Saturday, September 24, 2016

3 Nephi 22: Because You Can Never Have Too Much Isaiah

After a long career of preaching, Jesus seems to have exhausted his repertoire of original material, so he falls back on his Isaiah to keep his epic oration going.  Which is kind of odd, considering he totally outranks Isaiah and should be able to come up with something better on his own.

Vain Repetition
This chapter is essentially a rehashing of Isaiah 54 with a few notable differences.  My favorite difference crops up in verse 4.  Isaiah's version merely states that "thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth," but 3 Nephi 22 adds, "and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth."

Jesus is apparently the Master...of tautology.  That second part is completely unnecessary and adds no new nuance to the existing Biblical version.

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?
One thing that should have been changed from the Isaiah version but wasn't is this section (verses 7-8):
For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. 
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
Mormonism likes to depict God as a perfected, loving, benevolent father figure.   But a perfected, loving, benevolent father figure wouldn't forsake his children, not even for  a small moment (although this isn't the first time the Book of Mormon has endorsed a depiction of an absentee-father-god).  And he certainly wouldn't hide his face in wrath.

The everlasting kindness bit sounds right, but when the divergent elements of these verses are combined, it doesn't make God sound perfect—it makes him sound like a generally good guy who's still working to get past his issues.  That's not very divine.

Jesus Gets Tongue Tied
The Savior of Mankind apparently stumbles over some of Isaiah's phrasing and the result is clumsy.  Here's Isaiah's version (Isaiah 54:9):
For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
And Jesus's awkward nonsense (3 Nephi 22:9):
For this, the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee.
Because a couple of key words are omitted, the comparison to the great flood is a little difficult to understand without the subsequent explanation.  And even if Jesus's bizarre appositional phrase makes sense to the reader, it still lacks the clarity and simplicity of Isaiah's original.  (Yes, I just praised the clarity and simplicity of Isaiah.  That should be an indication of how badly Jesus screwed this up.)  

Some perfect son of God he is.  He can't even deliver a scriptural-based speech properly.

1 comment:

  1. Yes you can..."have too much Isaiah."

    Isn't it amazing? It's like Jesus was quoting directly from the King James Translation of the Bible that wouldnt be printed for another 1600 years. Plus, how remarkable that Nephi was able to go home and write it down word for word with only a few minor word omissions. Then Joseph, incredibly inspired prophet that he was, second only to Jesus, was able to use his seer stone in a hat to translate it so nearly perfectly from the Reformed Egyptian that had be etched into the gold plates by Mormon after having abridged the writings Nephi had painstakingly etched into plates. Miraculous!