned and dwelt at Nineveh. (2 Kings 19:32-36)
2 Nephi 18:14 A stone of stumbling (Illustration): This well worn path near Montfort, northern Israel, is filled with stumbling stones that may cause path users to trip and fall. Stumbling stones were much more common for travelers in the ancient world than now, with today's numerous cement sidewalks and paved roads. Photograph by Tana and Mac Graham. [Donald W. Parry, Visualizing Isaiah, p. 77]
2 Nephi 18:19 Them That Have Familiar Spirits:
A number of scriptures refer to "familiar spirits." It was believed anciently that these particular spirits had supernatural power and could appear in human or animal form. Apparently, a familiar spirit would attend a witch, wizard, medicine man, etc., and could be called upon for service at any time by their master.
In the remote past, it was believed that these specific spirits could bring up the spirits of the dead to converse with mortals. This belief is evident in the following scripture: "And when they shall say unto you: Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter--should not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?" (2 Nephi 18:19; see also Isaiah 8:19) Even if familiar spirits have the power to bring up the spirits of the dead, those who truly love the Lord will seek to the Creator of Spirits to communicate with the dead rather than to a source that is forbidden by Him. Under the law of Moses, Israel was commanded not to go to "a consulter with familiar spirits" (Deuteronomy 18:11). [Vicki Alder, Mysteries in the Scriptures: Enlightenment through Ancient Beliefs, pp. 264-265]